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NCDD-DISCUSSION  November 2010, Week 2

NCDD-DISCUSSION November 2010, Week 2

Subject:

Re: Fwd: Stewart's closing remarks yesterday

From:

Rosa Zubizarreta <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Rosa Zubizarreta <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 10 Nov 2010 20:57:15 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (126 lines)

Very interesting thread here, with many wonderful contributions. I am 
responding in particular to Chris, Bruce, Lars, and Sandy's posts...

Sandy, I greatly appreciate your post on theories of change... more 
on that below.

Bruce, thank you for this key point...

>But to me -- the way it feels is -- if we could begin to convene 
>this kind of collective creative intelligence -- I think there would 
>be an amazing release of new insights.  Creativity itself (I got my 
>BA degree from UC Santa Cruz in the psychology of creativity) is a 
>function of bringing diverse elements together and allowing them to 
>"fuse" in a synthetic/inductive psychological process -- that occurs 
>in individuals AND in groups.

I couldn't agree more!  There's a lot to be said on how to create the 
simple set of initial conditions, that allow for creative outcomes to 
emerge spontaneously from divergent perspectives...  my one-line 
summary for this, is  that it's all about "minimizing interpersonal 
anxiety while maximizing creative tension".

There are clearly many ways to do this... and, per your earlier 
analysis, as well as Chris's personal description of the rally below, 
it seems that Stewart and Colbert succeeded at creating this kind of 
climate:

>  moving to the rally itself for one moment, as someone who was 
>there, I can say that the in-person experience much richer then the 
>made for television component. for one, you could not tell on tv 
>just how many people were there. I have been in big crowds, 
>including inaugurations (Bush1), Dessert Storm homecoming and huge 
>rock concerts. this was much bigger. but the most amazing thing 
>wasn't the number of everyday folks, mostly from the middle, who 
>showed up, but the attitude they carried in their smiles when we 
>connected our eyes, or shook each other's hands. these were mostly 
>good meaning, good hearted people - even the one's with the snarky 
>tea party bashing signs.
>
>laughter soothes the soul and engages the mind, hatred/anger damages 
>the heart and inspires the fist.

Of course, they were doing this at a rally -- which does not 
substitute for the kind of intensive work that is needed to generate 
creative solutions regarding contentious policy issues. (Maybe this 
was some of what you were addressing, Lars? more on this below...)

***

With regard to theories of change...  I'm glad to see that people are 
beginning to explore "non-linear" theories of change. I've written 
about the following example before, but I will do so again, as I 
think it has bearing on this particular conversation...

One "theory of change" that we are currently underutilizing, has to 
do with the possibility and the value of creating a shift in our 
collective imagination. One way to do so, is by creating a small 
"microcosm group" that is includes an extremely diverse selection of 
people with regard to a particular issue -- and then, supporting that 
group to arrive at creative outcomes.

Think for a minute, "Reality TV", or  even "Survivor" -- except that 
instead of individual survival, we are focused on the shifts that 
will allow the GROUP to survive, by becoming a cohesive whole...

The STORY of that creative process, that the microcosm group 
undergoes, is then shared widely with the larger collective -- to 
inspire a sense of what is possible, and to begin to raise the 
quality of the larger community dialogue. The point is to shift the 
collective field of what people think is possible, with regard to 
effective and creative collaboration among people with diverse 
perspectives.... and to do so in a doable and cost-effective manner.

One brilliant example of this kind of work, was done in Canada during 
the heart of their struggles over Quebec's desire to secede...  and 
was written about years later by Tom Atlee in his book, The Tao of 
Democracy. His description of it is also available online, at
  http://www.co-intelligence.org/S-Canadaadvrsariesdream.html

After the "microcosm group" had met in a facilitated environment for 
a weekend, the results of their time together were broadly 
communicated to the public at large, through a special issue of 
MacLean's (Canada's equivalent of Time or Newsweek...)

I believe this kind of model, speaks to the point that Chris was 
raising, of creating offerings that are accessible to a broad range 
of people, and that communicate through powerful stories, the process 
of "everyday humanity of people connecting with one another and 
finding common ground".

****

The process used for the "Canadian Experiment" was based on Roger 
Fisher's "Getting to Yes".
I believe that these days, we have a number of even more powerful 
approaches available to help people tap the energy of divergent 
perspectives to arrive at creative shared outcomes.... there is the 
renowned work of the Public Conversations Project,  Sara Ross' 
"Integral Process for Working on Complex Issues", and many others, 
including the work that I teach, Dynamic Facilitation and Dynamic 
Inquiry.

Regardless of which processes we use as the "operating system", I 
feel that there is great value in using a microcosm + news media 
approach, to create a shift in our collective sense of 
possibility.... or, to put it in another language, to begin creating 
greater awareness of and demand for the work that we do.


with all best wishes,

Rosa


-- 
Rosa Zubizarreta
Diapraxis: Facilitating Creative Collaboration
Organization Development  *  Community Engagement

413-528-5296
Great Barrington, MA
http://www.diapraxis.com

---

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