What Do We Consider To Be The Learning Edges Of This Field?
The following are some of the initial questions that have energized GLEN members. These will evolve, of course, but provide a place to begin.
- Pairing visual with dialogic practice: We’ve discovered the complementarity of visual practice and dialogue as being hopeful and important when working with complex systems. Visuals allow people to see and explore the whole, while the dialogic approach allows understanding across differences all the way down to fundamental principles and beliefs. How can the two together allow for evocative narratives to emerge?
- Balancing inner development and outer structures: Change leaders need tools and knowledge that can be learned and practiced. But personhood is equally important. OD practitioners have long known that to be truly facilitative in settings with complex human dynamics, success often depends on one’s ability to be personally aware and reflective. How can both aspects be honored in increasingly global and contentious contexts?
- Blending virtual and face-to-face work: Remote work is ubiquitous, along with a vast array of tools that support it. How can practitioners blend these opportunities with traditional practice?
- Dealing with complexity: Continually expanding levels of access to information, new techniques of interpretation, and social communication technologies are challenging everyone. What would Sensemaking 2.0 look like? How can we keep the dangers of over-simplification in mind? How do we balance larger system initiatives with local needs and cultures?
- Working with unintended consequences: Systems respond inside and outside the range of human perception. Surprises seem to be increasing. How do we adapt and stay resilient?
- Working with collective shadows: How, in change work, can leaders both sense into and learn to work with unexamined and even taboo forces that can erupt when repressed or ignored?
- Keeping whole systems in mind while working on parts: Living systems have ways of adapting around single-point interventions. What is the role of leaders in this? How do generative images and visualization help in this process?
- Supporting collaborative networks: We suspect that having clear collaboration infrastructures is necessary for collective impact. How are these created, and what should they look like?
- Creating new trusted narratives: In a world that is socially constructing its realities, inventing new stories and interpretations is relatively easy. But how can we create new stories that are trustworthy and have real sustaining power? Are there universal archetypes underlying the variety of human interpretations? Can we identify principles and frameworks for collective action? What developmental capabilities are needed to hold differences in inclusive, respectful engagement?