The Art of Hosting

How to maintain momentum; Life after a Large Scale Event? and What is “The Heart of Our Work?"

This is ultimately an invitation to practitioners from this community to join a discussion about Life after a Large Scale Event and “The Heart of Our Work” There is no other place on the internet, where 95% of the people, who occupy the electronic enclaves, understand and practice “work of the heart” -- This is truly a community of practitioners…

Two parts to this discussion:

Core Change is an inspiring Appreciative Inquiry Summit, February 17-19, 2012, Cincinnati, OH. David Cooperrider and Peter Senge are co-facilitating the 2.5 day summit. Event planners have built in the mechanisms to collect lots of information from participants and collate it into tables, lists and spreadsheets, as the work moves forward... Many are thinking about life after the summit and how to keep the momentum going. I want to think about life after the summit in small local ways and in the places where community is alive. To learn more and to follow Core Change click here.

 “The Heart of Our Work” is a story created by a group of practitioners assembled to host a deep dive into Appreciative Inquiry and other large scale change methods. The story is a 36 hour conversation / email thread through which a “jewel” emerged. It’s just days before the 2008 NEXUS for Change II and the NEXUS U Faculty engages in dialogue about the Heart of Our Work. Is this how to maintain the momentum after the Core Change AI Summit? Chronology%20of%20Facilitators%20Dialogue.doc This is a gift...

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The structure of Core Change continues to evolve. Personally, it has become a practice of patience for this passionate volunteer citizen, offering his gifts... I’m capturing the collective essence of Core Change through deep listening and visual recording while participating in full citizenship.


In the center of the drawing, the creative tension between traditional high control/management and self organization/choice is fierce… The core team, typically 15-18 people, has committed to gathering every two weeks for 2 hours, which is an incredible commitment. Over the past six weeks, the calling team/management has slowly agreed to do pre-work for each core team meeting. This has allowed for designing gatherings that are flexible and where there is ample opportunity to consider – the meeting setting, the energy in the room, time for reflection and small group work when needed. Admittedly, this pre work arrangement is fragile at best. The biggest gain to core team meeting design may be the addition of three agenda items, namely, 1.) Check-In 2.) A Mid Meeting Break and 3.) Check-Out. For me, this creates cracks for powerful questions that make room for dissent and that builds connections, ownership, commitment, accountability and collective clarity…


There are other interesting dynamics resulting from the make-up of the core team such as; the mix of paid and volunteer team members, definitely a factor in team dynamics... Another leadership dynamic that has came up, and I’ve seen this happen with other citizen volunteer groups, is where one or more key team members threaten to quit if the group wastes time with “touchy-feely work” again. These passionate people seemingly desire to flee the “divergence - groan zone” aspects of the work for fear of a loss-of-control. Their preferences are for hard line agenda driven gatherings…


The edges of the drawing below is where significant core team energy resides. A number of volunteer led activities are emerging:

  1. Quarterly workshops using Open Space and Storytelling, World Café or Pro Action Cafe. Volunteer organizers see these workshops as the connective tissue.
  2. Innovation Engineering – offered to citizen or agency led action groups free of charge. Go to Eureka Ranch International for more information.
  3. Mini Appreciative Inquiry Neighborhood Summits.

I have seen this and want to study it more... but as I am entering the preparations for the Learning Village in Slovenia, this will need to wait!

I suggest that you make a nice paper (pdf) from all this and send it through the AoH emaillist. I don't think a lot of people will look for it and find it here (if they don't know it exists) and it is such good material! Rich to spark some good conversations!!

With love from Statenberg Manor!


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