I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.
We now know it’s not enough to just bring our brains to work. The difficult issues we’re asked to explore require us to access and apply our whole intelligence to problem-solving, creativity and innovation, especially in the face of global and local social and environmental issues.
And it can be hard work. Which is why I spend a lot of time just trying to keep up, and developing my own skills and capacities. These days, it’s not so much learning new processes – that I can do easily, by talking with colleagues and chasing up information on line. What I can’t learn so easily is how to be responsive, compassionate, and to take risks. This takes something else – presence, awareness and a willingness to go to my edge.
I’ve started a little business with three colleagues in the UK called Edges of Work and we’ve been exploring what it means to go to our edge – or to encourage others to their edge. There seems to be three parts to this:
First, people will go to their edge more willingly if they feel they’re in the right company – with people who can support as well as provoke them.
Second, we think there is a sweet spot. It’s when there is enough challenge to create excitement and curiosity – but not so much that people lose control of their bladders or feel dragged somewhere they don’t want to go.
Third, it’s about being adventurous and creative in the activities used. A lot of our work is inspired by art, theatre, improvisation and other ways of working that get beyond just talking and thinking.
The thing is, it’s hard to go to your edge alone. Which is part of the thinking behind convening a gathering of people willing to explore our learning edge together. If you’d like to join me and about 35 others from diverse backgrounds exploring our edges, better register now (especially as early bird registration closes on May 1st).