Allen Frimpong and I offered a training about working in complexity for about 14 peers in social service, social justice, disability movement, harm reduction, art and faith communities.
We studied the Cynefin Framework and discussed what it takes to stay in inquiry rather than depending on what we already know.
The harvest from our conversation centered the importance of personal resolve and healthy relationships as a foundation for staying with ‘not knowing’ until emergence can happen.
Our reflection surfaced the importance of personal practice (re-framing personal discomfort with not knowing, letting go of ego, dedication and persistence, seeing value in your own voice/location) and group practice (building trust and safety, honest communication and commitment to co-learning) when working in complexity.
Three themes emerged from our conversation: (1) awareness that balancing inquiry and acting/solving requires conscious effort; (2) a shared desire for environments that invite ‘failing forward' rather than rewarding quick solutions (Cynefin invites ‘safe-fail experimentation’ because, when given proper controls and attention, failed experiments/prototypes may point to a better route forward than successes); and, unconscious power differentials can create barriers to co-learning in teams and organizations ('ask a wicked question' was offered as a practice that a team member with less institutional or perceived power can use to invite a group to stay in inquiry when people with decision making power are moving quickly to solution building).
For emergence, innovation and change facilitators who would like to apply the Cynefin model, Chris Corrigan is our source!:
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