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I want to share some new thoughts on the Generative Engagement model. In collaboration with Jennifer Jones-Patulli, we have recently explored the use of this model in detail in two types of Adaptive Action Labs – one focused on dealing with conflict, and another focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. In both cases, we use Generative Engagement as a model and method to explore tensions that emerge when people interact. In this post, I will share content from the second adaptive action lab plus a timely application next week where your feedback is welcome!
Build Adaptive Capacity
What? Recently I worked with a group of organizational leaders who bring disparate groups together to collaborate on political and social issues. One of the challenges they face is helping their client groups define how they will make decisions together, ensuring adequate representation of their individual constituencies. Among this group, their largest question was about how they decide about engaging others and then make their intensions clear. In that conversation I shared four options for effective shared decision making.
Build Adaptive Capacity
What is Imposter Syndrome? The popular term imposter syndrome describes the “pervasive feeling of self-doubt, insecurity, or fraudulence despite often overwhelming evidence to the contrary.” Anyone can feel this way, and many people do.
Collaborate to Create Community
I have been distracted this week by the events in Washington, to say nothing about what is happening in London, on the Texas border, in Indonesia and North Carolina, and everywhere in between. These events challenge a set of fundamental beliefs I hold. I learned them from my parents, read them in classics of Western philosophy, observed them in communities of my youth, and vote to uphold them whenever the polls are open. The principles seem a bit naïve today, but they form the core of my relationship with personal, social, and political reality. I will be more specific.
We always say that HSD is about good questions—the answers are up to you! Of course, that is because every complex system is unique, so the patterns of success will depend on local, immediate circumstances, more than the certainty of some evidence-based answer.
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In July, I wrote a blog post about the need to tell the “bigger story” by using narratives that explore the dynamics of interactions between and among humans. In HSD we teach people to see, understand, and influence those dynamics. We constantly seek to use engaging and accessible narrative to share stories that help people leverage the complexity around them to find their next wise action. I believe that if narrative includes an exploration of the complexity in our interactions, it can also help us, individually and as a group, share our stories in more relevant and compelling ways. I also am caught up in the question of whether it can also help us to reach across the differences that divide us to create greater understanding and empathy.
When is a change a real change? When it is a paradigm shift! The term "paradigm shift" gets tossed around. Its meaning has become more and more hazy since 1962, when Thomas Kuhn first applied the term to The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (University of Chicago Press, 2012). In this short video, Glenda Eoyang explores four signs of a true paradigm shift. She looks for those signs in human systems dynamics and other complexity-informed disciplines in social sciences. In the process, she explains why teaching complexity is often much more difficult than understanding it.
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