University of Democracy

Sunday, November 28th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Last week I was in a workshop with the senior civil servant team of the Ministry of Health and Social Services in Namibia. People were reflecting on what they had learned over the past couple of years when we had helped them to cope with their leadership challenges better and more as a team. Like their counterparts in Indonesia, they talked about concrete outcomes on the ground, but also about their transformed relationships with each other (from mistrust to trust) and with themselves (to a higher level of presence and self-confidence). They also talked about having become better listeners and communicators. One of them referred to the Leadership Development Forum (a parallel learning structure in the form of leadership retreats every 4 to 6 months) as our “University of Democracy.” Democracy? Yes, because every voice and experience is heard.

I thought that was a really interesting term they used: to describe a governmental leadership learning structure as a “University of Democracy.” What if we could connect, leverage, and develop such an university of democracy across all ministries and sectors in all countries?

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seeds of change==>challenges of institutionalization

Friday, November 27th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Last week we convened the Presencing-In-Action Lab in Boston. The meeting gathered 26 change makers across many cultures and continents. It was striking to see how all the small the seed projects of the last years are beginning to blossom and grow together into a rapidly evolving field of change. I wrote some of this story up in a paper that I presented yesterday in a meeting with senior leaders of the South African government in Joberg. Eary this week, visiting the Namibian Health Systems project, I saw some great examples of prototyping in the area of maternal health. In my own learning process I am wrestling more and more with the question of how to move from prototyping to institutionalizing. That’s the challenge in Namibia and in South Africa. And also in other projects I am currently involved in. Looking at the larger landscape of Theory U inspired change initiatives and related movements, you also wonder what type of institutional embodiment would lend the best support structure going forward. What is it? A community of practice? A movement? A global action research school in the making? All the above? How to institutionalize a “” –- a green global action leadership school — for pioneering society 3.0, either on campus at MIT or in some other form?

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