Human Venture Leadership: 2021 Report to Community

Natalie MuyresArticles, Updates

Prepared by Chris Hsiung

The Role of Human Venture Framework

When disasters start stacking on top of one another – pandemic, heat domes, forest fires, wars – you can’t help but see these as indicators of systemic failure. Issues like human-caused climate change, fragile supply chains, or the shortcomings of political ideology begin to intersect in increasingly challenging ways. We may have the capacity to rebuild highways and restore homes in the short-term, but do we have the ability to anticipate and prevent the larger issues ahead of us?

The Human Learning Ecology framework remains an important guiding map to help us understand what is required to tackle species-level challenges. By integrating how human beings have learned throughout history and across societies, the framework clarifies what adaptive capacity looks like and what would be required to embed those capacities into our culture. For those engaged in leading edge social development, having such a framework provides a sense of the problem and what might be helpful in the long run.

Where we have come from

Human Venture Leadership is the non-profit entity (established in 2015 from the merger of Leadership Calgary and Leadership Edmonton) tasked with developing and testing different program models and learning environments for introducing or deepening understanding of Human Learning Ecology.

As an emerging discipline, Human Learning Ecology does not sit inside any formal or socially recognized learning structures. We do not learn the basics in grade school. One cannot (yet) get a recognized degree in Human Learning Ecology. There is no financial incentive to engage. Thus, it takes considerable effort and self-authorization on the part of those committed to this learning journey.

Human Venture Leadership has supported and provided various learning programs over the years, including a nine-month immersive program, an intensive one-week course, stand-alone workshops, film screenings, book clubs, and working groups focused on specific learning areas (such as Human Venture Parenting or The Meta Framework at Work – discussion threads available to alumni.) 

In 2017, Human Venture Leadership made the decision to move away from prioritizing introducing the Framework to “first-timers” and set up the Human Venture Associates program, where Human Venture alumni could commit to deeper, self-directed learning with a supportive community.

As Ken Low approaches what he and David Suzuki call the death zone, the purpose of the Associates program has been to:

  • deepen the capacity of individuals who had previously been exposed to Human Learning Ecology to carry forward the framework after Ken’s passing and for future generations, and
  • find ways to connect and build a global network with other individuals and entities striving to build adaptive capacities.

The Human Venture Associates is a group of individuals who have made both a financial and time commitment to extend their own capacities and those of the group in using and building upon the framework. Lately, the Associates program has been developing ways to make the Human Learning Ecology framework more broadly accessible, with the group working on their own “Introductions to Human Learning Ecology.”

Associates and other committed volunteers also contribute to the other work of the HVL, leading book clubs, organizing events, managing administrative tasks, and contributing to decisions about the direction of the organization. We would love to see you at our community check-ins (every Friday!), book clubs and other events (alumni portal access required). If it’s been a while since you’ve dug into Human Venture materials, this is a great way to re-connect. If you have previously completed the nine-month or intensive programs and are interested in becoming an Associate, please contact us for more information at

Board News

In other news, there have been some changes to Human Venture Leadership’s board membership. Dana Penrice has released her position as Chair of the Board to focus on her role as an Associate and Human Venture Institute board member. We want to thank her for her tremendous leadership over the years! Chris Hsiung stepped in as Chair and was joined by new board members Alison Hagan and Kim Rowe. We will benefit from their years of experience working with non-profit boards and fundraising. Continuing on from last year will be Mark Hopkins, Laura Kennett, and Lindsay Mitchell. I want to especially thank Mark for fearlessly tackling accounting and bookkeeping.

Where we are going

This work is slow, but it is promising and doable, and we are committed to keep going. This is a collective, transgenerational effort, and we invite you to stay connected with other members of the Human Venture community through this newsletter, the Human Venture Portal, community events… or just by reaching out directly to someone!

With children, jobs, and life events taking our attention, it can feel difficult to ensure that the voices of the Human Venture remain present in our crowded lives. How do we not lose sight of the big story of humanity we’re all a part of writing? It’s clear we need more cultural resources, more stepping stones and entry points, and of course a community of support. A daunting task, but also a worthwhile endeavour. We look forward to continuing the journey with all of you.

Chris Hsiung is a filmmaker and media producer focused on social issues. His work includes Elder in the Making and Fox Chaser. Chris also produces videos for museums, such as his Indigenous Stories at the Royal Alberta Museum.