Collaborating from the Place of Common Ground

While the news is full of partisan politics, an alternative model is emerging for how to make progress in addressing large scale challenges: collaborative networks. Through network initiatives, parts of a system can come together, find common ground, and pursue solutions and collective action from those points of agreement. The Energy Action Network (EAN) in… Read more

What it Takes to Create Collective Impact – 20 Questions

I recently worked with the Garfield Foundation to design and facilitate a gathering of people who specialize in collaborative networks and systemic approaches to social change. This meeting convened about a dozen experienced practitioners for two days of rich, inspiring, expansive conversations about what it takes to do this work effectively. These insights will inform… Read more

Leading with a Network Mindset

Working in a network is different than working in an organization. When we invite people to join a network, we cannot expect people who have spent their entire careers working in organizations to know how to “show up” to work in networked ways. Traditional organizational structures are based on certain way of seeing the world… Read more

The Climate Action Conundrum

Years ago, I was in the audience at a conference of investors and environmentalists listening to a panel of presenters talk about what actions they were pursuing on climate. A speaker from NRDC, who worked in their D.C. office and was all too familiar with the political realities, was talking about their strategy of advocating… Read more

Rational and Not Rational at the Same Time

The resistance to taking action on climate change is a classic example of what in systems thinking terms is called “bounded rationality,” where people act in their rational self-interest in the short-term yet together create results no one wants. “Bounded rationality” was a term coined by Herbert Simon, an economist. Donella Meadows, the late scientist,… Read more

Imaginal Cells: A Model from Nature for Transforming Systems

The transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly provides a compelling metaphor for those working to re-imagine and transform organizations and larger systems to be thriving, restorative, and sustainable. This metaphor illustrates how connecting networks of those working for change is the next step to bring about a larger transformation. Elisabet Sahtouris, an evolutionary biologist… Read more