“Making our world fit for our children and grandchildren is a task for marathoners – not sprinters. It is a complex and long-term struggle that must be pursued with both urgency and persistence. The playwright Bertold Brecht said: ‘There are those who struggle for a day and they are good. There are those who struggle for a year and they are better. There are those who struggle many years, and they are better still. But there are those who struggle all their lives: These are the indispensable ones.’ Be an indispensable one for our children’s and our world’s sake.”
David brings particular skill and experience in teaching about and mapping systemic dynamics as they play out at different levels. In June, he gave a wonderful overview of systems thinking to the System Design Team, which included an introduction to the iceberg diagram (see below) that helps people get from more superficial and tactical questions to deeper systemic points of leverage, including awareness of one’s own unwitting contribution to dynamics that yield outcomes that are undesirable or in some sense not optimal. Part of the shift we experienced over the course of these conversations was the understanding that “the system” is not out there, but as Yaneer Bar-Yam says, is “the way we work together.” Read the rest of this entry »
Last November I blogged about the launch of a bold and exciting initiative in Connecticut, spear-headed by the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund based in Hamden. My colleague Melinda Weekes and I were engaged to assist the Memorial Fund as it answered a community-based call to step into a convening role to bring relevant stakeholders together from around the state to re-imagine and build an early childhood system “that is accessible and effective in all settings and in all communities for Connecticut’s children and families regardless of race, abilities and income.” This initiative has since been dubbed Right from the Start, a name that has turned out to be quite prescient in light of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s recent comments. Right from the Start builds upon 10 years of work by the Memorial Fund in supporting community-based efforts to promote development and learning for all children. Melinda and I are proud to have been able to make a contribution over the past four years by providing Facilitative Leadership training and collaborative capacity building to more than 200 individuals from the 57 Discovery Collaboratives around the state. Read the rest of this entry »
I spend a lot of my time plotting the next revolution. Considering what it will take to usher forth the next movement. Preparing myself to participate. Sifting through the preconceptions of what movement has to look like. Calling forth the evolution of revolution itself. Instigating, prodding, inviting, conspiring, hoping.
A few weeks ago, in a post called Who do we think we are?, Curtis Ogden, retold the story of a Native American elder. At the start of a meeting about ecology with non-Native physicists, she concluded her introduction by saying “This is who I am. The features of the land determine my conduct, responsibility, and ethics. Now I want to know to whom I am talking, before I say anything else of substance.” This gave rise to Curtis’ question “What do we lift up as markers of our identity?” The ensuing rich discussion focused on the links between our identities and the land.