Best Seminar Chair, 2006

I sat in these chairs 32 hours last week. I would not want to work full-time in this chair, but it is, by far, the best seminar or workshop chair I have ever experienced. Very comfortable. They deserve an award for designing a chair that fits the body, and Ford deserves an award for purchasing […]


I had lengthy conversations today with two interesting people. One is very senior in the National Security Agency, the other is very senior at the Naval Postgraduate School. In both cases I had increased hope that there are people in government who are thinking deeply about long-term issues that I care about, and are trying […]

Social Capital

I’m at a SoL meeting with about 60 people. About 20 of them are in my consulting convergence group, and we’re meeting as a sub-group frequently throughout the four days. The schedule is fairly grueling for white-collar types, mostly 8 AM to 8 or 9 PM every day. Tonight was the ‘open’ night, where we […]

Mapping Dialogue

Fantastic 86 page research report on the fundamentals, forms, and usage of ten different dialogue approaches. [via Chris.]

Hotel Marlowe, Cambridge, MA

While I was in Boston (Cambridge), I stayed at the Hotel Marlowe; first time. The Marlowe is part of the Kimpton Group boutique chain – “Every hotel tells a story” – found in all the upscale cities you’d expect. It is very close to the SoL offices, and attached to the Cambridgeside Galleria mall. I […]

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

A business colleague whom I met at a SoL gathering emailed asking if I or anyone I knew would be qualified and interested in presenting his seminar for 5-7 days in May and June. I sent a bio, CV, and selected projects list. The response (in part): Wow! Talk about diversity! Clearly you are virtually […]

Transparency and Decision-Making

On a long conference call today 19 of us were discussing group process in decision-making. Specifically, how to assign consultants to incoming work requests. The issue is fraught with flaws that undermine community. For instance, central decisions might be made too quickly, based on who knows whom, using old bios, overlooking a more qualified newcomer […]

[SoL] Cynefin Case Study: Managing Complexity

Dave Snowden was present, but only addressed specific detailed questions. The presentation was done by the lead researcher/practicioner, Bruce McKenzie, and the client’s liaison, Dr. Robert Kay, who is the Head of Strategic Thinking, and has published widely in the areas of autopoietic and social theory. The client: Westpac Banking Corp. 8.2 million customers in […]

[SoL] Dave Snowden and Cynifen Centre

This was the most interesting plenary session for me, and also my most interesting parallel session (see next post). I am planning to attend a training course on this material later this year or early next. I found it a very exciting blend of quantitative analysis and phenominological source material. “Open source Consulting” and […]

[SoL] Comments on the de Vulpian Presentation

Following de Vulpian’s talk at the SoL conference, we heard remarks from Anne Murray Allen, the director for Knowledge and Intranet Management at Hewlett-Packard, and Arie de Geus, a former Royal Dutch Shell strategist and SoL co-founder. HP is an interesting case study for what I call The Web as Organizational Mirror™. In the 1990’s […]

[SoL] Alain de Vulpian on the Process of Civilization

de Vulpian provided a 25-page paper, “Listening to Ordinary People,” in advance of the conference (Word doc). It lays out the main arguments of his book, “A l’ecoute des gens ordinaires. Comment ils tranforment le monde,” (Paris, Dunod 2003). Here is one of the introductory paragraphs from the paper: I have reached the conviction that […]

[SoL] Opening Session

Notes from the opening session of the Society for Organizational Learning Global Forum 2005, Vienna Austria, September 13, 2005. Table discussion: “What question lies at the heart of your work?” * MJ: How to turn pattern observations into action in the world? * Tony: How to make learning as accepted as knowing? * Georgie: Where […]

Transformative Questions

This morning I and three colleagues (from Singapore, Denver, and Boston) presented at the SoL Global Forum. The topic was “Extraordinary Leadership; Shape-Shifting and Transformative Questions as a Genesis for Change.” The session was held inside the Leopold Museum, and it went well. Just over 70 people attended, out of 400 conference participants, and with […]


I have posted three pictures from the conference site (1, 2, 3). From their website: The MuseumsQuartier Wien first opened in 2001. It now features almost 50 different facilities for contemporary art and culture and is one of the ten largest cultural complexes in the world, attracting some 2.7 million visitors each year. This is […]