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Title: What makes for Systemic Change?

Convener: JohnAbbe

Note-taker: SuzanneDaigle

Participants: JimRough, LynBazzell, HaroldShinsato, Sono, JoanUnterschuetz?, JunAkutsu

Want to work with people I trust; people who have passion and equanimity (when something is stimulated in them; they notice and decide what am I going to do about it). Does not happen all the time; can be messy. Recognize that people stimulate each other, so also value working with people who can take responsibility and listen to help clean things up afterward.

Donella Meadows wrote a paper on twelve leverage points to intervene in a system - http://www.sustainer.org/pubs/Leverage_Points.pdf - First 6 are the mechanics of a system - rates of flow, feedback loops, stocks, percentages, etc.; the next 3 are meta - how does the information flow; who has the power to change the system, etc).

Beyond that is: “What is the goal of the system?”

Beyond that is what is your paradigm of how the world works, how people work? which influences the goal of the whole system.

Most powerful is to transcend our paradigm/story altogether. Go beyond our story, it's just what seems most true to me now; not hold on to our stories so tightly; be open

What would happen to society if we did not hold so tightly to our stories?

No such thing as a closed system reflects the same thinking (Harrison Owen this morning); always something in the future that we don’t know and we can’t always figure it out now. We can always do things in that direction.

A concrete example is stopping Walmart from moving into our town and then they went to the next town. If you think more systemically, you might want to revoke corporate personhood.

Jim asks, What is the process by which we create stories? If we understood that, this could change consciousness. The world is self-organizing. The storying itself is self-organizing.

All of us need to be involved in one kind of story; respectful of each other and trying to determine what is best for everyone. Reach a certain level of facilitation….society’s breakthrough.

A whole people in one conversation; choice creating. How do you have terrorism, war, etc.

Discussion on the Constitution

Today we don’t have those conversations. The Constitution is the written document of our conversations. There is no ONE story, counters another person. The constitution provides the (essence) on which to build. Today if we have problems, it is often because we are not living up to their image. We need to recreate a new storying process.

Holistic systems

Bring our knowledge with us with a curiosity of what will emerge. Conversation will be brand new as new voices come into the circle; wisdom comes which has been absent. Are we that courageous to enter this conversation knowing that we don’t know what will emerge. We come with our skills, experience, cultural depth – we know it all. This is our evolutionary journey together.

How do we facilitate this quality of conversation?

The problem I see is that we think that if we add all the pieces (all the conversation inputs); it will fix the system.

Does this mean that if we listen to everybody, that will be enough?

Not one or the other: process and individual contribution.

Inherent in a process that would be most effective is that we support each other in the inquiry instead of supporting one person with one process.

I will leave as it will be too painful.

There is something important that our process must hold everyone’s passion and also fuel it.

To create the new paradigm, can’t stay in the old paradigm. Hs to have a sort of a jump. Pieces versus a big jump. Tipping point, 100 monkey….not everyone need to have the consciousness. Some people coming from a higher consciousness. Systemic change example: (cell phone now; not pay phone). Nobody said we have to do this: it just happened.

Biggest shift that needs to happen is the world centric, the global us.

From individual to village (different tribe); a nation consciousness is what is needed. Why does it have to take so long? Now it’s almost too late, we are depleting our resources. We talk about the carbon footprint where some people taking the bus while China and India are building coal mines. We are the citizens of this planet. I have a strategy that can facilitate that.

If you randomly select in the world, twelve people and if they choose the issue. If they reach unanimous agreement, you have created a legitimate symbol. If they achieve a certain level of consciousness when they talk, a quality of thinking where everybody is facing the big issues they have; being creative to seek answers for everyone; not dialogue, not deliberation, this kind of talking “choice creating” becomes resonant. In 4 months, if you select another random group to pick up this same issue….

How do we facilitate everyone in one conversation? For example we are all trashing the planet. Can you observe the difference between choice creating and dialogue? Dialogue is not about reaching conclusion. For example, a discussion about racism does not bring a solution to racism.

Choice creating issue:

We are doing this in schools? In other places?

A proposal…

This is the one….

So much glee….

A question relative to the whole system; a process birthing itself.

Part of the process is choice creating. Iterating it over and over again.

Noticed that people in the groups I was in were afraid of dominating. Noticing the pushback to strong ideas. Part of what is very valuable is to put forward a clear intention. Then also to hold it.

Qualities of the container is that there is commitment. People all felt the constriction.

If everything is self-organizing; how could anything be wrong if it is self-organizing? The more we get what self-organizing means, it becomes about what works/survives as opposed to what’s right or wrong. Long toothed hunting mammals (eg saber-tooth cats) evolved and died out multiple times. Timing of adaptation.

OpenSpace lays a facilitative work space. A combination of facilitating and letting go. There is a facilitative structure (in the preparation). It is vital.

Rhythm that develops (the steps outlined and then you sit down).

Encountered Paradox i.e. a Leader and collective leadership. Having a group of people sit with it.

Sitting there with an open question. We are not used to doing that.

Transparency…everyone needs to understand that if you think you know what the answer is to solve the problem, it makes it difficult to achieve collective leadership.

Patterns in the conversation with both: is it structure or is it presence? Is intention structure or is it personal presence?

There is a way in which is that if he offered too much structure, there is a pushback in the group. The energy in the group pushed back. When there was a story, it changed. Is there a “supposed to” about Open Space.

If we don’t see there is room for me? Then I want to shift out. There is not one answer.

We often think that we think everybody has to be accepted to be accepted by everybody. Jim put forward his idea and even though there wasn’t room for him to hear us; we listened.

When there is pushback

Used to think that it takes two people to say yes to a relationship but only one to say no. Now i know that even one can say yes.

Timing plays a huge role… If we go too fast; what we can give is the time.

We have to tell the truth. Be authentic.


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Last edited May 15, 2009 5:02 pm USA Pacific Time by JohnAbbe (diff)
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