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Stories

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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Training for Social Labs on Chicago’s South Side

In 2016, we helped Roller Strategies train the team leading the Grove 3547 project.  Grove 3547 is a “social lab,” a multi-year effort designed to enroll, train, and support young leaders and entrepreneurs in the Bronzeville area of Chicago, located approximately between 35th and 47th Avenues on the South Side. In support of this effort,…

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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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Collective Prosperity in Colombia

We were invited to help leaders from all across Colombia decide whether they could work together to create “collective prosperity” across the national economy. Some of our participants had been on opposite sides of ideological battles and in some cases the opposing sides of the civil war — so tensions were extremely high.   We had one…

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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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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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Platforms and Presence in the Netherlands

While many organizations in the Netherlands embrace social innovation, leadership transformation, and responsible business practices, their efforts seem inadequate relative to the scale and urgency of the country’s economic, social, and environmental challenges. Two stories from Holland come to mind.  The first is from PLUK, a platform designed to support leaders from a variety of…

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Teaching Creativity to Social Innovation Pioneers

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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Breaking the Cycles of Violence in Oakland, USA

The problem of police violence against young African-Americans is one of the most visible, best known social issues today, thanks in part to Black Lives Matter.  We helped the Numi Foundation establish a unique approach to addressing violence in Oakland, California (USA), in the ACTION project. ACTION stands for A Creative Transformation In Our Neighborhoods.…

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