Idea Dancing & Pebbles from Heaven: Challenges for Leaders FEATURING THE WORK OF Thomas John Ott Brenda Homer-Dixon Zimmerman AND OTHER THINKERSFrom a summary of key note speakers at the Tamarack 2010 CCI Conference Assembled by Barbara Dart & Mark Holmgren Further development by Mark Holmgren for the LenP300 course.
Stuck In Perpetual Crisis? Collaborate!from Mark Cabaj, Tamarack InstituteWe need leadership that acknowledges the complexity and chaos of the world in which we live.We need leadership that is rooted in the sometimes grim reality of our day to day world, yet concurrently is able to fuel our highest aspirations and embolden us to great change. From the opening Plenary
Stuck In Perpetual Crisis? Collaborate!from Mark Cabaj, Tamarack InstituteWe need leadership that is authentically inclusive; recognizes multiple truths in the world; and taps into our shared wisdom.We need leadership that is adaptive and flexible and embraces risk-taking, change and failure as opportunities for learning. From the opening Plenary
Opening ExerciseFinish these opening statements...We need leadership that acknowledges...We need leadership that is rooted in...We need leadership that is authentically...
Dr. Thomas Homer-DixonDay One Key Note:Chaos, Uncertainty and the Possibility ofCollaboration, Framing the issues facing ourcommunities – our worldThomas Homer-Dixon holds the Centre for International GovernanceInnovation Chair of Global Systems at the Balsillie School of InternationalAffairs in Waterloo, Canada, and is a Professor in the Centre for Environmentand Business in the Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo. He isauthor of and Environment, Scarcity, and Violence. Learn more aboutThomas on his website here. Access Thomas keynote presentation here.
Thomas Homer DixonREASONS FOR RESISTENCE TO CHANGECognitive: Cognitive inertia due to availability bias (assessing change and challenges based on recent or current experiences)Emotional: Motivated bias to defend ones identity. It is hard to change when what you are facing is a redefinition of yourself and/or your role.Economic: Misleading price signals. Example if the price of oil included what it will cost to find alternatives to dwindling reserves, we might think differently.Social: Vested interests pose barriers to making change that will alter what social position or benefits we experience.Political: Short time horizons tend to define problems in small and often unrealistic chunks. Governments work in annual cycles and within the context of elections. Change that falls beyond the short term may not be sell-able to the public.
Thomas Homer Dixon“We need to shift from seeing the world ascomposed mainly of MACHINES toseeing it as composed mainly of …… COMPLEX SYSTEMS”
Thomas Homer Dixon“Whereas MACHINES• can be taken apart, analyzed, and fully understood (they are no more than the sum of their parts)• exhibit “normal normal” or equilibrium patterns of behavior• show proportionality of cause and effect, and• can be managed because their behavior predictable . . .”
Thomas Homer DixonCOMPLEX SYSTEMS“Are more than the sum of their parts(they have emergent properties);Can flip from one pattern of behavior to another (they have multiple equilibriums);Show disproportionality of cause and effect (their behavior is often nonlinear, because of feedbacks and synergies), andCannot be easily managed because their behavior is often unpredictable.”
Thomas Homer DixonThere are no simple fixes to complex problems.“Complex problems require complex solutions.”
Thomas Homer DixonIs rising social, economic and technological complexity a good thing or a bad thing?
Thomas Homer Dixon“A GOOD THING!Complexity often helps us solve our problemsComplexity is often a source of:Innovation (through novel combinations)Adaptability (through diversity and distributedcapability)”
Thomas Homer Dixon“A BAD THING?Complexity can causeOpacity and extreme uncertaintyManagerial OverloadCascading FailuresBrittleness.”
Thomas Homer Dixon “How do we innovate ina world of rising complexity andincreasingly likely breakdown?”
Thomas Homer DixonIncrease system resilience Learn to identify problem types (simple, complicated, or complex) Decentralize and diversify problem solving to rapidly explore solution landscape (with safe-fail experimentation) Generate breakdown scenarios ( to enable robust decision making)
Thomas Homer Dixon“The PROSPECTIVEMIND is a RESILIENT mind”
Thomas Homer DixonFrom Dr. Homer-Dixons CCI Presentation
Thomas Homer Dixon Too much connectivity can harm resilience.From Dr. Homer-Dixons CCI Presentation
Thomas Homer Dixon“How do we lead in a world of rising complexity? Leaders should constantly probe to determine patterns in changing solution landscape Small experiments are probes.Leaders should be “gardeners” who create conditions forexperimentation – and for creative failure”
John OttDay Two Keynote: John OttConnect: The Collaborative LeaderUnderstanding Collective wisdom and changeJohn Ott is co-author of the brilliant new book The Power ofCollective Wisdom. John, a graduate of Stanford Law School, lives inCalifornia. He began group work as a community organizer, helpingresidents discern their collective voice and claim their power. For thelast 15 years he has designed and led large-scale community andorganizational change efforts and is a founding member of the FetzerInstitute’s Collective Wisdom Initiative. Learn more about the JohnOtt and the Collective Wisdom Initiative here. Access Johns fullkeynote presentation here and summary here.
John Ott“A key distinction to remember: Facts: verified or verifiable Stories: the meaning we make of facts”
John Ott “When human beings gather ingroups, a depth of awareness andinsight, a transcendent knowing,becomes available to us that, ifaccessed, can lead to profoundaction. We call this transcendentknowing collective wisdom.”
John Ott“This knowing is not of the mind alone, noris it of any individual alone. When thisknowing and sense of right actionemerges, it does so from deep within theindividual participants, from within thecollective awareness of the group, andfrom within the larger field that holds thegroup.”
John Ott : THE SCALLOP PRINCIPLE Each one of us is an eye (I); the whole discerns through us. The corollary: when we don’t hear from any eye (I), the whole is at greater risk.Image from John Otts CCI Presentation
John OttImage from John Otts CCI Presentation
John OttImage from John Otts CCI Presentation
John OttStances that support the arising of collective wisdom • Suspend certainty • See the whole • Seek diverse perspectives • Welcome all that is arising • Trust in the transcendent
EXERCISEWhat must leaders know/learn in order tohelp create and sustain the kinds ofstances John Ott talks about?
John Ott“Often when human beings gather in groups, we become conduits for wisdom’s opposite—folly. We use the term folly to reflect a continuum of behaviors, from mere foolishness to acts of depravity. Put bluntly, if human beings have the capacity to access collective wisdom, why don’t we?”
John OttBE WARY OF... Image from John Otts CCI Presentation
John OttImage from John Otts CCI Presentation
Brenda ZimmermanDAY THREE KEY NOTE: Brenda ZimmermanEngage: Systems ChangeHealthy communities, complexity and collaborativeleadershipBrenda Zimmerman is co-author of the best-selling book Getting toMaybe: How the World is Changed, which explores real-lifeexamples of social change through a systems and relationship lensand applies the insights of complexity theory to lay out a brand newway of thinking about making change in communities, in business,and in the world. Dr Brenda Zimmerman is the Associate Professorof Policy and Director, of the Health Industry Management Programat the Schulich School of Business, York University. Learn moreabout Brenda Zimmerman and complexity here. Access Brendaskeynote presentation here.
Brenda Zimmerman Time is too short and things are too bad for pessimism. Dee HockImage from Brenda Zimmermans CCI Presentation
Brenda Zimmerman We need to differentiate between the simple, the complicated and the complexImage from Brenda Zimmermans CCI Presentation
Brenda Zimmerman What is a simple system or challenge non profits can address with a recipe?Image from Brenda Zimmermans CCI Presentation
Brenda Zimmerman What is a complicated system or challenge non profits face that have knowable components and solutions?Image from Brenda Zimmermans CCI Presentation
Brenda Zimmerman What is a complex system or challenge non profits face and what might be some of its unknowable components leaders must address?Image from Brenda Zimmermans CCI Presentation
Brenda Zimmerman Generative thinking is getting to the question before the“When In The Zone Of... question. Generative work is almost always aboutSimple or Complicated questions of values, beliefs, Plan then act assumptions, and Aim for consistency organizational cultures. Limit type of action (best practice) “Blueprints” Project Management Thats what makes it interesting, but also whatComplexity makes it important is to have “Act-learn” at the same time people in those (tight feedback loops) conversations who Aim for “coherence” understand the institution, Multiple actions but have some degree of Minimum specs/simple rules distance. Generative thinking AND Generative relationships Richard Chait, Harvard Inquiry” http://hbswk.hbs.edu/archive/4735.html
Brenda ZimmermanA divergent question is a question withno specific answer, but rather exercisesin ones ability to think broadly about acertain topic.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divergent_questions Image from Brenda Zimmermans CCI Presentation
From Convergence, David La Piana et al
Brenda Zimmerman Can God create a stone that God cannot lift? Image from Brenda Zimmermans CCI Presentation
Brenda Zimmerman“Wicked questions –examples • How can we dramatically improve quality while drastically reducing costs? • How do we work together when we all have different agendas? • How can we commit ourselves to be accountable for achieving measurable results, while at the same time staying open to the possibility that we may be measuring the wrong outcomes? (from Paul Born’s book)”
ExerciseHow might doing away with outcomesand outcome measurement liberateour organizations to help people andcommunities achieve theiraspirations? What questions arise out of this question? What are different ways of seeing success other than identifying outcomes? How might designing services to achieve outcomes limit our ability to help create significant and lasting change?
Brenda ZimmermanAI is based on the assumption that organizationschange in the way they inquire and the claim thatan organization which inquires into problems ordifficult situations will keep finding more of thesame but an organization which tries toappreciate what is best in itself will find/discovermore and more of what is good.http://www.new-paradigm.co.uk/Appreciative.htm Image from Brenda Zimmermans CCI Presentation
Brenda Zimmerman Image from Brenda Zimmermans CCI Presentation
By Linda Ackerman Anderson and Dean Anderson
Awake at the WheelHighlights:“The future state is so radically different thanthe current state that a shift of mindset isrequired to invent it”Transformation requires transformedbehaviour.Transformed behaviour requires transformedthinking.
Awake at the Wheel“Mindset is causative...”Leaders mindsets about people,organizations and change determine...What they see and dont see.How they react and process what they seeand dont see.Their leadership style, the results theystrive for, the strategies they espouse.
Awake at the Wheel
Awake atthe Wheel
Theory of Change?A theory of change is a strategy or blueprint forachieving large-scale, long-term goals. It identifiesthe preconditions, pathways and interventionsnecessary for an initiatives success. ...www.skollfoundation.org/skollawards/glossary.asp
Theory of Change?it shows a causal pathway from here to there byspecifying what is needed for goals to be achieved(e.g. you might argue that children a ttendingschool a minimum number of days is necessary ifthey are going to learn).it requires you to articulate underlyingassumptions which can be tested and measured.it changes the way of thinking about initiativesfrom what you are doing to what you want toachieve and starts there.http://www.theoryofchange.org/background/basics.html