Exploring the origins, ethics and future of changemaking

Posts Tagged ‘collective impact’

Systems diplomacy: is this the end of social entrepreneurship?

In Futures on August 13, 2012 at 6:15 am

Last week I wrote a short post titled Now Hiring: Systems Diplomats and had a most surprising reaction. My niche little blog with its humble readership suddenly swelled, at least momentarily. There was something in this post that seemed to resonate for people very strongly.

It might have been not much more than the first two words “Now Hiring” which gave the reader some false hope that in this post was an intriguing new job available, only to realize that it was a fake ad. But the comments and feedback I received on twitter showed something more.

Firstly, to be clear, the meme explored in this post or even the name is not original. I first came across this about a year ago in conversation with a friend, colleague and fellow knowmad @edwardharran. At the time we used the term Ecosystems Diplomat.  Eddie subsequently chatted with @katemural who wrote a stellar post on ecosystems diplomacy. Kate also explored the idea of a kind of Ecosystems Diplomacy Corp. While I have been mostly unaware until recently, there have been others exploring these meme from different angles all over the world, blending it with other memes like open space technology and collective impact.

The collective impact meme was made publicly known and accessible by the team at FSG who have diligently mapped a bunch of collective impact initiatives, and created a framework for how these work. While systems diplomacy is not limited to multi-institutional collaboration, there is definite correlation with the qualities required to facilitate collective impact projects. FSG have focused very heavily on the importance and contribution of backbone organisations in these processes. Systems diplomacy can shed some light on the qualities and approaches of the people who are doing this work. Read the rest of this entry »

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Now hiring: Systems Diplomats

In Futures on August 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Position Description: Systems Diplomat

The world is seeking a team of curious, creative and humble diplomats to navigate complexity, choreograph systems and facilitate collaboration.

Context and Purpose of the Position

Communities, nations, sectors, industries and more are dealing with greater levels of complexity and diversity of participation. This complexity and diversity, and current collective lack of ability to deal with it, is in many cases around the world creating conflict, dis-ease and holding ‘systems’ back from reaching their potential.

These systems require support in being able to come together, find mutual understanding, and move forward in a graceful and effective way. Systems diplomacy helps address these challenges and move systems forward.

As opposed to ‘traditional’ diplomacy, the Systems Diplomat does not represent or speak for a particular voice or power structure within a system. This is not representative diplomacy as it is currently known. The Systems Diplomat moves fluidly between players, roles, process and relationships to increase consciousness of the system, and as a result bring about change to the system.

Systems diplomacy is not entrepreneurial as it is not goal driven. While the social entrepreneur or systems entrepreneur may seek to pursue a certain change goal, the systems diplomat is concerned with process before outcome. It trusts that the outcome is inherently known to the system, but simply lays dormant or unconscious. The diplomat seeks to make conscious that which is currently unconscious, and through this new understanding allows change to occur.

Reports to: Read the rest of this entry »

Limits of the mind and how to work with others

In Collective Impact, Personal Reflections on June 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm

“One day you’ll find out that you but play with words, and though you think you simplify the world, you but shroud truth in small complexities” – Joan Grant

I have been having a dilemma lately with one of the projects I am pursuing. The project has been a major collaboration between a number of parties over the last couple of years. We have been progressing quite well, and despite the divergent views and interests of those involved, we have been able to put our differences aside to focus on what collectively unites us.

Then entered a new partner, who rather than focuses on what is working well within the collaboration, he seems to focus on what is not working. His intellect is extraordinary and his ability to question almost anything is very strong. On the upside, his divergent views could help us to move into a better understanding of where we need to go. Questioning is incredibly valuable and it is important for us to continually seek out greater insight to our motivations and what we want to achieve. Questioning, doubt and negativity though totally rubs me up the wrong way.

I have worked with this individual before, and it is the same story every time. From my experience, seeking to understand truth by dissecting knowledge and information does not get you closer to truth. Seeking to make oneself right by making others wrong also does not lead one closer to a higher viewpoint. Not only does it constrain thinking, it is not effective in building relationships with others. And dominating conversation by shutting others down also gets under my skin.

While others have perhaps not been triggered to the same level as I have, Read the rest of this entry »