May 7, 2013
Photo provided by Alex Pelayo. Check out the rest of his amazing portfolio here!
This post is Part III in a series on Strategic Planning and Emergence.
Your vision is not your strategy. Neither is your plan. Your benchmarks are not your strategy, nor your complicated grids. Your hedgehog or your very audacious goals are not your strategy either. Your predictions of what the future will look like, no matter how organized and well researched, are definitely not your strategy.
April 30, 2013
Photo provided by Alex Pelayo. Check out the rest of his amazing portfolio here!
I spend a lot of time figuring out how to work with emergence. You don’t plan emergence, you create the conditions for emergence. But how does that fit with strategy? How do you do strategic planning in a world that is too complex for straight lines and long timelines?
April 25, 2013
Hope you enjoy this article as much as we did! It’s a great illustration of the kinds of connections we need to make between movements–in this case immigrant rights and environmental sustainability–to stand a chance of seeing the kinds of transformation we’re seeking.
Philip Radford of Greenpeace and Bill McKibben of 350.org recently joined the growing crowd of people calling for comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship.
March 27, 2013
|Photo by TREEAID|http://www.flickr.com/photos/53871588@N05/5726759624|
This post is not exactly about an insurance policy, at least not in the traditional sense. Picking up on the metaphor of last week’s piece on “Network Gardening,” today we bring focus to how we can protect the early growth of networks for social change. Protect them from what? The temptation to jump to action too quickly, leapfrogging the “problem conversation,” the tendency to want to institutionalize everything (what a friend calls “incorporation fever”), naysayers, exclusionist practices, and the heavy hitters who are used to getting their way. Read More
March 20, 2013
|Photo by idleformat|http://www.flickr.com/photos/idleformat/2062534673|
An interesting innovation I’ve seen recently in the realm of network building for social change is the creation of what is being called, in one particular system with which I am working, the “Network Support Team.” In the context of what has emerged to this point as an “alignment network” focused on state-wide food system development and addressing community food insecurity, this volunteer team has stepped forward to help “tend to the whole.” It functions much as a good gardener would in her attempts to nurture abundance and flourishing. As this network considers movement into a more action/production-oriented mode, here is how the NST is helping the garden to grow: Read More
February 14, 2013
The following post is taken from a message I recently posted on the Community Food Security Coalition listserv. I have already heard from a few people and am setting up conversations with them to hear more about what they are doing process and form-wise to advance the work, and look forward to sharing what I learn from them in this space. While the topic of this blog is networks focused on just and sustainable food system development, reactions are welcome from those working on new structures to address other social change issues . . .
IISC currently works with a number of food system-related initiatives around the country, providing process/structure design and facilitation support to collaborative multi-stakeholder approaches to change. As we strive for more healthy, just, sustainable, and community-enriching food systems, part of our role is to hold the stake for the “how” of the work, to ensure that it aligns with the multi-dimensional ends we seek, and to fine-tune this to the essence of the particular geographic and social locale (municipality, state, region). Read More
January 9, 2013
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.
December 20, 2012
|Photo by Joe Hardy|http://www.flickr.com/photos/flukazoid/2089475191|
“Are you a sophist?” I’ve been wrestling with that question for several weeks, at the invitation of Carol Sanford. Carol points out how many of us in the helping professions have fallen into the habit of trying to provide well-intended inspiration and advice to others at the expense of diminishing their capability. She likes to tell the story of Socrates’ awakening to what would often happen to those who listened to the Sophists preach in ancient Greece – people would leave inspired, and keep coming back for more. At a certain point, many of these “followers,” after seeing increasingly diminished returns, would become demoralized and convinced that they would never be able to reach the heights that were suggested in the speeches and sermons they heard. So Socrates took a different tack. He sought to help others grow by asking questions that helped them to move and take control of their own development. Read More
November 7, 2012
A couple of days ago my colleague Cynthia Parker blogged about the challenge and importance of staying connected across political divides. The conversation that has ensued seems especially relevant to where we stand right now, the day after the elections, faced with what some fear will be an increasingly polarized country. No matter where we may fall along political lines, there are strong feelings on all sides about what is the “right” direction for our country and how to get there. In this increasingly mediatized world, it is very tempting and easy to stand behind our computers and cast aspersions at one another. And all this does is continue to fray the already worn social fabric. How do we continue to recognize that we are all in this together, like it or not, and that respecting our collective humanity is a baseline for progress? Read More
October 31, 2012
|The Alchemy of Wholeness by Armanda Moncton|http://www.flickr.com/photos/armandamoncton/1705798622|
On Sunday, Gibran Rivera and I facilitated a workshop at Connecting for Change/Bioneers by the Bay about change practices for a networked world. Another way of thinking about what we were exploring was to put it in terms of “practices for wholeness.” Part of our premise was and is that we are suffering from a worldview that leads with and to fragmentation and fixity. This is part of our inheritance from the industrial age that strives to understand through division and an associated mindset that believes we can make a separation between observer and observed with no associated impact. For certain tasks, of course, it makes sense and is possible to divide, diagnose and put back together. But this does not make sense, nor is it possible, in the case of complex living systems. Furthermore, we have gotten ourselves in a bind because our habits of thought have led us to thinking that the divisions and categories we have created are in some sense primordial. And so we are hard pressed to believe, or remember, that what we do to our “environment” or “others” we do to ourselves! Read More
September 12, 2012
“Look well to the growing edge. All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born . . . “
|Photo by Aldo Cauchi Savona|http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheekyneedle/60462071|
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 More