Kategoriarkiv: Creativity

Liv i arbetet 5

Principen om icke-tvång

Jag nämnde i mitt förra inlägg att grundaren av sociokrati fick sina grundidéer från skolan där han gick i som barn. Detta är en berättelse om denna skola—De Werkplaats Kindergemeenschap i Bilthoven, Nederländerna—och hur den växte fram steg för steg.

Kees och Betty Boeke startade skolan på 1920-talet. Skolan är ett exempel på hur ideal som frihet, demokrati och jämlikhet omsattes i praktiken. På samma sätt som barn tycker om frihet och spontanitet så tycker de om ordning och reda. Utmaningen är att hitta en minimal struktur som stöder maximal frihet. Ordning kan förstås skapas med tvång, men rädsla hämmar all spontanitet. Frågan blir då hur man kan skapa ordning utan tvång? Detta är bakgrunden till att principen om icke-tvång etablerades.

I en bok från 1956 beskrivs hur vänliga barnen är mot alla, och hur enkelt och naturligt skolan verkade fungera. Det fanns mycket glädje och skratt. De äldre barnen hjälpte de yngre. Det fanns ingen skadegörelse och inga slagsmål. Det fanns inget tvång, eller hot om tvång. Skolan verkade genomsyras av tystnad och lugn.

Hemligheten bakom skolans framgångar låg i hur frustrationer i skollivet hanterades. Bespreking förkroppsligade andan på skolan. Samtalsandan hade växt fram från Kees och Betty Boekes ursprungliga skola. Samtalet var en samling där allt som berörde hela skolan diskuterades. Var och en på skolan hade möjlighet att säga sitt. Och idéer kombinerades så att lösningar som representerade den gemensamma viljan kunde hittas. Kees och Betty Boeke fick denna idé från kväkarna och deras samlingar, där man söker efter ”mötets mening” istället för att rösta.

Även om icke-tvång tillämpades, och alla beslut fattades gemensamt, så finns inga garantier för att skolans atmosfär kommer att bestå. Skolans framgång är beroende av dess familjära atmosfär, där minoriteten aldrig körs över. Det är den familjära atmosfären som förklarar vänligheten mellan vuxna och barn. Denna atmosfär växte naturligt fram ur de omständigheter vilka skolan grundades.

Det viktiga är att barnen respekteras som människor. Varje människa förtjänar respekt, hänsyn och kärlek. Det gick inte att bära en ”mask” på skolan. Du kanske inte vill att andra ska se hur du känner dig, men det går inte att dölja. Även om det inte alltid är lätt att vara utan en ”mask”, så ger denna spontanitet också glädje.

Skolan uppmuntrade barnens kreativitet. Aktiviteter som barnen helhjärtat kunde ägna sig åt säkerställde en atmosfär av vitalitet och glädje i livet. Poängen är att låta barnens intressen ta dem till den punkt där de vill lära sig. Och det fungerade! Effekten blev att barnen kände att deras personliga behov uppfylldes så långt som möjligt. Det var också en känsla som var viktigt för att vidmakthålla atmosfären av frihet på skolan.

Ett oväntat resultat av friheten var spontant ansvarstagande. Barnen tog ansvar även då läraren inte var på plats. Mänskliga behov sågs och blev omgående tillfredsställda. Barnen förväntandes inte organisera allt själva. Barnen ingick i en grupp, en gemenskap. Den enda faran var att de vuxna tog över och därmed tog från barnen deras eget initiativ och ansvar, så att barnen själva inte fick uppleva tillfredsställelsen av att själva organisera och skapa något.

Balansen mellan frihet och struktur måste hittas för att en gemenskap ska vara hälsosam. Skolan lyckades med detta genom att kombinera tre saker: (1) Ingen rädsla och inget tvång; (2) vänlighet vid förseelser; och (3) kontinuerligt stöd. Det innebär inte att det inte fanns några sanktioner, eller att inget gjordes om ett barn misskötte sig.

Poängen är att barnen inte dömdes eller fördömdes. Att döma och fördöma är sämre än sämst. Ingen indignation visades. Barnet fick enbart frågan: Varför gjorde du det? Känslan av skuld uppstod naturligt. Och med det kommer också önskan att gottgöra. Nästa fråga var: Vad tänker du göra åt det? Frånvaron av tvång gjorde att det inte fanns någon att motsätta sig. Valet att rätta till var barnets. Personlig antagonism undveks.

Däremot kunde vissa barn uppleva att det moraliska trycket ibland blev så stort att de upplevde det förtryckande och gjorde uppror. Några lämnade t.o.m. skolan, även om de flesta var tacksamma för hjälpen de fick med sina svårigheter. Skolans metoder hjälpte t.o.m. barn som hade mentala svårigheter. Det tog en eller två terminer.

Skolgemenskapen är ett samarbete mellan barn och vuxna. Den underliggande idén är att barnen vill lära sig, så det är upp till barnen att bevara den ordning som krävs för inlärning. Ursprungligen fanns endast en kommitté, Bespreking, som möttes en gång i veckan eller oftare om nödvändigt. Alla andra kommittéer föddes ur denna.

Från den ursprungliga Bespreking utvecklades Ronde. Dess syfte var att hantera ordningsfrågor. Alla medlemmar i Ronde var lika ansvariga för att lösa ett problem de var inblandade i. När det är problem, beror det vanligtvis inte bara på ett barn. Atmosfären i en grupp är lika ansvarigt för att något går fel, som brist på kontroll av en viss individ.

Mycket av skolans organisation lämnades medvetet flytande. Mänskliga, och inte tekniska, faktorer var avgörande. Detta inkluderade sammansättningen av kommittéerna. Kommittéer skapades spontant som ett resultat av skolans kraftiga tillväxt, när organisationen inte längre kunde hantera det stora inflödet av barn.

Barn håller sig inte alltid till reglerna, även när de har gjort dem själva. De lär sig från sina misslyckanden, så de måste få möjlighet att göra misstag. Konflikter uppstår alltid. När en lösning hittas, flyttas vanligtvis konflikten någon annanstans. Barn är spontana och handlar impulsivt i ögonblicket utan att tänka på konsekvenserna för andra. Viktigare än själva ordningen är lärandet i sig. Det finns alltid barn som inte lyssnar. Och det finns alltid en minoritet som inte låter sig påverkas av något.

Spontanitet förväntades på De Werkplaats. Det är naturligt för barn att vara spontana. Atmosfären blev outhärdlig för vuxna som irriterade sig på det. Inflödet av nya lärare ökade svårigheterna. Handling och reaktion hörde till ordningen för dagen. Vad vi gör och säger påverkas av det vi känner. Inget kan förhindra detta, så en ärlig ödmjukhet tillsammans med en villighet att erkänna misstag krävs. Där fanns också den ständiga känslomässiga belastningen som finns i alla grupper som arbetar tillsammans. Dagliga svårigheter uppstår i alla grupper.

Auktoriteten låg hos gruppen och inte hos läraren. Principen om icke-tvång fick såväl lärare som barn att ta sin del av ansvaret i det som gick fel. Detta krävde en villighet att se hela situationen utan beskyllningar. De Werkplaats tog för givet att alla vill vara vänner, och att det är bättre att vara kärleksfull än att hata. Aggression smälter bort i en atmosfär av ömsesidigt givande och tagande. Tillsammans kan vi göra livet finare och rikare för alla.

Relaterade inlägg:
Book Review: The Werkplaats Adventure

Organizing reflection 25

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
It’s not ok to sell, to buy—or to rent—human beings.

Today’s reflection is based on David Ellerman‘s arguments against the rental of human beings at the Abolish Human Rentals website. (The contents of the website are also available as an ebook., which is compiled by Daniel Trusca.) This site examines the standard employment relationship, the human rental, and seeks to promote an understanding of the problems associated with it. The abolition of human rentals is a profound idea, which has revolutionary implications. David Ellerman writes (my emphasis in bold):

Inalienable rights are based on the already broadly held principle of the non-transferability of responsibility for one’s actions. That principle, taken to its logical conclusion, means the rental of humans have no more legitimacy than their sale. The issue is not one of coercion, willfully choosing to be rented, or the treatment and compensation of workers. Humans cannot choose to be rented for the same reason people cannot choose to sell themselves into slavery or sell their vote, regardless of their consent or how much they are paid.

The alternative to human rentals is universal self employment in democratically managed worker owned businesses, or worker cooperatives. Workplace democracy eliminates the alienation of decision making power, and worker ownership means workers appropriate any resulting profits or losses, thus bearing financial responsibility for their actions.

Human rentals involves two key features.

The first aspect is the agreement to follow orders within terms of the rental. … The rented person must obey, or risk being fired.

The second aspect of a human rental is the transfer of responsibility for the actions of the person while at work. The most obvious is the transfer of responsibility for any profit or loss that results from the worker’s actions.

Since the abolition of slavery, humans ownership has been banned. People are no longer allowed to sell their labor by the lifetime. Instead they must rent themselves temporarily for a salary or wage.

The inalienability of personal responsibility is the foundation of the abolitionist argument from which all else follows. … The legal system clearly recognized this principle in the prosecution of crimes. All participants in a crime are held responsible. The law does not excuse a hired criminal because they were following orders.

The inalienability of responsibility for ones actions does not disappear when a crime is not being committed. It holds in all cases where human action is involved. In particular it applies to productive labor. However, the legal system pretends otherwise… It allows financial responsibility for profits or losses resulting from labor to be contractually transferred violating a principle it readily acknowledges in the commission of a crime.

Isolated individuals can rarely overcome a system, organization is necessary. The employment system has demonstrated a remarkable robustness in insuring human rentals remain the dominant form of labor exchange.

Progressive change is inherently a bottom up activity. It involves people getting together to discuss common problems, coming to mutual decisions, and taking action. It requires building trust and relationships, both time consuming activities. …

It is not rugged individualism which solves problems, but cooperation between people which provides the solution. …

Parallel approaches are essential, because they cater to the different assessments and abilities of individual participants. Organizing efforts can and should take place simultaneously on different fronts.

The point is that the best solution is not known. There are promising directions in the current environment, but circumstances change. History can only provide so much of a guide. Creativity and experimentation in the organizing process is a necessity.

In the end education and awareness are necessary but not sufficient, structural change is also needed. The structure of work and the employment system must be fundamentally changed.

There are many steps that can be taken to abolish human rentals. By analogy one can think of appropriate actions if we were seeking to abolish slavery.

Advocacy on this issue carries significant risk and the need for mutual support is essential. Efforts to provide support and build a viable alternative should not be neglected.

Worker Cooperatives are democratically run, worker-owned businesses. They are the alternative to the … alienating employment system, involving collaborative self-employment by groups of individuals.

While technically trivial to implement, the transaction is simple it is unlikely to happen. The primary reason this won’t spontaneously take place is that equity holders are unlikely to be willing sellers at the net asset value. It would be the equivalent of slave owners spontaneously deciding to free their slaves.1

Generative organizing involves people getting together to discuss common problems, coming to mutual decisions, and taking action. It requires building trust and relationships. Creativity and experimentation are necessary.

Notes:
1 David Ellerman, Abolish Human Rentals | Support Worker Cooperatives (accessed 2018-08-18).

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

A protective ring for creative support

Julia Cameron writes that ”we are meant to midwife dreams for one another.” 1 Getting creative support, having a ”protective ring”, 2 or circle, is often ”the difference between success and failure, between hope and despair.” 3 She outlines the following principles for such a circle: 4

  1. Creativity flourishes in a place of safety and acceptance.
  2. Creativity grows among friends, withers among enemies.
  3. All creative ideas are children who deserve our protection.
  4. All creative success requires creative failure.
  5. Fulfilling our creativity is a sacred trust.
  6. Violating someone’s creativity violates a sacred trust.
  7. Creative feedback must support the creative child, never shame it.
  8. Creative feedback must build on strengths, never focus on weaknesses.
  9. Success occurs in clusters and is born in generosity.
  10. The good of another can never block our own.

Notes:
1 Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self, p. 205.
2 Ibid., p. 206.
3 Ibid., p. 207.
4 Ibid., pp. 210–211.

The fine art of shutting up

Ernesto Sirolli

If people do not wish to be helped, leave them alone. 1

The most important thing is passion. … The passion that the person has for her own growth is the most important thing. 2

Planning is the kiss of death of entrepreneurship. 3

We have discovered that the miracle of the intelligence of local people is such that you can change the culture and the economy of this community just by capturing the passion, the energy and imagination of your own people. 4

Notes:
1 Ernesto Sirolli @ (05:02), Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!, YouTube, Published 26 Nov 2012. (Accessed 27 March 2016)
2 Ernesto Sirolli @ (06:26).
3 Ernesto Sirolli @ (10:44).
4 Ernesto Sirolli @ (15:41).

Teamwork and creative problem solving

Wintergatan: The making of Visa från Utanmyra

Wintergatan’s Marble Machine is going viral right now with 1.5 million views per day. I also found this video which shows the band’s making of a Swedish folk song, Visa från Utanmyra. It’s a great example of teamwork and creative problem solving! The video is in Swedish with English subtitles. The producer says (my emphasis in bold):

”I like when a band really is a band, where everyone has a unique role, and where everyone is listening, and everyone is cooperating in the making of the music. They have something special together. They have a huge amount of patience and can compare two sounds and discuss them for hours to know which way to go. It’s a straightforward creative process without nonsense. They’re going somewhere with the music. And they do it in this caring, collective way which I like a lot.

When you’re recording music it’s like taking a photograph of the emotional state of all people in the room. You can’t use editing tools to get that emotion. You won’t get that by moving or edit parts perfectly. If you’re after the emotional moment of people efforts, then you need to capture it, you can’t edit it.

See also:
Wintergatan: Visa från Utanmyra
Jan Johansson: Visa från Utanmyra
Monica Zetterlund: Visa från Utanmyra

Other music by Wintergatan:
Wintergatan: Full Album in HQ Audio
Wintergatan: Sommarfågel

Ralph Stacey on rule-following

Ralph Stacey writes that we have to think of global organizational order as continually emerging in myriad local interactions,1 and that it is highly simplistic to think of human beings as rule-following beings.2 In our acting, we may take account of rules but can hardly be said to blindly follow them.3

The essential and distinctive characteristic of human beings is that we are conscious and self-conscious beings capable of emotion, spontaneity, imagination, fantasy and creative action. We are essentially reflexive and reflective.4 We do not interact blindly according to mechanistic rules, but engage in meaningful communicative interaction with each other.5 We establish power relations between ourselves.6 And we also exercise at least some degree of choice as to how we will respond to the actions of others.7 In addition, we use tools and technologies to accomplish what we choose to do.8

This means that consciousness, self-consciousness, reflection and reflexivity, creativity, imagination and fantasy, communication, meaning, power, choice, evaluation, tool use and sociality should explicitly be brought to any interpretation, as regards human beings.9

Notes:
1 Patricia Shaw and Ralph Stacey (editors), Experiencing Risk, Spontaneity and Improvisation in Organizational Change: Working live, (Routledge, 2006), p. 125.
2 Ibid., p. 126.
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid..
6 Ibid..
7 Ibid..
8 Ibid..
9 Ibid..

Related post:
Ralph Stacey on beliefs

Become a now-ist

JoiItoFocus on being connected, always learning, fully aware and super present. In this talk Joi Ito, the head of the MIT Media Lab, shares an approach to creating in the moment. Build quickly and improve constantly, without waiting for permission or proof that you have the right idea. It starts, he says, with being open and alert to what’s going on around you right now.

Joi Ito outlines three principles for bottom-up innovation:

  1. Pull over Push: Seek the resources you need when you need it.
  2. Learning over Education: Learning is what you do. Education is what others do to you.
  3. Compass over Maps: You can’t map out everything. If you know the direction, a compass helps.

The uncovering of the U-process

TAI Presents Joseph Jaworski who tells the story about the uncovering of the U-process. The presentation is divided into the seven videos:

Related videos:
ZIN monastry for meaning and work invites Joseph Jaworski
Joseph Jaworski speaks to the to the staff of Berrett-Koehler about his history, perspective, and new book Source

The Elements

The Elements with Joseph Jaworski is an interesting series of short videos on:

Book Review: Labcraft

Labcraft: How innovation labs cultivate change through experimentation and collaboration is a book which illustrates ways in which labs cultivate change through experimentation and collaboration. The labs themselves are part of an emerging family of hybrid organizations which create dialogue, cross-pollinate perspectives, and create space for new things to emerge.

The book was co-authored by 12 different lab leaders/facilitators of which most had not worked together before.  They were brought together and produced the book in four days using the Book Sprint methodology. The authors believe that we are living in times of fundamental transition in the way we organize our societies and economies. Furthermore, they believe that there’s an abundance of untapped energy, ideas, and potential that can be leveraged to address the big challenges of our times. The book itself demonstrates what is possible when people join forces in new, innovative, and experimental ways. The authors combine their individual experiences with a willingness to represent a multitude of voices and perspectives. Together they convey an invitation to create spaces and initiatives for innovation and collaboration everywhere.

The book is published under Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 License. Below are excerpts (in italics) from Part III of the book, where the authors take a closer look at strategies for generating and accelerating emergent innovations. This is the part which I find most interesting. However, the book overall is well worth reading and I highly recommend the book to all who are interested in collaborative approaches!

Excerpts from Labcraft, Part III: Lab Strategies, pp. 64—114.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Many of our labs start with stepping back and trying to understand the landscape in which we are operating, and the interconnections between various players, rules, and stakeholders. Social systems are vast and complex, and individual organizations can sometimes forget that. As intermediaries and conveners of diverse stakeholders, our labs have an opportunity to make a larger part of the system visible to all, or to help that system see itself better. … Seeing the whole system helps people and institutions that are normally immersed in it to see the forest rather than the trees. When people are able to broaden their view, even just a bit for a short period of time, and look at the system as an observer, an “aha” moment is much more likely to arise. And for any of us, it can be empowering to realize that we aren’t the only tree trying to change the forest. Finally, mapping the system can help us identify the emerging alternatives, and any barriers to their entry. …

Cultivating Connections

The practice of cultivating connections is an enormous part of our labs’ work, which begs the question: connections between whom and what? Our labs often bring together people who don’t—or can’t, or won’t—normally engage with one another. We facilitate interactions between actors from differing sectors and fields, divergent backgrounds, and distinct, frequently antagonistic factions in our societies. Often, we do this to uncover commonalities. These engagements commonly end with a remarkable alignment of needs, challenges, and aspirations. And—equally valuable—a shared understanding of points of divergence and conflict often emerges. It’s essential to build understanding of opposing perspectives, and build depth and strength of relationships. … Over time, these are the some of the most important learnings our labs have found crucial to cultivating connections:

  • Create safe spaces. In labs, participants can come and hear views they don’t normally align themselves with; be honest about the challenges they face; and show up as individuals, not the organizations they represent.
  • Take a birds-eye view. Find the parts of the system that don’t understand each other, and look for people doing similar work in different systems. These stakeholders usually learn the most from each other.
  • Unexpected connections can be the most obvious ones. Sometimes it seems to make sense that two people should work together. And yet, for many reasons stemming from hierarchies and organizational and disciplinary silos, they just don’t. At the same time, some pairings or groupings that seem unlikely can become the most fruitful. Don’t take any connection for granted; you might miss some excellent opportunities.
  • Don’t wait to be asked. Often we’re not given the mandate to convene, but do it anyway.
  • Pull experience from everywhere. We build unexpected connections across disciplines by bringing together ideas like social enterprise, personal development, marketing, design, advocacy, and education.

Staying Close to People

Another aspect of our lab approach is to work directly with ordinary citizens and users—people. Our goal is that decisions within a system emerge from the authentic experience of end users, and the professionals that represent institutions “on the ground,” such as teachers and nurses. Staying close to people isn’t just good practice, it’s about respecting the rights and agency of users to influence processes that impact them. … Some of our key learnings as we aim to stay close to people are:

  • Get immersed. The best make-or-break observations often come when the observer is embedded in the target systems and with target beneficiaries. There’s no substitute for being there. … You can also build design skills in people who are already immersed in the context.
  • Just asking might not get you what you need. Interviews are invaluable, but they’re only one tool in the observer’s tool kit. Users may lack the schema or even language to communicate their needs. And often they are so intimately familiar with—and invested in—existing narratives about a problematic situation, they may not be best positioned to see what would be clear to a third-party observer.
  • Build for the hardest to reach. …
  • Positive deviance is powerful. Staying close to users helps us fight the assumption that we must make a new thing. Instead, we commonly find that elements of the overall challenge have already been addressed by community members who successfully developed their own local solutions that deviate from the mainstream way of dealing with the problem. Hence, our efforts are better spent iterating upon and scaling these existing bottom-up solutions than reinventing the wheel.

Experimenting and Prototyping

The notion of experimentation figures prominently into how we as labs identify and conceive of ourselves. What’s a laboratory, after all, without experimentation? We don’t just use experimentation in order to develop new solutions; it’s in our DNA. The concept of experimentation in the “hard” sciences is widely understood to involve these steps: look at the evidence; propose a hypothesis that explains that evidence; create a trial that tests the ability of your hypothesis to confirm, predict, or explain the evidence; and use the results of your trial to refine your hypothesis. … Our approach to experimentation looks considerably more like the natural sciences than a cursory glance might reveal. … We create hypotheses … We translate our hypotheses into prototypes for new or improved solutions … We test those solutions through their application, often in the form of pilots or trials with users. And we use the results of our tests to iterate and to inform the creation of still-better solutions. And we develop our own strategies and programs through a trial-and-error process of experimenting and prototyping. The prototype emerges as a central feature of our approaches. … It’s vital to experimentation that we introduce some thing you can test—something real that can succeed or fail, that can go off the rails, that can have unintended outcomes, that can break! That test allows us to learn. There’s a ton of great thinking out there on prototyping, so we’ll say only this: prototypes are disposable. Create them quickly and cheaply to make your thinking tangible, get it into the hands of users and stakeholders to test it, and throw it out when you’ve extracted what you need to know in order to make a better version. Iteration is what we do with that learning: we take our lessons from trials and pilots and feedback loops built around our prototypes, consolidate them into a refined hypothesis, and build a new and improved version of that prototype. … Some of the things we’ve learned over time about experimenting:

  • Know what you’re trying to discover. There’s a lot to be said for insights that emerge from pilots, and even more to be said about being open to being surprised. But our experience suggests that our efforts are best served when we define from the outset what we hope to learn from a pilot or trial.
  • If it isn’t working, stop doing it. This may sound obvious, but continuing on with something when it’s clearly not working happens more often than you might think in almost every type of organization. One of the key aspects of rapid-cycle prototyping is that you simply stop doing something when you realize it’s not working, learn from that, and move on.
  • Don’t take it personally. Labs take risks, so failure will happen. … Make sure the culture in your organization genuinely supports the notion that things won’t always work, and backs up the individuals who lead experiments.
  • Be strict about learning. Experimentation isn’t a substitute for deeper learning. There’s no point in failing for the sake of it. It’s crucial that no matter how much you may want to forget a failed experiment, you reflect after every activity that went wrong on what went well, what didn’t, and what you’d do differently.

Enabling Change Agents

One of the most important principles underpinning our practices is “go where the energy is.” We find pioneers and help them get their work done better and faster. Change agents can come from anywhere. … They can be highly skilled or completely fresh. They may have solid institutional backing—or none. The core philosophy here is that the people ultimately best suited to make change in the system are the people who are actually in that system or those impacted by it—those who live and breathe it every day. … Some important learnings about supporting change agents:

  • Create communities of change agents. Participants can learn from each other as well as from you, and they’ll have a support system that remains long after you stop facilitating.
  • Nurture accountability. Where possible, help people who are personally committed to your cause and are truly motivated to learn. People who are “told” they have to participate can be hugely disruptive to the process. Ownership can only be taken, not given.
  • Be realistic about timeframes. Genuine capacity-building takes a long time. From the start, set expectations regarding impact.
  • Acceleration is quicker that incubation. If you incubate concepts, rather than strategies or businesses, expect that many ideas or projects won’t get off the ground. Accelerators that support scalability for pioneers who are already innovating produce much faster results.
  • Be clear about what you hope to achieve through capacity building, and let your objectives inform your efforts. …

Power and Labwashing

How do we navigate the power dynamics between institutions and labs? Central to our craft is the ability to play the game while changing it. … As a result, we constantly walk a tightrope between challenging the status quo and asking radical questions using unconventional methodologies—while not alienating our own supporters and critical stakeholders. Swaying too far one way might make us irrelevant, while moving too far the other opens us to critique of “labwashing” important issues. An exercise that superficially looks like a lab process, but really only touches the surface and avoids really challenging the status quo, actually diverts scarce resources from where they could make a greater difference. To be successful, we need to “take our own medicine” and critically reflect on how we walk this tightrope. Becoming co-opted by power players and structures in the existing system is one of the greatest risks we face. When do we become so immersed in the game that changing the rules becomes a secondary goal? What we’ve seen across our labs is that these tensions, paradoxes, and questions arise constantly and must always be addressed seriously.

Tracking Fuzzy Impact

… All labs are real-life examples of how institutions and civil society can work together in more human, democratic, and creative ways. But the reality is that many of the people we depend upon for our survival—those who help resource us—are waiting for us to explain in clear and measurable terms the difference we’re making. For some aspects of our labs’ work, this demand is straightforward; in other areas it’s significantly more challenging. … It’s inherent to the mission and culture of most innovation labs that we stay open, not draw quick conclusions, and adapt—not begin with assumptions and narrow the possibilities.  So there’s an inherent contradiction between the predictive modus operandi of the existing institutions we work in or with, and the emergent approach that our labs use to innovate. … As labs, we see that a more general exploration of the problem will allow us to understand the nuances and opportunities within the problem space, and help us to define it differently. When we do that, we’re more likely to arrive at a breakthrough. We create different levels of impact. Some are tangible, some intangible; some are direct and some indirect. … In one way or another, all our labs create impact. And in the best cases, that impact is directly measurable. … Many of our impacts are less tangible, and yet no less real. One way to understand these less tangible impacts of labs is to distinguish between four levels of impact: …

  1. [Impact at the Level of] The Lab Itself
    Creating and running a lab is in itself an outcome that we shouldn’t ignore. … The value of this work lies in expanding the climate of ideas. It creates connections and breathes diversity into systems caught in the trap of “no alternatives.” Capturing the impact of these activities in a clear narrative [is] one of our challenges. A poignant question might be “what wouldn’t have happened if the lab didn’t exist?” …
  2. [The] Spinoffs [Generated]
    Many of our labs have created new labs that focus on other themes or challenges, using a similar methodology. …
  3. [The] Innovations and Innovators [Cultivates and Supported]
    A third level of impact comes in the form of developing new solutions, policies, technologies, business models and products (the innovations), and through building the capacity of change agents (the innovators). The involvement of change agents in our programs can range from intensive retreats and long-term incubation projects to participation in a one-day event … This aspect of tracking participants is a real struggle, as resources are scarce and capturing the impact of the many participants who pass through all of our programs is impossible.
  4. [Emerging] New Narratives
    A fourth level of impact created by labs is the cultivation of new meta-narratives—the stories through which we understand society and detect opportunities for change. We act as hubs in networks of changemakers and emerging innovations, and from that unique position we can see the new stories emerging in between seemingly diverse projects and ideas.

We’re all experimenting with [finding new] ways to keep track of our impact. …

Staying Nimble

Our labs each occupy a specific position in between the old and the new, between massive challenges and emerging alternatives. These alternatives are sometimes small, sometimes even seemingly irrelevant, yet are impossible to ignore, especially in the long term. Stuck systems produce various kinds of urgencies, and one of the most prominent ones is the constant impulse to grow. … The key challenge here is to find a way to grow our impact without becoming the same rigid system we’re trying to transform. Can we work at scale and still be nimble? Or does scale imply compromise?

What our labs seem to have in common is a search to find new ways of spreading, replicating and diffusing. … We open-source our processes so others can use them, build on them, adjust them to their own contexts, and drastically improve them. …

Nio grundläggande mänskliga behov

Här är nio grundläggande mänskliga behov från Marshall Rosenbergs kurs i Nonviolent Communication:

  • Försörjning (grundläggande fysiska behov, mat, luft, vatten, tak över huvudet)
  • Trygghet (skydd)
  • Kärlek
  • Empati
  • Vila (rekreation, lek)
  • Gemenskap
  • Kreativitet
  • Autonomi (starkt behov av att välja vår egen väg i livet, finns vid liv i oss från tidig ålder)
  • Mening (leva livet fullt ut, bidrar till livet, att se hur vårt arbete har gjort människors liv rikare och livet på planeten rikare)

Nine basic human needs

Marshall Rosenberg mentions nine basic human needs in his NVC training course Session #3 (22 minutes from start):

  • Sustenance (basic physical needs, food, air, water, shelter)
  • Safety (protection)
  • Love
  • Empathy
  • Rest (recreation, play)
  • Community (warm)
  • Creativity
  • Autonomy (strong need to choose our own way in life, is alive in us from an early age)
  • Meaning (living life fully, purpose, need to contribute to life, to see how our efforts have made people’s lives richer and the life on the planet richer)

These needs are in turn based on Manfred Max-Neef’s classification of fundamental human needs.

How to confront complex challenges as a team?

I am now reading Leading from the Emerging Future by Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer. Chapter 4 of the book is about the Source: Connecting to Intention and Awareness. Whenever a team, or an organization, is to confront a complex challenge which requires collective creativity, the following stages emerge:

  1. Suspension. A precondition is to stop old habits of judgment and thought, breaking habitual patterns.
  2. Redirection: The next step is to start seeing reality from a multiplicity of views. This requires listening to others.
  3. Letting go: What might happen next, there’s no guarantee, is a profound moment of “quieting” which helps the team to become aware of who they really are and what they are here for. Entering this state allows the team to operate from a co-creative flow.

Reference: Otto Scharmer & Katrin Kaufer, Leading from the Emerging Future, p. 146.

On working in a connected workplace

Jon Husband has been studying the sociology of human social systems and the structures and dynamics of the organizations in which they work and play for the last 40 years. He has coined and defined the term and concept of wirearchy, which is a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority based on knowledge, trust, credibility and a focus on results, enabled by interconnected people and technology. On Leading, Managing and Co-creating in the Connected Workplace Jon Husband writes that:

  1. Customers, employees and other stakeholders are all interconnected, and have access to most, if not all the information that everyone else has
  2. The organization chart usually reflects power and politics in the organization … more often than not, customers and employees find work-arounds to create the experiences that delight
  3. People interconnected by the Internet and software have ways of speaking to each other—and so they do that – all day long.
  4. Champion-and-Channel replaces Command-and-Control
  5. Conversations are where information is shared, knowledge is created and are the basis for getting the right things done
  6. Trust, transparency and telling the truth are the glue that holds it all together
  7. The Workplace of the Future will be more diverse—in terms of demographics, values, gender, race and language
  8. New, integrated and sophisticated technologies are being developed and implemented—and the knowledge workers of tomorrow will be more interconnected than ever
  9. We’re all in this together
  10. There’s no going back to “Normal”—Permanent Whitewater is the New Normal

Connecting to your self is the only way to go!

Interesting blogs

Here’s a list of some of my favorite blogs:

To be continued…

Kvinnor gör grupper intelligentare

MIT:s Center for Collective Intelligence bedriver forskning kring hur människor och datorer kan samverka så att de kollektivt agerar mer intelligent. I forskningen kring vad det är som gör grupper smartare och mer innovativa har man hittat tre gemensamma faktorer:

  • Att gruppmedlemmarna är socialt lyhörda.
  • Att alla i gruppen deltar i samtalet.
  • Att andelen kvinnor är hög.

Det forskarna upptäckte var att grupper med både kvinnor och män är smartare än grupper med enbart män, men också att grupper med enbart kvinnor är allra smarast!

I en intervju med Thomas Malone, MIT, om kollektiv intelligens säger han (min översättning) att ”… vi fann att gruppens kollektiva intelligens var signifikant korrelerad med den procentuella andelen kvinnor i gruppen. Fler kvinnor var korrelerat med en mer intelligent grupp. Intressant är att detta resultat inte enbart är ett resultat av mångfald. Det är inte bara att säga att en vi behöver grupper med en del män och en del kvinnor. Det ser ut som om det är en mer eller mindre linjär trend, dvs. fler kvinnor är bättre ända vägen upp till enbart kvinnor”.

Vi vill nog ha kvinnlig majoritet på ledningsnivå!

Se också denna video där Thomas Malone, MIT, talar om ledarskap och kollektiv intelligens (12 min 26 sek från start).

W.L. Gore’s management model

Gary Hamel describes W.L. Gore’s original management model in this story on innovation democracy. Lessons learned are to:

  • Believe in people – trusted them to be passionate and engaged in their work
  • Lead with (and live) your values – walk the talk, every day
  • Take the long view – foster employee growth and innovation
  • Be bold – give time, patience, and freedom to innovate, even if that means making mistakes
  • It’s not an option – a collaborative work environment where information is freely shared

See also Gary’s interview with W.L. Gore CEO Terri Kelly.