Friday, March 4, 2011
A fantastic two days in St Austell at the Eden Project listening to an amazing array of eclectic and inspiring speakers. Check out the website at intersections2011. Well done to Andrea Siodmock and her team who worked so hard to make it such a success. Congratulations are also due to Andrea for her appointment as Associate Director of the Academy for Innovation and Research (AIR) and Head of the Centre for Sustainable Design at the University College Falmouth starting on 11th April. I think this will offer a sense of continuity to the legacy of DottCornwall.
It is not entirely surprising that two intense days of rich content should still be swimming furiously around my mind in an exciting chaos of thoughts, ideas, impulses, insights and all with a deep admiration for what the speakers are doing in their lives for others. Social innovation is where it is at. In the words of ShelterBox Founder Tom Henderson OBE - Keep it simple. Do it now.
So what floats to the surface for me this morning? Well, actually, it is the presentations of the first and the last speakers and I will take these in reverse order.
I found Josephine Green's tightly argued exposition of the journey we are on from the paradigm of 'pyramids to pancakes' particularly compelling. I had heard aspects of many parts of her presentation from other speakers before, but I felt she brought many strands together in a way to tell a new story - to create a frame of reference that elucidates a shift in cultural attitudes and behaviours at a meta level.
This made me reflect on Qatar's HH Moser Bint Nasser's call at her Chatham House speech in London some years ago for the desperate need for a 'new narrative' for the Middle East. A new narrative that makes possible positive belief and action in the generative talents and enormously rich histories of these countries. A new narrative that acts as a counteraction to the belief systems and perceptions fomented by the international media.
Stories help us to frame our experiences as well as set the scene for the futures we want to create. Josephine's messages were helpful if not always comfortable and her call that More is More and the need for love felt both challenging but also seemed to make sense. It seems to fit. Rethinking BIG, seeking new social solutions and getting to social innovation beyond product is where the best chances lie to uncovering our new narratives that can reflfect what are 'a becoming of'.
And of course, as we all know, new mindsets demand change from within. Change is always both inspiring and painful as it requires us to say farewell to beliefs or constructs that have been loved, trusted and useful, but which now, no longer seem to fit the bill.
This reflected nicely back to the very first speaker Nick Jankel who helped us to see that problem behaviours are driven by outdated assumptions. Hierarchies are being dissolved in a networked, globalising participatory society made possible by new technologies. His plea is for us to treat systems not root causes. Where we can achieve this, he argues, then organisms (societies, organisations) can intelligently self organise.
His coaching question, 'How can I best serve what is seeking to emerge?', is a great question for insight and action. Nick's belief is that instead of evoking the law of unexpected consequences we can activate the law of unexpected win win win.
Thanks again to Andrea and her team a great two days. And apologies to all the great speaker's whose content who I have not reflected here.