At TACSI we talk a lot about untapped resources, behaviour change, thriving lives, and systems change. Ash sent me this 10 minute TED talk over the weekend that’s a great example of all four:

  1. Thinking of prisoners as a resource for something like conservation can lead to better outcomes for them and for the community. That’s exactly what Family by Family and Weavers are all about.
  2. Changing the environment (like removing toilets from cells) helps you change behaviour. Read more about “shaping the path” in Switch.
  3. Letting people (in this case both prisoners and prison staff) contribute to something meaningful also helps motivate and change behaviour. Our friends at the Dulwich Centre talk a lot about making meaning in Narrative Therapy, and Dan Pink’s book Drive has a great overview of how purposeful work for staff creates more motivation and engagement.
  4. Prototyping hundreds of small changes can be an effective way to achieve systems change and can sometimes be faster than a top-down redesign. This TED talk is a great example of the power of prototyping to test small ideas and build buy in: something we’ve seen play out in all of the work we’ve done.

The video ends with the great reminder that “prisons can be more than a bucket for failed social policy,” but if we rely on just prisons, we’ll never get there. Creating the society we want to live in requires all of us, from all of our different systems, positions, and perspectives.