Intellectual Imperialism and the Vocabulary of Harm

The headline of a recent Medium post, “The Age of the Imbecile” caught me at a bad time. I’m immersed in examining the harmful impact of words on people who experience a disability. “Imbecile” is one of the terms developed … Read More

Percé Rock and the Crumbling Patriarchy

The French writer and surrealist André Breton wouldn’t have been the first man to think it but he’s the first one that I know of who wrote it. The excerpt below is from his book Arcanum 17: “The time has … Read More

White Men Can’t Jump and People with Disabilities Can’t Act

Dear readers – you may have noticed that recently I slyly inserted a second weekly post. It is distributed, like this one, every Monday evening. They are excerpts from a new book I’m writing. The book, not yet named, will … Read More

Throwing Snowballs for Dave Barrett

Dave Barrett and his  1972-75 government is the answer to people who assert that, once elected politicians lose their boldness. His government passed 357 bills in three short years. Including the Agricultural Land Reserve a bill to preserve farmland that … Read More

Confessions of a Non Swimmer in the Currents of Culture

( first in a new series.) All my life I thought that the way to solve social problems was to make a big splash. To protest unjust ways of doing things, change laws, secure large sums of money, elect sympathetic … Read More

What Are You Doing Here?

A man I admire greatly took that question seriously. And has become one of Canada’s most prolific and talented social entrepreneurs. His name is Brian Smith and his story needs more space than I have available. So here is the … Read More

Emancipate yourself from Mental Slavery

Those words from Bob Marley’s Redemption Song were birthed in Nova Scotia. “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery,” was part of a speech delivered by Black rights activist Marcus Garvey in Sydney Nova Scotia in 1937. Marley likely heard about the … Read More

Yayoi Kusama’s Path to Infinity

Tokyo based Yayoi Kusama is known as the “priestess of Polka Dots.” During the 1960’s she was part of New York’s avant-garde scene and became friends with Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keefe. She is now the most popular artist in … Read More

Moose Hide – a love story

This is a story about men doing something about our propensity for violence against women. It is also a story about what one man, an Indigenous hunter, can do when he listens to his daughter. The daughter’s name is Raven. … Read More

Cultural Transformation one (Baby Gerber) Step at a Time

Lucas Warren, the current Gerber baby, is delighting mainstream and social media. Of course he’s cute. And deserves all the oohs and ahs he is getting. The big deal is that he has down syndrome. Which to some people should … Read More

Government Innovation isn’t Your Main Problem

Government innovation isn’t your main problem. It’s government’s. After many years of unsuccessfully peddling the processes of social innovation to governments across Canada I’ve learned: Not to peddle process. Instead to focus on proposing bold, workable solutions to problems they … Read More

Eyes Wide Shut – Carmen Papalia’s Guide to Democracy

Vancouver artist Carmen Papalia’s adventures in darkness refreshes the practice of democracy. And illustrates yet again the depth of wisdom within the world of disability. His views on agency and accessibility are influencing art galleries around the world, including the … Read More

Don’t Forget the Other Social Innovators

Canada’s federal government seems to have forgotten the other social innovators. They are not the only jurisdiction doing so. These forgotten practitioners are the ones who everyday, everywhere invent themselves out of adversity. They are the original hackers whose solutions may be worthy of … Read More

“Saving” Ryan

Montreal born animator Ryan Larkin had a couple of brushes with Hollywood. Which is not surprising for someone once described as the Frank Zappa of animation. The first brush was for his 1970 Oscar-nominated film Walking. The second was for … Read More

Hockey Legend Ken Dryden’sTips for Changing the Rules of Your Game

One of the world’s best hockey players, Ken Dryden wants to eliminate concussions from hockey. There are two key rule changes that he’s certain will do it: 1) Ban all hits to the head (head shots) and 2) Penalize players for … Read More

Artisans for the Common Good

I have found a new elegant phrase to describe a class of people whose small daily acts without fanfare, flourish or compensation make the world a better place. These people are the original change makers, long before it became a profession … Read More

The Role of Containers, Hacks, Frames and Metaphors in Social Change

You may have a great solution to a social challenge. Something that you are certain will be beneficial to thousands, maybe more. However, unless you have the right container, package, framing or metaphor your proven innovation may linger in isolation … Read More

Mental Fitness Touches a Nerve in Everyone

Mental fitness touches a nerve in everyone, myself included. It exposes one of our deepest fears, the fear of deviancy and incapability, of losing it, of not measuring up, of not being seen as a person. The signs are everywhere. … Read More

The World Needs More…Of You

The world needs more of you. Not just your projects, programs, and innovations. It needs the thinking, values and aspirations behind them. It needs to understand the soul of your work. Otherwise your projects, programs and innovations will have limited … Read More