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Collaborative Conversation, Simple But Not Easy
 

Collaborative Conversation, Simple But Not Easy

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Ken Homer, Principal, Collaborative Conversations and David Hodgson, Converger, International Futures Forum, Principal and Founding Member, The IdeaHive, talk about the transformative value ...

Ken Homer, Principal, Collaborative Conversations and David Hodgson, Converger, International Futures Forum, Principal and Founding Member, The IdeaHive, talk about the transformative value collaborative conversation brings to individuals, organizations and government.
Ken and David share one-of-a-kind perspectives, knowledge and stories about the powerful value of collaborative conversation to advance a meaningful society.
Ken is a Collaborative Coach and Consultant, and Principal of Collaborative Conversations, Adjunct Faculty-Mentor at New Ventures West, and Consultant, Facilitator and Coach at Omega Point International. Ken is past Director of Community Outreach, The World Cafe Foundation.
We wish to thank Ken and David for their generous contribution of knowledge and wisdom to the I-Open community.

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    Collaborative Conversation, Simple But Not Easy Collaborative Conversation, Simple But Not Easy Document Transcript

    • Interview and transcription June 19, 2010Ken Homer, Collaborative ConversationsWith David Hodgson, IdeaHive and International Futures ForumChapter OneThe Power of Conversation: Simple But Not EasyVideo Link: http://www.vimeo.com/17775503 [00:04:48]Ken Homer: Harry “Sweets” Edison was a special guest trumpeter.David Hodgson: Sorry, that name means nothing to me.Ken Homer: He was one of the original trumpeters in the Bassie Bandback in the thirties. So…David Hodgson: And they still play that kind of style?Ken Homer: Yeah, well, they’ve kept the charts. The charts is the heart ofthe band. Right? So, they kept all the charts. They’ve got the book.David Hodgson: Well, the charts and the performance history, because,you know, the charts are one thing, but it’s the human thing that you bringfor the playing of those charts, which is…Ken Homer: The lineage is there. Everybody in there has got major chops.They’re really…Copyright 2010 Betsey Merkel and I-Open. Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution-Noncommercial- No Derivative Works. Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA
    • 2David Hodgson: Some of the best, right?Ken Homer: Yes, and it’s thrilling playing and if you’ve never experiencedit. We were in a small theater at KSM’s campus, called the Little Theater. Itonly holds about four hundred people. We were about five rows up from theorchestra. So we were about level with the stage because it actually comesdown below the stage. When the band came up on this one number called,“Blues in Hoss’ Flat”, every cavity in my body was vibrating with the music.It was literally a thrilling moment, my whole body; my body was thrilled; itwas like, “Oh, my God, this is amazing!” Because the sound just washesright through you, it’s not at all like listening to headphones. It’s a full bodyexperience, you know? It’s not loud, like amplified electrified music. This isa horn section that stands up and this wall just comes washing over you,and you’re like, “Whoa!” That’s what live jazz is all about.David Hodgson: It’s about the whole band playing together to createthis…if you’ve got band members who are competing with one another itisn’t going to sound very good. It’s about that playing together as a singleunit, that’s yet good jazz music, when you see good jazz music – it’s likenothing else.Ken Homer: You should rent, you get Netflixs; actually you can download itinstantly, Ken Burn’s Jazz Series. If you haven’t seen it, it’s phenomenal.You’ll learn so much. You’ll know who Harry “Sweets” Edison is by the timeyou’re done.David Hodgson: So, Ken, what do you do?Ken Homer: What do I do? My favorite thing to do is to talk. My favoritething to do is to get people talking. I came to this because I am fairlyconcerned about what is going on in the world. It looks like it’s a reallyunique time in history that humans are going through a dramatic change atevery level and there are indications that we may actually be waking up asa global species. Almost twenty years ago I heard a man ask a group ofpeople, “What’s the greatest challenge facing humanity today?” And there’sa long list everybody knows: war, and nuclear waste and loss of habitat,and loss of diversity and extinction and pollution and population. And heCopyright 2010 Betsey Merkel and I-Open. Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution-Noncommercial- No Derivative Works. Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA
    • 3said, “You know, those are all really, really big challenges but they’re allsecondary because until we can sit in the same room with other peoplewho have very different ideas then we do, and listen to those ideas andwhen we disagree with them, not resort to violence to have our way, andnot leave because we don’t get our way, but to actually hang in there andfind something new, we won’t make any headway on those challenges.”That was sort of a lightening bolt moment in my life where I kind of said,“Oh my God, the power of conversation is phenomenal.” That was aboutalmost twenty years ago and I spent the last twenty years studying the roleof conversation in human communities and organizations and how to talktogether effectively to make things happen where people decide what it isthey want to have happen and then walk through the steps to make thathappen. So, conversation is my thing.David Hodgson: At one level it seems ridiculous that we…it seems like themost straight forward thing in the world to do, that we can talk to oneanother, decide what we’re collectively going to do and then figure outways of having it happen, or of doing it. And yet, it’s not really anexperience that I’ve had in my life of being in those kinds of situationswhere it happens. Generally in organizations, it’s far more, I don’t know itdoesn’t work like that. What’s your…Ken Homer: Yes, I’ve noticed that! Most of what I’ve learned and most ofwhat I know comes from observing where we have breakdowns. Bybreakdown, I simply mean that there’s an interruption in flow. We say wewant to get to point A, and we take two steps and we find out that we’ve gotsomething going on that prevents us from getting there. So, a breakdowncan be positive, negative, it just means an interruption in flow. By payingattention to where people’s ability to coordinate their meaning and theiraction and where the conversation breaks down, you can begin to remedythat and start to model something different. The other thing you say is thatyou’re describing something that is simple but it’s not easy. The essence ofthe work that I do is getting people with diverse ideas to come together, talkabout what’s meaningful to them, explore what’s possible, and thencoordinate they’re collective action to make something happen and then tolearn and reflect on what happened so that they can next time around, dosomething even better. That’s really simple, but it is not easy. ThisCopyright 2010 Betsey Merkel and I-Open. Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution-Noncommercial- No Derivative Works. Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA
    • 4distinction between simple and easy is something that eludes most people.We think simple means easy and it doesn’t. I study martial art called ChiTung. I have a teacher who’s been practicing for thirty-five years theparticular form that he teaches me. He can make a really simple move thatlooks really easy. When I try it I discover that it’s not easy because he’sdone it thousands of times and I’m trying it for the very first time and it’sreally hard to coordinate to get my brain to send the right signal to mymuscles and my breath and my eyes and have everything flow into onething. There’s a lot of coordination going on behind the scenes; so yes, it’ssimple but it’s not easy and the same thing with human beings andconversation. It’s very simple, but it’s not easy.Our generous thanks to Ken Homer and David Hodgsonhttp://collaborativeconversations.com/The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open)4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Floor Cleveland Ohio 44103 USACopyright 2009 Betsey Merkel and I-Open Creative Commons LicenseAttribution-Noncommercial No Derivative Works 3.0 United StatesKeywordsCollaboration, collaborative conversations, collective-intelligence, creativity,critical-thinking, dialogue, dissent, problems, inclusion, indigenous-wisdom,large-group-process, leadership, listening, messes, perspective, wickedmesses, somatic-intelligence, systems, trust, questions, community,organizations, emergence, culture, dreams, desires, conflict, world-caféInterview IndexChapter 1: Collaborative ConversationsVideo Link: http://www.vimeo.com/17768120 [00:55:35]Transcription Link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/45695026/Ken-Homer-Collaborative-Conversations-Interview-06-19-2010Chapter 2: The Power of Conversation: Simple But Not EasyVideo Link: http://www.vimeo.com/17775503 [00:04:48]Chapter 3: Conversations in OrganizationsCopyright 2010 Betsey Merkel and I-Open. Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution-Noncommercial- No Derivative Works. Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA
    • 5Video Link: http://www.vimeo.com/17776383 [00:10:55]Chapter 4: Conversations & ConflictVideo Link: http://www.vimeo.com/17777358 [00:05:39]Chapter 5: Conversation & ListeningVideo Link: http://www.vimeo.com/17779351 [00:05:20]Chapter 6: Oral TraditionsVideo Link: http://www.vimeo.com/17780722 [00:04:43]Chapter 7: Conversational Shared MeaningVideo Link: http://www.vimeo.com/17780985 [00:04:50]Chapter 8: Conversation & PossibilityVideo Link: http://www.vimeo.com/17782427 [00:03:50]Chapter 9: Organizations & Shared MeaningVideo Link: http://www.vimeo.com/17782832 [00:07:16]Chapter 10: Problems, Messes & Wicked MessesVideo Link: http://www.vimeo.com/17783272 [00:05:10]Chapter 11: StoriesVideo Link: http://www.vimeo.com/17783665 [00:02:38]Reference Links Ken Homer on Twitter http://twitter.com/ken_homer Collaborative Conversations http://collaborativeconversations.com/ New Ventures West http://www.newventureswest.com/ Omega Point International http://omegapoint.net/ The World Cafe Community Foundation http://www.theworldcafe.com/wccf.htm David Hodgson on Twitter http://twitter.com/davidhodgson International Futures Forum http://www.internationalfuturesforum.com/ The IdeaHive http://theideahive.com/Copyright 2010 Betsey Merkel and I-Open. Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution-Noncommercial- No Derivative Works. Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA
    • 6Learn from the wisdom of civic leaders across these I-Opencommunities: Facebook I-Open http://tiny.cc/odlg2 Flickr http://tiny.cc/73y6e Friendfeed http://friendfeed.com/iopen Livestream http://www.livestream.com/iopen/ Posterous http://i-open.posterous.com/ Scribd http://www.scribd.com/I-Open Slideshare http://www.slideshare.net/IOpen2 Strategy-Nets http://tiny.cc/km04y Twitter http://twitter.com/iopen2 Vimeo http://tiny.cc/106p0 You Tube http://tiny.cc/j5rsePhotos by Alice MerkelOn Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/alice_merkels_photos/Copyright 2010 Betsey Merkel and I-Open. Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution-Noncommercial- No Derivative Works. Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA