Welcome to my small corner of thought space. I am glad you stopped in, and I hope you’ll have a look around.
As you may already know, the last 18 months have taken me deep into the study of collaboration and how organizations learn. It’s a journey that started on this blog in April 2009, and reached a milestone with the publication of The DNA of Collaboration: Unlocking the Potential of 21st Century Teams (October, 2012). Self-publishing a book has been an exciting experience, on many levels. Not surprisingly, perhaps, every milestone reached .. with each new idea, page, and chapter .. produced a new view of the horizon, bringing additional possibilities into view. I’ve felt like a hiker laboring to crest a ridge, only to find new ranges beyond.
That perspective is why I changed the name of the blog.
I’m finding that “making space for Possibility” (the new blog title) can be difficult in our day and age. It can be a daily struggle. Deeper dives on problems .. critical thinking if you will .. tend to fight with pressures and demands of the moment. But we’ve persisted. Inspired by the likes of Margaret Wheatley, Peter Block, and Peter Senge, we’ve tapped the notion of “possibility” in our search for deeper learning. On this blog I hope some of these possibilities will find fertile ground, with the right conditions for germination and growth.
As we grapple with new destinations, or course, it’s more clear than ever that our journey must continue. In four years, via some 75+ posts and several hundred comments, we’ve already covered lots of ground. But through it all, we’ve remained in pursuit of a future state where transformative learning is more deeply thoughtful, purposeful and, ultimately, resilient.
Ambitious? Perhaps. But certainly worth the cab fare. Thanks for travelling along, and helping us find the way.
So looking back, what were the major mileposts?
We’ve looked into organization culture, exploring dynamics of change in the workplace, and the challenges facing traditional knowledge management. This thinking led us to reflect on the modern learning organization, where our ability to collaborate and willingness to engage serve to introduce, I think, a fundamentally new perspective on how we need to attack problems in teams, which served as the grounding frame for my book.
Along the way, we’ve pursued deep dives in public education and open government, in hopes we might tap into (or possibly spark?) some fundamentally new thinking in areas where progress has stalled. We think we’ve posted some progress on the education (see wiki).
But maybe the most intriguing development of all is our thread on complexity, a way of looking at the world that is woven through all our social ecosystems. It’s about the interplay of diverse stakeholders, exploring patterns and guiding outcomes. It’s a new way of looking at problems, organizations and our social institutions, and we’re just learning how that line of thinking works in practice.
In 2011 I launched a new series on the inner workings of critical thinking, chipping away anew at the very core of how we solve problems most effectively. Our most recent discussions zero in on collaborative learning and the possibilities of spiral thinking. I’m hoping that this framing will help us attack the biggest challenges, bringing deeper insights through a more rigorous approach. In the process I discovered philosophy at a whole new level, and became a huge fan of Aristotle, Descartes, Kant and Wittgenstein. It was a rich and rewarding detour that brought me full circle back to modern questions on thinking about thinking, helping me build a strong academic foundation for all of this.
We’ve made progress, to be sure, but there’s more discovery ahead. Challenge me, and I’ll return the favor. And I hope you packed a bag: this journey is a long one.
Whether as a reader, colleague, or collaborator – and now, in many cases, as a friend – I truly appreciate your long term investment of time and insight. I look forward to where we might go.
Thanks again, and please, come back soon – and often.