A Taste of Groundswell - An event that amazed all!

A Taste of Groundswell - An event that amazed all!

Groundswell participant Joel Spooner shares photos and the experience from planning to party of the cohort-organized A Taste of Groundswell event on November 1st.
The task: a new cohort had 6 weeks to create an event together that had a social purpose and paid for itself.  The result: a motley event that brought market vendors and music together for a good time, and a deep learning experience of collaboration and resourcing for this group of budding social entrepreneurs. 

ReSchool: Transform the Future of Learning - May 29th & 30th

Presented by RADIUS, Groundswell, and Ashoka

ReSchool is a hands-on conference+design sprint for education innovators of all stripes. We’re working to create community across sector boundaries, push bold thinking, and prototype new models, together.

Whether you are designing a whole new school or independent program, a teacher pursuing innovative curriculum models, or a student or passionate amateur with bold ideas for how to make education better, this is the place to find inspiration, like minds, and collaborators in bringing those ideas to life. Join us!

Announcement! **Charles Tsai is our Day 2 Keynote and check out these 6 education innovation cases that you'll see at the event.**



When – May 29th and May 30th, 2015 Who – Up to 100 innovators and practitioners drawn from institutions, entrepreneurs, students, teachers, and beyond. Project teams will be diverse. Where – SFU Surrey (across the street from the Surrey Central skytrain) 250-13450 102nd Avenue, Surrey, B.C., Canada V3T 0A3

Ticket Info Institutional participant – $400 Individual participant – $225 Student participant – $100 Get your ticket here!

There are a limited number of bursaries available for participants who face financial barriers. Please apply here by May 1st; applications may be considered on a rolling basis.

Program details A very hands on and very full 2-day event designed to inspire, practice, and prototype:

Day 1 o   provocation and inspiration on education innovation; o   community building; o   unearthing key design principles for the future of learning, through building your dream program with a small team over and afternoon; o   community debrief; and o   design sprint pitches.

Day 2 o   deep dive case studies of emerging models drawn from participants; o   training in design sprints for innovation; o   forming teams to build prototypes for the future of education (new independent schools, innovation school prototype concepts, new local or national programs etc.); and o   a wrap-up showcase of prototypes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Should Participate?  

Anyone who has a passion for learning and education is invited to participate. Even more specifically, anyone who is interested in the revitalization, reformation and reinvention of education as we know it today, will be keenly interested in this experience.

This might mean you are an educator or administrator working in the formal K – 12 or post-secondary system. Or, it might mean you are a practitioner or informal educator who builds your own curricula. It might even mean you are a student — a passionate amateur — who has big bold ideas for what you wish your education could be. We want you there too. In fact you’re central to this process.

 This doesn’t look like a typical conference: What will I get out of participating?

A central goal of ReSchool is to move from just talking about what education could be to actually creating the models we wish existed. We notice a pretty strong correlation between the style of traditional conferences and current mainstream models of education: Sit. Listen. Repeat.

How can we innovate education when our convening models are structured in the exact same way? To innovate education we must innovate the processes we use to gather. ReSchool is our attempt to do this.

When we first conceived of the idea, we summarized it as StartUp Weekend for Schools! Its evolved since then, and we’ve kept some elements that will be familiar to conference goers: A keynote speaker and a few other short Pecha Kucha/TED style talks; networking; coffee breaks, for example. All those things will be there. We might even sit in a lecture hall or two.

But, the energy, process innovation and outcomes of a StartUp Weekend are the experiential twists we’ve injected into the same old conference experience. The two days will both move you toward prototypes for new courses, programs and learning experiences, as well as provide you training in design methods. You can expect to leave these two days with:

*experience in human centered design methods and rapid prototyping tools — bring them back to your work! Use these processes again!

*bold new ideas to integrate into your work and/or a ready-to-implement prototype of the new course, program, school or experience you seek to build

*a community of collaborators — we’re going beyond networking to deepen relationships among education innovators

*a deeper understanding of current trends and futures forecasts affecting education

 What is a Design Sprint?

A design sprint is a process that enables teams to rapidly create new products (at least in the Google contextwhere this particular term was coined). It is part of the suite of tools and processes associated with design thinking methodologies, in particular popularized through the work of Ideo.

We will be using an adapted design sprint process that we’ve created especially for ReSchool to move teams of participants from ideas to prototypes.

(While you’re looking at links, check out this great toolkit Ideo built just for educators wanting to use design thinking!)

 What is a Case Study? What kinds of ideas will be considered as Cases?  

A Case Study is what we’re calling the ideas that will go through the design sprint process. They will be pitched by team leads, and then design teams comprised of ReSchool participants will work together to move from idea to prototype.

A group of participants will be selected to present their ideas as case studies. More details on the case study selection process is forthcoming.

 What if I do not have an idea I want to work on? Can I still come?


Absolutely. If you are interested in the future of education, in seeing current education models innovated, we absolutely want you to be there. A key part of the design sprint process is forming teams to work on ideas. As a participant not looking to build an idea, you will be an invaluable member of someone else’s team.


This event is hosted by RADIUS, Groundswell, and Ashoka in partnership with RECODE, SFU Surrey, and the BC Ministry of Social Development & Social Innovation. We thank the Vancouver Foundation, RBC Foundation, and Bombardier Foundation for their contributions to the event’s success and their continued support for changemaking in education.

Sweet Summer Swell! Now it's back to school, and work (but not as usual, of course)

Fall Session starts next week, but first let's see what the summer had in store for Groundswell and the alternatives-to-business seeking community.  Kevin Elliot, a participant from Groundswell's first year and editor of the Agorian, a soon-to-be launched online magazine, has been in touch with the team at Groundswell over the summer and sums up the excitement and swell we've been creating.  Are you part of the groundswell yet?  Kevin Elliot

“Not business as usual” never before sounded so counter-intuitively promising. The excitement Groundswell fosters in the community through its summer events is in anticipation of contributing to a new way of thinking about doing business and what it means to live together.

Groundswell is making a splash in the city’s burgeoning “new economy” movement after wrapping up our inaugural year last spring and since growing in unexpected ways.

A summer of buzz has helped us refine the program and spread its message, and people are coming out and noticing.

“We hosted a community discussion forum at Café Deux Soleils and an inadvertent scheduling conflict pushed it to a Saturday night,” explains Groundswell’s operations coordinator, Paola Qualizza. “But the fact that every table was occupied and people stayed after hours – on a Saturday night in summer – speaks directly to the fervour for social and economic change around which Groundswell is mobilizing.”

As we emerge from the infancy of our launch year, Groundswell is ballooning into a continually growing community itself.

“It is exciting to see new projects emerge, but what is most interesting about Groundswell is to see what happens when we start putting them together, creating a supportive network and community,” says co-founder Matt Hern.

We are excited about continuing to promote the core idea in the program, which remains our commitment to building towards a sustainable society that functions outside of strictly for-profit mentalities.

The feedback on this core idea has been overwhelmingly positive. “The variety of people we have reached through our open houses all summer is indicative of the desire for changing the status quo,” says Qualizza. “It is not just about doing something innovative, but about finding the right people for our program to make meaningful change in their lives and ours.

“That is why the quality of participants is so important to us – it is about people willing to take a different path in life to stay true to themselves.”

Emma ClaireThis is the momentum that Groundswell is seizing upon to enter our second year, in the hopes of building a sustained community as our alumni grows. “I am mostly excited to see how the community we have developed here will change into something new while staying strong and vital,” remarks first-year participant, Claire Gendron. “Not only are our projects just starting, but the mutual support we will provide for each other is also just beginning.”

Kevin Elliot

Ice Cream Social

What's next?  Check out Groundswell's Ice Cream Social on Wednesday, September 3rd to meet the new Fall cohort and enjoy some final sweet summer scoops with the Groundswell Community.