Posts Tagged ‘systems-thinking’

There’s a great article on the Stanford Social Innovation Review site called “The Future of Leadership Development: Groups, Networks, and Partnerships.” The article shows us the exciting things that can happen if we move from a paradigm of leadership focused on individuals, organizations, and silos to one focused on communities, networks, and partnerships.  The article is a great, quick read and I highly recommend it.  The only thing that I would add to it is that emerging web technologies will certainly play a role in this paradigm shift, by empowering communities, networks, and partnerships.

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We are very excited to announce that our session on open source as a model of collaboration got accepted to one of the premier conferences on systems thinking in action! We decided to go to our core experience and crafted a really solid session that Tirza and I are very excited about. It builds on our work in open source communities, and especially the Social Sourcing approach we pioneered. The work on this talk will kick off a series of articles later this spring and summer, including the “principles of open source communities” (can’t believe I couldn’t really find something good out there on this already!) and more on the social sourcing model in action.

Here’s some more on the session as we proposed it. Working title: “Open Source Your Collaboration: Save Money, Increase Engagement, Build Community”

Description: The model of Open Source software offers lessons for those organizations seeking to cross institutional boundaries for genuine collaboration towards shared goals. We will review the tools, techniques and cultural norms of sustainable communities, highlight where these may challenge entrenched mental models and habits of organizations. We will show how to create shared ownership and foster continuous listening within a diverse collaboration. We also offer a straight-forward approach for those wishing to lead or facilitate collaborative projects. The presenters will speak from their experience in Open Source projects over the last 9 years, as well as from their experience extending this model to non-software projects.

Learning goals:

  • Understand Open Source software projects as a form of distributed, self-sustaining collaboration.
  • Learn the Social Sourcing process for leading projects based on a collaborative design process that engages participants and creates shared ownership of the outcome.
  • Identify where open collaboration models can potentially clash with existing mental models and organizational culture.
  • Take home tools and techniques for ensuring the needs of members are continuously heard and responded to in their work to build sustainable collaboration.

If you’re interested to check out more on the topic, see the Pegasus Communications website for the conference. Hopefully we’ll see you in Seattle in November!

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One of our clients, Sustainability Institute, who’s project Climate Interactive (CI) we have supported over the last year with strategizing and building an open source community around climate models for accelerating learning.The goal is get meaningful action on climate change by aggressively accelerating learning around climate.

If you haven’t been following the understanding about change needed, basically we are talking 80% reduction in global emissions by 2050 to be able to stabalize climate on planet Earth and ensure the survival of our species as we know it (and that of many others).That is major – a change on a scale that most people can scarcely imagine.

One of the models CI has developed has an interface called C-ROADS that makes it possible to understand the impacts of climate action commitments. Say India commits to 25% reduction in 10 years, Europe and the US to 50% reduction in 25 years, and China to 30% reduction in 15 years…plug the numbers into the model and give fast output on the overall impact. The simulation fills a niche that is greatly needed, to illuminate decision making in real time.

That useful role got the CI team invited to Poland for the UN conference on post-Kyoto negotiations (leading up to Copenhagen in Deember of ’09). The three person team participated in a number of side events during the conference, and presented at the invitation of the EU’s environmental protection agency. They now have more demand for their model and facilitating it than they can currently handle…

But this is vital time in more than one way. In the negotiating process, basically, the time window to influence the negotiations in now till summer 2009.That gives us about 6-7 short months to give negotiators the capacity to work towards what the world needs.

Besides understanding the issue, one of the key challenges is: How do we get this back to be a “head of state” issue instead of an “environmental minister” issue? The negotiations affect everything from economic development, quality of life, and energy to water, health care, and food security. It isn’t viable if approached from single departments. We need a global dialog and commitment to work towards solutions.

I live daily on the facts about climate change and the importance of the actions of our generation – we have recognized this as the single biggest threat we will have to deal with in our life. Looking into the future, it is clear that one scenario it extremely frightening, full of mysery and what I pray that we do not condemn our children’s fate to. But we are also the most powerful species, with the greatest resources available to us, will a population full of brilliant people who can help us create and implement the solutions that will improve the outlook of our future. I still remain optimistic, because I know we can do it. We just have to choose to do so. Will you join in being part of the solution?

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