Cheryl Hsu, Adrienne Pacini, Kimberley Peter, and Michael Schaus
Systemic Design Researcher & Strategist, Consultant | Principal, Strategic Design, SHS Consulting | Director, Design for AI, RBC | Principal, Strategic Foresight, Scotiabank
This work aims to act as a case study for how we might establish different conventions in how colleagues and communities of practice convene to make progress on large-scale transformation or systems change initiatives. We propose a small, intentional, relational unit with the core elements of commitment over time, thematic cycles, events led by contributors taking turns within a given cycle, a safe place to lead and participate in different practices, opportunities to experience and learn together, and ritual as a wrapper around it all. In this case study, we share a path using the construct of a “Sou Sou”–a group savings club–over several yearly cycles in which the value contributed has been both literal and metaphoric currency toward a shared pool of practice and the pleasure of growing friendships that enrich the lives and competencies of the contributors.
The authors believe others leading change initiatives or working through transitions themselves might find inspiration in a ritual-based approach that amplifies the skills of the contributors while also providing an ongoing platform for creativity and fun. This presentation is about how we might support ourselves and others in transitions through ritual, friendship, and play, where relationships are the essential element in any system change, and the pleasure they provide in sustaining energy for ongoing transitions.
KEYWORDS: sou-sou, ritual, friendship, play, practice, social infrastructure, transitions, systems change