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Little Red Hen - Paradox of Community Engagement

Community Engagement, Articles

Remember the story of the Little Red Hen who tried to engage her friends to help her to plant wheat and then harvest it, make flour and eventually bake bread? She could not engage them until, of course, the bread had come out of the oven and was ready to eat. 

Technology has brought new expectations for engagement and, like the Little Red Hen’s friends, most people want bite-size, ready-baked solutions they can “like.” We struggle to mobilize people in doing the heavy lifting required for social change work.

Paradoxically today, a new generation of community engagement is emerging in our cities and communities. More people want to: be engaged in decisions; work together; and, create better outcomes for themselves and their neighbours. They desire to generate a collective impact.

Paul Born

By Paul Born

Paul Born is the Co-CEO of Tamarack Institute where he is creating Vibrant Communities and leads the national networks, Cities Reducing Poverty and Cities Deepening Community. The author of four books, including two Canadian best sellers, Born is a faculty member of John McKnight’s Asset Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) and a senior fellow of Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social innovators. Paul grew up in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia as the son of Mennonite refugees. This in part is what made him deeply curious about and engaged in ideas that cause people to work together for the common good, work that he describes as collective altruism. He holds a Masters degree in Leadership and specializes in helping organizations and communities to develop innovative ideas that motivate people to collaborative action. Paul is a motivational speaker, and large-scale community change facilitator. He resides in Waterloo, Ontario.

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