I’m packing my luggage and laptop . . . I’m off to Bowling Green, Ohio today for the Nexus For Change Conference. This really falls into the category of a bus man’s holiday. Can you imagine what will happen as the advance press explains what we are up to:
Our focus will be on leveraging the power of over 60 approaches being used to transform whole organizations and communities as they tackle 21st Century Challenges. These approaches are broadly referred to as large-group methods/interventions, whole system change, or large-scale change. What make them unique are two foundation assumptions: high involvement and a systemic approach to improvement.
Over 300 people will gather starting today, coming from the US, Canada and abroad. We all share a passion for supporting the processes (Appreciative Inquiry among them) that shift the focus and shape the future. I’ve been fascinated by the introductions posted by nearly half of those who will attend. Their backgrounds are so diverse, rich, broad and deep. They speak of hopes and dreams for our few days together. Listen to their hearts . . .
Perhaps this can be a circumstance whereby each can let go of some tension in their own balloon, little or large, so as we ease into this we may discover that there is more air for all and for the whole…
We need to make sure we include people from around the world in these discussions. Then, we can consider things like shared principles, research possibilities, the role of technology, and our contribution to the challenges facing the world today.
Who would help me build a storybook that tells the journey of “ordinary people” who have made real difference – written for executives and managers?
I’d like to begin serious conversation that includes both practitioners and academic researchers about how to conduct significant academic research on the large group methods’ research that has the capacity both to contribute to academic theorizing and to the methods themselves.
How come the ideas and methods we know work in the best educations, companies, communities and research teams are not known to every single person in the world?
My own passion has long been about opening the dialogue across the organization. That openness encompassing the various people in roles that are diverse in expertise, authority and structure, and at the same time opening the media of expression and communication to include not just verbal and written language, but the arts, technology, and science. From that flows an aspiration for the Nexus conference, that the silos that separate and distinguish the change methodologies lose their significance as we reshape our understanding of models, language and tools. It would be my dream that, like sculptors, we retain the substance of the clay as we give it new shape and life for the work.