Showing posts from May, 2011

Leaping to New Solutions

Do you ever wake up in the early morning with a random thought that answers a question you’ve had?  I’m talking about the kind of answer that isn’t the product of a logical thought process, but is the result of a kind of leap. One morning, I woke up with this phrase in my head, “generative vs. determinative thinking.” In my half-awake fog, I wrote it down, wondered what in the world this phrase was pertaining to, and fell back asleep. Once I was actually awake, I still had no clue what it was about. 

So off to Google I went. Here’s the first entry from the search for generative vs. determinative thinking: Ontological and Epistemological Terrains Revisited  “…To grant thought generative and determinative functional properties is ...”Boy! Did that not clear anything up! The next source was a lot more interesting: Why Nonprofits Have a Board Problem (  This short interview and book review of Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit …

What's Involved in Facilitating a Staff or Board Retreat?

Last week I was asked by a small non-profit for a proposed budget to facilitate a two day, off site, overnight staff retreat.  The retreat, they hoped, would have two components: team building exercises with a staff of nine to eleven (five of whom were hired this summer), and facilitation of implementation planning of their Board's new strategic plan.  They wanted to form several working groups, which with only 10 people, meant that we would have to stagger the working group meetings so that people weren't trying to be in two places at once.
This organization would make their decision on whether or not to hire me based on price.  First of all, I really appreciated not being asked to develop a full proposal when the issue was going to be price.  I provided this team three options for more or less time, and therefore in-depth work, across two days so that I could vary the price for them.  Even so, it can be really surprising to find out how much even a modest retreat can cost.


The Next Copernican Revolution

As you know, Copernicus paved the way for the scientific revolution by convincingly showing that the Earth is not the center of the universe.  This challenged the prevailing authority structures, understanding of God and the purpose of humans, and supported the development of scientific process. 
Lewis Mumford wrote that there have only been four or five such total societal transformations in the course of human history.  Willis Harman in Global Mind Change makes the argument (arrogant as it may be) that we could very well be in the midst of such a far-reaching global change in our time, "when society goes through a more fundamental kind of change involving all its institutions and even more basic aspects of its culture."
Harman goes on to say that "every society ever known rests on some set of largely tacit basic assumptions about who we are, what kind of universe we are in and what is ultimately important to us." [Italics his]
In our times, our understanding of the …

What Tachi Kiuchi Learned in the Rainforest

I have no idea where I got this little booklet. There's no publication date in it, but it's probably almost 15 years old.  I keep it on the coffee table in my living room a) because it makes me look soooo environmentally conscious and b) because I have to keep working hard on understanding Mr. Kiuchi's message.
Tachi Kiuchi was Chairman and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric America when he received letters from elementary school children asking him to help save the rainforests.  Next thing you know, he's conducting primary research in Malaysia.  Here is what he learned.

Well, the first lesson actually came from his father, long before his sojourn into the forest: "Do what you want. Follow your purpose.  But don't die."  Kiuchi writes, Lesson One: Stay alert. Watch where you're going.

Lesson Two: I learned that saving the rainforests - in fact, saving the environment -- is more than an environmental necessity.  It is a business opportunity, to use creativity a…

Resilience or Adaptability - Focusing Action to Create a Desirable Future

The following article was written last May.  My thinking has evolved since then, which you'll see in future posts. -s

Resilience as a concept for a desirable future is out of vogue, and here's why.  We, quite rightly, are careful about the words we choose to define our goals because they focus our actions to achieve them.  One of the words in vogue these days is "resilience."   Here is a description of resilience from a report, Resilience and Sustainable Development: Building Adaptive Capacity in a World of Transformations.
Resilience, for social-ecological systems, is related to (a) the magnitude of shock that the system can absorb and remain within a given state, (b) the degree to which the system is capable of self-organization, and (c) the degree to which the system can build capacity for learning and adaptation.
It's worth noting that resilience is not needed for adaptation to a steady state. The whole point of needing resilience is that the external state is…

Using the Creative Process - One Model

(Original Post Date: Early April 2010)
A few weeks ago, my coach Louise Kaelin ( asked me to consider being open to the idea that I have "earned a full share of the harvest."  Louise uses a process of crafting statements that help her clients sort out what's true and not true for them and this was the statement we were working on when I needed to slow down and explore what it meant.

Like most of my fellow humans, I have lots of limiting beliefs so I developed a creative, intuitive process to bypass them.  Remember when we used to make collages to help us visualize our dreams?  Well, being an internet aficionada I don't have lots of magazines around to cut up anymore; but I could copy pictures from the web. I Googled images for phrases like,
full measure of the harvestreceiving one's full shareearning your shareworkers in the vineyardand more.  When a photo appealed to me, I copied it into a Word doc.  I had 23 pictures and no idea…


Dear Readers,

Are you interested in finding ways to make Northeast OH a thriving region?Are you interested in how to take ideas and move them into action? Are you interested in finding solutions to problems that work for everyone and the earth we live on?Are you creating wealth and want to let us all know how you are doing it or what help you need?
This is the purpose of my blog - to promote ideas in support of a thriving Greater Cleveland region.To further this aim, let’s use this blog as a way to stay in touch with others who have the same interests.
Our topics will likely range from inclusion, to highlights of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit to boondoggles of entrepreneurship and more thought-filled pieces about inclusion, generosity of spirit and the like.Overall, this topic is too grand to keep to myself.I hope you’ll think with me so that at least, as Descartes said, we’ll know we exist. (
I can’t wait to read your posts!
Best and…