Jenny Finn has a Calling for a Whole-System Design Change When it Comes to Education.

Dr. Jenny Finn of Springhouse and Sourced Design is one of the seven jury members of the Hackathon.

Jenny, so happy to have you onboard as one of the seven jury members. Please tell us a bit about your background when it comes to learning and education.

“In my early 20s (I am now 50), I had an experience that changed the course of my life forever. I was knee deep in alcohol addiction at a young age, causing damage mostly to myself, but also to those around me. I was at a fraternity party, very intoxicated, and heard something within me say “Put the drinks down, you will never drink again.” At 20 years old, I listened; which is frankly, a miracle. It has been 30 years, and I have not had a drink since that night. I have dedicated my whole life to that voice. I have taken care of this relationship with something deeper and wider than my own will and I have listened to that intuitive voice that has led me all over the world into very interesting paths including directing a nonprofit that brought people of different backgrounds together around the dinner table; leading dance with hundreds people on a study abroad program aboard a ship; working in spiritual care in a trauma department and hospice; mentoring hundreds of people and organizations who wish to return to a greater sense of vitality in their lives and places; and finally, to founding a school, the last thing I ever thought I would do.

Fostering life in places where it is lacking has been my primary vocation since the day I woke up to something much deeper within me. Orienting around something that I ultimately can’t explain, has led me into work that demands courage, creativity, clarity, and compassion. For the past three decades, I have moved towards places in our society that are in need of revitalization. Eight years ago I co-founded a school that is leading the way in regenerative educational and cultural design. The industrial model of education no longer serves the needs of this time. Education is a leverage point to disrupt and redirect culture. Education is the place where adults in power determine what is most important to pass down to our young people. What we are passing down to our young people today in education perpetuates an individualistic culture, one where the currency of the community and the connection to this Earth is often ignored. To build life giving culture we must shift the way we define and practice education. At Springhouse, we are disrupting education as it stands, and are now a strong example of a design that is giving hope to others around the world. The Sourced Design is composed of five principles including:

Take care of vulnerability.

Cultivate personhood.

Build beloved community.

Respect the wisdom of the Earth.

Love and serve others.

We now support those who wish to put vitality at the front and center of their design through the Sourced Design Network where we offer Sourced Design Labs for participants to work with the design principles in their communities; monthly meetings to support disruptors globally in their vitality-centered design work; an annual gathering that spotlights whole-system design changes; and an 8-month immersive experience for those interested in diving even more deeply into the cultural change work that Springhouse is up to.”

What do you think we need to keep, develop and bin to create learning for 21st century learners?

My calling is to experiment with whole-system design change when it comes to education. We need examples of what is possible when we orient the design around something ancient, like vitality itself. Education, or intergenerational relationships in community, is how we create culture. It is where adults in power decide what is most important to pass down when it comes to values, knowledge, skills, and ways of being. We can perpetuate an unsustainable culture with our current conventional ways of educating, or we can reorient the design and create a culture that is awake, connected, and alive.

The evidence is clear, we need something new. I am grateful to those working within the system to care for those in it, and who are leading the way with brilliant educational innovations. My call is to midwife new structures to support new ways of relating to one another and the Earth. Springhouse is a long-term, place-based, example of what is possible, not what is perfect, and certainly not the only way. It is a living example of whole-system design change. We have weathered many storms, and will continue to do so. From this long-term experiment, we have a lot to share, and a lot to learn. Through the Sourced Design Network, I am grateful to now support others called to midwife new structures that take care of and foster vitality in ways that respect who they are, and their communities and place. The truth is, vitality is at the center of all that is living. I know first hand that orienting around what we could never fully explain makes a huge difference and leads to a different kind of life. This redesign can, and has, led to a different kind of community and culture as well.

This is where you can get in touch with Jenny:





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