David Sibbet | Leading Change
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The Time is Ripe for Social Entrepreneurs

Coro Alums Using GS Tools

I found myself in Aptos, CA recently at an alumni gathering of Coro, the leadership training organization through which I got my start professionally. It stirred my thinking like an ice cream beater on a hot summer afternoon, and the results are exciting me almost as much as the ice cream I can remember from those days long ago.

I’m beginning to believe that our country can reinvent itself in the civic arena much as we did in the early 1900s, after the very uninvolved 1890s when millions were coping with the industrial revolution and the isolation and confusion in the new cities. Robert Putnam’s book, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Communities, made this appeal to me several years ago, but I wasn’t optimistic then. I sense a quickening now.

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I was working on a new exhibition for my Second Life studios and came across this graphic that I created with Lenny Lind, Meryem LeSaget, John O’Connell, and Sandra Florstedt in a Change Agent’s Cafe meeting in 2003. It was our 20th one or thereabouts, and we were all still reeling from 9/11 and the war in Iraq. All of our clients seemed buffeted by the forces of change. As a complement to the hopeful post about Coro below, I’m including this to point at the very real turbulence that provides context for everyone’s work and life. These are times of change, to be sure. They abound with potential for creativity and forward movement, but the risks are high. This map shows the future forces we were aware of, and on the right, some of the hopeful actions that we thought we could take in face of them. If you want a big version of this graphic, you can download it by clicking on this link. FutureForces2003.pdf.

Future Forces Map

 

On October 23 in San Francisco I will be presenting the story of RE-AMP (Renewable Energy Alignment Mapping Project) to the Organizational Development Network. This is an initiative of 48 non-government organizations and 8 foundations collaborating to have their region, the upper Midwest, become a leader in clean energy in the electric sector. I facilitated four parallel strategic planning efforts in early 2005, and now the implementation phases of this ambitious project.

In the ODN presentation I will use a case study format to examine the facilitative strategies, virtual organization, communications structures and learning arising from the RE-AMP project.

Facilitating Social Change: Cleaning Up the Midwest Energy Sector

Initial RE-AMP participants

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Facilitating Social ChangeWhile looking through some past work I came across this Partners for Change model that I co-developed with Sissel Waage, then VP of R&D at The Natural Step. We’d worked together at a fascinating symposium at the Weatherhead School at Case Western University in late 2003 bringing together social scientists and activists who had deep experience in social change. This process drew on our long experience facilitating cross-sector meetings.

We came away convinced that people sharing stories across some of the traditional boundaries is critical in finding ways forward around the challenging issues of our time, like global warming and growing inequities between rich and poor. We realized that both big-picture thinking and deep dives into feelings and personal responses needed to come together to create any kind of shift in thinking and action.

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