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The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast

Engaging Emergence; moving toward Order From Chaos

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Headlined to H4 12/21/11

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Peggy Holman Bio:

Seattle based author and consultant, Peggy Holman, has helped explore a nascent field of social technologies that engage "whole systems" of people from organizations and communities in creating their own future. She is a recognized leader in deploying group processes that directly involve hundreds, or thousands, of people in organizations or communities in achieving breakthroughs.  Working with a variety of organizations, including tech, biotech, government, nonprofits, and others, she consults on strategies for enabling diverse groups to face complex issues by turning presentation into conversation and passivity into participation.  Peggy's clients include Biogen Idec, Boeing, Microsoft, the National Institute of Corrections, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In 2001, Peggy co-founded Journalism that Matters (JTM) with three career journalists. Journalism That Matters has built a national coalition of journalists, educators, reformers and others to support people who are reshaping the emerging news and information ecosystem. To date, JTM has hosted 16 national discussions on this changing news ecology, sparking numerous initiatives that are influencing the new media landscape.

In the second edition of The Change Handbook, Holman joins her co-authors to profile sixty-one innovative engagement processes used by organizations and communities to uncover creative responses to complex challenges. The book is the considered the definitive resource for leaders and consultants who work to increase resilience, agility, collaboration, and aliveness in their organizations and communities.

Peggy's latest book,  Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity , won the 2011 Nautilus Gold Book Award  for Conscious Business/Leadership.  A roadmap for tackling complex challenges, Engaging Emergence provides stories, principles, and practices for inviting people to come together and turn disruptions into possibilities.





very rough interview notes:
Group practices that let you bring together tens, hundreds even thousands of people together to deal with complex ideas and issues.

Open Space Technologies-- needs of individuals and needs of the whole could both be served.

emergence-- order arising out of chaos.

Practices and processes that enable emergence to happen.

Emergence: both scientific and colloquial definitions.
order arising out of chaos-- bottom up is fairly fundamental to the way emergence happens-- about the interaction of people and things coming together in a more cmplex and simply elegant way.

Emergency shares same root-- Emergency, like some of the horrific storms we've seen lately-- when that happens, people self organize to get stuff done-- out of the disorder of an emergency order arises.

One of the patterns that you can rely on when emergence takes place-- it's how change takes place. ALl changes begins with some kind of disruption. No disruption, no change.
Assumption of how things work no longer serve. things break apart, something new arises in a new form.

Occupy is a  major disruption of the ways we think about protest, about bringing visibility to the issues of economic justice that have been growing, not just from this country, but from around the world.

As we see the movement being pushed out from the being on the streets we're seeing the disruption being disrupted. We're in that stage of lots of experimentation, and as people start listening for what are the differences that make a difference.

Invited to occupycafe.org, shifting conversation from what we don't want to what do we want.
Creating for spaces who what to get involved but who are not interested in camping on the streets. One aspect is

Occupy

What does leadership look like in a leadership movement.
When you look at it through the idea of self organization or emergence.. the principle the scientists talk about "

The whole movement to understand complexity, self organization and in a sense, evolution itself, is an emergent process... Whether chaos theory or complexity theory, used for robots, to understand social life of ants and bees and collective animals work.

The science around complexity-- of which emergence is one-- biology, social sciences to physics. Our capabilities with computers is enabling us to see more complex patterns.

My interest has to do with how we as human beings organize to get things done.
Come back to this prevailing notion of how no-one is in charge-- scientists talk of how bees, ants or traffic flows work.
Comes from a hierarchical mindset, could say, instead of no one is in charge that everyone is in charge.

We are moving from a principal organizing metaphor of hierarchy to a metaphor of networks.

Notion of no-one in charge or everyone in charge are off the mark because we don't know who or which interactions are going to make the biggest difference.
Good to think of it as situational leadership-- inviting people to take responsibility for what they love as an act of service. That's the heart of a shift we're undergoing, particularly those under 30 understand a lot better.

Rob: Why do those under 30 understand better.

The technologies of connection affirm and support that kind of expression. It tends to be a more cooperative. Taking responsibility for what you love leads to more cooperation.

People who may have been raised more in a follow-instructions kind of world, start paying attention to "what matters to me' that can be a liberating act. When people do it, they dive deeper than their ego to the deeper parts of their selves. We're drawing from the deeper stream of our common humanity. We're able to zero in on ways of doing that connects with others.

When people do, we feel less alone, we find our partners, and begin to feel connected to " a larger social body... and our differences .

It struck me as a birthright to be able to interact with people who are different than ourselves and be creative and interactive.

Occupy seems to be mostly a progressive movement at this point-- people inventing useful processes for convening and connecting-- I hope the

one of the ways to bridge gaps is to ask big enough questions so it brings people to the table to interact.

The kinds of actions that make a difference-- ask possibility oriented questions.
How do we create an economy that works for all.
have implicit in them an aspiration that acts towards what we want.

Find a way to welcome the disruptive-- ask what's the deeper value underneath?

If I am willing to understand what's underneath their story that's brought them to the beliefs and attitudes that they have there is always some human value that I can relate to.

I set up to understand what it is that can enable us to work with the complexities of disruptions we face...

The process described in the book:
All change begins with a disruption-- disruption tends to cause things as we know them to break apart-- the bigger the change the more emotional the experience is.
Experience emergence can be quite the emotional roller coaster ride.

Does a lot of
50,000 foot level
From disruption to differentiation-- what differences make a difference. We don't know without trying. Two useful questions in that state of experimentation:
What do we want to conserve that still has value
What do we want to embrace that wasn't possible before.

Occupy, going through phase of physical occupation, may want to embrace or let go.

Same with journalists, as things break apart, what values are still relevant and what do we let go of.
Transparency becomes almost essential in an internet world.
As clarity emerges a new coherence arises.

ground level:
four basic areas:
how do I prepare myself as we go into this open, divergent, chaotic space, as a person consciously going into it--
find attitude of possibility, allowing mystery, following energy, where things get lively, where emotional roller coaster is most alive.

That's where life,

I think of it alot as jazz. The more I practice my scales, the more discipline, the more I am equipped to jump in. These are not linear. They interact and feed each other.

Preparing to host. What does it mean to host others. First-- focus on some intention, the role of clear purpose, doesn't need to be definitive but need some direction, be welcoming to who and what shows up.

One of RUmi's poems is a guest house-- life is a guest house-- welcome all who and what show up.
IF we were all good hosts we would have a world at peace.

The arrangement of the floor of congress is a semi-circle
Ben Franklin, who was an ambassador to the Iroquois, I wonder, if he missed the part about being in a circle, as the Iroquois.
The form of sitting in a circle " we got it half right

Venn Diagram of beliefs of tea party and beliefs in occupiers.
Distrust of big govt-- tea party
distruct of big biz   Occupy
distrust of interaction of big govt and big biz.

The heart of these practices is engaging.
Activities that any of us can do-- taking responsibility for what you love as an act of service.
Ask possibility oriented questions-- as a doorway in.
Open up-- there's the leap of faith, the stepping in to the not knowing
Reflect-- what are we learning? What do we not know that we didn't know before?

Testing this idea of occupy 2.0 as a thread of coherence-- an economy that works for all.
Because we're human, there will be disruptions, so the last stage is do it again-- many many increments happening again, over time. The first time we try something we don't get things right.

Grow bamboo-- water it for four years and nothing happens, then in 60 days it grows 90 feet. Change works that way.

Occasional burst of radical shift followed by years of course corrections and adjustments.

Set of principles--
If this pattern of change-- disruption, differentiation, coherence-- what are some principles to work with that?

Five:
1-welcoming disturbance. Disturbance is the doorway to change. The more capable we become at being present at what shows up-- curious about what does it have to offer, it becomes an entryway to possibility.

Rob: be prepared for the unexpected.

2- Be a pioneer

3 Encourage random encounters

Disruption becomes the doorway, not to resistance, to creativity-- break a habit, do something different-- Be a pioneer. In all of the experimentation it accelerates the feedback. Coupled with what we do, who we do it with. Back to the notion of no-one in charge, encourage random encounters, people we don't usually interact with. Invite them to play with you.
Appreciative inquiry-- improbably partners-- very often at the intersection of unexpected partnerships the breakthroughs occur.

Van Jones coined term Green Jobs-- in Oakland started putting together environmental sensibilities of friends in Berkeley with need for jobs in Oakland.

Seek Meaning-- what is the intention that's sparked in the first place. Disruptions wouldn't be disruptions if we didn't care. The more we can seek meaning we will find the kindred spirits.

5- Simplify - if we all do simple things, can yield complex behavior.

It's a dance of these different elements.

Post book-- What's an even simpler way to talk about it?
welcoming, invited diversity and asking possibility oriented questions.

Most compassionate and creative act that I know how to do.

African American colleague in New Orleans-- would play guitar in park.
Saw three tattooed youths with shaved heads, sneaking up on him.
They told him that he didn't belong in the park, and they were going to make an object lesson of him.
He asked them-- what is it in your life experience that led you to wanting to do this?
45 minutes later the four of them were in deep conversation about their lives.

Changes in journalism:
the stories that we tell shape our worldview and that shapes our behaviors and journalists are cultural storytellers.

There was a shooting at a jewish community center--
You change the story and you change the world.
Newspaper readership was declining.

Question: What does it take to change the social system.
What would it take to have a conversation about the future of journalism.

journalismthatmatters.org

People who are re-imagining news and journalism around questions that matter-- places that were forward thinking.

Things we're learning-- journalism is still about the public good and it is now entrepreneurial.
Mainstream journalism is about 85% caucasian.

Create or die gatherings.

Communities need to take responsibility for their own story-- embedding journalists into their own communities--
Forms of journalism will look very different from we now know of. Changes will be as radical as the printing press was.

Idea of investigative journalism being delivered through hip hop video games and comedy

New journalism will be very interactive and social.

wellcom.com  goal-- at least 50% of the content be created by persons in the community. Jane Stevens-- interaction between journalists and people on the community--

Big question : How do we decide what stories get to be told.
Not part of the training of a journalist.

Journalism as portraing darkness and hopelessness.

How do we tell the storty that takes us intot the heart of what's broken and then offers possibility-- when we do

Journalism is a form of activist-- which is anathema to mainstream journalists,

the holy grail of the most  of the people looking at what the new world of Journalism will look like is "what's the business model?

Spot.us  crowd funded investigative journalism.

Differentiated wholeness
The benefit of big is that we have a coherent narrative that ties us together in some way.
How we get to big, through twitter is radically different...

A different kind of  big. Simplicity on the other side of complexity lives in that kind of seeming paradox resolving.

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Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of more...)
 

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

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