Archive for August, 2012

Aug/30/12//Curtis Ogden//Learning Edge

More Science to the Social

“Sensitivity can be very self-absorbing.”

-Bill Reed

The older I get the more of an appreciation I have for science. Perhaps this is the natural balancing process that occurs over time in my Myers Briggs profile – more T to my natural F, more S to my natural N. It also owes to the impatience I have with the tendency I’ve noticed to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to social change. Two examples I’d like to lift up are thinking about and reactions to consensus and hierarchy. As I become more influenced by research into living systems, I realize that these concepts are often given a bad name because of our tendency to take (or make) things very personally. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug/29/12//Curtis Ogden//Networks

Encouraging Breakthrough Interactions

During a recent planning session for an upcoming conference on community food security, we had a rich discussion about ensuring that the gathering embody some of the future we are trying to realize.  This included breaking down silos and encouraging boundary crossing of different kinds.  To punctuate the value of this, Rachel Greenberger of Food Sol invoked the words of Cheryl Kiser  – “It’s not about breakthrough ideas, it’s about breakthrough interactions.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug/28/12//Gibrán Rivera//Networks

IISC in Singapore

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Aug/27/12//IISC//Spiritual Activism

Take a Break

The following is a letter by Akaya Windwood, President of the Rockwood Leadership Institute and member of the IISC Board of Directors.

Summer. Hopefully a time to slow down, find a beach or hammock and read all of the trashy books on the list. Time for ice cream and late night walks and sleeping late. Time to wear only comfortable, old at-home clothes.

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Aug/22/12//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

The Honey Bee Network

Anil Gupta created the Honey Bee Network to support grassroots innovators who are rich in knowledge, but not in resources.  His aim is to help them and other grassroots entrepreneurs gain the recognition they deserve.

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Aug/21/12//Gibrán Rivera//Collaboration, Featured

Creative Change

I’ve been meaning to tell you about Creative Change; the powerful intersection of artists and activists that has been taking place for the last four years.  The Opportunity Agenda convenes the retreat, and I have had the privilege of designing and facilitating since its inception.  This last retreat was the best one yet.

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Aug/20/12//Cynthia Silva Parker//Inspiration

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person I am

and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

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Aug/17/12//IISC//Inspiration

Dance In The Rain

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Aug/16/12//Curtis Ogden//Collaboration

Collaboration by Difference

I learned recently about the work of HASTAC and Cathy Davidson, and appreciate what she raises here about the importance of designing for divergence and difference.  And I would also take her up on her third question and ask what she might be missing.  For me, it is one thing to distinguish between experts and novices, and another thing to altogether redefine “expertise,” understanding that academic/formal educational training is not the sole source of valuable knowing.  Let’s lift lived experience to that level as well! Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug/15/12//Curtis Ogden//Featured, IISC:Outside

Doubt is the Beacon of the Wise

“There is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity.”

-Alan Watts

Earlier this week I facilitated and participated in a momentous meeting in one of the state-wide change processes I have been involved with for the past few years.  This meeting featured community and parent organizers, “service providers,” funders, and other educational advocates from across the state in conversation with newly hired state-level staff charged with creating a plan for ensuring greater alignment of state agencies in the direction of better opportunities and outcomes for all young children. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug/14/12//Gibrán Rivera//Sustainability

Future Perfect

From a world where words like “strategy” and “planning” still convey an air of seriousness and rigor, it can be hard to transition to a world defined by emergence.  But VUCA is here to stay – volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity will continue to define our age.

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Aug/14/12//Curtis Ogden//Featured, Inspiration

Gathering Voices and Questions

This trailer is from a film about the work of dropping kowledge, an initiative in which IISC’s new President, Ceasar McDowell, has been deeply involved. dropping knowledege “invites you to question yourself and the world around you.” “Every time you ask yourself a question, a new dialogue begins,” and dialogue is a step to reclaiming conversation and its outcomes.

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Aug/13/12//Cynthia Silva Parker//Inspiration

For One Who Holds the Power

The following poem  was written by John O’Donohue, from his last book, To Bless the Space Between Us

May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a vocation,

Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to serve.

As high over the mountains the eagle spreads its wings,

May your perspective be larger than the view from the foothills.

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Aug/09/12//Curtis Ogden//Featured, Learning Edge

Buyers Are Liars

“Ninety per cent of the world’s woe comes from people not knowing themselves, their abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues. Most of us go almost all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves – so how can we know anyone else?”

- Sydney J. Harris

Recently I was in a conversation with an acquaintance who is a real estate agent.  We started bantering about houses and communities that would fit our values and lifestyle/family goals.  At a certain point, she said, “You know, we can dream all we want, but as we like to say in real estate, ‘buyers are liars.’”  In response to my baffled look, she added, “Most people think they know what they want, but I find you really have to take people out into the field, ask a lot of questions, show them a bunch of options, and see how they respond.”  Turns out people often end up in a somewhat or completely different place from their originally stated aspirations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug/08/12//Curtis Ogden//Facilitative Leadership, Featured

Facilitating from the Chair

One of the comments that often comes up in our popular workshop, Facilitative Leadership goes something like this, “It’s great that I’m learning all of these practical leadership and facilitation skills, but what happens when I’m not the one leading or facilitating?”  How can we keep things rolling when we aren’t formally in charge and when formal leadership is not so skillful.  My answer today: there’s always an opportunity to lead, ask good questions, facilitate from the chair! Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug/07/12//Gibrán Rivera//Featured, Power, Equity, Inclusion

VRA in Jeopardy!

The following post has been reblogged from colorlines.com. The Voting Rights Act is 47yrs old today, hard to believe one of our hardest earned victories is actually at risk

The Voting Rights Act, it seems, is not going to be allowed to ease into middle age quietly. There ought to be festivities greeting the Act today, on the 47th anniversary of the day President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the bill which outlawed voter discrimination that disenfranchised African-American voters. Yet, this year in particular it’s come under aggressive attack by states intent on dismantling the Act. Forget the birthday cake. It may be time to light a candle for the civil rights law.

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Aug/06/12//Cynthia Silva Parker//Inspiration

To be of use

The people I love the best

jump into work head first

without dallying in the shallows

and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.

They seem to become natives of that element,

the black sleek heads of seals

bouncing like half-submerged balls.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug/03/12//IISC//Featured, Inspiration

Peace is Within

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Aug/02/12//Curtis Ogden//Power, Equity, Inclusion

Embracing Injustice

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth. … In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.”

-Bryan Stevenson

I am grateful to Ellen Parker of Project Bread for passing this video along to us.  I find deep resonance with the messages that “identity is powerful” and that we need to balance our enthusiasm for design, technology, and creativity with an embrace of suffering and injustice.  And how about the invitation to see everyone as more than the worst thing that they have done?  Do yourself a favor and watch this important and inspiring talk.  Thank you, Mr. Stevenson.


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Aug/01/12//Curtis Ogden//Facilitative Leadership

Teaching Trust in Action

It was a pleasure and privilege to return to Dallas a few weeks ago, and spend time again with Cohort 1 of the Teaching Trust, whose mission is to “prepare educators to lead the change we need for the academic success and equity of all students.”  This extraordinary and committed group took a turn at “teaching back” to my colleague Kristen and me what they took away and have applied around the Facilitative Leadership practices, including “share an inspiring vision/inspire a shared vision.”  Enjoy!

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