A Creative Way to Shift Systemic Racism

Mapping Prejudice in Minneapolis engaged citizens in doing research to create maps that visualize how historic racist practices in real estate drove racial segregation that persists to this day. I learned about it from Janne Flisrand, a network weaver friend who is active in civic affairs there. She said it was instrumental in building the political will that enabled the city to… Read more

Making Large Events Participatory

It’s possible to make large events participatory and interactive. Here we share our latest inspiration and approaches, from recent work with events from 50 people to over 200 people. The topics and audiences vary, yet the desire to inspire and connect people, enhance learning, build connections, and advance work beyond the meeting is the same…. Read more

The Most Frustrating and Memorable College Class

A few weeks ago, I attended my college reunion at Bates College. I co-hosted a conversation among around 60 alumni about leadership, with my friend J.J. Cummings. Instead of a typical panel presentation, we invited everyone to consider this question: Share a story from your experience of what you have learned about what it takes… Read more

Questioning to Question Our Assumptions

Asking powerful questions can spark people’s intrinsic motivation to learn, contribute and create positive change. They also allow organizations and networks to tap and synthesize the knowledge, experience, and perspectives of many people in a system, organization, or community. Today I taught a workshop called The Art of Strategic Questioning, with a group of about 30 people who do… Read more

Time to Rethink Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a classic method for getting a group to generate ideas. A topic is suggested, people speak up with their ideas and suggestions, and someone writes them down. The technique is so commonly used and assumed to work, I was surprised to learn that research shows this technique is actually not effective. Keith Sawyer,… Read more

Listening that Enables Emerging Possibilities

I recently participated in an on-line course presented by MIT and Otto Scharmer about creating transformative change (amazingly, with about 40,000 other people around the world). The course explores frameworks for how we personally and collectively can address the challenges of our time and change systems that are “creating results nobody wants.” The heart of… Read more

Collective Impact at a Community Scale: United Way of Greater New Bedford

United Way organizations around the country are reinventing the role they play in their communities from their traditional role of fundraising for social service agencies through workplace campaigns. As this paper, Charting a Course for Change describes, United Ways are serving as a community convener, engaging local partners (e.g., residents, businesses, local government, social service… Read more

The Multi-Dimensional Benefits of a World Café

I recently co-facilitated a “taster” to explore a variety of ways of designing meetings to more fully engage the collective intelligence of the group. One of the techniques we explored was the World Café. About half of this group had participated in it before and here were some of their key concerns: World Café had… Read more