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September 2, 2010

What Inquiry Makes Possible


|Photo by conscience: taxes for peace not war||

A couple of weeks ago I worked with a special group of special education facilitators who will be helping to coordinate key players in their school district to provide services to students with different learning needs.  This work will put these people in some difficult circumstances when it comes to occasionally not being able to provide exactly what parents want for their children.  For this reason, we spent a fair amount of time talking about how one can be of service when faced with irreconcilable differences.  Much of this came down to staying grounded in one’s values, continuing to regard the humanity of those of others, and standing firm for what the district could reasonably provide.

What I also also saw on display for those three days was the incredible power of artful and compassionate inquiry.  Read More

August 10, 2010

The Power of Conversation

In this 10 minute video, Jack Ricchiuto, a friend of IISC’s, successfully distills the four conversations that build community and gives us a glimpse into the shadow conversations that keep us from success.  Evidently influenced by Peter Block, Ricchiuto is part of a wave of organization and community builders that have been inviting us to look at our work from a different lens.

Jack names the following four conversations with power: Read More

August 3, 2010

Web of Change – Part 2

Web of Change - Innovation and Collaboration to Transform our World

Lots of anticipation around this year’s Web of Change!  I am on the facilitation team as well as one of the hosts for the event.  Hosts have been asked to launch this year’s conversation through a series of thought pieces that will be posted on every week until our convening begins.  I have the honor of launching our “WOC Thought Bomb Series,” with the following reflections on “Paradigm Next and the Intersection.”  Click here to read, and please do share your responses!

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August 2, 2010

Transcend Organizational Constraints

Collective Leadership

This is a very exciting time for those of us who are working to apply the logic of networks to the work of social change.  Our ideas are gaining traction as more and more experiments start to point towards success.  Life online, the viral nature of meaningful stories and our human desire for deeper connection all serve to confirm our intuitive understanding of life in a network.  However, as we step into this paradigm shift, as we start to approve of these ideas, we still have to contend with the constraints of the organizational and funding structures within which we currently work. Read More

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July 29, 2010

Creativist Tensions

canvascanvas 1If there is anyone out there not aware of the Creativist movement, I encourage you to take a look and consider enlisting.  The Creativist Society has made a space for people to articulate their visions for society at its best with creativity as the core organizing principle.  The Creativist Manifesto is an invitation for people to think about what it would mean to be creators before being consumers, which catalyst Olivia Sprinkel presents as being one of the most important choices we can make. Read More

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May 20, 2010

Welcome to the GeoDome

earth rise

|Photo by woodleywonderworks||

Last Thursday my IA colleagues Ashley Welch and Andy Atkins and I teamed up with David McConville of The Elumenati and Ned Gardiner of  NOAA to take a group of cross-sectoral leaders and thinkers on a unique journey.  This trip included a visit to the outer edges of our universe, passing through our solar system, galaxy, and neighboring galactic bodies.   Then, out of breath, we zoomed back in to take a new look at our planet Earth through the lens and visualized overlay of data about our terrestrial home – warming trends, population density, biodiversity and traffic patterns.  Welcome to the GeoDome!

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April 22, 2010

Collaboration for Sustainability 1: Intro

image micro

|Photo by mind_scratch||

Wishing you a hopeful Earth Day, and thinking of the good people gathered in Bolivia for the World People’s Summit on Climate Change . . .

For the past few decades, the Interaction Institute for Social Change and Interaction Associates have worked to develop the collaborative capacity of individuals, organizations, and communities with the conviction that this holds the promise of greater effectiveness with respect to shared missions and goals.  We have long upheld and witnessed the importance of bringing more minds and hands together for the purposes of creating insight, understanding, alignment, agreement, strategy, and shared ownership.  Lately, I have been trying to specifically clarify the value all of this has to offer the unsustainable relationship we have with our planet.

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March 23, 2010

World Café for the US Senate


|Photo by Kevin Dooley||

If you have been paying any attention to the national political scene, you know that in these days of no compromise everything seems to balance on the mathematics of the US Senate.  Given the latest equation, it was no small deal to learn that Senator Evan Bayh will not be running for re-election.  About a month ago he wrote a New York Times opinion piece that has been on my mind since then – Why I’m Leaving the Senate.

The piece is worth reading in full, but here is the part that inspired this post:

Any improvement must begin by changing the personal chemistry among senators. More interaction in a non-adversarial atmosphere would help…  It shouldn’t take a constitutional crisis or an attack on the nation to create honest dialogue in the Senate. Let’s start with a simple proposal: why not have a monthly lunch of all 100 senators?

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March 2, 2010

Love, Freedom and Community

Part 2 of 2, go here for Part 1

In her essay, hooks reminds us of the very purpose of struggle as Dr. King himself defined it: “the end is reconciliation, the end is redemption, the end is the creation of beloved community.” She herself states that “we best learn love as the practice of freedom in the context of community.” We are not alone in this struggle, and there is no aspect of freedom that implies the loosening of our accountability to one another, the call to accountability is actually heightened by freedom.

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February 10, 2010

Government of the People, By the People, For the People?

I’ve been thinking a lot about why people love to hate government, and why I just can’t bring myself to hate it, too. I hold tightly to the notion of government “of the people, by the people and for the people” and want to hold it accountable to serving its role to “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

To the people who say (as I heard recently on the news) “I want government out of my life and out of my pocket!”, I say, see how far you get without roads, bridges, schools, water, sewer, fire and police forces, courts, public transit, public parks, libraries, and the like.  To those who say (as I also heard recently) “I was raised that if you see something that needs to be done you just do it. No whining. No waiting for government. You just do it.” I have a few questions. Does that include paving a pothole? Educating a neighbor with special needs? Making books available to children and adults doing research? Building an extension to a road or transit system? Ensuring that the air and waterways are not polluted? Providing shelter, health care and other safety net supports for people in need? Making sure that everyone does their part to avert a climate disaster? You get my point. As a tax payer, I’m getting a pretty good deal for what I pay. It would take more than 80 years of paying our property taxes to exceed just the cost of educating three sons in private schools!

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January 29, 2010

Leaderships for Our Times

Leadership - Liverpool street station

|Photo by victoriapeckham||

In this post I take a look at the overlap and differences between three leadership approaches to which we here at IISC regularly turn in light of our bent towards social change and beliefs about the world in which we live.

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January 11, 2010

Being Googley



In IISC’s first mailing of the year (sent, as is our tradition, in the form of an old-fashioned postcard beautifully designed by Kristen Hughes) we quote Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do? on the front of the card with his oft-repeated words: “Do what you do best and link to the rest”.

In the accompanying copy, we interpret that phrase as a powerful strategic directive for the sector:

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