News New Show & Tell Event

On the last Thursday of every month, the Beal Institute will be hosting an evening Show & Tell presentation in the main office at 174 Spadina Avenue, starting at 6 PM.

The end of the month Show & Tell presentations will feature content from the previous month or previous Show & Tell events that has been refined for presentation. In addition, guest speakers will be invited to present. Please contact for more information.

News Show & Tell: January 17, 2007

Show & Tell will feature Robert Logan presenting "What is Information?, What is Life? and How are They Connected?: BioInformatics 2.0", an exploration of the nature of all living organisms.

News Show & Tell: January 3rd Cancelled

Show & Tell for Thursday, January 3rd is cancelled. Regular Show & Tell will resume Thursday, January 10th.

News Show & Tell: December 20th & 27th Cancelled

Show & Tell at the Beal will be cancelled on December 20th and 27th for the holiday break, and will return on Thursday January 4th. Best wishes to all for the holidays.

News Show and Tell: Thursday, December 13th,

This week's Show & Tell will present a collaborative answer to the questions: "What is literacy?" "How does it emerge and evolve?"

For the report, leading essay writers from will act as guest speakers. The goal is to expand our understanding of literacy beyond common definitions and generate discussions that both challenge and explore what it means to be literate.

News Show and Tell: Thursday, December 6th, 2007

In the first half of this week's show and tell Annie Spencer will present recent developments of her passion project Spiritual Media: One Pilgrim's Progress, which is focused on behaviors mediated and driven by human-spiritual motivations, and the emergence of new belief systems in digital networks.

Due to extended discussions and time constraints in last week's show and tell, we will be holding the cooperative exploration of  “Creative Clusters & Convergence” in the second half of this weeks show and tell. As a reminder, the goal of this exploration is to identify key questions and discussion points for an upcoming charette being held at the Centre for Social Innovation.

News Show and Tell: Thursday, November 29th

Research Associate Isabelle Rousset will present a first draft table of contents for the expansion of her current work which examines natural evolution in light of human manipulation of the world's river systems.

Using the river as metaphor for self-organization and complexity, Isabelle’s work aims to document and inform a robust and interconnected ecology that includes open observance, conscious practice and healthy emergence across a wide variety of systems, both natural and synthetic.

Isabelle’s presentation will be followed by a cooperative exploration of  “Creative Clusters & Convergence”, the goal of which is to identify key questions and discussion points for an upcoming charette being held at the Centre for Social Innovation.

News An Invitation

University of Toronto Press is pleased to invite you to a book launch celebrating the publication of The Extended Mind: The Emergence of Language, the Human Mind, and Culture, By Robert K. Logan.

4:30pm - 7pm
Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
Beal Institute for Strategic Creativity
Ontario College of Art & Design
100 McCaul St., Suite 600
Toronto, Ontario

Media inquiries please contact Andrea-Jo Wilson at 416.978.2239 ext. 248

The Extended Mind: The Emergence of Language, the Human Mind, and Culture
By Robert K. Logan

The ability to communicate through language is such a fundamental part of human ex-istence that we often take it for granted, rarely considering how sophisticated the process is by which we understand and make ourselves understood. In The Extended Mind, acclaimed author Robert K. Logan examines the origin, emergence, and co-evolution of language, the human mind, and culture.

Building on his previous study, The Sixth Language (2000), and making use of emer-gence theory, Logan seeks to explain how language emerged to deal with the complexity of hominid existence brought about by toolmaking, control of fire, social intelligence, coordinated hunting and gathering, and mimetic communication. The resulting emergence of language, he argues, signifies a fundamental change in the functioning of the human mind – a shift from per-cept-based thought to concept-based thought.

This study will be of particular interest to linguists because of the way in which the origin of language is tied to the emergence of cognitive science and culture.From the perspective of the Extended Mind model, Logan provides an alternative to and critique of Noam Chomsky’s approach to the origin of language. He argues that language can be treated as an organism that evolved to be easily acquired, obviating the need for the hard-wiring of Chomsky’s Language Acquisition Device.

In addition Logan shows how, according to this model, culture itself can be treated as an organism that has evolved to be easily attained, revealing the universality of human culture as well as providing an insight as to how altruism might have originated. Bringing timely insights to a fascinating field of inquiry, The Extended Mind will be of interest to readers in a wide range of disciplines.

Robert K. Logan is a professor emeritus in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto.

News SHOW & TELL: Thursday, November 22nd

Beal Show & Tell this week!
Thursday, November 22nd at 2pm
Beal OCAD:100 McCaul St, Suite 600

Coming up at this week's Show & Tell:

News SHOW & TELL: Thursday, November 15th POSTPONED

Due to an exciting new Beal project underway this week, Show & Tell this Thursday, November 15th has been moved to the following week when we will resume our normal schedule of presentations and discussions. We look forward to your participation in the future!

News New Horizons

The Beal Institute for Strategic Creativity enters a new phase today with the resignation of Executive Director of Research, Alexander Manu. With the departure of this inspiring leader, the Beal looks forward to building upon our creative foundation and in taking new approaches to fulfilling the goal of sharing the methods of strategic creativity with the world.

News What's a Beal Anyway?

9:30am to 11:00am, Thursday October 25, 2007
OCAD Auditorium, 100 McCaul St
The Beal Institute for Strategic Creativity is a research institute which was founded at OCAD in 2005, and has studio space on Level 6 of the Sharp Centre for Design. We have spent the last two years developing research content and a methodology which allows us to identify trends in behaviour and technology and to build on these in order to imagine new possibilities that might benefit people and society. Imagination is key in this innovation process, as we think about what could be possible. We develop truly innovative ideas, in part through the description of potential future scenarios, and based on these techniques we are able to begin mapping the future possibilities.

In addition to directed group research activities, Beal staff all work regularly on "passion projects" -- these are self-directed projects that hold deep meaning for the researcher. These projects bring a depth and breadth of material to all research activities that take place at the Beal Institute, as frequent discussion, dissemination and cross-pollination between seemingly unrelated projects help to elevate all projects while at the same time furthering the work of each individual's chosen direction.

We know that many of you are also working on passion projects in the form of Think Tank projects, Thesis, or simply your area of passion. The Beal Institute seeks to support all members of the OCAD community in the development of their own passion projects, and invites you to join us to find out how we can help, whether in the form of mentoring, workshop participation, Show & Tell events, or simply by engaging in focused and passionate discussion.

Please join us on October 25. We will talk more about what we do at the Beal Institute and how we can help you, and give you a chance to tell us how you would like us to help as well.

News Bob Logan's Second Life Debut

Beal Research Affiliate Robert K. Logan made his debut appearance in Second Life on October 1st. Bob gave a presentation on his work in Media Ecology to an eclectic crowd of avatar onlookers, as part of a virtual speaker series hosted by Ken Hudson. The archived talk can be viewed here. More information on the Second Life Media Ecology Series is available here.

News Breaking News

Tuula Antola, CEO of Finland’s InnoSpa Consulting, and Alexander Manu, Founder and Director of the Beal Institute for Strategic Creativity, recently announced their two organizations will collaborate in the creation of Beal Finland. Read the press release...

News We Have Expanded!

The Beal Institute has expanded to a second location at 174 Spadina Avenue in Toronto. Our weekly Show & Tell will continue to take place Thursdays at 2 PM at the OCAD location (100 McCaul St.) Our updated contact information is as follows…

Beal Institute for Strategic Creativity | 174 Spadina Avenue Suite 300, Toronto ON M5T 2C2 | (416) 637 8460

News Annie Spencer live in China!

From August 12th to September 8th, Annie Spencer is traveling northern China, observing and gathering stories of innovation inspired by the impending 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The Olympic Games, and the global attention that accompanies them, have proven to be a great driver of systems, infrastructure, business, policy and social innovation, and Annie looks forward to witnessing these changes firsthand.

News Tervetuloa Ulla!

The Beal Institute welcomes Ulla Seppänen, our latest Finnish arrival from Helsinki. Ulla's project focus at the Beal Institute will be an exploration of the cultural themes and behaviours of play in collaboration with Lappset, a Finnish company that is the European leader of outdoor play environments for children, and Helsinki's InnoSpa innovation consultancy.

Ulla is trained as a Landscape Architect and also has a degree in International Design Business Management. She is currently studying towards a Master's degree in Consumer Economics at Helsinki University. She will be with the Beal Institute in Toronto until January 2008.

News Moikka, Ilkka

We bid a fond farewell this week to Ilkka Heino as his five-month internship with the Beal Institute concludes and he returns to Finland. Ilkka will maintain a connection to the Beal as an affiliate as he completes his MA studies at the University of Technology in Helsinki.


The Beal Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Lenore Richards to the position of Executive Director. Lenore brings 18 years of experience in academic leadership, most recently as Dean of the Faculty of Design at the Ontario College of Art & Design, to the development of the Beal Institute's educational programming and initiatives in strategic foresight.

Her pioneering spirit and philosophical bent are invaluable qualities as the BISC prepares to blaze trail in the realms of academe.

News BISC Welcomes Heidi Nelson

From the prairies of South Dakota to the Czech Republic, a BSc. at Portland State, and a stint at the Institute Without Boundaries, Heidi Nelson's world tour continues with a three-month engagement at the Beal Institute. Heidi will be flexing her considerable Graphic Design muscles to develop visualizations of Beal processes. The BISC is pleased to have Heidi as a visual guide and conceptual pathfinder.

News Disasters A Success!

Bealians Michele Perras, Isabelle Rousset, Sady Ducros, Mark Outhwaite, and Annie Spencer participated in a charette at the Ontario Science Centre on July 26th. The charette, entitled "Adapting to Water Disasters" is one in a series leading up to this year's digifest, themed Water's Edge.

Erik Davies of the United Nations Development Programme set the tone of the workshop by sharing his experiences on the front-line of tsunami relief efforts in Aceh, Indonesia. Interdisciplinary teams with expertise in science, design and art then collaborated to generate adaptive strategies and solutions to aid in the ongoing tsunami relief effort, including the rebuilding of infrastructure as well as improving preparedness for future events. Beal Research Affiliate Greg Van Alstyne initiated the Beal Institute's involvement in this charrette as a member of the 2008 digifest advisory board. digifest is a biennial festival of design and media culture presented by Toronto's Design Exchange in partnership with Harbourfront Centre and the Ontario Science Centre.


October 23-25, 2007. San Francisco, CA
Alexander Manu will speak on Passion, Risk, and the Exploration of Possibility at the Voices That Matter: Web Design Conference in San Francisco. Sponsored by New Riders Press, the publishers of Alexander's latest book The Imagination Challenge, Voices That Matter "gives voice to the most important thought leaders in technology, design and business today."


October 19-20, 2007. Brooklyn, New York
Greg van Alsytne & Robert K. Logan's joint paper “Designing for Emergence and Innovation: Redesigning Design” will be presented at the Hyperpolis 3.0 Conference, which will take place at the Integrated Digital Media Institute and Othmer Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies at Polytechnic University, Brooklyn. Hyperpolis is an annual conference and forum for the discussion and presentation of some positive contributions to the field of media, discussing media practices whose product is an improvement in the integrity and vitality of the culture and society in which they are embedded, and media practices whose processes are in and of themselves desirable.


September 18, 2007. Helsinki, Finland
Alexander Manu will deliver a keynote at IDEAN Enterprises, a Finnish innovation firm that works with global companies and organizations.


September 13-14, 2007. Gotland, Sweden.
Research Assistant Annie Spencer will give a workshop on innovation in game design at a conference organized by Swedish organization SuperMarit on September 13th and 14th. Supermarit is a not-for-profit organization in pursuit of helping women, and in particular youth, to build their careers in the gaming industry. The workshop will focus on conceptual storytelling for multi-platform interactive media, with an emphasis on uncovering personal narratives and designing them through unconventional genres.

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