I woke up this morning thinking about freedom and independence, not just because it is the celebration of the United States freeing itself from England, but also because it is the anniversary of my freeing myself to create my own business.

DSFirstLogo - Reflecting on Independence DayThat was back in 1977 when I set up a personal consultancy focused on organization development, communications, and graphic & design. My logo was a bright yellow spot, looking a bit like a light bulb. Here’s the image. (Note: I don’t live on 6th Avenue any more.)

Looking back the feeling of excitement about declaring “independence” didn’t last very long. I wasn’t very “free” in those early days, in the ways that mattered most. Deciding to be “independent” I was also deciding to take on a new set of responsibilities. I now had to do my own marketing, selling, writing, fulfillment, invoicing, and all the other things that make a company a company. My little startup was really nothing more than idea, and the next three years were a slide into challenge after challenge as I struggled to figure out how to run a business.

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This post links you to a video about my presentation on Visual Meetings at a recent TEDxSOMA event at the ParisSOMA loft, South of Market Street in San Francisco. ParisSOMA is a shared workspace for young entrepreneurs, very much in the spirit of the TED events. Its motto is “ideas worth sharing.” My Parisian college Meryem Le Saget introduced me to the sponsor Clement Alterseco, President of FaberNovell in Paris, several months ago and it led to the invitation.

My own ideas, formed over the 38 years I’ve been a visual practitioner, are condensing into a book for Wiley & Sons on the subject that will come out this summer. This 10-minute fly-over is a fast-paced review of what feels like a real revolution in how we communicate in organizations.

Lynn Kearny sent me a link to this stunning graphic portrayal of what science knows about our universe. It’s a humbling, inspiring experience to watch this, imagining that our lives are part of such an incredible dance of light. On this day when we celebrate the birth of new light in so many traditions, let us remember that however we represent the universe, that it is alive, and whole, and probably aware.

Upon reading a George Lakoff critique of the “framing” in eco America’s new report on global warming (see recent post) I experienced a flash of insight in regard to a puzzle that’s been nagging at me since hearing Otto Scharmer talking about Theory U at a recent Thought Leader Gathering in San Francisco (see my post on Theory U). TheoryUGraphic - Thinking About Frames: Is Process a Swoop or an Arc? The graphic visualization of Theory U is what I would call a “swoop”, a compelling little visual shown here. Why did Arthur M. Young, my teacher about Process Theory, insist process should be visualized as a “turn” or “V?” as illustrated below? In our study group with Arthur we would often argue with folks who wanted to visualize it as a smooth arc rather than 90o. Thinking About Frames: Is Process a Swoop or an Arc?

This may seem like an abstract puzzle, but Lakoff’s article suggests otherwise. He states without qualification that cognitive scientists agree that “frame circuits” in the cortex and nervous system guide our sense perceptions, and that these are held in place by values. The frames that keep getting reinforced in our experience become hard wired. They become the window through which we look through when we see—the directional microphone through which we hear—the guide to what we touch and sense.

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