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News — Strategy

Good vibrations and elegant paths

Motivation Strategy

Been dipping into fundamental physics lately, which, I know, probably has little to do with social change. But I did discover an interesting insight or two. First, everything in the universe is vibrations. Even the stuff (particles) of the universe is vibrations. And particles excite each other and change directions by bumping together and passing on their vibrations. Yes, I can dig that. It’s exactly the same for human beings composed of kazillions of particles. We excite other human beings and change their directions by bumping into them and sharing our excitements. In fact, isn’t that what social change IS?...

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Blinkered: how government does change badly

Community building Silo-busting Strategy

You have to admire the sheer consistency of non-self-reflection in indigenous affairs in this country. The location of Aboriginal problems, is, of course, Aboriginal people. And to prove it there is a seemingly endless cavalcade of studies evaluating Aboriginal communities. But, although I’ve read every evaluation of the NT Intervention, I can find only one study that actually evaluates the performance of government program managers. Tellingly, it’s a Department of Finance study that was suppressed as ‘Cabinet in Confidence’ until Channel Seven got hold of it under Freedom of Information in 2011. Although it’s written in cold technocratese, it’s a...

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Is the Spectrum dead?

Innovation Strategy

Or more accurately, is the Spectrum of Participation an intellectual zombie - a model that stays alive despite being functionally useless? For those of you not familiar with the Spectrum of Participation, it’s the central conceptual framework for community consultation in planning, especially in local government. It’s so central to thinking about planning that it’s almost impossible to contemplate community consultation without invoking the Spectrum. But here’s the problem. I just reviewed a host of contemporary community consultation methods (to make an slide show for a new training workshop). No matter how much I bent the definitions, I couldn’t make...

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Genius community grants – it’s the process that counts

Facilitation Innovation Strategy

Most councils and government agencies have community grants programs. And most of those programs kill innovation. Why? Because the typical applicant is so desperate to be funded they try to second guess what the agency is looking for by packing the grant application full of buzz words extracted from the agency’s documentation, and what got funded last year, rather than gamely having a go with imaginative ideas. There is simply no incentive for innovation in the conventional grant process, and plenty of fear of being knocked back for being too radical. And because the application form is usually completed 5 minutes...

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Facilitation tricks, cool Pope Francis, and space to think (Signs and wonders #9)

Facilitation Strategy

Some nice tricks for facilitators I’m always looking for way to improve my facilitation practice. Here’s a few recent discoveries, plus some other things that have inspired me lately. And a note on upcoming training. Best wishes - Les 1) A short sharp diversity exercise Sometimes project teams can’t see who’s NOT in the room. Here’s a nice exercise that nails it: “Everyone please stand up. Now sit down if… …you grew up in a non-anglo saxon culture or bi-lingual home, …you don't have a university degree, …you have a disability, …you are under 15 or over 55, …you're an artist or...

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