“Mutual learning is only possible when all participants are willing to be wrong … willing to learn, to explore new ideas, to go off the map, out of the known, and together grope in the shadowy corners of new ideas, new plans, new territories.”
“Expertise” is one of those concepts that seems to get a good vetting every now and then, and in the current climate of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) and networked approaches to change, there is certainly good reason for this. Mark Twain once quipped that what made the expert an expert was being from someplace else. There may be some truth and value to this view; when a set of “outside” eyes can lend fresh new perspective to a situation. And it is also the case that deference is often given to this version of expertise at the expense of local and other diverse sources of knowledge. Read More
Important considerations for collaborative social change work: What are considered “legitimate” ways of knowing and doing? Why? What does this allow? What doesn’t it allow?
Photo by Juhansonin
I’m always interested to see diverse cognitive styles and preferences show up in the collaborative processes we help to design and facilitate at IISC. A classic difference is between those who bend more towards the analytical side of things and those who prefer to lead with intuition. This, of course, paints too stark of a dichotomy of what most people present overall, and context can often be a determinant in what people lead with. Nonetheless there are undeniable tensions that arise within groups about what constitutes “rigor” and “right method” for deriving what might be considered strategic insights. I would say that in many more “mainstream” (one might say “professional”) settings, it is often analysis and deference to some kind of “expert “that has a better chance of winning the day. And so I’ve been interested to come across a few resources that talk about and validate the place of intuition and iterative group visualization in coming up with good answers.
In a piece that appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Justin Fox writes about how instinct can beat analytical thinking. In particular, he lifts up the work of Gerd Gigerenzer from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany. Gigerenzer’s research suggests that rational, statistical, analytical approaches work well in situations where one is able to calculate risk. The trouble, however, is that in many situations, decisions are made in considerable uncertainty, where risk and consequence are unknown because everything is quite dynamic. Read More
Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy PhD, is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. She is a respected voice in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology, and interweaves her scholarship with five decades of activism. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, she has created a ground-breaking theoretical framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application. The Great Turning, to which she refers in this clip, is a name for the “adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.”
|Photo by AnneMarie Laureys|http://www.flickr.com/photos/45358908@N06/4168069265/in/photostream|
A few months ago I posted a piece entitled “Negativity and Self-Limiting Advocacy,” which seemed to get a lot of play in the 2.0 sphere. The gist of the entry was that negative mindsets limit our view of possibilities and can wall us off into tried and not so trustworthy ways of being and doing on the social change front. John Hagel, author of The Power of Pull, posted the entry below on his Edge Perspective site this week, which extends this conversation to thinking about how our responses to the prevalent uncertainty surrounding us have a lot to say about our future economic and ecological well-being.I really appreciate his focus on narrative, especially on the heels of attending New Ventures West’s introductory course on integral coaching, and I am excited to think more about how we can co-create new and liberating narratives and “platforms” that bring into being the regenerative future that is waiting to emerge more fully. I would also add to Hagel’s assessment at the end by suggesting that beyond young people, there is much hope and wisdom to be found in those who have been most marginalized by the dominant culture and yet have found ways to walk in and hold onto two worlds, to survive and to thrive. And to take note of and learn from the wisdom of life.
We live in a world of increasing pressure and uncertainty, driven in large part by digital technology infrastructures. These marvelous infrastructures bring us unprecedented connectivity and opportunities to better ourselves. Read More
|Photo by Sam Ilic|http://www.flickr.com/photos/stage88/3650502444|
I shared the following Wislawa Szymborska poem with faculty in an academic department at a university with whom I was working this week. We read it as we were about to launch our final day of discussions about collaborative leadership and team building.
|Photo by John D. McDonald|http://www.flickr.com/photos/psychoactive/2943294866|
Science has confirmed what many of us feel, that we are each more than one person. We are minds and bodies, left brains and right brains, controlled and automatic responders. This last division is due in part to the fact that we each have more than one brain. Our old reptilian brain is what we can depend on to keep us safe from physical harm most of the time. Our newest brain is what gives birth to the wonders of critical thought and creativity. The amazement I feel about the evolution of our higher thinking is dampened somewhat by my understanding and experience that my multiple brains are not often well coordinated. I walk into a meeting on the one hand (or brain) excited to facilitate, while on the other I am anxious, my more primitive wiring believing there’s a saber toothed tiger in the corner). Welcome to what Seth Godin calls “the lizard” inside.