David Sibbet | Strategic Planning
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reamp_goals - Can We SEE Progress on Global Warming?Since late 2004 The Grove has been supporting an ambitious RE-AMP project in the upper Midwest to clean up the energy system there. Its goal is to reduce global warming pollutants 80% by 2030 from a 1990 benchmark. When we started there were six foundations and 27 NGOs who wanted to approach the problem with systems thinking and collaboration, funded by the Garfield Foundation. Now in 2008 the project has 15 foundations and over 93 members organizations, expanded beyond environmental groups to faith and youth groups, and 140 were going to Ames, Iowa for the annual meeting.

In talking over the design, Rick Reed, one of the initiators of the project at Garfield, posed the challenge. “We’ve got to see what we are doing and where the gaps are. How can we possibly do this at this scale?”

RE-AMP is without question the most organized effort in the country at the moment. But are we making progress? It’s challenges like this that always push us to something new… and this time our solution was a breakthrough in visualization at the system-thinking level.

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As the rain and winds ripped trees down in our backyard and beside the Grove in our first serious winter storm, I left the VizThink web-conference exhilarated and thinking a lot about visual analogies and metaphors. My reflection was sparked by a question moderator Tom Crawford passed along from one of the 53 people participating. “What role does the third dimension play in your Storymaps?”

I illustrated my answer with the tablet sketch below. Let me elaborate.

Vizmetaphor_2 - Srategizing with Visual Metaphors

 

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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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