The following post was written by IISC friend Beth Tener, principal of New Directions Collaborative, with whom I’ve had the privilege of working over the past few years on a few different sustainability-related network building efforts. Beth and I share a keen interest in supporting the development of new economic structures and flows that bring resources back to communities and keep value grounded in real and sustainable ways. You can follow more of Beth’s insights on her blog.
A friend handed me a copy of Marjorie Kelly’s new book Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution; Journeys to a Generative Economy and said he thought it was so good that he had bought a case of them to share with colleagues and friends. By the time I was 50 pages into the book, I had a similar impulse to buy a case. Kelly was the editor of Business Ethics magazine for 20 years and now works at Tellus Institute and has spent years considering how to reform corporations and create enterprises that are socially responsible.
I was recently turned on to the work of Louise Diamond by the Plexus Institute. Diamond has been bringing insights from the dynamics of complex systems to peace building work for many years. Her efforts connect to a growing number of practitioners and thinkers who see the need to approach social change with an ecological and evolutionary mindset. In one of her papers, she extracts some of the “simple rules” that yield core practices for working in this way. Here I have adapted and adjusted some of them in application to network building for food systems change. Read More
I’ve been on a whirlwind. And it began with my facilitation of OPEN Summit. The first ever leadership gathering of the world’s leading Online Progressive Engagement Networks. Think MoveOn.org as replicated in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Germany and Papua New Guinea. The great (and unbelievably sweet) Ben Brandzel had been dreaming this up for years!
As they neared their 15th anniversary, the Case Foundation published “To be Fearless” as both a reflection on its work and a challenge to philanthropy and the social sector. The following are excerpts from this report, written by Cynthia Gibson and Brad Rourke for the Case Foundation. (“To Be Fearless,” The Case Foundation, 2012.)
|Photo by Michael Cardus|http://www.flickr.com/photos/create-learning/4607228635|
At this point in my tenure at IISC, I get the opportunity to return to certain systems and programs that I have been serving for a number of years. This includes a few organizations and leadership development initiatives to which I’ve been contributing for a half-dozen years now, through two presidential elections, the Great Recession, the Arab Spring, the explosion of social media, and some stormy knocks over the head about the reality of climate change. Through all of this I’ve been interested to see how the conversation has changed, where it has in fact changed, within these institutions and programs and among the participants. Read More
Another year, more time to hone our practice as facilitators. As has been previously mentioned in the pages of this blog, the meaning of the term “facilitation” derives from its root “facile,” or easy, so facilitation is intended to make something easy or easier. This is not to say that the practice of facilitation is or ever should be easy, and in these times of fracture and fear it can be especially challenging. And it is not about doing work for others, so that they in some sense get off the hook or put the burden on the formally designated facilitator.
The following post has been reblogged from our friends at Community Change Inc. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Community Change, Inc. is a Boston-based resource for people working for racial justice. Enjoy this resource from their series “Creating the Counter-Narrative, challenging the post-racial, colorblind public discourse on race and racism.” Enjoy this talk by Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance and of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas, Austin.
Robin Katcher, the new director of the Management Assistance Group, is a friend of the Institute’s and a leader among those of us who work to bring an understanding of networks and complexity to the work of social transformation. I found these reflections on the more personal aspects of working with complexity to be specially appropriate for the beginning of a new year.
|Photo by Libby|http://www.flickr.com/photos/libbyandnicki/6337707632|
A number of months ago, I posted something on what I called “The Dimensions of Social Space,” the gist of which was the proposal that we are called to tend to different dimensions of our social being in our change work – the autonomous/individual, the communal/collective, and the transcendant/”divine.” When I wrote that post, I was thinking of these as three interlocking circles in a ven diagram. I have since evolved my thinking to see them as systems sitting in nested fashion, going from the lesser (individual) to the greater (divinity) in terms of complexity. Much of this development owes to the field of living systems thinking and the mentoring of Carol Sanford. Read More
|Photo by Mo Riza|http://www.flickr.com/photos/moriza/96724309/|
One of the many things I love about the Interaction Institute for Social Change is that we are very much a learning organization, committed to sharing lessons from the work we are doing, as well as new ideas and concepts we discover through in-person and virtual interactions with a variety of thought leaders. This year, like any other, we benefitted from the writings of many, and I wanted to highlight five books that I found particularly valuable in 2012, and invite my colleagues to weigh in as well. Read More