Asset-based practice is, at its core, a way of seeing—a mindset, not a method.
Practices & Planning
It is a practice of putting on “asset lenses” to view, and then, to relate to, our community and our fellow community members from a place of abundance, giftedness, and strengths first. It also involves refreshing and grounding ourselves in the age-old understanding that the way we can most creatively solve our problems or pursue our shared dreams in community is to begin connecting, activating, and animating those capacities. In this way, we can cultivate deep roots of homegrown, people-driven power as well as a stronger sense of mutual respect, care, and delight.
There is no “one way” to do ABCD. In the same way, there is no straight line or pathway every person should take when seeking to practice ABCD. Rather, this is a road we build as we walk it.
The practices shared above are those which have shown up most often among people who choose to act from a belief in abundance and the power of connectivity. However, we invite you to pick up and employ these tools and practices lightly, with full freedom to adapt, evolve, and play with them together with your fellow weavers. We also invite you to integrate them into what you already do in your community cultivating work that is rooted in ABCD principles.
As you go back into your community weaving with these ABCD tools and practices in hand, one of the final tools that is helpful to have on hand is adaptive, emergent approach to planning and taking action. This is a style of trying things, learning, and using our learning that many of us use in our day-to-day lives, but which we sometimes forget to employ when going about community work or collaborating with others.
There are a number of origins to an emergent and adaptive approach, including Complexity Theory and Emergent Strategy, which are grounded in the study of how natural systems operate and thrive as well as how effective change happens in complex social situations. These models for understanding change can help us navigate the inherently messy, organic nature of weaving our communities from an asset-based approach.
Below are some tools and resources to support your practice going forward.
Enjoy your journey!
Invitation to Practice
Use this worksheet to begin sketching out your vision and plans for how you might put ABCD ideas and tools into practice. (You can make your own copy to edit in Google Docs, or print it and fill it out by hand.)
Then, share your answers in the Weave forum.
Below are resources to support your continued ABCD journey as well as ways to connect with other practitioners.
- A Guide to Evaluating Asset Based Community Development, by Tom Dewar
- When People Care Enough to Act, by Mike Green
- The Connected Community, by John McKnight & Peter Block
- Emergent Strategy, by adrienne maree brown
- Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed, by Zimmerman, Westley, Patton
- ABCD in Action, an online community
- Tamarack Institute ABCD Community of Practice
- The Abundant Community