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Celebrate Diversity, Sustainability & Resilience with hands-on and online Knowledge Maps to interconnect our stories using Systems Thinking.



Many grassroots community orientated people and organizations work on projects in silos. They have few resources and tools to reach out for help.

To foster community collaboration by breaking down these silos a Knowledge Map using a Systems Thinking approach is the purpose of The Sustenance Project.

Knowledge Maps have been used in enterprise situations to a favorable outcome.

It is a highly efficiency and effective way to bring to market a product or service.

Big data is being harvested to great benefits of private and public services. Yet the use of these tools is not common amongst grassroots efforts.

With mutual collaboration there is larger, measurable benefits and a high rate of success.

One of the biggest issues is to identify assets. Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) -Local, site & situational specific. Once accomplished it is not the individual asset that makes up the Knowledge Map but the interconnections and collaboration efforts that drives success. 

This is a behavioral change challenge.

A Knowledge Map at a grassroots level is extremely scalable. It can serve a multi-residential building, a street, a neighborhood, a community, a ward, a social hub, a city or a larger geographical area like country but it scales up and down according to the needs of the user and contributor and incorporates universal principals of social justice.

A hub or node is just a reference point and can be interconnected to other small, medium and larger hubs and any given point.

Giving grassroots people and organizations the tools for progressive resilient action.

Most have an understanding of cooperation but very few actually practice true collaboration.

Hands on workshops to teach and foster collaboration is an integral part of populating a community Knowledge Map. To become collectively conscious and aware of each other.

Many Indigenous people around the globe use storytelling as a means to an end. To interconnect all. This is what The Sustenance Project is about.

What actions do you propose?

Identify hubs and nodes of social justice and change. Within these are leaders and projects that offer examples of progressive work dealing with Climate Change. 

Giving grassroots people and organizations the tools for progressive resilient and sustainable action.

The way to the hearts, minds and hands of people are to give them something they can use everyday. It can be money, a gardening tool, fresh vegetables, training, a technique, a computer or a volunteer.

A sharing and caring economy is one of true social justice; Collaboration

This is accomplished 3 fold;

1Community engagement and empowerment. Giving the community a tool that is powerful and easy to use and shows the interconnections between all meaningful and key criteria resources in a matrix.

2An analog and digital representation of site/situational specific scalable community Knowledge Maps contributed to by hubs/nodes and individuals.

3Hands-on workshops to foster and teach collaboration.

An Open Source Wiki data base is the central hub that all other hubs can access and contribute to. This data base is used by a Knowledge Map to hyperlink and highlight the interconnections of all that populate it.

Criteria that celebrates diversity, sustainability and resilience is paramount.

People, organizations, institutions, places, projects, literature, concepts and resources


The goal of The Sustenance Project is to create collaborations (to support/reach/work towards) for a common goal.

The short term goals are to weave the network structure harnessing the energy of the systems already existing.

The long term end goal is to have collaboration as the norm instead of the exception.


  1. Identify catalyst

-This is the ground zero person or hub with a specific goal within a community to foster collaboration

-Start a narrative (storytelling) and then make the connection to another narrative.(example: The Boulder, Colorado Sustenance Project is inter-connected to Climate Change)

-This can be a place, person, event, movement, literature or group.

  1. Create Database

-The database is to be a free and open source Wiki.

-Establish criteria creating a Periodic Table of Social Justice and include all areas including; political, religious, arts, education, etc.

-This is to pre-fertilize collaboration through Systems Thinking

-Use the primary narrative as the catalyst

  1. Create Knowledge Map

-Identify the existing hubs and highlight the interconnections that have existed in the past and currently

-The hubs are important but the collaborations are always the key

-Every part of the Knowledge Map is colour coded and visually easy to understand from the Periodic Table of Social Justice

  1. Promote Collaboration
  • Create a branding button that can be used on participating hubs to have on their websites and social media
  • Create a culture of collaboration 

 -Hands-on workshops to engage and empower individuals and groups towards collaboration

- Invite key hubs to the table- build on their knowledge and expertise- hold symposiums to create awareness

- Invite key player on the table ( city counsellors) to create greater interest 

  1. Celebrate Diversity, Sustainability & Resilience

-Identify past and current collaborations as a storytelling exercise and celebrate them in an annual awards celebration.

-This can be achieved as straightforward as an online announcement where collaborationists are given a designed medal as a model of collaboration

- Find a key hub who is interested to host the event (city, university)


-Participation is always voluntary

-Participation does not mean that you are active but maybe passive when another participant adds someone or something to the database or a collaboration and interconnection to the Knowledge Map


-Promotion is accomplished through individuals and hubs.

-Branding is with a good logo is very important. 

-Participants will be identified with the logo and any direct link will lead to the Knowledge Map online where links to the Wiki database and to localized workshops are front and centre.

-Easy to spread by social media and electronic media.

-Analogue buttons are also important to show participation by individuals

-Wherever there is an event an analogue version of a Knowledge Map can be displayed and added to. This can then be translated to the digital version.


-Collaboration participation is encouraged by celebrating diversity, sustainability and resiliency.

-This is accomplished by validating that every participant is equally important in the matrix of the Knowledge Map by being a point on the map connect to anther point.

-Individual accomplishments are not highlighted as much as the collaboration itself.

-Collaborations are celebrated

-Annual awards ceremony or announcement through established media outlets and social media via a press release or in conjunction with existing organization of promotion


The methodology used will be the enterprise solution for Project Management.

The tried and true method of S.M.A.R.T. Criteria.

Specific -Collaboration above and beyond the success of each individual participant

Measurable -How many collaborations before, how many currently? How many after an allotted time period?

Achievable -Is the task of teaching a hands on workshop on collaboration and adding to the Wiki database & Knowledge Map easy to do?

Relevant -Is a collaboration helping two (or more) entities achieve their own goals or the goals of whole group?

Timely- After 1 year how much collaboration has been achieved? Is one a success? If so, then celebrate and encourage more

-Established Collaborative Practices is to be followed in all collaborations to give validity and structure to each collaboration


Who will take these actions?

The key actors are change-makers within diverse sectors and communities. Most belong to a hub or nodal organization or are aware of one. The change makers can be a contributor to a knowledge Map or train managers to be their contributor.

Individuals can also populate a Knowledge Map, contributing their silo work or idea in order to seek collaboration.

It is important to be diverse and broad in a Systems Thinking approach.

Systems thinking is the process of understanding how those things which may be regarded as systems influence one another within a complete entity, or larger system

This inclusiveness will ensure the long-term success of the project and interconnected collaborations.

The main or central data base can be started and managed by an academic institution, a social innovation center, an NGO, a government agency, a faith based organization or even a socially conscience business (B-Corp) but all will populate it and manage the content.

Each hub can offer workshops on collaboration across sectorial boundaries.

What are the key challenges?

The major obstacle is behavioural change. (the willingness/readiness to change- see “ The stages of Change” model)

We are used to hierarchical organization or silo operations. 

To collaborate is not our first instinct but to proceed with our work.

We think in a System not in many Systems or across systems or even in a larger system. This leads to silos.

This is our natural and default state. (can u cite this claim?)

Hands-on workshops can teach about seeing the world as it is. A complex interconnection of many systems.

Simplified workshops can teach and foster collaboration using a Knowledge Map as a visual tool.

First in analog user mode and then translated to digital form.

An easy example of this is 'How many people does it take to change a light bulb (from incandescent to LED)?'

The answer lies in the interaction and collaboration of the site specific workshop and the collection resources of the people participating.

What are the key benefits?

The major benefit is for organizations and individuals that struggle with limited or no resources to flourish in a collaborative environment.

The most progressive and successful endeavors are collaborative in nature. It provides support, nurturing  validation.

What are the proposal’s costs?

Wiki Databases are open source as are Knowledge Map software solutions.

It is volunteer driven. The catalyst can be a layperson or an advanced administrator. As long as they understand Systems Thinking and that once the spark has started there is no central management. It becomes cross-sectoral with horizontal hierarchal.

Therefore there is zero or little cost.

If there are incurred costs (ad free web hosting) the workshops can be used as a sustainable funding model as follows;


Hands-on collaboration fostering: Breaking down the silos to be progressive and confident!

An introduction to Systems Thinking: See the invisible connections all around you

Workshops fees are scalable, ranging from free, pay-as-you-go, per person or full sponsorship (discount on multiple same day workshops -30%, multiple day workshops -20% and Non-profits -10%)

Half-day workshops (4 hrs)

•$350/workshop (max. 20 people): Public and Enterprise

•$20/person (max. 20 - min 10 people): SMBs, Community groups

•p-a-y-g (Free - $5 suggested, max. 20 people): Official status community groups

•Free: unofficial community groups, low income groups, vulnerable populations


Time line

0-2 months: Identify founding catalyst, hubs, nodes, leaders and collaborations

2 months- 6 months: Create and populate a Wiki database and then a Knowledge Map

6 months- 1: Promote and hold workshops to teach and foster collaboration

1+ year Celebrate Diversity, Sustainability & Resilience by championing new collaboration(s)


2nd Year -Evaluate and adjust concept as needed

Related proposals

Value not set.


Free Open Source Knowledge Maps

Free Open Source Wiki (Farms)

  • Ropers-Huilman, Becky, Smithmier, Angela. (1996) Multiple Expectations of Community-Based Collaboration:  Lessons for System Change from the Inside-Out.  Paper presented to the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association.  New York. From bottom page 33 ("From experiences...lessons...inform system change...bottom up")- page 38.


  • Dovey, Lynne. (2003). Achieving Better Social Outcomes in New Zealand through Collaboration: Perspectives from the United States. Working Paper No.16. New Zealand State Services Commission. Available online: Click Here (Opens new window)


  • Fostering Sustainable Behavior
    Fostering Sustainable Behavior is the title of a Web site and the book that it
    contains, subtitled An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing. The
    Web site consists of an online guide for designing and evaluating programs,
    searchable databases of graphics, case studies, articles, and a discussion forum.
    A “Quick Reference” section offers practical tools for designing, implementing,
    and evaluating social marketing strategies.  See Click Here (Opens new window)