Facilitating Detroit's Sustainability Agenda

Many Detroit Environmental Agenda (DEA) member organizations thrive at the grassroots level and authentically engage Detroiters through hands-on trainings and community events. This engagement is critical to improve our resident's awareness of the environmental issues at play in our neighborhoods, parks, and backyards. We’re honored to have this opportunity to facilitate these subject-matter experts that have demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to serve their constituents in effort to build a healthier city. The DEA, as a whole, works to educate Detroit residents about environmental issues, share community concerns and needs with government, and ultimately advocate on behalf of Detroiters.

Part of our role in this work is designing a new organizational strategy and facilitating monthly meetings to help the DEA realize their vision in which “Detroit is a healthy, clean, and safe place for individuals and families to live, work, and thrive.” The DEA sought us out because of the power of our non-traditional management and design thinking methods that supercharge networks, businesses, and organizations. Our facilitation approach is flexible — reactive to member feedback — and action-oriented. We consider each meeting a working session that results in real outcomes.

Using human-centered and participatory techniques, we began our work by co-creating operational and logistic management tools with the DEA to improve the structure of how they work. These initial tools include improved meeting protocols and defined processes for new proposals and decision-making. Next, we designed hands-on activities to help DEA members refine and prioritize outcome-oriented plans. With our facilitation, the DEA narrowed down from over twelve directions to three action outcomes, and formed Action Teams that best utilize their skills and resources. Each action team has assigned roles and created outcome-oriented tasks and subtasks.

We are looking forward to the upcoming phases in which we will support Action Teams in tackling their outcomes with project management tools and design deliverables. We envision the DEA harnessing the power of their collective wisdom and organizational reach to expand their influence and embolden their voice to best address environmental justice issues across the City. Stay tuned for more as we spread the word about the DEA’s great work!