The Interaction Institute for Social Change is a vibrant place, a real learning community; we are always seeking to be on our learning edge. Our internal strategic process has led us to wonder how to define ourselves for this new era without necessarily losing our 16 years of experience and the power of our proven collaborative methodology. A couple of things have become even more clear through this process. It is clear to us, to our clients and partners in the work of social transformation that collaboration is what we do.
We might be working with a single organization or a group of organizations, we may be designing a learning event, a high level facilitation or a citywide change process, but whatever it is that we are doing – collaboration is at its core. We help people come together and work together.
Personally, I place our work of collaboration within the context of the social sector and my assessment of where we are today. I believe that too much of the infrastructure we have built over the last 40 years has started to calcify around us. It is my belief that the effect of this calcification is a sector where the powerful energy of idealism and commitment is too often constrained rather than facilitated. This is our point of intervention; we use our collaborative approach to unlock the energy constrained in the sector.
We have identified the three lenses from which we look at our collaborative work:
- The lens of power, equity and inclusion – I call this the lens of democracy, the lens through which we seek to live in the world we are trying to build instead of replicating the social structures we are trying to shift.
- The lens of networks – I call this the lens of ecology, how do we shift away from an organization-centric paradigm into a network paradigm? How do we take care to build an ecology for transformation, a social space that is more organic and less industrial?
- The lens of love – I call this the lens of the Inter-subjective Self. How do we actively account for the inner-side of leadership? What are the practices that foster personal transformation in the context of movement? How do we respond to Dr. King’s call for Beloved Community?
I intend to look more closely at each of these lenses in the coming weeks – your input, questions, insights and ideas are warmly welcomed.