Delivery & Development

Fifth Space

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Fifth Space

In April 2014, a team of six moved into a social housing complex in Burnaby, British Columbia to capture the everyday realities of folks living there. Most folks were interfacing with a range of social services – from community living to mental health to adult education – but despite their connections, they were lonely and stuck. The same was true for many of the staff we met. Just like the folks they supported, staff were a bit lonely, stuck, and lacking a source of continuous feedback and ideas. It’s so easy to get into delivery mode – there’s so much need, and so much to do – that every day ends up being a bit like Groundhog day.

We wanted to find a way to disrupt the same-old, same-old and give staff the time, the space, and the resources to make & test fresh ideas with folks from the ground-up.

The inspiration

Innovative companies, like Google and 3M, recognize that great ideas don’t just come out of thin air. They come out of having dedicated time, space, resources, and methods.

In social organizations, it can be pretty hard to find time, spaces, and resources. And we tend to confuse meetings, committees, quality improvement processes and strategic planning for development methods. They aren’t. Such activities and processes tend to consolidate the existing systems, not disrupt them. In fifth space we gave 27 staff or “Fellows” from across our three agencies, from front-line to senior positions, a day a week for six months to learn and practice social research and development methods.

Real Talk emerged as one of six prototypes from this process.

FifthSpace Website

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