Archive for September, 2012

Sep/28/12//Gibrán Rivera//Networks

The Ego and the Hub

I’m into networks.  It takes a significant shift in perspective to get into networks.  We develop aptitudes and ways of being-with that allow us to contend with grater complexity.

I’m so into networks that I had the privilege of participating in a community of practice on networks and decentralized organizing.  Networks thrive on trust and relationship and it was with this knowledge that we dove in.  We became friends, we grew to love, appreciate and trust each other.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comment [1]////Permalink// Like [10]
Sep/27/12//Curtis Ogden//What We Are Reading

Racing to Justice

IISC staff is engaged in reading this recently published and important book by john a. powell, currently Director of the Haas Diversity Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. I sometimes have the tendency to skip to the end of non-fiction books, in this case the Afterword, to see where the story ends. Without wanting to be a spoiler, I wanted to share these words from powell, which I find a real motivator to dig deeply into the book and the work it asks of us:

“To reach our common ground, to create a sense of mutuality and common space, we must realize that the embodiedness that spiritual seekers know is also needed in the justice system and in efforts to end suffering in our society. Abstract concepts and cold individualism fall short of justice, fall short of addressing need, and allow the victory of greed. We need to reach out to one another from a perspective that makes group membership less determinative of opportunity and more related to enhancement of self and community. We need to increase our sense of abundance and improve our sense of well-being, as individuals and in relation to one another. Accomplishing this requires an identification of the white worldview along with an incorporation of the many of visions that tell America’s story. And it requires a renewed commitment by all of us to fulfill the promise of a truly democratic society.”

Comments Off////Permalink// Like [9]
Sep/26/12//Curtis Ogden//Learning Edge

How Vertical Are You?

I want to tip my hat to mentors and thought partners, both near and far, for fueling my thinking around the topic of this post – thanks to Carol Sanford, Richard Hawkes and Tom Lombardi at Growth River, Glenda Eoyang, Richard Barrett, and my IISC colleague Gibran Rivera.  There is much discussion in the social sectors these days about the need to be more fearless, to take risks, to fail early, to be innovative and vulnerable.  Influenced by my colleagues, I like to frame all of this as being about our need to think and act more “vertically,” that is, with an evolutionary thrust, in the direction of personal and systemic growth and development, opportunity generation, and a sense of  accountability to a greater community or “we.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Comments [4]////Permalink// Like [11]
Sep/25/12//Gibrán Rivera//Structural Transformation

Process and Culture

I’m a process junky.  I believe that good process makes it possible to do things that would be impossible otherwise.  Any effort ambitious enough to try and shift a system from competition to common intention is an effort that must rely on good process.  Good process provides and often temporary social architecture that is designed and facilitated to maximize generative collaboration.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments [2]////Permalink// Like [8]
Sep/24/12//IISC//Inspiration

Let Hope Rise

Comments Off////Permalink// Like [8]
Sep/21/12//IISC//Inspiration

Playing it Safe

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

About a week ago I was in my car on my way home, and traveling toward me on the busy sidewalk was a young man (20-ish) on a skateboard. It took a moment for me to register that he had a toddler-aged girl on his shoulders. Neither of them had helmets or shin pads or any protection whatsoever.

My first thought was “Stop! Get that child off his shoulders — they could both be killed if he hits a rock! This is child endangerment!!!” All my alarms started clanging, and I was on HIGH alert.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments [3]////Permalink// Like [9]
Sep/20/12//Curtis Ogden//IISC:Outside

Coming Full Circle

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

-T. S. Eliot

It’s interesting to see how, as much as things evolve, there is also a circularity to this movement.  For the past few years we have been working with the Graustein Memorial Fund on Right from the Start, an early childhood system change initiative for which the Fund has served as core convenor and funder.  Come to find out that IISC’s new President, Ceasar McDowell, was in on early conversations that launched the Memorial Fund’s unique and wonderful Discovery program to seed community-based collaboratives for early childhood development planning. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off////Permalink// Like [10]
Sep/19/12//Curtis Ogden//Featured, Networks

Dimensions of Network Success

Currently engaged in a number of state-wide and regional network-building initiatives focused on food, health and education system change, I am beginning to see some interesting patterns across efforts to build connectivity-based and more fluid movements for change.  Watching these dynamics unfold, I can’t help but come back to one of our foundational frameworks at IISC, what we call the R-P-R Triangle, for all that it has to offer our thinking about network strategy and success.  This framework (see below) makes the point that any kind of collaborative endeavor is a multi-dimensional affair when it comes to the core determinants and definitions of success.  Of course, we often come to the network or collaborative table eager to see results, to work in new ways to have greater impact on the issues that we care most about.  Without concrete results or wins, it is hard to justify continued net work.  But results are just a part of the story, and the big results may take some time in coming. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments [3]////Permalink// Like [12]
Sep/18/12//Gibrán Rivera//Structural Transformation

#Occupy – Year 1

I love the fact that the mainstream can’t get its head around what #occupy is all about.  I am glad the movement does not fit a pre-existing paradigm.

I love the fact that occupiers themselves find no consensus on what #occupy is all about.  It means the movement is still emergent and therefore most alive.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments [2]////Permalink// Like [7]
Sep/17/12//Cynthia Silva Parker//Networks

Change your map, change your world?

Beth O’Neill, of Interaction Associates recently led a session on Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). It’s the only thing she has seen in her many years as a coach and consultant that actually helps people change beliefs. NLP gets at the deep structure of what we’re trying to communicate, rather than focusing on what comes out at surface structure of our communication. It explores how our thoughts, actions and feelings work together right now to produce our experience. It’s a practical way to get at the unconscious, looking at what’s running our patterns, and creating opportunities for us to make conscious changes that bring forth the outcomes we seek.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comment [1]////Permalink// Like [6]
Sep/14/12//IISC//Featured

Get the Tools to “Be the change”!

Facilitative Leadership® is a model of leadership rooted in a whole systems approach, shared power and decision-making, and collaborative skill.  It is informed by some of the most important drivers of social change including a commitment to equity and inclusion and networks as levers for change, and a belief in love as a force for social transformation.

At the heart of the workshop are seven powerful leadership practices that will help you create a work environment distinguished by outstanding performance and personal satisfaction.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments [3]////Permalink// Like [7]
Sep/13/12//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

New Beginnings

During Monday’s IISC staff meeting I read the following poem.  It speaks to where many of us may find ourselves in this new season.  And it encourages some resolve as we embark upon new directions, approaches, configurations, partnerships, breadths and depths with our social change work in these uncertain and pregnant times . . .

For a New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge. Read the rest of this entry »




Comments Off////Permalink// Like [12]
Sep/12/12//Curtis Ogden//Featured, Inspiration

The Growing Edge

“Look well to the growing edge.  All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born . . . “

Howard Thurman

The following are some notes I jotted down as I got myself ready to facilitate IISC’s first staff meeting of the new season, and in full swing of our new President, Ceasar McDowell’s, tenure.  The overall theme was one of new beginnings . . . 

In preparing for today’s meeting I was thinking a lot about how I can often take for granted development, growth . . . evolution!  In one moment I may be struggling with a challenge, straining with the growing pains and demands of a given situation and then a few moments (or hours or days or weeks) later I’m skating with relative ease to the rhythm of  life and not even appreciative of that fact.  I have simply moved on.  But of course it wasn’t so simple – in many ways it was and is remarkable. Read the rest of this entry »

Comment [1]////Permalink// Like [11]
Sep/11/12//Gibrán Rivera//Structural Transformation

Emergent Strategy

There is nothing wrong with strategic planning – except when we believe that strategy unfolds as planned.  A good strategic planning process is one that crystalizes our intention.  It is the process through which we articulate a clear vision of where we want to go.  And it is how we come to a clear agreement on which direction we are going to take.  It is not insurance on the future.  The map can never be the territory.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comment [1]////Permalink// Like [9]
Sep/07/12//Gibrán Rivera//Featured, Spiritual Activism

Active Citizenship, Active Spirituality

If you’ve been reading Curtis’ blog posts this week, you might be considering what it means to be an evolutionary.  If you live in or near Boston, you should join us as we deepen this conversation.

Our friends at EnlightenNext Boston are hosting a dialogue between Amy Edelstein, senior teacher of Evolutionary Enlightenment and myself this Friday, September 21, 7:15pm – 9:30pm at Samadhi Integral in Newton Centre.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off////Permalink// Like [11]
Sep/06/12//Curtis Ogden//Featured, What We Are Reading

We Are Moving, Part 2

Yesterday I posted a bit of a summary of Carter Phipps’ provocative new book, Evolutionaries, which included the suggested trajectories from a variety of evolutionary thinkers and observers, including greater (and increasing rates of) external and internal complexity, convergence, creativity and change.  The implications I left off with included a call for a stronger embrace of our creative self-starting (entrepreneurial) potential and also the necessity of engaging in more intentional and skillful collective (cooperative or collaborative) effort.

To take this another step, there is much in the evolutionary (biological/physical and philosophical/spiritual) literature that validates and extends our thinking about how to work with life and dynamic systems to steward change in broadly desirable, just, and life-affirming directions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments [2]////Permalink// Like [27]
Sep/05/12//Curtis Ogden//Featured, What We Are Reading

We Are Moving, Part 1

 “Innovation is as much a function of the right kind of relationships as it is of a particular kind of individual vision.”

-Carter Phipps

I capped off my summer reading with what was for me a fascinating and important book – Evolutionaries by Carter Phipps.  Phipps is the editor of EnlighteNext magazine and enthusiastic about the evolutionary worldview and how it is showing up in many different fields, from biology to sociology to philosophy and theology, transforming our very understanding not simply of the cosmos, but of ourselves.  Over the past few years, readers of this blog have probably picked up on the interest that my colleague Gibran Rivera and I share with Phipps when it comes to the evolutionary worldview.  Evolutionaries does a wonderful service in deepening and broadening as well as bringing much more nuance to this perspective, rendering it more timely, accessible and applicable to the work of social change. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments [2]////Permalink// Like [25]
Sep/03/12//Cynthia Silva Parker//Structural Transformation

Happy 130th Birthday

Happy 130th Birthday, [Organized] Labor Day!

On this Labor Day, let’s remember its origins in the ranks of organized labor. But first, a look at which workers we’re celebrating today.

Who’s unionized now?  (Source: Huffington Post: Labor Day History: 11 Facts You Need to Know)

Service station attendants 96,000

Musicians, singers and related workers 179,000

Bakers 183,000

Pharmacists 232,000

Firefighters: 258,000

Chefs and head cooks: 281,000

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs 286,000

Hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists: 718,000

Farmers and ranchers 825,000

Teachers 6.5 million

Not to mention health care workers, police and many other professions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off////Permalink// Like [23]