CPYF november 2010 newsletter: Innovations Start Small

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CPYF november 2010 newsletter: Innovations Start Small

  1. 1. Dialogue Newsletter November 2010 CP Yen Foundation “Innovations start small” [ Interview with C. Otto Scharmer ]The following is an interview with Otto Scharmer, author of Theory U and anaction researcher dedicated to creating innovations in learning and leadership,which he delivers through classes and programs at MIT, the Global Classroomonline programs, Presencing Institute programs and through innovation andchange projects within and among organizations and communities. Theinterview below was conducted by Inwent - Capacity Building International; anon-profit organization with worldwide operations dedicated to humanresource development, advanced training, anddialogue. http://www.inwent.org/ez/articles/072913/index.en.shtmlQ: What must capacity building be like to enable people to tacklethe huge challenges humankind is facing?A: It is certainly not enough to impart specialist knowledge to individuals inany specific field. In my experience, if we want organisations to becomeinnovative, to change and to boost their performance, it boils down to fourpoints:1. globalization,2. personalization,3. prototyping, and4. networking across sectors.Q:Please elaborate some more, what do you mean byglobalization?A:In this context, I am thinking of the positive, empowering force thatstems from bringing together people from different cultural spheres. We areall grappling with the same problems and we can help one another, providedwe are networked in a meaningful way.Q:What is the personal dimension?A: I mean the personal journey. It really is about getting in touch with thecore of human creativity:– who am I?– where do I want to go – and where do I feel a sense of possibility that pullsCP Yen Foundation Dialogue Newsletter 1 1
  2. 2. me towards the future?– what purpose do I want to serve?Anyone without a clear understanding of these matters is unlikely to find thesource of their creativity and strength. People who are under great pressureand in positions to implement change need inner places of stillness; otherwisethey will not stay competitive and resilient. Meditation can help in this regard.But other approaches are useful too, “journaling”, for instance: writing in areflective mode, guided by crucial questions allows individuals to betterunderstand their personal development.Q: What about prototyping?A: That is basically an emphasis on “learning by doing”. There is not muchpoint in discussing things only in theoretical terms; you have to try them outand gather tangible experience. Otherwise, no lesson will really stick. Allmajor innovations have small beginnings. To get in touch with the decisiveinnovative ideas of any community or individual, we need not only theintelligence of the mind, but also that of the hands and the heart.Q: Your fourth point was cross-sector networking.A:Yes, and that is probably the most difficult aspect. When it comes tocomplex systemic challenges, any single organization is normally too small tohave any meaningful impact.Even large corporations today do not simply implement innovations at theirproduction sites. Rather, they involve their entire supply chain; they considerthe skills and needs of their suppliers and customers too. The most seriousglobal problems, from hunger to war to protecting biodiversity, will not besolved unless all key stakeholders are involved in meaningful ways; and thatincludes governments as well as civil society and the private sector. Allsummed up, we tend to always come up against the same limits. We mustinvolve everyone concerned in creative dialogue, in a process of perceiving,understanding and letting go of old patterns, allowing new relationships andforms of action to emerge. And then we have to test them in smallexperiments.Q: What do you have in mind as an alternative?A: What is missing are two things: first, places that convene key frontlineleaders across institutions and sectors around specific issue areas; andsecond, a process that allows such groups to move from normal stakeholderdebates to deep dialogue and collective action. In order for that to happen,people who can make a difference in their respective institutions must get intouch with people who operate in other contexts. That is how opportunitiesfor innovation emerge. Current stakeholder capitalism developed from free-market capitalism in the 19th century by implementing significant innovationsin infrastructures. Today, we have to move on. We need another set ofinnovations in infrastructures – new spaces for collective perception andaction – in order to rise to contemporary challenges. We need to shift ourcollective awareness in a way that facilitates seeing and acting “from thewhole”. 2
  3. 3. Q: The approach sounds fascinating, but I wonder whether it isreally practicable?A: Well, I certainly see reason for hope. As I said, large corporations areincreasingly thinking in societal contexts, because they cannot enforce thechanges they require on their own inside their own business.And that is also felt in other areas. Just consider health care, for example. Ifreform efforts in this sector focus only on hospitals, because that is where thegreatest costs arise, they are doomed to fail. Reforms have to go to thestructural, social and spiritual root of the problems, the causes of illness andhealth. It is all about how we live, work, eat, and relate to ourselves and oneanother. Dealing with these issues is the only sustainable approach toreducing the costs that result from illness. Understanding of such interrelatedphenomena is obviously growing.Q: But it doesn’t look as though reforms have really got under wayaccordingly. On the contrary, global challenges seem to be growing,overwhelming governments and other relevant actors.A: That is how many people felt at the time of the Industrial Revolution too,and then social innovations came about which made the problemsmanageable in the rich countries. When a social system hits the wall, thereare always opportunities and new ideas too. Innovations start small, and theydo not usually start at the centre. Those at the top have an especially largenumber of interests to protect. On the fringes, however, there is more roomto experiment – and more contact with the outside, which makes new ideasmore likely. I have seen profound changes happen in many places and feelthat there is no limit to what people, once we tap into our real purpose, cancreate and do.Q: In view of the daunting challenges the human species is facing,isn’t this process far too slow to really make a difference?A: If you think like that, you will despair. I prefer to take the stance ofMargaret Mead, who said one should never doubt that a small group ofthoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, because that is reallythe only way in which the world ever was changed.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The CP Yen Foundation provides this interview as part of our Dialogue newsletterseries because of the connection we see between Theory U’s focus on shifting thesocial field from ego-system to eco-system awareness and the Foundation’s missionto foster the art of dialogue, facilitate positive social change, and forge sustainablecommunities. We value the U-process as an effective means for connecting usindividually and collectively to what is emerging in the world through our emergentauthentic self. Once an individual and group operate from their authentic self,oftentimes by way of a dialogue, they start to sense a new future possibility, theconversation then shifts focus to how we each can function as an intentional vehiclefor the emergent future. Listening is a core discipline of the U-process and the art ofdialogue. We recommend you read the book Theory U by Otto Scharmer for greatdetail of the process, or you can read the resource guide posted on the CP YenFoundation ning site here: cp-yen.ning.com for a step-by-step approach to practicingthe U process.CP Yen Foundation Dialogue Newsletter 3 3
  4. 4. 朝邦文教基金會 『對話新訊息』11 月份 創新從小處開始─與奧圖‧夏瑪大師的訪談奧圖‧夏瑪博士是U理論的作者,行動研究者,致力於為學習與領導領域帶來創新。他在麻省理工學院、全球線上學習、Presencing 機構等地方傳授這些課程,並且與組織和社群進行創新與變革方案。本篇訪談出自於Inwent-國際能力建構非營利組織,致力於人力資源與發展,進階訓練以及對話 。http://www.inwent.org/ez/articles/072913/index.en.shtml問:要應付人類目前面對的艱鉅挑戰,我們必須具備甚麼樣的能力?答: 光靠傳授某種專業知識是絕對不夠的。根據我的經驗,如果我們希望組織能夠創新、改變,並提升表現,有四個重點必須加強:1. 全球化2. 個人化3. 架構原型4. 跨業結盟問:請您進一步說明您所指的全球化為何?答:這裡的『全球化』,我指的是能夠把來自於不同文化地區的人們凝聚在一起的正面、增能的力量。我們都面臨同樣的問題,我們可以彼此互相協助,如果我們用有意義的方式連結的話。問:個人化的層面指的是什麼呢?答:我指的是個人歷程。有關於如何與人類創意的核心連結。-我是誰?-我想往那裡去? 我在何處感受到呼喚我走向未來的可能性?- 我服務的目的是什麼?任何人對於這些問題如果缺乏清楚的答案,將很難找到他們的創意及力量的源頭。對那些承受極大壓力,並且負責執行改變的人,需要有內在的安定,否則他們無法保持競爭力與韌性。靜坐對他們有幫助,其他的方法也很有用,例如寫日誌,記下你的反思,用關鍵性的問題引導自己對成長進一步的了解。問:甚麼是架構原型?答:基本上,我強調的是『做中學』。光是在理論術語上討論沒有太多用處的。你必須從實做中取得具體的經驗,否則不會獲得真正的學習。所有重要的創新開始時都是小小的。要連結任何的社群或個人的關鍵性創新,我們需要的不只是聰明的頭腦,還需要雙手和一顆心。問:您第四點談到有關『跨業結盟』那指的是甚麼?答:是的,而且這可能是最困難的地方。當我們面臨複雜的系統挑戰時,任何一個組織都太小,產生不了太大的影響。即使是當今的大企業也不會單純地在他們的生產線上進行創新,他們會邀請整個供應鏈加入,同時考慮供應商以及客戶的技能與需求。最嚴重的全球性問題─從飢餓到戰爭到保護生物多元性─ 4
  5. 5. 都不可能被解決,除非所有的主要利益關係人,包括政府機關、民間團體以及私人企業等以有意義的方式參與。總而言之,我們向來傾向對抗同樣的限制,但我們必須將每一個關心的人包含在有創意的對話中,經過覺知的歷程,理解且放下舊有的模式,讓行動的新關係和形式浮現, 接著,我們必須進行些小實驗來檢驗它們。問:在您心目中還有其它的選項嗎?答:我們少了兩個東西:第一是場所,那是可以針對特別議題將跨組織、跨行業的第一線領導者聚集一起的地方。第二是流程,它可以讓這群人從平常的利害相關人的辯論進入到深度對話以及集體行動。在個別組織中可以作出改變的人要和實際運作的人產生連結,這樣才會產生創新的契機。目前的利害關係人資本主義的發展是從 19 世紀的自由市場資本主義而來,強調在基礎建設上實施重要的創新。現在,我們必須繼續往前,需要的是另一組創新的基礎建設─新的空間讓人們有集體的想法與行動,一起面對當代的挑戰。我們需要轉換我們集體的察覺,讓我們看到「整體」並且「從整體」 採取行動。問:這個方法聽起來好極了!但我好奇它是否真的可行?答:我對此滿懷希望。就如我所說的,大企業不斷的在社會情境中思索,因為他們無法只有在自己的企業內強制改變,這在其他的領域也如此。拿醫療保健來說,如果所有改革的努力只著眼在醫院因為醫院的成本增加最多,那麼這個改革注定失敗。改革一定要從問題的根源包括結構面、社會面、精神面、 生病及健康的原因著手。這是與我們自己及他人如何過日子、工作、飲食有關。處理這些議題是降低疾病成本的唯一永續方法。我們要了解這種相互依存、事事相關的現象是越來越普遍。問:但是改革看起來還沒上路, 反而是全球性的挑戰越來越多, 使得政府和其他相關者難以招架。答:這也是人們在工業革命時的感覺。後來社會創新的出現,有些問題在一些富有的國家就解決了。當某種社會制度行不通時,總是會有新的機會與想法出現。創新從小地方開始一般不會是來自核心。在上位者通常有很多利益要關照。在邊緣者,則有更多的空間去作實驗─與外界接觸越多越有可能產生新的想法。我在很多地方目睹過重大改變。我覺得一旦人們與自己真正的目的連結時,能創造、能做的則毫無限制。問:對於人類目前艱鉅的挑戰,你不覺得靠這個方法進行改變太慢了嗎?答:如果你這麼想,你一定會感到絕望。我偏向採取 Margaret Mead 的立場。她的一句名言『絕對不要懷疑一小群有承諾、有思想的人可以改變世界,因為這是唯一可以改變世界的方法。』~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~朝邦文教基金會今後將陸續提供與對話有關的新訊息。U 理論強調社會領域要從自我系統轉移到對生態系統的察覺。這個論點與本基金會的宗旨『推動對話力、促進社會正項改變、營造永續社群』吻合。我們重視 U 理論因為它能透過不斷浮現的真誠自我有效地將個人、集體與正在發生的事情連結。通常透過對話,個人或團體會從他們的真誠自我出發,開始感受到未來新的可能性,對話的焦點則轉換到我們如何像一個國際化的工具運作以面對即將來臨的未來。傾聽是 U 理論以及對話的一項核心修練。建議你不妨閱讀 U 理論此書,或者瀏覽基金會網站:cp-yen.ning.com 上面有關U理論的練習的詳細資料。CP Yen Foundation Dialogue Newsletter 5 5

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