About

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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.

Chris Jones, @sourcepov

Chris Jones, @sourcepov

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.

About The Journey

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.

Best,
Chris Jones, Charlotte NC


19 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: Culture Fit + Models of Interaction + Pragmatism/Idealism = Progress | TalentCulture

  2. First a sincere thanks for guiding this journey. In my view, many have indeed made contributions. But you should know that without your unwavering focus, kindness and intelligence we wouldn’t be as far as we’ve gotten.

    In any case, what I think I’ve learned is that while systems are governed by complexity, humans act in pursuit of simplicity.

    This week Jen put a Ted Video in my @ stream. In 3 minutes I think it tells the story as clearly as I’ve ever seen it.

    My takeway is that complexity as way of looking at the world can show how things relate to each other. But when the purpose is not merely to understand the world, but to intervene to make it a little better, the best approach might be somewhat different.

    From what I see from the work with the EduKare meme, two essentials arise.

    One is to see the whole person as the object of interest. That means a student’s story must go beyond the school room to reach to their history and community. It also means a government worker – for example a Public School Teacher – must also be seen as a whole person.

    It should be noted that “seeing someone as a whole person is far from trivial.

    The other essential is the importance of responding in the appropriate Time. My strong hunch is that much of what is wrong in the #ecosys can be framed as the decoupling of student time v parent time v school time v government time.

    I have another strong hunch that precisely the same problems exist in government, enterprise and Nation States.

    My nomination for the “right question” is something like:

    How does each stakeholder measure Time?

    I’ll be curious to get your thoughts about whether this could be a useful approach.

    • Michael,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      re: simple interpretations, I agree, if it’s possible for simple (mental) models and simple rules to help us understand complex interactions, I’m all for it – as long as we don’t short change what is really happening.

      re: focus on stakeholders (students, workers, teachers) I think you’re right, we haven’t done enough to truly understand what our actors/agents are doing, and what motivates them. That’s ahead at #Ecosys.

      re: time, what if we introduced value into the equation, such as “how do stakeholders value time?” – time is an interesting dimension in the ‘flow’ of things, and I have a hunch it moves pretty quickly at the stakeholder interaction level; it’s much slower as you move out to the ecosystem.

      Again, great thoughts, appreciate the response and some new ideas for moving ahead.

      Chris

  3. I am hopeful that people look inside for the questions that keep them up at night. The issue for me isn’t “Is this the right question. The issue for me is does this question mean anything personal to me?

    Cheers to you and all that you do to keep the conversation progressive and real.

    Jenn

    • Agree, I think.

      With the volume of exchange (on Twitter in particular) we have to choose our conversations carefully, because there are so many threads to select from. Hard to know if there’s personal meaning/value without some interaction. That’s why I go back to the framing and the framers – to find out who is having the conversation and why? I see “What’s the question and context?” as quick test for meaning/value.

      Ultimately, your point, I think, is that “right” and “wrong” are relative. It depends on the interests and backgrounds of those in the conversation.

      It’s “right” if there’s value to those having the exchange.

      Yes?

      I’ll need to be more specific on my query. And that will take more reflecting. Turn’s out that i’m the one not asking the “right” questions – !!

      Great insights, as ever. Thanks for weighing in Jenn.

      As always, making me think.

      Chris

  4. Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely great. I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart. I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is actually a tremendous web site.

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  14. Hi, just came across your blog searching for George Lakoff. Now I may have to take a prolonged detour! Thank you. Joe

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