Old traditions can be innovative. As I contemplate the meaning of inter-organizational collaboration, I am reminded of stories I have read and heard about St. Helena Island, South Carolina, the place where I now live. It’s the kind of place ignored by management gurus and corporate boardrooms; it’s also the kind of place they could learn a lot from. In the literature, organizational collaboration is described as occurring when people work together on a shared goal, through purposeful relationships in which they...
There is genuine delight on the growing voice of democracy in the Middle East, as we view the struggle to give birth to institutions that support and sustain social fairness and representation. At home, our democratic institutions are showing signs of wear, as people are frustrated by the inability to drive any sort of consistent policy in a climate of blame and recrimination that produces a stalemate. This is a good time to look at what are the preconditions in the citizens that enable democratic institutions to grow and thrive....
Are you a hateful person? The answer may depend on where you live. Culturally, we think of emotions as individual things: If you “love,” it is “you” loving. Jealousy, anger, and fear are also all matters of the individual psyche. But believing that emotions are this particular is only a partial truth. There is increasing recognition that the systems we live in can predispose us to some emotions. Previous articles on Rethinking Complexity have suggested that the workplaces we spend much of our lives in in can be...
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." — William Butler Yeats Two weeks ago, my fourteen-year-old daughter summed up her day at school: “I finished the science TAKS [The Texas assessment of knowledge and skill] in about an hour and then slept for five hours.” On this particular day a 60-question single subject test was the only activity for every 8th grader in the state. Sleeping on TAKS days, it turns out, is quite common. In fact, it’s one of the three activities permitted...
Consider the possibility that everything we know today about our world emerged out of a vast pool of questions. Consider that human systems naturally evolve towards the questions people ask. Questions push the boundaries of our knowledge and understanding of what is possible. How might we transplant a heart or put a person on the moon? These accomplishments may not have been likely without first opening the door with powerful inquiry. Questions open up a new level of thinking, one that reaches beyond problem solving towards possibilities and...
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