Archive for June, 2011

Jun/30/11//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

Competition for Co-Evolution

I’ve been sitting with a story I just heard relayed by Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris, systems and evolutionary biologist. (If you are interested in a great and uplifting podcast, check out the full interview, entitled “From Caterpillars to Butterflies.”)

Dr. Sahtouris was attending a basketball game in China and was seated next to a Chinese man who cheered wildly after the first basket of the game was scored. When the other team scored its first basket, he cheered with equal enthusiasm. He continued to do this for each basket scored by either team.  Finally, Dr. Sahtouris turned to the man and asked, “Which team is yours?”  The man replied, “What do you mean?”  Dr. Sahtouris said, “Well, which team do you want to win?”  He replied, “What difference does it make?”  To which she replied, “Well, why are you pitting two teams against one another?” He responded, “To drive excellence.  We applaud the excellence wherever it happens.”

Same game, different frame . . .

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Jun/29/11//Curtis Ogden//Learning Edge

The Ps of Regenerativity

“It is time we recognized that ‘the system’ is how we work together.”

Yaneer Bar-Yam

I’m writing this post from Quincy, Massachusetts where I’m attending the International Conference on Complex Systems. My head is very full and there is much to process that will no doubt spur further posts.  A question I brought with me into these proceedings is what we are learning from complexity (in fields such as systems biology, network theory, epidemiology) about developing stronger collective regenerative capacity, the ability to work with each other and our various contexts in order to both survive and thrive (co-evolve).  So here is a first take, in alliterative fashion: Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s OK to Follow, Say No and Get Hurt

Rinku Sen’s insightful message to graduates is fully aligned with the spirit with which IISC does it work in the world – we thought it important enough to re-blog it.

With all these commencements going on I started to fantasize about what I would say to a graduating group of students. I was a little surprised by what came up, but here it is:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Jun/27/11//Cynthia Silva Parker//Liberation

Power and Privilege: Walking the Walk

Spurred on by my colleague, Jen Willsea, I recently submitted a piece for the “Walk the Talk” zine/book project. The organizers describe the project as being about “exploring power and exploitation in nonprofit organizations, alignment of our work with our vision, and what role nonprofits have in radical social transformation…[because] even in the most grassroots and progressive organizations, working on the most radical issues, we may find a deep dissonance between the world we want to create, and what it is like to be working in the organization day-by-day. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jun/24/11//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration


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Jun/23/11//IISC//Featured, Technology

A Glance into The Future

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Jun/22/11//Curtis Ogden//Sustainability

The Living Systems View of “Good”

I am very much looking forward to my upcoming cafe conversation with Carol Sanford, author of the recently released The Responsible Business. Someone once said, “What Deepak Chopra and Steven Covey are to the individual, Carol Sanford is to the whole organization.”  I have considered her as a mentor at a distance, ever since getting introduced to her work by fellow Arlington resident Bill Reed.  What I have come to appreciate about both Carol and Bill is their incisive emphasis on regenerative design and capacity building as they help people to understand that they are not separate from but a part of “the environment.”  In a recent blog post, Carol shows how our anthropocentric views have not only put us at the center of things but also apart from them, in ways that are increasingly detrimental.  Even with the best of intentions to “do good,” there is often a division between provider and other (think what is implied in “giving back” or “helping the environment”), as opposed to “working to evolve a living order” of which we are intimately a part.

What follows is an excerpt from Carol’s recent blog post “Sustainability: Moving From ‘Less Harm’ to ‘Deep Good’” (for the entire post follow this link). Read the rest of this entry »

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Jun/21/11//Curtis Ogden//Sustainability

All Together Now

A Mouse Story

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. “What food might this contain?” The mouse wondered -he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jun/20/11//Gibrán Rivera//Featured

Love, Community, Ritual

Samantha Tan and I got married this weekend!  What an incredibly joyful time!  I can’t begin to do justice to the wellspring of emotion that seems to be bursting from within me, but I do want to offer a brief and relevant reflection for our readers.

Marriage is between two people, and it is rooted in their love from one another – it is a link, a commitment, a connection but it itself exists within the web of connection.  Our wedding brought together a rich network of loving relationships from all aspects of our lives.  Family, colleagues, long time friends and new friends, comrades, artists, children and elders – a well-woven web of love all connected to our own node of love.  It was community, and it was love made visible. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sunflower Fields

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Jun/17/11//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

Believe in Yourself

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Jun/16/11//Curtis Ogden//IISC:Outside

A Breakthrough Moment

The storming had begun.  For the first few meetings, the team had engaged in “feel good” conversations, getting to know one another, breaking bread together, laughing, and bonding around their shared desire to build a stronger local food system to ensure community food security.  They had agreed to a set of values and a vision to guide their work.  Now they were diving into more of the specifics.  What would the scope of the work be and what wouldn’t it include? Read the rest of this entry »

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Jun/15/11//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

Bucky’s Living Legacy

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

- Buckminster Fuller

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge from Buckminster Fuller Institute on Vimeo.

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Jun/14/11//IISC//Featured, Inspiration

Organization vs. movement vs. philosophy

Seth Godin is a luminary of the new paradigm, it is often tempting to re-blog him here, this time it was inevitable.  If we want to build movement we must transcend our organizational constraints.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Love is Beautiful

In remembrance of our dear friend Jeff Stamps.

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Jun/10/11//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

Life, the Universe, and Awe

“Reverence for life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life . . . “

Albert Schweitzer

The Known Universe from AMNH on Vimeo.

One year ago I blogged about my experience in the GeoDome, “a portable immersive environment” that allows participants to experience interactive simulations derived from scientific data provided by the likes of NASA and NOAA.  Think of it as a traveling planetarium that provides tours of our planet, solar system, and/or the universe through the lens of different observable phenomena – electromagnetic radiation, population growth, plane travel, etc. The purpose of the  GeoDome is to provide visceral ways for people to experience shifts of perspective that might support their efforts in embracing and promoting more sustainable behaviors.

Given this anniversary, it is quite appropriate that the video above come to my attention.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Jun/08/11//Curtis Ogden//Learning Edge

Positivity and Expanding Truth

“Know that joy is rarer, more difficult, and more beautiful than sadness. Once you make this all-important discovery, you must embrace joy as a moral obligation.”

André Gide

I’ve spent a few blog posts over the last year or so looking at how the research around positive emotions and outlooks connects with more effective collaboration and change work (see “Accentuate the Positivity”: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). Just a couple of weeks ago, inspired by Erik Gregory’s LeaderLens presentation, I considered the connection between positive leadership and sustainability, looking at the way in which the creation of positive environments might lead to greater adaptive capacity.  Having recently explored more of the research of psychologist Barbara Frederickson, I see a greater case to be made for maintaining positive outlooks, individually and collectively, as they increase our ability to engage in creatively adaptive and regenerative work at deeper systemic levels. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jun/07/11//Gibrán Rivera//Structural Transformation

Power and Priorities

“You don’t understand, the United States will not be making cars.”  The film Climate Refugees quotes President Roosevelt speaking to auto executives at the outset of World War II.  Most of us know about the mobilization of American industry to build a war machine capable of defeating the Axis Powers.  Fewer of us understand what it took. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jun/06/11//Gibrán Rivera//Facilitative Leadership

Facilitating an Emerging Network

Photo by: Juanfox94

This post originally appeared as a guest blog to the Leadership Learning Community Blog.

In my last post I shared observations on building a leadership network and lessons from the Barr Fellowship.  What is the role of a facilitator in such an effort?  It is not an easy role to fill.  The facilitator has to be able to design and hold a space that makes it possible for the group to move, to shift, to grow, while fully trusting the group’s capacity to do so.  The facilitator must be able to rely on the passion and purpose that is already present among the leaders who are coming together.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Jun/03/11//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

We Are a Part of Each Other

“We are all androgynous, not only because we are all born of a woman impregnated by the seed of a man but because each of us, helplessly and forever, contains the other — male in female, female in male,  white in black and black in white. We are a part of each other.”

- James Baldwin

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Jun/02/11//Curtis Ogden//Structural Transformation

Systems Thinking and Racial Justice

“Moving from a transactional to a transformational paradigm requires structural change.”

- john a. powell

Systems Thinking and Racial Justice Featuring Professor john powell from Bella Celnik on Vimeo.

Much appreciation goes out to our friends and colleagues in the Leadership Learning Community for hosting this May 16th webinar with esteemed Professor john powell, Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study on Race and Ethnicity, and the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.  IISC has been privileged to have partnered in the past with staff of Kirwan to shed light on the complex systemic nature and inter-sectional realities of racialized outcomes in our country.  You can also check out other interviews, like this one, with Professor powell.

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Jun/01/11//Curtis Ogden//Social Media

Re-Gifting the New Economy

So many new and interesting tools out there with the potential to use the virtual sphere to reconnect us person to person, and perhaps fuel the new economy. You might also want to check out this article by Bill McKibben on some neighborhood developments using technology in Burlington, VT.

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