David Sibbet | Collaboration Strategies
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Otto Scharmer ignited the Thought Leader Gathering at Fort Mason, San Francisco, today with his sharing about the application of Theory “U” to social transformation. Craig and Patricia Neal, the Heartland Circle sponsors, expanded the meeting to 110 people because of the interest in Otto’s work.

As a conversation starter, Otto’s job was to catalyze our thinking and conversations in wisdom circles and a larger group circle dialogue that followed. He really delivered. (He’s the third from the right.)

OttoScharmer - Connecting With Source—Experiencing Theory

 

In a nutshell, Otto’s work is building off of his prior research around “presencing” and the importance of re-connecting personal intention, purpose and being to work in groups that are trying to address our times and future.

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It’s New Year’s and I’m filled with hopeful stories I heard at a Compassionet gathering I attended this week. About 12 of us gathered with Srinivas Sukumar at Rudite Emir’s house in Mountain View. Sukumar was a client of mine at HP in the 1990’s—head of strategic planning for the labs, and is now the Community Program Manager for the CAL IT2 Institute at UC San Diego, having “retired” a few years ago. I went to India with him in 1998 to do strategic visioning for a Chinmaya Mission school in Coimbatore and we have been close colleagues ever since. Compassionet is a circle of his friends that all share an interest in spiritual matters combined with work in service of the community.

We meet a couple of times a year when Sukumar is back in the Bay Area from San Diego, and we’re beginning to deepen the threads that connect us. I’d like to share some of the things that inspired me when we recently crossed paths.

Compassionette - Seeds of Hope

 

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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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Graphics in Denmark — A Universal LanguageI was in Copenhagen last week after VizThink, training our partner Strandgaard & Co in graphic facilitation. I was struck by how universal a language graphics has become. The fact that I don’t speak Danish meant that I was thrown back on these visual cues to make sense of what I was experiencing.

My sense of this began as we flew in over Copenhagen and I saw the long line of wind machines in the harbor. How quickly these have become icons of change!

I was able to spend a weekend exploring the old city. Here again, the ubiquitous bicycles spoke of a different culture in relation to energy. “Do people ride these in the winter?” I asked Vagn Strandgaard. “All year,” he said.

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