Skills to Bridge Differences With Scott Shigeoka

Global Community Page
Wed, Aug 19, 2020, 9:00 AM (PDT)

About this event

Join us on Wednesday, August 19th for an OpenIDEO Chapters community webinar where storyteller, artist, and entrepreneur Scott Shigeoka will share about his work bridging social and political divides across the US. The conversation will be focused on the Bridging Differences Playbook and Scott will guide us through a journey of self-reflection and how this manifests in community building.

Scott is an IDEO alumni and one of OpenIDEO’s fierce and strongest community designers and advocates. His role as Global Community Manager was fundamental for the growth and evolution of OpenIDEO Chapters as we know them today and we continue to draw inspiration in the creative ways he pursues activism and social change.

Scott Shigeoka

Scott Keoni Shigeoka (they/them/he/his) is a storyteller, artist and entrepreneur. Their work focuses on bridging social and political divides, and has been featured in The New York Times and Variety magazine.

They previously worked at IDEO, The Washington Post, and co-founded two social enterprises in the U.S. and Europe. Their career has been eclectic: they started an environmental music festival in Iceland, directed a sold out immersive theater show in San Francisco, and have collaborated with David Byrne from the rock band Talking Heads.

They have been awarded fellowships with Fulbright, MTV Networks, and at the Sundance Institute. They also serve as a visiting instructor for design, storytelling and social entrepreneurship courses—most recently at UC Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania.

About the Bridging Differences Playbook:

Under the Bridging Differences initiative at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, we have reviewed decades of scientific studies, interviewed dozens of leaders, and surveyed the landscape of relevant programs. From this work we have collected enduring wisdom and best practices for bridging political, racial, religious, or other divides. It has led us to identify a set of skills and strategies that support positive dialogue, relationships, and understanding between groups or individuals. The Playbook synthesizes these core skills and strategies.

For each of the 14 skills that we identify, we first briefly explain the main steps involved in how to practice it. Then we explain why and when this skill is useful and offer caveats to keep in mind when you try it out. Finally, we cite research that supports this skill and organizations that use it in their work, along with other resources where you can learn more about it. We have organized the Playbook’s skills into three main categories:

  1. Intrapersonal skills that you can try on your own, to build your capacity for more positive interactions with other people and across groups;
  2. Interpersonal skills to make those interactions go more smoothly; and
  3. Intergroup skills that you can use when bringing other people or groups together—these skills are especially relevant to leaders or facilitators trying to guide others toward better interactions and deeper understanding of one another.

Taken together, these skills are not supposed to constitute a formal curriculum or rigid list of requirements. Instead, we offer them as a set of flexible principles that people can adapt and apply in different settings, from public debates and political discussions to our most intimate relationships. They can serve as the backbone for a new initiative or help to explain why an existing program already works. Not every skill is appropriate in every circumstance. Like players on a basketball court, sometimes you have to dribble, and other times you have to shoot. We also recognize that this collection of skills may evolve over time, keeping pace with new findings from the research and new innovations in the field. But for now, we believe that it offers a strong foundation.

We are confident that the more we practice these skills, the better we’ll get at bridging differences. We know that the work of bridging differences can feel daunting, and it’s not often clear where to start; that’s what this Playbook is for. Indeed, each entry is a springboard to further exploration, and we identify a number of organizations throughout the Playbook that can help you go even deeper. Given the urgency of this work, we hope it gives you the confidence and tools to take an important first step toward overcoming divisions and divides, whether within families, between groups, or across our nation.



Wednesday, Aug 19
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM (PDT)

Chapter Organizers

  • Isaac Jumba

    Isaac Jumba

    Community Designer

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  • Daniela Restrepo Ortiz

    Daniela Restrepo Ortiz

    Community Specialist - Chapters Community Manager

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  • Danielle Shingleton

    Danielle Shingleton


    Senior Community Specialist

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