Unity in Diversity: Midwifing a System of Influence for Transforming Work (IEC 2016 Preview)

By Hélène de Saint Front (with others, see below) for Enlivening Edge

Check here for other Integral European Conference previews from Enlivening Edge and visit the official IEC website here.

You can’t change the world, but you can influence it!

Do you sometimes have this feeling of loneliness, passionately trying to change things in the world, but feel that people are looking through you with a blank stare? Do you think you are doing your best to convince more people to reach that critical mass—because you believe that will trigger real changes?

I’ve been doing this for years, on issues such as climate change, work ethics, and, more recently, Teal organizations: using all my energy to raise people’s awareness, to get them (and their organizations) to change. Then I understood that less is more, and that people cannot be convinced, they can only be invited. We cannot force change, only create space, and a network, for change to emerge.

As Meg Wheatley so crisply explains in this article, change starts with like-minded people connecting with each other, forming a network, then becoming a community of practice. From there, a system can naturally “emerge” that possesses much more power and influence than the sum of its individuals and communities, allowing it to have great impact in the world. In Nature, this is the way change happens.

Back in January at an Open Space event in New York City, serendipity brought some of those “lonely change catalysts” from around the world together, and from our encounter and the impulse of Susan Basterfield, emerged this idea of “midwifing a global system of influence that nurtures, celebrates, and energizes work that matters and enlivens.” We call this project “Unity in Diversity.”

Uniting Teal or Integral practitioners, like-minded change makers, and existing communities (such as Enlivening Edge, the Reinventing Organizations Wiki and Discourse Forum, Teal for Startups, etc.), this would allow people to better connect and contribute to the whole with their distinctive skills.

We thought the Integral European Conference an ideal co-creation step, so we put together a proposal for an Appreciative Inquiry process (building on what is working now) that would support the emergence of this system of influence.

But we also wanted to open this inquiry to participants beyond the IEC conference.

Building on technology and the wonderful opportunities for timeless and spaceless connection it offers, we designed the process so that at each stage people can get involved from anywhere in the world, either virtually or physically.

So wherever you are, we invite you (and not try to convince you!) to take part in one or more phases of a co-creative process. Even if you participate in one phase only, your contribution will be valuable for the whole process, and we are confident that it will also be a nourishing experience for you personally. Like Imaginal Cells, we would like this process to turn “going Teal” from widely-scattered experiments to widespread reality.

Here are ways you can participate:

Phase 1 Discovery Online gatherings using the MaestroConference phone platform, or via self-organized sessions, where appreciative interviews are conducted in pairs, to collect stories around what is working now and how we might build on that. Those stories will be collectively harvested and shared online.

  • Live Discovery Dialogue with Appreciative Interviews
    • REGISTER HERE (note: you can use this registration to get on our email list as well, even if you do not plan to join one the of Discovery calls).
    • April 19, 10pm Central European Time, or
    • April 25,  6pm Central European Time
    • Each call has two parts: paired interviews, followed by group dialogue. Join just for the interviews (75 mins), or for the entire call (two hours total).
    • You can also pair up with another participant at a time and manner of your choosing—register above and we will help you find a partner.

Phase 2 Dream and Design workshop: Based on the harvest from the Discovery phase, participants gather to dream the desired future of this system of influence.  With visionary and creative methods, this future will be made visible and shared, and in a specific process participants create powerful future statements for themselves and the system of influence to emerge and identify areas of actions to make it happen.

  • Live Workshop at the Integral European Conference (IEC 2016) in Hungary
  • If you are registered to IEC 2016, just come to our workshop Unity in Diversity—look for it in the schedule!
  • If you are not registered for IEC 2016, there will be other ways to participate, to be determined. Please join our facebook group and we’ll keep you in the loop.

Phase 3 Design and Destiny Open Space: Participants come together for an extended Open Space process (online or gathered in several locations) building on the harvest of the Discovery phase and outcomes of the IEC workshop, and self-organize to work on distinctive, complementary, and synergistic initiatives in service to the larger eco-system that is emerging.

How can you get involved:

Stay connected on facebook!

And from there, let your ideas shine and let the system emerge!

Just like in any living system, it is no longer about changing the world, one person at a time, it is about deeply connecting with each other to allow change to happen.

And we really hope to connect with you!

The Unity in Diversity Team

DE-SAINT-FRONT-Hélène-_VM42255Hélène de Saint Front

Helene is a Business Harmonist, helping organizations be and stay in perfect harmony. She is an expert in communication, team dynamics and motivation. First an entrepreneur in sustainability, she specialized in neurosciences applied to management before helping organizations understand and adapt to the shift our world is experiencing.

Ben head shot tiltBen Roberts

Through the Conversation Collaborative, Ben partners with the core leadership of systemic change initiatives, offering strategic insights into movement and community building through the use of dialogue, which he sees as an essential tool for grappling with complexity. His work as a host, facilitator, and designer of “dialogic spaces” ranges from supporting the internal needs of a small team, to creating processes for engaging thousands of participants. These spaces can be either in-person, virtual, or (ideally) a combination of both._

SusanSusan Basterfield

As a catalyst, cultivator, convenor and curator, Susan helps individuals and organisations experiment with new ways of working and being, to actualise the workplace of the future.  Her broader focus is building virtual communities of purpose and practice.  Susan is co-convenor of Teal New Zealand, with nearly 200 members. She serves as a Catalyst for Enspiral, and as a virtual facilitator for distributed organizations, including Teal for Startups, Ooooby and LHD.

GertraudGertraud Wegst

Through coaching, training and facilitating AI, OS et al, Gertraud Wegst supports Wholeness, Listening to Purpose and Self-Management in organizations. Trained consultant, body therapist, AI practitioner & trainer, master coach. Led a dietetic center, 4 nursing homes and was Practice Leader Germany of an international management consulting firm. Since 1982 consultant and trainer, since 2005 management coach. Created together with 7 colleagues Die Wertschaetzer/ The Appreciators – Coaching, Training, Consulting – with an AI process.

Jeff A 20160410_144033~2Jeff Aitken

Jeff, PhD (CIIS) is an organization consultant, facilitator, and trainer based in the San Francisco Bay area. He is active in international communities of practice in Open Space Technology, OpenSpace Agility, the Art of Hosting, and the Institute for Evolutionary Leadership.

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