This past weekend I’ve been hanging out at the National Coalition for Dialog and Deliberation‘s national confab, NCDD2012. Synopsis? Amazing people. Also it was great to connect with folks I’ve met/known online and demoralizing to NOT connect with others who were there in the flesh. Not enough time or energy.
Thursday I took part in pre-conference workshop using the fabulous Group Works Deck to map out the elements of a variety of group methods and processes. (I wrote about the deck a while back here. )
As we did the exercise, I realized that I needed the narrative with the map, so took these off the cuff videos, now debuting as this week’s Monday Video.
What I noticed about the mapping was the more we did it, the more discerning we became at identifying the essential “spine” of a method AND,through reflecting on the other possibilities offered by the patterns in the cards, observed new ways of “fleshing out” the method depending on context. In other words, the cards enabled us to have great learning conversations about the methods. Very cool. I plan to use the cards a lot in the coming weeks of crazy work and travel! I also deeply appreciated all the knowledge in the room. As I learned about Participatory Budgeting from John Kelly, I was getting all kinds of ideas about how to reapply the basic idea to Knowledge Sharing/Budgeting (in terms of time and attention — which seems to be a big problem in my world these days!)
At the meeting, I also was part of a fabulous team of visual practitioners who volunteered to do a visual capture of the plenaries of all three days as a unified product. Tim Corey helped us envision a 24 x 8 foot image and then we all figured out a) how to work together to b) make a coherent capture. I’ll write more about this later after our debrief, including links to all the fab people I got to work with. But it was great fun and a lovely learning laboratory.
Other NCDD Materials:
NCDD 2012 Tweets (I hope someone Storify’s them or harvests them before they are gone. It was not a huge tweeting crowd, but there are some good captures!)
My photos, including some not-so-great images of the giant collaborative graphic capture 8 of us worked on (better images to come)
Oh how happy I was to come upon this on Sandy Schuman’s blog. I have long struggled with the perspective that facilitation must/should be neutral. I struggle with the fact that it is HARD as a human being to be neutral. In fact, I can’t pin down the range of practices required to be and stay neutral, especially when facilitating. Neutrality has long been preached by the International Association of Facilitators.
I came to the conclusion then, that I was either a bad or a renegade facilitator. For me, it was about being AWARE of my influence, power, position and opinions and not letting them distract me from serving the group. And at times, yes, using my opinion, with clarity and transparency (I call it “taking off my facilitator hat and putting on my citizen/subject matter expert/Nancy hat!) Take a look…
And thanks, Sandy. I knew I have been right to admire and learn from you all these years!
And now, at what I might call mid-career, all my assumptions about creativity, about who is a creative and a maker of meaning have changed. I’ve started to view creativity as the ability to support participatory spaces and in particular, a drive to support public participation in disrupting and shaping the places where we live. I believe that cities are the ultimate machines for creativity — people living and sharing ideas in close proximity. Urbanity — being an engaged, alert, connected citizen — can provide the perfect conditions for creativity.
I am inspired by projects that unite people — design professionals (artists, makers, videographers, graphic designers, architects, urban planners, technologists and web specialists) with community-based advocates and researchers (organizers, government officials, academics, service-providers, policymakers, and citizens). I think there are some fancy new terms being thrown around for this work: social innovation, community-based social marketing, and public engagement. But at the end of the day, it is about creating opportunities to break down the complex systems that shape urban life and to share and create knowledge to make those systems understandable and useful to more people.
I am becoming obsessed with the challenge of “not enough time” that I am seeing with ALL my clients, friends and colleagues. We are doing more, and it seems, getting less out of this frenzy. I am riveted to the concept of “creative destruction” to help understand and decide what tot STOP doing.
1. Pause for understanding. Certain that you know the answer? That’s a good time to step back, gather more information, ask another relevant question, listen to someone else’s perspective, consider alignment with values and purpose. ..
2. Pause for growth. Schedule time and invest in your personal leadership growth through self-awareness and learning. Help others grow and develop their talent… Step back to reward risk-taking; celebrate and appreciate failure for the learning that emerges.
3. Pause for teams. Lost your focus? Feel like you’ve gotten off track? Take the time to give everyone opportunity to express concerns, share their genuine feelings, ideas and listen authentically in the spirit of real collaboration…
4. Pause for resilience. Step back from the hurried, hectic pace, the onslaught of information and demands for energy, clarity, and fresh perspective. Go for a walk or run. Sit by the river… New ideas and innovation emerge in the spaces between the doing.
5. Pause for significance. Engulfed in hyper-speed and productivity? Next time you pick up your mobile device for a stream of transactions, pause and ask yourself, “What is really important today?” When you step back to reconnect with what you really value, what will you choose to do or not do?
Shahab, one of my co-faculty, and I did a Google hangout on online facilitation. Here is the short 12 minute version. You can find the longer 19 minute version here. I mentioned the Community Roundtable about half way in and want to share the link so viewers have an easy link to follow! The week’s reading on online facilitation is here.