Johnnie Moore, Monoliths and Individuals

CC flickr photo from ElDaveJohnnie Moore’s Weblog: The genie out of the bottle

All this inventive technology is being made available to just about anyone with a web connection.

How does it compare for engagement and collaboration with anything inside the firewall of organisations? I’ve argued before that, over the last few years, the technological advantage has shifted massively away from companies to individuals. I think we may only have scratched the surface of the impact this will have.

Yesterday I was talking to a potential collaborator who has some business inside of a big company. I usually work in the non profit sector, but this bit sounded interesting, I liked the potential colalborators’ expressed values so we are continuing the conversation. There was one bit that really struck me… a comment about their resiliience in dealing with slow moving, often self-contradicting companies.

My response was that I cope with the frustration and discouragement of working with monolithic organizations by focusing on the potential, possibilities and the growth that happens within individuals. Eventually these individuals influence their organizations, or they leave. It is potentially quite subversive. Change or lose your best talent.

Seriously, I need to write up my triangulation thoughts. This is relevant and is giving me a new frame to understand and talk about my work. But it is month end. Billing and Austraila prep rule the day!

Photo Credit: Creative Commons picture on Flickr from ElDave. Thanks!

BIG CHANGE Webinar Series Starts Today

For the last two years I have been part of Nexus for Change. This year we decided to take a break from the work of putting on a F2F gathering and a subgroup has been preparing for some online work, this time in the form of the BIG CHANGE Webinar Series. The series focuses on concrete approaches for “thriving in tough times – the key is to create inspired organizations and communities through meaningful collaboration.”

Today is the kick-off for this free webinar series sponsored by The NEXUS for Change and Bowling Green State University. If you read this soon enough, you can register for today’s session. Go to and click on Big Change to register.

WEBINAR Session #1 – 90 Minutes
Feb 17th – 2:30pm EST
The Change Handbook: Uncovering the principles for whole system transformation withPeggy HolmanTom Devane
>a live fishbowl with executive graduate students using mind mapping and affinity diagramming to make sense of the methods for large-scale transformation.  There are more than 60 methods to consider and even more emerging every year…Learn more and register

Future sessions include:

Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There: Leading Meetings that Matter
with Sandra Janoff & Marv Weisbord
90 Minutes
Mar 5th – 2:00pm EST
Cost: Free
For leaders and consultants who run task-focused meetings. Find out about the ten principles derived from 20 years of leading meetings in many of the world’s cultures…

Terms of Engagement: Designing RoadMaps for Positive Transformation
with Dick & Emily Axelrod
90 Minutes
Mar 18 – 2:00pm EST
Cost: Free
This session brings together the practical view of the realist and the people-oriented view of the humanist into one role: the “Pragmatic Involver.” Explore the six major questions addressing how success can be attained in a project on any scale…

The Philosophic Consultant: Revolutionizing Organizations with Ideas
with Peter Koestenbaum& Dick Axelrod
90 Minutes
Apr 2nd – 2:00pm EST
Cost: Free

Large-Scale Change On-Line: Living & Learning Together
with Denise Easton, Jake Jacobs, Jon Kennedy, Gabriel Shirley, Nancy White, & Christine Whitney-Sanchez
90 Minutes
Apr 29th – 2:00pm EST
Cost: Free

Arts at Nexus For Change 2

Last week at Nexus for Change 2 we had an evening of the arts for change. We had Playback Theatre from our full arts team (who recruited me – that was fun! You can see some video clips here, here and here), juggling from the amazing Tom Sparough and song from Timothy C. Van Ness and we even drew together. Taking an idea from Johnnie Moore, we did a pairs drawing exercise, continuing on my inquiry into visual expression as a mode of interaction and learning together. Here is a short video of one pair drawing together.

YouTube – Drawing Together Exercise

Here are some of the beautiful faces they drew together:
Drawing Together
You can see the pictures more clearly in the Nexus set on Flickr.

And some stills from Playback Theatre
Playback Theatre

Peter Block made an observation on Tuesday that really hit home for me. He said something to the effect that we resist change done unto us, but we embrace change that helps us stay who we are. Somewhat paradoxically, it is in the preservation of self that we embrace change.

So does change always have to be serious and gut wrenching? Or can we play, singe and draw our way through transformation? I think we can. And perhaps we MUST!

For more on Nexus, see our wiki.
More videos here.

NEXUS U Offerings

Nexus U OfferingsNexus U OfferingsLast week I blogged about Nexus for Change II March 29 – April 1 in Bowling Green, Ohio, USA. The first two days are Nexus U, a chance to dive into particular methods and approaches to whole systems change. Gabriel Shirley, who is coordinating the “U” sent out a list of the “explorations” available on Saturday. He said this is pretty set, but there may always be a last minute change or two. (PDF of Nexus U)

You can pick two. Then on Sunday you put them to work. There are some cool people and this will be a chance to work with them in small groups.

You know when you gotta go – Nexus for Change 2

March 28th I head to Bowling Green, Ohio for my second Nexus for Change. Last year at Nexus 1 I had the opportunity to work alongside some amazing professional graphic recorders who were supporting the overall event and my eyes were opened to the visual aspects of group process. This year, I’m heading back to Nexus for Change 2/Nexus U and am inviting you to consider going too. And I’m on the Arts Team again (as well as the Tech team, but spreading my wings beyond my customary domain).

I was on the fence because life is crazy and the year is looking to be full of travel. I was unsure because it took a while to see the agenda and to figure out if I had something to contribute/get. Then I decided to let go of expectations and just COMMIT!

This year there are two parts ($600 for 4 days!). Nexus U is a chance to focus on large group/whole system methods and consider how to apply them. Think of “method camp.” Gabriel Shirley has assembled a team of experienced practitioners to lead folks through a series of fast/deep dives on Saturday, then to work in groups to plan actual applications. Then on Sunday night Nexus 2 opens, followed by two days of thinking about whole systems change – how methods are related, how we can use these tools to change our selves, our companies and the world.

Are you a facilitator? A change maker? Interested in change? In methods? Sign up and come along. If you are into visual methods, I’ll be leading the deep dives on Saturday, then I’ll be backing up an old client, James Soohoo (James is NOT old, but this is a past client!!) as he shares how online tools made a difference for his group at the March of Dimes.

For all the details in a downloadable form, click here: Nexus for Change 2 Invitation (pdf)