I recently facilitated a session with a delegation from Ho Chi Min City in Vietnam. The session was around capability building in the public service. A session that could run the risk of being very dry and boring if not handled in the right way.
This is where the power of story came in. As part of the session, the delegation was asked to share their experiences around an open ended question. While the rest of the group was listening to the story teller, they were asked to write on a sticky note what they heard. We then grouped the issues together on the wall…like with like and gave each one a name. In this way, the group themselves owned the ideas as they emerged rather than me telling them what it was all about. We then used this as a basis for discussion around building knowledge and capability.
The group displayed a great sense of humour and an enormous interest in learning. In particular they liked the quote from Richard Branson:
Meals on Wheels NSW and Queensland are hosting a Learning Exchange with Complexability and Dave Snowden from Cognitive Edge. This is an opportunity to exchange ideas on how we evaluate and make sense of what we need to achieve in a complex space. There will be a chance to hear from Dave and others and to engage in meaningful conversation to form and develop ideas further.
There is one workshop in Brisbane on August 4 and another in Sydney on August 5.
If you would like to register here is the brochure and registration form. Learning Exchange Workshop
Recently I was involved with an organization who had to address the issue of quality and how they would achieve it and know when they were there as part of their accreditation process. It occurred to me that while thinking about this, there would be as many definitions and ways to get there as there was people in the organization and possibly more. In other organizations I am familiar with, it has been the top eschalons who have decided this as it is perceived they have the wisdom and knowledge. It then leaves others completely puzzled, with no commitment and even implementing something completely different. In working through the issue, it seemed that we needed a technique that involved shared experience, shared wisdom and knowledge and developed a shared commitment.
In response to this, a narrative based workshop was designed. People were asked to respond to an open question that had been collaboratively designed with representatives of the organization. Their responses were about their experiences which they shared with their small groups. Issues were noted as we went along. We then undertook a process of grouping issues, naming them and letting ideas of quality emerge from shared experience. The issues were then taken by the small groups and a simple action plan for each was devised dealing with the how to get there and what it might look like.
Amongst all of this people also chose to express their ideas via drawing, words and collage providing for a creative way of thinking about things…there were some nice results. These are retained by the organization and provide an ongoing point of conversation about the idea of quality.
If you would like to know more about this or engage in a workshop for your organization please contact me.
Over the past year I have been working with a group of colleagues on several projects that fall within the Complex space. These projects are work that is trying to understand the impacts of a particular issue on people and place. What has become apparent with the projects is that it is no longer sufficient to try to measure only outcomes as these do not tell the whole story. There are multiple perspectives to impacts of an initiative and there was a need to develop a way of understanding this.
Consequently we formed a collaborative group to think this through. Complexability was developed along with an approach known as Monitoring and Measuring All That Matters. This is currently being applied in work with Portraits in Blue and with Meals On Wheels NSW with considerable success. We envisage it being applied to community based programs and initiatives where the impacts are multiple and cannot be understood by quantitative and qualitative measures alone.
Portraits in Blue was launched in Brisbane on October 11 at Minter Ellison who most generously sponsored the launch. This important project aims to capture the true stories of depression from an individual, carer and family perspective through the use of narrative tools.
To follow up on this, there is a website www.portraitsinblue.com and a Facebook page called Portraits in Blue.
There is an Information Pack attached to this article that explains all the details and can be used to start conversations.
PIB Information Pack
The Portraits In Blue Project is a narrative research project to look at the real stories of depression. It has been generated by several consumers/patients who believe that their stories are often untold and that the real impacts of depression are not understood or even known.
It is an innovative project, using narrative research techniques based on Cognitive Edge methodology to capture stories from consumers, carers and practitioners. Those of us working on the project believe that there is a lot of wisdom in the day-to-day stories of people experiencing depression, and Portraits in Blue aims to better understand and share those stories and their wisdom. Ultimately we are hoping to influence policy makers, advocate for better ways of understanding depression, and to influence the popular portrayal of depression.
The project is being developed and overseen by a group which includes people who suffer from depression, mental health practitioners and consultants with a range of expertise.
We are also in receipt of wonderful pro bono support from Minter Ellison, Micah Projects and Cognitive Edge making the project a possibility and reality.
We have thus far piloted the tool to gather data and when it is finalised a link will appear on this blog.