9 Practice-Guiding Questions for 2014

December 24, 2013 2 Comments

“Transformation comes more from pursuing profound questions than seeking practical answers.”

– Peter Block


|Photo by Bilal Kamoon|http://www.flickr.com/photos/55255903@N07/6835060992/in/photolist-bpZtvb-8A6i9c-8p2AtP-do8Bez-do8JT3-7RiJTU-ao63dG-7Cjh9a-7Co7Fm-ihgH2m-9dXKU2-bgGa4c-8CkodQ-azGM3y-cBFFBS-8ChFDT-bX6EoZ-fPzNoo-9PBH3p-7GZn1X-9iKHnC-8nxop8-9tQh9o-9tMiYv-9tMj4F-7QpV8y-do8JVU-7Co7vW-7Gh8sv-8qQBZ9-eUDNUt-7Gh3sp-9ESmzs-8nAwhG-8nxom2-8nxonr-8nAwhf-8nAwgm|

Three of our IISC blogger-practitioners have been in conversation about 3 questions they are each carrying with them into 2014 to guide and develop their practice to support social change.  We invite your reflections on and additions to these:

Cynthia Silva Parker

1.  What can we do to create the conditions for people who don’t see their privilege to transform their initial defensiveness into an impassioned desire to undo racism, sexism and other systems of oppression?   How can we build authentic communities of people who are doing this work together?

2.  How can we transform our work—and encourage others to transform theirs—so that we begin with with the people who are most adversely affected, support their ability to make change, and take our direction from their thinking, priorities and passions?

3.  What would it take for cities to become places of belonging, engagement and mutuality where everyone’s needs are met and balance with nature is maintained?

Gibran Rivera

1.  What would it take to do this work of social transformation from outside the nonprofit context?  Would a change in context allow for a different set of possibilities?

2.  How to spend more time building community?  Nurturing the structure of belonging?  Authentically making meaning together?  What if the work of justice actually flowed from invigorated community structures?

3.  What is the good life?  How do we make this a central inquiry?  How do we challenge the idea of progress as attaining isolated, materialistic, middle-class American life?

Curtis Ogden

1.  How do we make more explicit and direct the connection between mindfulness practice/”love as a force for transformation” and real systemic change for justice and sustainability?

2.  What new kinds of liberating and disruptive group processes can we create and use to yield greater and more rapid collective development, insight and innovation?

3.  How can we leverage networks, living systems thinking, and the business case for social equity to create generative economic structures that serve all without compromising our short and long-term collective prospects on this planet?


  • Candee says:

    Well, these are profound questions indeed. Thank you. Your questions bring me back to my experiences with small groups comprised of folks who were living in the thick of decision making and turmoil and working for change. Each groups’ task was to articulate burning questions, share them in our small group, listen to each other, come up with actions we could take to learn more about our questions, and then gather again in conversation and reflect in words, images, objects. I wish I could belong to a small group exploring and acting on the questions you’ve shared.

    • Curtis Ogden says:


      Thanks for your response. I like your idea of pulling together a group to explore and act on these questions. We do some of this internally at IISC when we get our practitioners together. Perhaps we should expand that circle. I will bring it up at our next staff meeting!


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