I was privileged to be among the 150 people at Trampoline II on Saturday. Trampoline is an unconference … no agendas are set before the start, it is simply an opportunity for people to talk and listen to each other on the broad theme of ‘what I find interesting in the world’. The organising framework is based loosely on how Open Space Technology operates. It also borrows from Barcamps.
a shot from the first trampline earlier in the year
I loved hearing about ‘edge theory’, learning how to be funny from a professional comedian, listening to some intelligent commentary on intergenerational learning, thinking about how simplistically we have used computers in education … and overall loved the generosity and energetic dynamic that Pat, Steve and Mel facilitated. You guys are legends.
The day left me with apparently conflicting reflections. One the one hand there is nothing new under the sun. The energy and passion of (mostly young) people who are seeking to cultivate a better world will always be.
But every season brings new opportunities and on the other hand there is a compelling argument that the shifts we are experiencing now, with the perfect storm precipitated by climate change and evolving economic systems will bring genuine revolution.
I wonder about leadership. I looked around the room and loved the spirit. But energy, passion, intelligence and vision is not enough. I am one of those who thinks that personal character makes the difference between being a frustrated, the-world-owes-me-something type and those that are able to leave their mark. And personal character is marked not by cleverness or opportunism. It is forged through perseverance in suffering, discipline and intentional humility. It comes from a well formed view of the meaning of life, one that enables us to live in service of a cause bigger than ourselves. That’s what I reckon anyway.
My experience on Saturday gives me hope. Scattered among the brilliance and vision was the right stuff … I look forward to the future if it can be shaped by people like some of those at Trampoline.
I find myself sitting in McDonalds after one of the worst night’s sleep I can remember for a long time. Noisy kids (who go to bed later than their parents), barking dogs (own own), cats on the roof (our own) and the insomnia inducing restless thinking about the problems associated with running a small business, punctuated with dreaming about our first excursion in our new caravan (which I affectionately call our ”yurt’).
One of the little problems to be resolved today is associated with our partnership with Deakin University’s Org. Psych. Department. We are exploring a psychometrically valid instrument to assess the “generativity” of an organisation. This has emerged from our work over many years now to understand the phenomena which we have described as a generative organisation, and in particular, generative business. The problem we’ve got is that the established categories don’t fit. There are established models for “organisational health’, wellbeing in the workplace’, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), sustainability, ethics, and more. But when we talk about generativity we are talking about a combination of these and more …. not more broad, but more deep.
How do we not reinvent the wheel, yet do the nuances of our thesis justice? We want to assess the nature of organisations that enliven people, that energise people to produce the best they can from their core strengths in an environment in which they can be thoroughly themselves. In parallel with this generative organisations generate positive change in the community, society, market in which they operate.
Will let you know how we go.
I am anticipating a great event this weekend. Three amazing people (Steve, Pat and Mel) who have all worked with us at some stage, are running an event in Donkey Wheel House. (Donkey Wheel is an organisation, of which I am Chair, that is developing a social enterprise hub in the heart of Melbourne.)
Trampoline (www.trampolinemelb.com ) will bring together 100 energetic, intelligent people for an ‘unconference’. Check it out. I look forward to reporting on that too.