Transition Guelph asked Sophy to help us scope out the current state of our initative and its progress toward the overall goal of growing resilience in our city. One of the tools she introduced was the Transition Animal. I believe the animal was a little dog at the time. Interestingly, it has since gained the ability to morph into any animal appropriate to the local context – quite an amazing feat, but one typical of Transition talents!
Using the animal diagram, our members were able to see that our Transition initiative was thriving in several respects, and also to identify several ways we could strengthen the ‘body parts’ of the animal to function even more effectively.
We agreed that TG was founded on a strong shared vision; we also noted that many of our newer volunteers had not participated in a visioning activity nor had much opportunity to find out about the guiding vision that had developed early on. This led us to build in more reference to the vision of a resilient Guelph community, for example sharing the original version of our collective vision at member orientations and each general meeting, and offering a fulsome visioning and backcasting activity at this spring’s Resilience Festival, our most widely-attended community event.
TG was already strong of heart, with an energetic Inner Transition working group that initiates many activities and learning projects. Thinking further, we resolved to add more time for reflection to each meeting or gathering and to plan with care how to support one another and counter burnout, and generally trying to integrate Inner T into all of what we do. We gave detailed attention to a design for succession, as one of the TG founders (moi) prepared to step back from leadership and attend to self-care more fully.
We found the “legs” of the creature to be useful also, with each one bringing our attention to capacities and achievements we could celebrate and gaps we could fill.
The dog’s wagging tail indicates a happy animal. We do love to have fun together in Guelph! To make this aspect even more lively, our team added celebration and volunteer acknowledgment to general meetings, moved the potluck sharing of snacks or a meal to the beginning of meetings (rather than the end) to invite mingling and connection at the start of each gathering.
All of us found the Transition Animal to be such a very useful tool for carrying out a qualitative, interactive style of reflection and evaluation. We liked the way its use invited engagement by volunteers with varied styles of learning and communication. A cheer of appreciation goes to the designers of this helpful beastie!