Integrative Thinking 

Integrative Thinking is about a mindset. Integrative thinking is about being aware of the world around you, understanding the needs and motivations of people around you and working in a collaborative manner - across peoples, organizations, groups, disciplines and/or regions. 

Integrative thinking incorporates an optimistic, constructive and experiential approach to look at problems/challenges and developing different solutions. It considers the people affected, how they will use a product or service and the infrastructure that supports it. 

At its core, integrative thinking is an art, not a formula that can followed routinely from start to finish. 

Integrative thinking is a term for this process - or more precisely this discipline of consideration - that is the hallmark of exceptional people who can lead and create change in all sectors for social good. 

(Source: Roger Martin and Hilary Austen - "The Art of Integrative Thinking", 1999; Roger Martin - "The Opposable Mind", 2007)


 'Peace' Graffiti by Rob Chambers - Basement Artists - Created for One World Dialogue's International Day of Peace Art Show, 2011

'Peace' Graffiti by Rob Chambers - Basement Artists - Created for One World Dialogue's International Day of Peace Art Show, 2011

The Arts

The power of the arts to promote peace lies in its ability to ignite and touch on individual emotions. 

Art can contribute to social change through the imagery it gives us, and the ways it can be used to communicate our deepest feelings and needs. Art allows us the forum for safe expression, communication, exploration, imagination, and cultural and historical understanding. 

Art is a matter of speculation and imagination, hope and inspiration, bold, experimental and noble failure. Art challenges us to reshuffle the composition of our world; it generates an imaginative energy that emboldens us to venture down new paths. Art invites us to change our adopted positions and even pushes us to cross boundaries. That sometimes makes it disturbing, troublesome, uncomfortable. Art complicates matters and celebrates the stubborn ambiguity of things. As soon as we know the code, the artist changes the ciphers. It's life falling in love, the world turns upside down and nothing is as it was. All we can do is plunge in. 

The visual arts can create a space for positive public engagement in a non-threatening setting. Art is often about emotions and personal experience. Therefore, artists have a unique ability to explore subjects in ways that are accessible to everyone. By presenting various visions of a common subject, artists have the power to change how the past is viewed. As a result, artists, if they choose, have a unique ability to service as conflict mediators through the creation and presentation of their work. The visions that are presented in art serve to engage the viewer on both a cognitive and sensory level, thereby providing a more holistic approach to understanding they dynamics present in society. 

To create a culture of peace, we must first imagine it. The arts can help us do this for ourselves and for future generations. 


 Sorel Etrog (Canada) The King and Queen - Painted Steel - Vancouver International Sculpture Biennale - Harbour Green Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada 

Sorel Etrog (Canada) The King and Queen - Painted Steel - Vancouver International Sculpture Biennale - Harbour Green Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada 

Dialogue and Design

Encouraging a more open and participatory process not only increases the possibility of serendipitous connections, it also taps into the full bod of knowledge that we as a global community hold. 

The concept of "openness" is also central to design - designers must be open to new possibilities, open to a wide range of influences, open to constant feedback - in order to adopt a design0driven approach to the principles of One World Dialogue, we must "open up" in ways that go beyond basic sketches and thoughts. 

In order to create and encourage more dialogue between people, groups and communities, we must foster 'a culture of courage'. Such a culture and environment is one in which risk-taking is not only tolerated, but encouraged. In such an environment, every individual, along with our leaders, exhibits receptiveness to new ideas (good and bad) and an interest in every new insight. 

Applying the principle of design to dialogue, integration and peace, can weave together selfish and ethical interests in a seamless manner, connecting public-private, socio-economic and socio-political concerns. In reality those interests have always been inter-related, even if leaders or we as a community do not want to own up to a particular truth. 


 Randall Stout Architects, Inc. - Art Gallery of Alberta - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Randall Stout Architects, Inc. - Art Gallery of Alberta - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Design 

Design can be defined as "the human capacity to plan and produce desired outcomes" (Bruce Mau). The notion that design can solve the world's problems is an old idea that is becoming new again. Going back over the past two centuries, a number of design movements - the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late nineteenth century, the modernization of futurism waves of early and mid twentieth - have been fuelled by an ambition to improve life for the larger population. The roots of design are entwined with utopianism and with dynamic figures, such as the British designer William Morris, an early socialist and a leader of the craft movement, or America's Buckminster Fuller, the dome-building dreamer who also was an environmentalist about eighty years before green become the new black. 

By the 1980s, design had strayed pretty far from those roots - unless, that is, one's idea of utopia is a world filled with pricey espresso machines! The design writer Phil Patton pegs the eighties, as the time when designer-brand items from jeans to high-end appliances, become the mark of good taste. 

Going back to the roots of design however, before anything can be envisioned, designers must first do a great deal of watching and listening. 

It is that aspect of design - the endeavour to first understand what is actually needed out there in today's world, before trying to satiate a need - that makes it relevant to business, politics and social community, particularly in our current environment.