inspiration infrastructures

Saturday, May 9th, 2009 | Uncategorized

I just return from an interesting experience in S.F.,  a half day public session organized by Heartland. When I entered the room it felt similar to what I described earlier re Copenhagen: you feel the buzz of an elevated energy, ripples of joyful anticipation connecting with you.  a truly wonderful group of people continued to gather and soon I had—like everyone else—met a few good old friends that I appreciated reconnecting with as well as many others that I hadn’t met before.  as we were mingling with our coffees and bagels in our hand I noticed the wonderful space of this venue: a former military installation turned  into a culture, conference and community center. huge windows, to three sides, spectacular view (Golden Gate Bridge), spacious, high ceilings, and the seating arranged in a three row circle that was a bit open to the stage, but still giving you the nice feeling of sitting in a circle. Then, as we were sipping our coffee, I heard a familiar voice speaking the opening remarks: Michael Ray, who I had met exactly ten years ago for conducting a thoughtleaders interview, and John Renesch gave some wonderful introductory remarks.  Then I did my presentation, telling a little bit the story of my self, of the U theory, and of the emerging new line of work on co-creating infrastructures for societal transformation. Then we turned into two rounds of small group conversations: “Where do you feel the presence of the future in our life and work right now?” (round 1) and “What could be a practical next step to explore that future possibility by doing” (round 2). We closed the morning with sharing what emerged from these small group conversations as well as with closing remarks by me and some others.  There were about 110 of us. Maybe 75% of them were first time attendees to this type of meeting.

In spite of most people in the room meeting for the very first time, what happened throughout the morning was profound. it felt like a huge energy shift (or energy generator) that changes the state of self, awareness, and personal source connection.  A bit like Copenhagen. But this morning we had a little more time and therefore could take it to a deeper level by applying the U to one’s personal situation right now, right here. The meeting closed with making personal commitments for the next 30 days. During the evening I did a similar session with a different group (of OD consultants). In that case we used journaling for the personalization part of the process. But very similar results. Having seen many of these sessions in very different places (America, Africa, Asia, Europe) across all sectors (community, companies, government, multilaterals like UN and World Bank), and seeing some of you reporting on your similar experiences on this blog site, I wonder how we could use this enormous potential for shifting the state of awareness more fully?

To me it feels as if we are dealing with a growing potential for shifting the awareness. Events like the one in S.F. tap the first surface of that potential. But what else might be possible? Could we have half day meetings like the one in S.F. on a more regular level? So that we would move from co-inspiration (which we did in S.F. yesterday) to co-creation—with the same group? And could we create these types of new inspiration and innovation infrastructures across all cities and towns? How could we help people doing it? What would it take? What kind of new places and infrastructures do we need to create that will best support the next wave of social and business innovation and entrepreneurship? And how could we put young people into the driving seat of renewing and rebuilding our communities and economies?

S.F. Fort Mason–picture by FireHawk

4 Comments to inspiration infrastructures

Elizabeth Becker
May 11, 2009

Otto – here is your poem from Thursday. Having your work come through me was the best experience I could have had of Generative Listening. So precisely on point. Thanks for a wonderful session.

Theory U Haiku

Observe, observe, see.
Retreat and reflect, allow.
In an instant, act.

AND you are right – count me in to help engage this energy to move from inspiration to action! I am taking this to some new client work – will keep you posted.

Patrick McNamara
May 12, 2009

I’ve posted how we started our local Presencing learning group in San Francisco in the conversation (tools) section of this site. Check it out!!

Kotaro Kusunoki
May 13, 2009

Hi, Otto. I think that if our own level of awareness is high enough to be able to observe that everything is changing all the time, we can have many opportunities to deal with a growing potential for shifting the awareness globally. Every opportunity is different, but at the same time, it is all the same. We can grow it organically when we unify our experiences we get from the different opportunities.

Bill Veltrop
May 15, 2009

Otto — I want to underscore the appreciation I have for you and your work.

I’ve been a synergy-seeking practitioner in the field of organization design and transformation for 35 years and see your evolving Theory U transformational strategy to be a major breakthrough. Its potential to serve as a sorely needed integrative force for our fragmented field is quite exciting to me.

I particularly appreciate the seamless way your model and language can comfortably embrace and help bridge among all levels of system from deep inner work to societal evolution.

My MISA (Monterey Institute for Social Architecture) colleagues and I have been focusing on developing an education-based regional transformation strategy. I see the Theory U framework as a potential contribution to this pioneering work.

With Gratitude and Blessings,

Bill Veltrop — 831-462-1992

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