What does ‘edges of work’ mean?


September 13th, 2011

A long time ago I learnt of a very useful tool called the wave analysis*. It uses the metaphor of the wave to explore elements of any practice. It’s a useful model because it helps categorise practices and the wave metaphor is dynamic and can be taken further to include undercurrents, rips and even whitewater!

On the crest of the wave is established norms – those practices that everyone uses; on the shore are dying practices, things we really should stop doing; out where the wave forms are emerging trends; and way out on the horizon are new edges. The thing about this dynamic metaphor is that one person’s emerging trend could be someone else’s dying practice!

This is one way of looking at the ‘edges of work’. In your business, what are the new edges, and emerging trends that you’d like to move into the realm of established norms? Some of the approaches that we’re excited about include practicing spontaneity, dialogue, serious play, open space technology, story and narrative, and bodystorming. These edges of work are designed to ready us for everyday challenges: dealing with complexity, thinking on our feet and navigating continuous change and uncertainty.

If this interests you, come and join us for a day of exploration on October 5 in Melbourne and stay for the Creative Methods Conference.

*I’ve been unable to discover the original source. If you know, please leave a comment below.

2 Comments so far

  1. David Zinger on September 14, 2011 1:33 am

    Viv:
    I wish I was in Australia as I would certainly go to this. I like your edges. I think I need to clean up my shore better by determining what are the dying practices I need to stop doing. I know I pick up for too many rocks from the shore and want to do them all. I think my new edges are a much deeper, richer, and robust integration of the practices of engagement in work and management. The other edge is to learn more about social community by engaging in art and social media with honeybees. Clay Shirky said that every url could be a latent community and I think it has occurred and social media has become less social and more broadcasting. Thanks for the wave.
    David

  2. Viv McWaters on September 14, 2011 9:50 pm

    Hi David
    Thanks – we’re pretty excited about the edges work too. I think you are spot on about community – being part of a community seems to be a skill we are losing, and one that it’s important to rediscover. Glad you found the wave useful.
    Cheers, Viv

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