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Setting the Table with Ben Weinlick

Posted on November 18, 2016
By Bronwyn Kent

ben_part 3_latest.jpgOn November 14, Al Etmanski and Vickie Cammack had the pleasure of talking with Ben Weinlick about Setting the Table for Allies, Adversaries, and Strangers for the third part of our IMPACT-Ability Webinar Series.

If you don’t know Ben, as Al describes him, he is a “hip, young man” who is part of a growing group of young innovators pioneering new ways of bringing people together. They are using some of the most imaginative and refreshing approaches to convening and dialogue, including using social innovation ‘lab’ technology to further the engagement, inclusion and employment of people with disabilities.

The webinar discussion was not only rich and meaningful for participants, but it struck a real chord with us at Plan Institute. What stood out most was the emphasis on the need to move beyond convening only with those who think the same way, and instead invite people from diverse domains and perspectives to the table in order to shake things up and converge new ideas. “If the conversation is only from one side, there is only so far you can go”, says Ben.

The second major take-away from the conversation was the focus on the importance of turning our discussions into something tangible. First and foremost, this requires people to feel safe to try out new ideas, make mistakes or fail–something that is not always easy when there are “strangers” and “adversaries” in the room. Trial and error is all part of the innovation process, but first we must create safe spaces for people to feel comfortable about bringing new and unconventional ideas to the stage. Then the important process of prototyping and testing can begin.

As we at Plan Institute strive to innovate solutions to challenges that impact our friends and families affected by disability, we have already begun to think of ways in which we can apply the social innovation lab concept to our relationships and work. Thanks for the inspiration Ben!

It was an honour to have Ben as our guest and we are thankful for his thoughtful contribution and for sharing his commitment to the disability liberation movement through the IMPACT-Ability series. Listen to the full webinar below.

Here are some great quotes from the webinar:

“It’s not just about tools, it’s about culture building as well.”

“The goal is to create a space where people feel safe and comfortable..and then the creativity can come.”

“The key is to bring diverse people together.”

Read more from the Twitter conversation here.


This re-cap was written by Bronwyn Kent and was originally posted here.

NOTE: This was the third part of a seven-part webinar series. Join us for the next one on how to Mobilize Your Economic Power, November 29, featuring guest Liz Mulholland, CEO of Prosper Canada. You can register here.

Listen to the full webinar here.

Collaborative Leadership, Webinars and Videos, Social Innovation, Cities Deepening Community

Bronwyn Kent

By Bronwyn Kent

Bronwyn joined Plan Institute in January 2013 as Communications Coordinator and moved into Plan Institute as Communications Manager in September 2016. Prior to this she spent several years working for a non-profit in Mexico City, and has also studied and worked in publishing and graphic design. At Plan Institute you’ll find her working on the ezine, designing invitations, managing our websites and promoting Plan Institute events. She loves using online communication tools to share ideas and stories.

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