Tag Archive: hospitality

March 27, 2013

Network Protection

Tree Aid

|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

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March 31, 2011

Funder as Convenor: Part 1

mi casa

|Photo by Keith Williamson|http://www.flickr.com/photos/elwillo/5440401913|

The more I do our collaborative consulting work here at IISC, the more interested I become in the role of the convenor in complex multi-stakeholder change efforts.  This role, typically held in our work by a funder or someone else with convening power (local/state government, school district, a well-connected community-based agency) has much to say about the success and nature of a social change effort, and yet from my perspective remains under-appreciated and/or poorly misunderstood.  Over the next few months I’ll spend some time in this space reflecting on what we and others are learning about this critical role and soliciting your thoughts, reactions, and experiences.

But first, what does it mean to convene?  In our practice, convening is one of a few central leadership functions in collaborative and networked approaches to change.  Read More

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January 24, 2011

Hospitality

hospitality

|Photo by Original Nomad|http://www.flickr.com/photos/simonmonk/5371124284|

HOSPITALITY is not to change people, but to offer them a space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.

It is not to lead our neighbor into a corner where there are no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum of options for choice and commitment. It is not an educated intimidation of good books, good stories, and good works, but the liberation of fearful hearts so that the words can find roots and bear ample fruit.

It is not a method of making our God and our way into the criteria of happiness, but the opening of an opportunity for others to find their God and their way. The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness – not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free; free to sing their own songs, speak their own languages, dance their own dances; free also to leave and follow their own vocations

-Henri Nouwen

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