2 Days in #a2j Innovation Bootcamp

a Chronicle of the Family Justice Design Workshop in Whitehorse, YT

By Natalie Wing, Law Librarian, Yukon Public Law Library, and 
Andrea Bailey, Legal Officer, Supreme & Territorial Courts of Yukon

Last month, the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution, the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, Yukon Courts, and the Yukon Department of Justice collaborated to host an innovative family justice design workshop in Whitehorse, YT.

Drawing on social lab theory, design thinking, and communications theory, a2j dynamo Nicole Aylwin led a diverse group of family-justice-system stakeholders through 2 days of brainstorming and prototyping, all with minds set on improving the experiences of clients in the family justice system through strengthening the networks between service providers.

By the end of the workshop, we had identified 2 promising pathways for further work.

The paths themselves are not unique to our jurisdiction: over the course of 2 days, family-justice-system stakeholders agreed that we have #advicemaze problems and #courtformsproblems.

What 2 days of #a2j Innovation Bootcamp with Nicole shifted was our perspective on how to approach #a2j problems TOGETHER. Our biggest take homes:

  • A 1-way street approach (i.e. 1 solution developed mainly with service provider needs in mind) isn’t the only approach;
  • A 2-way street approach (i.e. solutions – plural – that are developed by incorporating the perspectives and input of users of the system throughout each step of the process, including testing!) can be more useful when it comes to #a2j problems;
  • It is important to give small solutions a go; and
  • Failure is a-okay, and potentially even a useful learning tool.

We are grateful to Nicole, and to all of the individuals who took time out of their busy schedules to attend our lab, especially to our former-family-justice-system user who bravely joined our group and very generously and openly shared her knowledge and experiences. We are also grateful to the Yukon Department of Justice, Court Services branch for supporting this experimental and experiential learning event!