Human Services Consulting

Creativity In a Human Services Think Tank Let’s be clear. Any kind of “consulting” or training we do in human or social services we want to ensure it actually helps people to have better lives.  We don’t offer a bunch of dry services, we are out of the box thinkers and passionate about people and organizations finding their strengths. Much of the consulting some of the Think Jar Collective members do is around helping organizations, particularly Community Disability Services to enhance the quality of their services and as a result better the lives of the people they serve.

What we can offer organizations

Facilitated strategic planning to help organizations find or reengage with their vision and figure out better ways to get there

Help you become an effective learning organization

Support you to develop creative organizational cultures that are better at retaining employees and fostering high quality outcomes

Leadership training for senior and mid level management

Training courses for employees on how to authentically support the citizenship and social inclusion of people with disabilities (details below)

Training courses for employees on practices that support service recipients quality of life in a measurable way

Person Centered-Planning training for organizations

What we can offer families of people receiving services

Helping people with disabilities and families who receive family-managed funding through PDD or FSCD in Alberta to not get bogged down by bureaucracy and spend more time focusing on what matters most

Helping families and people with disabilities find and utilize relevant new technologies like ipads and apps that help with communication, and better quality of life

Helping families of people with disabilities with transition planning from children services to adult services

Facilitating a fun, creative planning process with individuals who receive services and their support networks

What we can offer conferences

Speaking on fostering creativity in human services

Speaking on practices that support quality of life

Speaking on authentically supporting citizenship and people with disabilities

Speaking on practical ways to support community connections of people with disabilities in their community

Links to projects we’ve led and been deeply involved with

CommuniTEA Infusion project: Community building project

Project Citizenship: People with disabilities and their stories of engaged citizenship

The Edmonton Learning Community: Building a community of practice for disability services

Rekruiting Allies Within Kommunity: RAWK project focusing on community building with people with disabilities


Workshops we regularly get asked to do

  • The interactive workshop Community Connecting In Action, 2008 ©
  • The interactive workshop Fostering Relevant Creativity in Human Service Design, 2010 ©
  • Training for human services staff around what practices will help lead persons they support to achieve better quality of life
  • Human Centered Design Thinking for Social Good
  • Social labs and creativity in human services
  • If you are interested or have questions please feel free to call or email



The interactive, full day workshop Community Connecting In Action, 2008 ©

Over seven years ago, staff at SKILLS Society shared with Ben Weinlick that, while they understood the rationale behind the need for more community connection in the lives of persons with disabilities, they were unsure where to begin and how to foster real connections in community.

  • Ben developed the Community Connecting in Action workshop to help staff and service leaders overcome this challenge.
  • He has taught the workshop to over  a 2000 people in Alberta and Ontario so far.
  • It’s an interactive full day workshop for staff, service leaders, and families interested in strengthening community connections   for  persons with disabilities.
  • The course is focused on practical, creative, person-centered and cost-effective strategies to connect people with community.
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The interactive, full day workshop Fostering Relevant Creativity in Human Service Design, 2010 ©

There has been much talk around needing innovation and creative thinking to get better quality outcomes for persons served in community disability and social services.  This course is based on Ben’s thesis research around how to enhance creative thinking and what kind of organizational culture fosters relevant innovation.

  • What is unique about this course, is that it takes key creative processes that are successful in the art and design world  and connects them to the process of designing high quality, individualized human services.
  • The course goes through the value of creativity in human services, as well as what helps enhance creative thinking at an individual level and in group processes.
  • Essentially the course is about the stuff we can do to set the stage for relevant innovations to emerge in human services


“Ben’s work as a consultant and social-profit professional really exemplifies his effort to “live” social innovation and human centred design. He easily collaborates across disciplines and sectors and he loves to use positive deviance to shake up status quo thinking when he’s in the room and he works as an active steward of the group rather than what he calls a “cold” facilitator.   Ben has a great deal of expertise that could benefit our Branch and work units that goes far beyond human centred design principles.

The Human Centred Design approach was a mystery for many of our staff. Ben was able to walk us through the basic principles of the concept and then allowed us the time to “prototype” or “test” the principles using the simple concept of our morning commute. The prototyping really brought the idea of human centred design to life. We had a lot of fun together and we were able to collaborate across work units. Ben spent a great deal of time understanding his audience to ensure our human centred design workshop was a memorable experience for everyone.” Kristin Ward-Diaz, Government of Alberta-Alberta Culture and Tourism

“Ben offers a fresh, creative voice in a field where it is hard to say something new. I really dig his appreciation of diversity and open-mindedness, and recommend him if you are an organization looking to infuse real, long-lasting, innovation into your workplace.” — Scott Barry Kaufman, co-founder, The Creativity Post

“Ben’s work is on the cutting edge of what’s great and inspiring in our sector”

Debbie Reid, Senior Manager at SKILLS Society, Edmonton

“Ben’s Think tank forum for collective creativity is novel, and has the capacity for potential positive mobilization of new services in an aligned and “outside the box” orientation. Ben shared some practical tools to incorporate this process into our own organizational practices.   Application of the learnings from this session may support the self-actualization of the individuals we support through improved critical thinking.    Ben was approachable, engaging and motivated everyone to participate in the exercises.”

Ed Riediger, Chief Executive Officer at Robin Hood Association

“Ben’s courses have inspired our staff. He has a tremendous ability to connect with the participants.  The course on community connection continues to state the importance of community connecting, while being able to address staff’s fears and anxieties in helping individuals make real connections based on common interests.  We left Ben’s workshop with ideas that we were able to break down in to practical, doable steps. The workshop on fostering relevant creativity has inspired us to raise the bar in our organization and to challenge the status quo when we support individuals.  It gave us permission to have fun and enjoy our work.”

Aaron Hill, Executive Director, North Hastings Community Integration Association, Bancroft, Ontario

“The timing of Ben’s workshop couldn’t have been better. Our staff teams are grappling with recent changes in how we provide services, as move away from a more traditional model of services towards more outcome-based service provision, which emphasizes supporting individuals to live lives of meaning and connection. Ben’s workshop provided inspiration and creative excitement for our staff teams. It was clear from the feedback following the workshop that staff are truly hungry for this, and are willing to move through changes when they have the motivation and vision to do so. We look forward to having Ben back in the future, as this is a workshop that all our staff will benefit from.  Some of the comments from our staff included: “Thank you for helping to open our hearts and thoughts to help improve the quality of life for the clients we support”; “We recommend that every staff should come and take this course. Its really useful and important.” “This course has got me excited about utilizing person centered planning and finding natural support for clients out in the community. I look forward to applying what I have learned”.

Chris Thomson, Excel Society, Edmonton

“Ben’s workshop is dynamic and entertaining, while delivering a very important message about the importance of making impactful connections for people. Our staff came away feeling energized and motivated to step outside of their comfort zones and assist the people they work with to become fully participating members of their communities.  He taught our staff to do this by getting to know the likes and interests of people we support,  then actively looking for opportunities for them to “live” them through the support of others with similar interests.  Thanks Ben!”

Patricia Beckley, Director, ASLS, Grimshaw, Alberta

“The Community Connecting in Action workshop had excellent ideas and tactics. Free flowing, easy course to take!! I really will remember what was discussed

Course participant, SKILLS Society

“Almost as painful as a visit to the dentist… just kidding, CCIA rocked!”

Course participant, ACDS conference 2009