© Jon Freeman  2015


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Jon Freeman

Visioning the Future

Questions and Answers

This project is an emergent process.  I don’t know how it will work and it must respond to your input.   People are asking some very astute questions and I am responding to them as they arise.  This page will contain some of those dialogues.  

Michael:- While there were many particular elements and perspectives that caught my attention while reading, I am most intrigued by and interested to explore/possibly contribute around ’the design-ing’ for the process(es) of engagement. I appreciate the ’36 Core Questions’ framing AND suspect that the dynamics of interaction ‘with’ such questions at a collective engagement level might require some unique design considerations. I also suspect that any practitioner interested to assist in ‘holding such an engagement space’ will also benefit from demonstrating particular capacities and artistry that go well beyond typical ‘facilitation’. Of course, in your mind, these things may have already been covered off…and, if that is the case, possibly you would not need my contribution ‘in the way I described’. 

Thanks for your response.  I think that I understand your question and it is a good one.  I don't pretend to knowing much of an answer.  Hopefully something will communicate through the vagueness of what I am about to say.

As far as I know, nothing like this has ever been attempted before.  So we will need to invent it as we go.  What is in my head is based on the exercise of constructing the Reinventing Organisations Wiki.  That sought to take and extrapolate the ideas in Frederic's book and extend them further using the collective intelligence in the "Teal Organisations" community.  It was a loosely moderated process which, like Wikipedia, allowed editing and re-editing in order to arrive at a point which represented some degree of coherence and cohesion that included the diversity of experiences.  And I haven't looked at it lately to see what state it is now in.  But it is the best model I have of something which is intended to be largely self-organising.

So what then will "facilitation" mean in this context?  I have one protagonist who is very exercised about the possibility of reaching consensus about "how" we might reach this desired future.  I have told him that I am not interested in consensus!   Underneath his concerns, I believe, is the idea that there will be a set of "right answers".  That will take us straight into linear thinking and is not at all what we need.  Unfortunately it is where a lot of participants will naturally come from because we won't easily find a high percentage of second-tier thinking systems. (Universe please prove me mistaken about that!)  In my mind, one of the early tasks and challenges is to frame the ground-rules and intentions.  What does it take to design the criteria for a future economy in such a way that it can emerge as multi-faceted, with systems that have the capacity for responsiveness, self-balancing and dynamic steering.  What would an organic, living systems model for how we use money look like?  What would we design into it that will facilitate dynamic steering, self-correction and distributed intelligence that embraces the world's diversity of conditions and needs?  Thinking in your terms, it will need to be a garden.

I do take the initial view that more important than getting the right answers, is asking the right kinds of questions.  Indeed part of the design requires us to ensure that those questions are being continually re-asked, and never answered, only responded to in relation to the day's conditions and awarenesses.  And that for me will sit at the heart of any "facilitation", and some of it will sit inside how the "wiki" platform  is set up. (I don't know if it would help to look at the Twiki platform that I think would offer a good basis for the work.)

I am expecting that the process will need steering.  I think how that looks is a small core team of shapers (gardeners) who hold the space and guide the activities, not towards consensus, but towards some sort of "contained diversity".  Prepare the soil.  Encourage the worms.  Weed if absolutely necessary.  Protect from frost.  Trust the plants and the ecology.  That is as much as is in my mind so far.