Curriculum

A Solutionary Residency will be tailored dramatically to your needs and interests – based on your goals, we will shape what we will offer to meet your needs. Each residency consists of a basic core of direct learning, reflection and dialogue, and expression and can add on the following elements based on your goals:

  • Practice around community organizing and social innovation techniques.
  • Skills training in practical abilities
  • In-depth theoretical study around specific issues and fields
  • Hand-on practice and participation in local solutions relevant to your goals
  • Direct venture development support planning and mapping out your venture

Core: Central to all residencies – depth can vary

  • Learning Information and Theory – depending on your needs and goals, we will compile a basic reading list for before and during the residency, schedule teaching sessions during the residency, or identify experts in the field to meet with during your residency.
  • Reflection and Dialogue – time for personal or team reflection and dialogue about issues, ideas, activities, and relationships engaged during the residency – both solo reflection time and group dialogue.
  • Creative expression – you pick the form – journaling, blogging, video, art, etc.

Practice:
We consider ability in these practices to be central to effective solutionary work. You should either demonstrate existing ability in these areas and/or participate in practice to develop your ability during the residency as each area relates to your goals:

  • Outreach and Engagement: Door-knocking, tabling events
  • Group process: Facilitation, participatory leadership, collaborative visioning, team building
  • Building Relationships: One-on-ones, forming partnerships, coalition building
  • Asset Mapping: Assessing a network’s needs and assets to catalyze opportunities
  • Bridging Difference: Engaging power dynamics and confronting oppression in communities.
  • Venture Development: campaign planning/,business planning
  • Communication: speaking, writing, traditional media, artistic communication
  • Training: teaching, presentation, skills training

Skills Trainings
Various concrete skills can be selected as necessary. The training we can provide in this areas is high-quality but not professional. We are in a good position to get you started and become competent in each of these areas – each is worthy of in-depth professional training outside of this residency if you are trying to become an expert in them.

  • Facilitation
  • Group visioning
  • Coalition Building
  • One-on-ones and outreach conversations
  • Messaging and creating outreach materials
  • Asset Mapping
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Business model development
  • Financial modelling – using spreadsheets to test and demonstrate business ideas
  • Budgeting and Resource Strategy
  • Grant-writing
  • Grassroots fundraising
  • Basic Financial management and accounting
  • Basic spreadsheet data management and analysis
  • Basic web development (WordPress)
  • Task Management
  • Delegation and developing other leaders
  • Building effective teams
  • Public narrative and motivational story-telling
  • Teaching, training, and mentoring

In-Depth Theoretical Study (reading and dialogue intensives):
Based on goals, you may choose to delve much deeper into these topics/ sub-topics, or recombine based on your goals:

  • Systems Thinking
    • Patterns of organization
    • Social movements
    • System dynamics and ecological-political-economic-social systems
  • Current Global Challenges
    • Climate Change
    • Peak Energy/ Energy Dependency
    • Globalization
    • Economic and Social Injustice
  • Economics
    • Traditional theory
    • Environmental/ ecological economics
    • Green economic innovation
    • Other markets – barter, time, energy, ideas
  • Food
    • Industrial food systems
    • Sustainable agriculture design
    • Food access through local entrepreneurship
    • Finance and policy implications
    • Community engagement
  • Energy
    • Dirty energy systems and energy centralization
    • Energy efficient design
    • Renewable energy
    • Smart grid/ storage/ management
    • Finance and policy implications
    • Community engagement
  • Transit/ Urban Design
    • Problems with current transportation systems
    • Sustainable transportation futures
    • The role of urban-rural structure/ community design
    • Mixed-use, transit-oriented development
    • Re-industrialization and reclaiming local green manufacturing

Stepping In: Real-World Practice
Joining a project on the ground (makes the most sense for residencies 4 weeks or longer where you are looking for hands-on experience):

  • Latino Economic Development Center business sustainability program
  • Our Power neighborhood energy efficiency and clean energy outreach
  • Our Power neighborhood energy efficiency and clean energy policy and development
  • Cooperative Energy Futures home energy efficiency workshops
  • Cooperative Energy Futures neighborhood insulation and bulk buying
  • Cooperative Energy Futures community solar ownership
  • Collaboration with Stone’s Throw Urban Farm, Community Table Co-ops, and other urban farming initiatives
  • ARISE coalition building
  • ARISE community outreach
  • More opportunities with partners

Venture Development:
If you have a specific idea or venture you are looking to develop, we will organize planning sessions, meetings with relevant mentors, and visits to peer ventures to help refine your model. We aim to come out the residency with a clear campaign or venture plan to guide your course forward towards your venture.