I’m the one that’s all shook up. I’m just getting back from doing some very powerful work with Reading Village in Guatemala and I’m still processing the experience. It is difficult not to be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of poverty and palpability of oppression. I come back with images of the smiles of an incredibly resilient Mayan people and I can not understand how they have withstood five centuries of aggression. It is in this context that we were called to do our work. Read MoreLeave a comment
Posted in IISC Outward-facing Thoughts
As you read this post I find myself in Guatemala, honored to be working with Reading Village, a truly inspired reading promotion organization. I’ve been impressed by the principled stance of its founders, the serious attention they are paying to respecting local culture and being of authentic service. Having run a successful pilot, they have asked me to come a facilitate a set of conversations towards the development of a field guide – a text that will serve replication of the success of Reading Village while remaining flexible enough for local adaptation. Wish us luck! We are doing something good here!Leave a comment
This past week marked the release of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations’ newest action learning guide – Do Nothing About Me Without Me: An Action Guide for Engaging Stakeholders. IISC is pr0ud to be a co-publisher of and contributor to the publication, which builds on our work with GEO staff facilitating Engage for Results. Essentially this seminar walks foundation staff through a series of strategic questions and tools for engaging grantees, community members, and other stakeholders in their grantmaking. Worth highlighting here is what GEO and IISC identify as being core to the case for funders doing more to involve others in their work: Read MoreLeave a comment
I’m just getting back from the International Association of Facilitator’s North America Conference and co-leading a workshop focused on the facilitator’s inner journey. It was a cool set up. The presenters included our convener, Larry Dressler as well as experienced facilitators, Erica Peng, Roger Schwarz and Beatrice Briggs. Read MoreLeave a comment
(This is a re-post from April 2009)
I write this on the eve of the 3rd day of a training session of our Facilitative Leadership course, where the last of 7 practices,“Celebrate Accomplishment”, often gets the short shrift on this last day of training. The verdict is still out in terms of whether we will give it its just due for tomorrow’s class. Yet, I find myself wrestling with a provocative body of information I became aware of through a recent tweet I received on the subject of praise.Leave a comment
Working closely with the Berkana Institute, Gibrán and Marianne had the privilege of facilitating the Barr Fellows learning journey to Chiapas, Mexico. Here they are at the conclusion of their journey, getting ready to enter the Church of San Juan Chamula, which actually is a Mayan Temple that the people consider to be the very center of the Universe.Leave a comment
This week, Melinda and I will be facilitating two workshops at the Transforming Race conference, hosted by the Kirwan Institute at The Ohio State University. Here’s a sneak preview of some of what we’ll be covering.
Facilitating discussions and dialogues about race can be tough. Lack of information and knowledge, different lived experiences, unspoken assumptions, varying definitions of key concepts and differing interpretations of problems and solutions are just a few of the things that can get in the way of groups communicating authentically and building solid agreements. I’ve found that attention to three dimensions of preparing for such conversations can make all the difference between productive engagement and destructive experiences that take years to repair.Leave a comment
Its been a week of provocative, profound and promising experiences on behalf of IISC. I’ve been on the road — learning, training, networking and promoting our work. Here’s a rundown of some of the great ideas, people and organizations I’ve had the honor of connecting with these last few days:
- Interaction Design 10 Conference, held in Savannah, GA, February 7 – 10, 2010:Interaction design is defined as “the art of facilitating or instigating interactions between humans mediated by products. ” Check out my twitter posts from these dates for in the moment impressions and ideas shared at the Conference. Read More
A fantastic opportunity for many across the country. Feel free to send a vote our way!Leave a comment
The gap between theory and practice is always larger than we tend to see. I love my job because it consistently invites me to help groups bridge this gap. I just had a beautiful time working with a group of network weavers who are part of the Young People’s Project. The task is to help them understand how networks work and how to behave as weavers for their own national network.
The challenge of this work has been to take all the amazing things we are learning about the role of weavers in a network and figure out how to apply these to the day to day work of these weavers. Instead of spending too much of our time in the fuzzy world of network theory, I grabbed directly from Jack Ricchiuto’s piece on The Power of Network Weaving and went on to adapt it to very practical exercises for the weavers. Read MoreLeave a comment
My colleague Linda Guinee recently forwarded a great blog post by Mark McGuinness of Lateral Action . Mark is a consultant in the realm of personal creativity and productivity and he is the father of infant twins. This recent development has him taking a hard look at the advice he often gives others and what holds up under the demands of two babies and sleepless nights. Whether or not you are a parent of young children, it is well worth a read, and I couldn’t agree more with tips such as “let go of routines, focus on systems” and “you can’t please all the people all the time, prioritize the important stuff.” Much of this is in line with Melinda’s post last week (see “Less=More: A Dare”).Leave a comment
OK, to be totally honest, I wasn’t reflecting on this while I was on the scooter, but that’s often where I am reflecting…
I had an incredible conversation with Susan Shaer, the Executive Director of WAND (Women’s Action for New Directions), the other day.? We were talking about creating a longer term vision and strategy given all that’s happened recently for those working on peace, security and foreign policy issues. We were reflecting on the amazing changes that have happened – and then Susan started talking about changes in what she was calling “new media” – and how that affects organizing strategies. At one point she said, “if we had known ten years ago how much time we would now spend reading and responding to email, think about how differently we would have organized ourselves.” And so I’ve been thinking about that ever since.
How should we be organizing for the new technologies that are ahead of us (instead of what is)? What are the new strategies for engaging people in our issues — not thinking just about what’s available now, but what’s coming? How will these changes affect how we work? Any ideas?Leave a comment