Blog > Cause and effect

June 6, 2008

This has been playing on my mind recently, and maybe it’s gelling just enough for me to write about it. Three things happened:

1. I was researching Communities of Practice and complexity and came across a Sketchcast by Shawn at Anecdote, where he talked about the Cynefin framework and the relationship between cause and effect. I’d not thought so much about the cause and effect part before. The big ah-ha! moment for me was realising that when things are complex, the effect is known (via patterns) before the cause (as in climate change for example).

2. I was listening to a particularly dense (as in ‘chock full of big words’ not ‘dumb’) ppt presentation on climate change and the speaker was struggling to describe complexity¬†

3. I’ve been pondering the need to be seen to be DOING, the need to produce OUTPUTS or PRODUCTS and the dilemma of the intrinsic worth of simply BEING with others and having conversations.

This third situation often arises when I talk about or facilitate open space meetings. “It was good to talk, to have some time to explore, to slow down, BUT what did we achieve?” I wonder why talking, exploring and slowing down are not generally seen as achievements in their own right?

Which brings me back to my everyday work – facilitating. Planning (in organisations etc) used to be relatively straightforward, and although I never particularly enjoyed planning processes, they worked quite well and did the job. I tend to avoid planning-type jobs these days in favour of approaches that generate conversation and learning, particularly around complexity. I’m happy enough if people can just be together and be in conversation. Products are not so important – sometimes not at all important.

At this point I got distracted and went off to try and figure out how to do a Sketchcast on the Cynefin framework, then I got to practicing using my pen tablet (not very successfully), then I made a couple of phone calls – and then ended up cruising a few blogs. Where I came across this on Johnnie Moore’s site. Now this is really spooky cos it says (much better) what I’ve been thinking. So go and have a look at it now , only lasts a few minutes. Go on – I’ll still be here when you return.

So, the thing is, how do we rediscover the art of being? And when we rediscover the art of being, how do we make it valued? Probably start with ourselves – value it in ourselves and spread the word.

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