Why I Left My Dream Job

Between 2007 and 2014, I apprenticed to a man who helped South Africa transition out of apartheid, Colombia find the road to peace, and an alliance of North and South American countries change the war on drugs. He works in the background, well out of the public eye, facilitating high stakes dialogues. As his apprentice,…

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What is “Social Creativity?”

“I need to be able to read the room and know exactly what they should do next. I need to be able to depart from the plan with 100% confidence and intuit accurately where to go.”  That’s a super smart social entrepreneur with ten successful years behind her, telling us about her challenges when facilitating…

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Paying Hell for Creativity: Why “Failure” is Actually Good

“When you’re down, when you’ve been kicked down in the street and then kicked a few more times until you’re bleeding and your teeth are out, then you only have up to go. You get reborn again, and expectations aren’t so great because they’ve taken you away. It’s beautiful to be down there. It’s so…

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Freedom, Peace, and Violence

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”  — Goethe   When the shooting in San Bernardino occurred last week (December 2015), and then a later learned the shooters were “Islamic terrorists,” I felt a new surge of disbelief: fourteen years after 9/11, we’re still buying the same old line? We…

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When Becoming Creative Crushes Your Soul

We’ve been writing a lot lately about the travails of developing and strengthening your creative know-how and capacities. A theme is: developing creativity means pain. Well, yeah. It actually doesn’t have to — but it generally does, because we’re stubborn. We hold onto what makes us uncreative — what makes us repetitive, habitual, comfortable. If…

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The World is a Sculpture

The world is, more and more, changing into something else—and, for better or worse, human beings are the ones changing it. The daily choices of seven billion people (and more on the way) are changing oceans and atmosphere, shaping our global and national financial, infrastructure, & governance systems, deciding between war and peace.  The world is our sculpture…

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Teaching Creativity to Social Innovators

Getting to Maybe is a “social innovation residency” named after the book of the same title by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Patton.  The programs occur in summer at the beautiful Banff Centre, in and among pristine lakes and snowy mountains. Westley invited us to teach participants about creativity, and given the setting, we…

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Training Executives in the Outback

We designed and led, in partnership with Reos Australia, an offsite training in leadership presence for Executive Directors at Telstra, Australia’s largest telecom. One of the central aims of the program was to explore the inner journey of becoming a leader.  We were fortunate to travel into the Outback, where we had the amazing privilege…

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Supporting Democracy Scenarios in South America

In 2014 we mediated a conversation between two facilitators who were experiencing intense pressure during a year long scenario project with top leaders to envision the future of democracy in South America.  The team had reached a possible breaking point; relations were precarious and the team members were unsure if they could continue to work…

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Helping Society Embrace People with Intellectual Disabilities in Canada

When’s the last time you saw someone with intellectual disabilities in a public place?  And what was your first reaction?  Many people view these folks with fear or even revulsion.  Which is a shame, because they add a rare power of love, meaning, and richness to their families and communities. We’ve been supporting a handful…

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