graphic of open hand with gear above

The Community Innovation Network has developed a series of toolkits for strengths-based community building. Our toolkits each present a standalone concept for community building that can be used without any additional training or explanation. Each toolkit also contains a clear explanation of its purpose and the values that undergird it. These toolkits are freely available for you to use with attribution for community building efforts that align with the toolkit’s purpose and values.

graphic of person looking into mirror

The Looking Glass Self Exercise

The Looking Glass Self Exercise is a practical tool for thinking and talking about the influence of stereotypes with group participants. It is also a way to break down barriers that may exist between group participants as a result of differing cultures, ethnicities, and gender identities , etc.. This exercise is effective because it is couched in storytelling. Participants become less anxious as they tell their own stories, and listen to the stories of others. This exercise is an indirect way of discussing the ‘third-rail’ topics of race, gender, ethnicity, etc.. The narrative or story, the primary concept in this exercise, becomes a tool of empowerment, which builds relationships from the ground up, enhancing group dynamics.

Google map of University Circle

Creating an Asset Map with Google Maps

Asset-mapping is an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) practice for discovering community assets and creating an inventory that can be drawn upon for strengthening a community. It is a map of a community's value that helps to build a vibrant community based on its strengths. By helping a community look at itself from a place of strength, the community is better able to leverage assets to build and improve its future. This asset mapping toolkit is based on the concept that community members are the experts about their community. By involving community members in identifying their individual and community assets, community members come together to build a shared awareness of their community's strengths and help make connections around shared assets. The process serves as a catalyst for everyone to contribute to building a community from the inside out. This toolkit will help you create an interactive map, once you have collected data.

To learn more about the entire asset mapping process, please see these asset mapping tools.

drawing of a man and woman standing over the body of a man, words "power tableau"
Ms. Gwendolyn Garth

The Power Tableau The Power Tableau provides a practical tool for analyzing power, especially in situations where a significant power imbalance exists. As you probe further, you can explore both structural conflict and interpersonal conflict that has systemic roots. You can use the tableau to accomplish a variety of goals depending on the needs of the situation, whether you want to focus on analysis or change strategies, and how much time you have.