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 more
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 more
Where did the modern idea of charity and doing good come from? The notion of the non-profit as the primary vehicle for change is incredibly new in the grand scheme of Earth’s history. There are many drivers behind doing good, and it has also taken many forms and structures in society and community over time. I frame it here deliberately not from the point of view of ‘doing good’, but what has driven the emergence of new forms. That drive is a deep cultural and psychological need to be ‘saved’ or ‘to save’.
It all began with this idea that The Gods will Save Us, or at least close to it. We actually originally thought we could save ourselves until we realised there were other forces at play beyond our control, AND, that saving oneself doesn’t always work!
So we attempted coexisting together for a while, yet were somehow powerless to the whims of the mighty Gods – victims in a world where we were unable to really make it for ourselves. This was at least until we noticed someone doing (or asserting) things a little different. He (or maybe she), showed us that …. Read more