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Hi Gavin,

Thanks for sharing this! And congrats to you and the other members of the newly founded London Chapter of OpenIDEO! I hope you find it is a great place to continue cultivating locally that inclusive societal innovation and development we're all so passionate about.

Indeed you are correct that the A is just as important and necessary as the other acronyms listed. In some sense, art and imagination are the critical foundation for each of the other acronyms to really flourish. While we have not made STEAM an explicit goal of any of our summits or work in the past, it is an understood shared ethos -as we work with a diverse array of creative innovators from around the globe (including, but not limited to, political cartoon artists, mechanical engineers, medical comedians, community artisans, ux designers, etc.). Nevertheless, we are continuously reiterating with each other that the design process is indeed much more of an art than a science.

Most recently this concept of art and inclusivity was engaged by our IDDS Amazon team last summer in Brazil who was, in fact, inspired by Otto Scharmer's work at u.lab. The summit focused on integrating design and environment through hands-on projects that help promote a more inclusive and circular economy. (One fun fact from the summit is they designed their own compost toilets for the event and had less that 80kilos worth of waste by the end of the 3 weeks with nearly 70 people and the compost has since been used on community gardens they co-designed together!). The lead organizer from IDDS Amazon took one of Otto's courses a few years ago and some of our staff have worked with the u.lab team before on other projects. One of our hopes and dreams this coming year to to reconnect and further explore that collaboration to see if/how there are ways to integrate more. We are big fans of their work and research!

Thanks again for these great comments, Gavin! And more importantly, thanks for helping to contribute to the greater movement!

All the best,
Sher Vogel

[For anyone who is not familiar with the work of Otto Scharmer and the u.lab, we highly encourage you to check out this free 90 minute intro course on "Awareness-Based Systems Change" via the MIT EdX platform: If you have already taken that class already and want more, you can try your hand at another free course they have available on "Leading from the Emerging Future":