photoEarly in 2012, I began to explore the questions:

  1. What makes Systems Thinking, Integrative Thinking, Design Thinking and Evaluative Thinking such powerful tools?
  2. What are the commonalities between the four approaches?
  3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each approach?
  4. How can we teach these approaches to a K-12 audience?
  5. How can practitioners benefit from these methodologies?

After spending time grappling with these questions on my own, a conversation with Nogah Kornberg sparked an idea. It occurred to us that other people might also be interested in answering these questions. We thought about it for a while and decided to test the waters by inviting friends to meet and discuss Systems, Integrative and Design Thinking. To our surprise people were interested in frequently geeking out about thinking methodologies.

The group initially began with six people, and slowly grew to a group of fourteen inquisitive minds who would come when they could. On average we would have six people at each meeting, which seemed to work well. In total, we invited seventeen people. Some never made it to the sessions, but had all intentions of doing so. Others would not miss it for the world and arrived at every meeting eager to learn and discuss approaches to thinking.

We began the meetings by inviting subject matter experts to deliver beginner workshops on each approach, culminating with a session in which we discussed all three topics. After these introductory sessions we then hosted more in-depth sessions alternating from focusing on one topic, to focusing on all three topics. We discussed their strengths, similarities, differences, drawbacks, what confused us, key themes, common themes, potential uses, what we found useful or useless, and much more. Each week, we all left with more questions than answers, but that was the beauty of the lab. We would leave our room in the Rotman building feeling curious about the possibilities.

Initially we called ourselves the SIDstudio, but as the group developed we began to think that evaluation or evaluative thinking needed to be part of the process. Consequently we decided to add an E to SID, making us the SIDELab.

This website is intended to be an online space where we will share our learning from inside the SIDELab. Hope you enjoy following us or reading what we produce on our fun journey into what we call SIDE thinking.

Members of the first eight months of the SIDELab included: Keita Demming, Nogah Kornberg, Maria Vamvalis, Jeremy Dickstein, Jennie Phillips, Rochelle TenHaaf, Nick Petten, Shauna Trainor, Jennet Poffenroth, Annabel Wong, Francesco Tassi, Brian Kim, Noorin Fazal, Nejeed Kassam, Anita Abraham, Zainab Ramahi and Katie Kish .

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