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We cannot problem solve our way into fundamental change, or transformation

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 16 November 2009

 


Title

We cannot problem solve our way into fundamental change, or transformation
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 113
Posted DateMonday 16 November 2009 17:39 GMT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://conversationsthatmatter.typepad.com/world_cafe_commun ... 
http://www.asmallgroup.net/pages/images/pages/CES_jan2007.pd ... 
Civic Engagement and theRestoration of Community: Changing the Nature of the Conversation

Whenever I run my Knowledge Cafe Masterclasses, a few people always have a serious problem with the fact that when run in its "pure form" there are no tangible outcomes of a Knowledge Cafe.

There are plenty of intangible ones, such as a better understanding of the issue, a better understanding of ones own views, a better understanding of others perspectives, improved relationships and genuine engagement and motivation to pursue the subject but no outcomes in the form of a decision or a consensus or a to-do list.

I and many others don't have a problem with this -- the intangibles are worthy outcomes. And then I recently came across this quote from Peter Block in an online booklet of his entited Civic Engagement and theRestoration of Community: Changing the Nature of the Conversation

My belief is that the way we create conversations that overcome the fragmented nature of our communities is what creates an alternative future.

This can be a difficult stance to take for we have a deeply held belief that the way to make a difference in the world is to define problems and needs and then recommend actions to solve those needs.

We are all problem solvers, action oriented and results minded. It is illegal in this culture to leave a meeting without a to-do list.

We want measurable outcomes and we want them now.

What is hard to grasp is that it is this very mindset which prevents anything fundamental from changing.

We cannot problem solve our way into fundamental change, or transformation.

This is not an argument against problem solving; it is an intention to shift the context and language within which problem solving takes place.

Authentic transformation is about a shift in context and a shift in language and conversation. It is about changing our idea of what constitutes action.



So another intangible I should add to my list: "a shift in context and in language and conversation that changes our idea of what constitutes action."



If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen


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Monday 11 December 2017
11:18 AM GMT