Emerging possibilities and collaboration

Posted by  admin —July 19, 2010
Filed in Facilitation, Just observations

My life’s work is in a really fascinating place right now …

I am sensing a shift in the work that I do. A shift from being reactive to client offers, to a more proactive space. New ventures where collaboration with others, co-learning and creating opportunities for new types of work to emerge. This shift is not part of any clever business plan, in fact, these are the first written words to describe it. Allow me to ramble, share a story and then get back this this change I am sensing …

About working with others …

Viv McWaters mentions collaboration in this post, I tend to agree with her and she says …

“I can’t speak for organisations, or anyone else for that matter. All I can say is that for me collaboration has never been easier. I can find people to collaborate with – whether they live nearby or on the other side of the planet – and we can communicate using a whole range of media, with my particular favourites being  skype, blogs and Twitter. All of the people I collaborate with are friends first. We get to know each other, learn of each other’s skills and contributions, find opportunities to collaborate, challenge each other, have fun and provide something as collaborators we couldn’t each provide alone. Given the choice, I wouldn’t work any other way.”

A couple of Friday’s ago, Euan Semple and I co-facilitated a Social Media training day with a mixture of people from across the Victorian Public Service in Melbourne. Despina Babbage, at DIIRD (Dep. Innovation Industry & Regional Development) helped to make it happen. DIIRD fully sponsored the training and invited a range of people – most were connected through an Innovation Hub and most are experimenting with social media in their government work. Big thanks to Despina and Glenys!

Anyway, the point I want to make here is that we now have amazing opportunities to find each other, learn together, have conversations and work together more than at any other time in history. In the last paragraph, I was going to write “I was lucky enough to work with Euan Semple”, but realised that it wasn’t luck, Euan and I (and Despina) made it happen by ‘showing up’ and trusting each other!

This day of training started as a long shot, a possibility and something that might happen. We kept the conversation going and I tapped into some of my networks. One thing lead to another and whole lot of trust was on offer. Despina had never met Euan or I. In fact, I had never actually met Euan or worked with him face2face.

The thing is though, Euan and I did know each other. We have read and contributed to each other’s blogs for years. We have shared great weblinks, resources and a few passing comments about peacocks on Twitter. I have worked with people who know Euan and I hear his name pop up in podcasts that I listen to. So, trusting Euan was easy.

What about the question, ‘will we make this day of training work?’. Again, we both knew we would click and be able to improvise and co-facilitate together. Those online interactions on blogs and twitter have allowed us to understand each other’s worldview and a sense of what’s important. It’s intangible and difficult to measure but it’s so true. I like Howard Rheingold’s thoughts on this which remind us that it’s not the shiny, new media tools that’s important here, it’s the emerging changes in human behaviour that is happening as a result of their use …

“It’s not the technology (or the social media tools), it’s the emerging social practices” H. Rheingold.

Back to shift in what I do …

The work phone has all but stopped ringing. The offers from traditional clients to work with me is at an all time low. On the flip side, the offers from friends and worldwide networks to work & play is at an all time high! At times that means a whole lot of work for very little money. It means giving away a heap of time to the Gift Economy. But, I am getting more and more connected with people … people like Viv described above as being ‘friends first’.

One such person was in my home office last week and he asked me, “So, what do you see yourself doing in 5 years time?’. Great question and to be honest, I don’t know. My sense is that I’ll be working more and more with friends. More work overseas in both f2f and online ways. More work of my choosing and more using processes that I truly believe in.

And now I’ll take some advice from my friend Chris Corrigan who writes

“Indigenous science is about discovering the connections between things, rather than isolating something and trying to understand it free from the externalities that tie it to everything else.”

And from here, as a sense this shift in what I do and who I am becoming, I’ll “dive in, connect and put relationships to use”.

And here’s some graphic note-taking that I made when Euan was running his part of the day …

Cheers

Comments

  1. Ria Baeck says:

    Geoff, I have seen the same thing since quite a few years. I teached me that ‘getting the money’ was not in my hands, but in the hands of something bigger. I learned to trust it and go with the fun, the flow, with life itself.
    Would you say that we live more in the complex world – using the Cynefin framework – and less in the complicated/ordered world? I mean, that we have given up moe of the control and knowing how to do things; and trust more in the ‘probe’ and sensing what is right… just want to check out my ideas with others around this…

  2. admin says:

    I think the Cynefin framework helps us to ‘recognise’ that their is a different way of approaching some aspects of our life … those where we cannot predict outcomes and where a traditional, linear way of working doesn’t work. In these ‘complex’ areas, a probe-sense-respond ‘way of working/thinking/being’ recognises the ’emergent’ nature of things. So, if we are working as a part of a community to adapt to climate change, we apply a different approach to when we are building a bride (or some other complicated task where expertise is required). Geoff

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