making ‘something’ with theories & structures

Yes, and… Philly! folks continually ask, ‘How can we build on what we’ve thus far talked about and done as a group?’ Creating, making is a process. Here’s a recap on our process so far!



This time around we decided to integrate: Theory U, liberating structures, design, and the stories we’ve heard as a group from our group members thus far about the difficulty of having conversations about death & dying, about what it means to be a citizen, about opiate addiction, about what it means to eat well, and….

We started by asking people to each choose a paper bag, grab some post-its & markers, and write/draw many answers to the question, “What baggage are you carrying around? What’s the baggage (both negative and positive) that’s with you as you think about the stories we’ve heard or your experiences in conversations about death & dying, addiction, eating well, etc.?”


Markers wrote continuously & the ideas flowed as we reflected inward. Next we took 5 minutes to journal our own reflection of the experience of identifying our baggage.

In order to begin to visualize these concepts and how they might relate to each of us, a volunteer pulled one post-it out of their bag & read aloud to the group. All who resonated with that concept were asked to stand close to that person. We called this ‘Making Visible’ and did several rounds. We found that much of our inner baggage is not quite this individual inner angst where one is so alone, yet a collective feeling that so many of us share. 

We took all of our ‘baggage’ notes to the wall and begin creating clusters to see patterns & name those patterns.


A break took us to the kitchen, where we snacked & jumped into our next activity.

We looked at Ecocycle Planning (a liberating structure) to keep in the back of our minds and then, in small teams, created Concept Posters: a poster sharing your team’s idea for a prototype to change some aspect of a pattern from our last activity – each team chose their own pattern, one that resonated with them. Here are our posters:




The balancing knowledge framework for thinking about death & dying!







The idea smorgasbord to create safe space for conversations that might bring up anxieties or trepidation for people!







The detectivizing kit to nurture our inner curiosity is full of question cards to help people (maybe patients) look at things from a perspective of curiosity!


From each of these ideas, we have pulled a question or two. In the time between this meeting and our next, we are each charged with (you too!) asking the following questions of those in our network. [Please join us: ask these questions to as many people in your life/work as you can & share what you learn via email]:


  1. How do you feel when you learn something you didn’t know?
  2. What’s a choice you’ve made or seen someone make lately that resulted in an accepting & loving atmosphere?
  3. What is present in the environment surrounding you when you feel most comfortable sharing your opinion and values?
  4. How would you (or do you) create a comfortable space if/when hosting others in a difficult conversation?
  5. What does it mean to be curious for you?
  6. How often do you operate from a curious perspective?
  7. What’s the thing in your future you’re most curious about right now?!

Next time we gather, we plan to hear 1 minute stories from anyone who asked these questions or has a story to tell around them & as a group design our next step in ‘making this thing’!  Hope you can join us!

your invited to our MARCH gathering!

Yes, And. . . Philly MARCH gathering

Monday, March 21, 2016 from 6.30-8.30pm at the Chestnut Hill Meetinghouse

RSVP via email below or eventbrite

We may talk about our next steps, hear STORIES from participants, practice facilitating liberating structures &/or build collaborative relationships, and…. Attendance is by donation. SNACKS are potluck style & will happen at a specific snack break – feel free to bring something & someone! 

We look forward to another amazing gathering, with. . . YOU!

– Amanda, Bruce, & Cathy


design meeting thoughts

Bruce, Cathy & Amanda met back in December to chat about what’s emerging for Yes, and…Philly. As usual, we went for an awesome Indian restaurant, this time in North East Philly.

souptonutsWe talked about how to really take what we’re up to and build out what’s next with the group. There’s been interest in learning facilitation techniques, interest in using liberating structures in actual change projects together and there’s always great networking & conversations too! We’re excited to open the conversation up and see what we all can’t create together, keeping in mind minimum specs, of course!

next400There are lots and lots of ways we could work together! We are excited to jump in and figure out how we will continue to learn and change together!

So, we ask, what’s the best next step for you?!



THANKS for those who came out to our NOVEMBER gathering of Yes and… Philly! (And to those who wanted to!) There’s nothing like great community conversations to help connect each other and start things! Whoosh!

Put our next date in the calendar – December 7, 2015, 6.30-8.30 location tbd!

(blog recap coming soon!)

november Yes, and…Philly! storytelling is coming up!

Yes, and… Philly NOVEMBER: 
exploring our challenges via story with Liberating Structures, and…
Thursday, Nov 12 2015
6.30 to 8.30 pm
Chestnut Hill Meeting House
(20 E. Mermaid Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19118)

RSVP and more details via:
* Bring food to share (potluck style) your friends & colleagues. We’re hoping to add age diversity to our group, please forward on to any students or retirees who might be interested! All are welcome!
* We ask for donations at the event to cover the cost of space rental and other organizing costs.
Have a great day!
Amanda, Bruce, and Cathy
ps. Put Dec 7th (location tbd) on your calendar for next month!

Community stories create connections!

social3lights600Sharing stories that we are passionate about connect us in real ways, creating awesome energy. Folks arrive at our Yes, and… Philly gatherings excited to learn more about each other’s
passion projects AND we leave feeling jazzed anew – ready to connect the night’s storytellers with our network, new knowledge and our own ideas!

Thought we’d share our drawn agenda from our August gathering…aug_agenda300

Telling the stories that we are passionate about and asking questions about how we can help each other seems to resonate well with the group.

TAKE AWAYS from our session included (index card gathering photo below):

  • It’s not hopeless!
  • Stories have the power to share meaning and call us to act together
  • Stories are a catalyst for change
  • Passion!
  • inspired to meet up and talk more with storytellers


Interested in telling your story at our next Yes and… Philly gathering? Reach out! yesandphilly(at)gmail(dot)com

Come listen to community storytelling on Aug 27!

It’s happening – we’re gathering again with a similar framework to our storytelling session in July. If you’re interested in sharing your story, reach out beforehand! Hope to see you there!

Yes and… Philly AUGUST – Storytelling, Liberating Structures and…

Thursday, August 27, 2015 from 6.30-8.30pm

at Shimon’s place in Elkins Park, PA (full address once you’ve registered via eventbrite)


Storytelling at our July gathering

Thanks so much for those willing to jump in & share a story at our last session! It was amazing to hear what folks are doing and how we can better support one another! I’ll share our FRAMEWORK for the gathering, and a SPACE SHOUT OUT!


FRAMEWORK: As conveners, our intention was (and is!) to highlight real stories which focus on real community needs at Yes and…, Philly sessions. We are responding to the ask for real collective purpose. Bring your purpose!

framing questions

1. What’s the change you want to see brought about that you’re really passionate about? Share your vision, what you hope will evolve.

2. Beyond immediate context, what’s the ‘ecosystem’ around the entire situation? What is present in the surroundings?

3. What have you learned that works so well that you think it will be helpful in moving forward with this?

4. What help/resources/connections/… do you need that you don’t currently have to move forward?

Stories were shared within 5 to 8 minutes and each storyteller brought some physical representation of their story or a part of their story (a tactile thing &/or non tech visual aid). There was an opportunity for clarifying questions and Cathy facilitated Wise Crowds (a liberating structure) where we opened  it up for questions & generative conversation.


A huge shout out to Anthony & Alanna for taking care of us at Bejamin’s Desk, an awesome co-working space in the middle of Philadelphia. Thanks so much for hosting Yes and…, Philly‘s July gathering!

conversations emerge!
conversations emerge!                              *not everyone who attended is pictured here