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Tuesday, August 4 • 14:00 - 14:30
Harnessing IHRD Trainers' Integral Capacities for Problem Resolving and Possibility Emergence: The Case Study of an Integral Action Learning Program Designed in World Café 2.0

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In the past decade, claim for unleashing organizational capacities no longer  focuses on explicating the nature of problem structures and the way problems being framed. More and more emphasis is placed on uncovering the levels of organizational consciousness or cultivation of organizational spirit. While applying systems archetypes to depict the structural patterns underlying most organizational problems, organizational leaders and HRD trainers might be led to problem-focus or outcome-focus, instead of emergence-focus, from which possibilities and opportunities might arise. They tend to neglect the fact that what prohibits most organizational development or social transformation is not the problems themselves, but how we, the stakeholders of the whole society, relate to one another and the problems. Through a deeper understanding of the complexity of problem would help clarify how problems could be transformed into possibilities. Furthermore, clarifying our roles in the making of problems and how our mentalities shape these roles would help uncover the causes of these problems.

Adam Kahane, who is a gifted facilitator specializing in cross-sector dialogue and scenario building, proclaims three types of increasing complexity as the root of organizations’ and societies’ toughest problems. They are dynamic complexity, social complexity and generative complexity, which could be observed in profit, non-profit, and most governmental organizations. Once we could not see the relationship between cause and effect of any of our decision, we would lose insight into such “dynamic complexity” and feel powerless, helpless or hopeless when the problems keep emerge and distance in time and space still block our relating cause to effect. He contends that “social complexity” often emerges in an organization of diverse stakeholders with different agendas and worldviews. Especially in the globalizing society when multiplicity is highly embraced and divergence advocated, conflicting differences could be either disguised under the value of plurality or resolved with superficial dialogues. Most important of all, when we face the emergent realities wherein solutions from the past no longer fit, we will be seeing realities with old, existing mental frames and locked in “ generative complexity”.

However, how could people with different mentalities, visions and paradigmic thinking work together to facing the various types of thorny problems? When power struggle is disguised in democracy, how could the government engage divergent stakeholders to listen to each other? How could the government identify the numerous constellations of minds and souls in the public?

In this presentation, the author suggest that one of the most critical approaches to bridge the gap between government effectiveness and public needs is to create a new dialogical platform, allowing a new language for communication and negotiation. Indeed, there are many approaches to harnessing such an enabling langue for collaborative inquiries for intercultural or cross-organizational learning, such as appreciative inquiry, open space, future search, whole scale change and world café. Instead of taking any of these forms, the author integrates the Chinese Golden Circle Philosophy, Theory U, and Integral Theory to design an integral form of collective thinking and dialogue, coined as the World Café 2.0. The World Café 2.0 is designed to harness the IHRD trainers’ systems thinking and integral capacities to transform problems into possibilities or searching opportunities inherent in these problems. To achieve this, the author will juxtapose problems and possibilities in cross-cultural and cross-organizational contexts and design a holistic model for integral action learning to bridge gap between government and public. Below are the strategies of such a holistic design model:

Enabling the deep questioning abilities through U Journey

Resolving value conflicts through both Chinese and Western Golden Circle

Uncovering the world views inherent in collective thinking and action

Engaging in holistic design through collaborative inquiry with integral spirit

The author will demonstrate how such a holistic model could be applied to foster creative dialogue and envisioning action in the context of divergent contexts. Indeed, the unique challenge of today is to articulate such an underlying integrative culture, and enact its cultivation for global creativity and prominence.

Although we may not know well how such an integrative culture might actually develop and work in the long run, it seems clear that a deep integrative model must emerge, at least in part, from synthesizing across diverse wisdom traditions-west and east, north and south, indigenous and contemporary. For example, more and more cross-cultural and cross-civilization dialogues are occurring in different fields. Synthesizing different cultural traditions characterizes the works of more and more renowned artists, scholars, writers, scientists and creative managers in multinational enterprises.

Keywords: Integral Theory, Theory U, Action Learning, Collective Dialogue, World Café 2.0

avatar for Prof. Alexander Laszlo

Prof. Alexander Laszlo

SIG Chair: Leadership and Systemic Innovation, Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires
SIG Chair:    Curating Emergence for Thrivability Board of Trustees' Representative, International Society for the Systems SciencesAlexander Laszlo, PhD, is the 57th President and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS),  Director... Read More →


MingFen Li

ISSS Regular

Tuesday August 4, 2015 14:00 - 14:30 CEST
Reindeer Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

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