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What is a good framework for us to use to look at defining some theory from our practice?  I'm thinking appreciative...

Also for background, here's Dave Snowden's post that might help get us started.

http://cognitive-edge.com/blog/entry/6179/the-it-works-for-me-argum...

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From the blog post, I'm reminded of a favorite quote from Gregory Bateson, English social scientist and anthropologist. "If you don't know what your epistemology is, you probably have a bad epistemology." What I like in the big words of that is that theory moves the criteria of do / not do beyond "is it neat?" I've done plenty just because I thought it was cool. And connected in some way to my interpretation of a theory of self-organization. The best, are the ones anchored in some way in that theory part. Looking forward to exploring here. Seeing what shows up because this is named.

Thanks Chris for starting this! I am in!!!
I had read Snowden's comment also quite some time ago, and I guess my passion for harvesting patterns and themes is linked with wanting to know how this all works.
Would Tenneson's "a theory of self-organisation' be a good headline for what we are looking for? (I think we are moving to the next level of being a CoP, should check with George)

With love,

Ria

I'm not talking about the Art of Hosting community, but I think George's theory thinking on community will be useful.

What I'm after is the inquiry about two things: "Why do participatory processes work with complex problems?  What is really going here?"  AND  "Why does the four fold practice cultivate better competency in practitioners?"

Those are very rough questions...it's important that we shape these well...so consider this thread the "co-initiation thread."  What are we out to learn with respect to developing a Praxis of the Art of Hosting?

"For all the things we have to learn, before we can do them, learn by doing them." ~Aristotle

Naming it gives it presence beyond feeling - its something more tangible to work with. I can totally geek out over this stuff and am excited to see this conversation unfold.  My grad program was in Experiential Education - working within praxis, as Snowden so clearly calls the co-evolution of practice and theory.

Another great mind that can provide quite a bit to chew on is John Dewey - his "pattern of inquiry" and how it is used not only in education settings but that it also applicable in community development (development meaning the collective actions of people to meet their common needs or solve their common problems). Sounds familiar right?

Learning by doing then reflecting on what we're learning by doing - and practicing this some more... this is the pattern I'd love to explore - where theory and practice collide into praxis new learning emerges - grounding us and what we do.  

Thanks for opening this up! 

These are the kinds of explorations I appreciate and I'll be involved as much as I can.  I think it is so important to look deeper into our practice.

Let me offer a couple of thoughts.

First, I sometimes wonder if a better name isn't needed.  I don't know what it is.  What I do and what I see others doing is so much more than simply hosting conversations that matter.  We're co-creating contexts that all people to develop trust and relationships and to go on to create new partnerships that birth and amplify transformative change -- at least that's a core intention in most of my work.  Conversation is a core piece of the work -- but it is not all of the work. 

Second, I'm in favor of humility.  I always thought it a bit pretentious at Berkana when some spoke of "our theory of change."  It's popular language, and overblown.  I'm personally much more content to talk and write about the things that I and we are noticing that seem to be helpful and to share ideas about why they seem to work and where they don't.  Of course, part of this depends I suppose on who we're speaking to and working with.  

After reading the David Snowden  article, I ended up an article on Complex Dynamical Systems Theory by Alicia Juarrero on the same web site.   

http://cognitive-edge.com/uploads/articles/100608%20Complex_Dynamic...

There is much in complexity science that can form the basis for the praxis for this. The particular point that stands out for me at the moment is the sensitivity to initial conditions of complex adaptive systems. (page 3 of the above-mentioned article) This is why the four-fold practice is so-o-o important.

I'm now taking my 2nd free course on complexity science from the Santa Fe Insitutute. If anyone else is interested, here is the link:  http://www.complexityexplorer.org/home

I now see that this comment belongs in the Discussion: Theory that we already know about.........

Pamela Schreiner said:

After reading the David Snowden  article, I ended up an article on Complex Dynamical Systems Theory by Alicia Juarrero on the same web site.   

http://cognitive-edge.com/uploads/articles/100608%20Complex_Dynamic...

There is much in complexity science that can form the basis for the praxis for this. The particular point that stands out for me at the moment is the sensitivity to initial conditions of complex adaptive systems. (page 3 of the above-mentioned article) This is why the four-fold practice is so-o-o important.

I'm now taking my 2nd free course on complexity science from the Santa Fe Insitutute. If anyone else is interested, here is the link:  http://www.complexityexplorer.org/home

Hi Chris et al, 

Interesting conversation and few quick thoughts:

First, regarding the question:

"Why do participatory processes work with complex problems?  What is really going here?"  

- you might gain insights from literature on knowledge management.  

- the guys who created the 'gorilla in the hallway where kids are playing basketball video' may have some brain science on this too (http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/videos.html).  the main message being that most of us see what we want to see or the patterns we are used to.  I think the video is a good analogy for Snowden's rant on his blog that you refer to.  

As for DE - I really like this and think a learning framework is a great way to approach / evaluate things we don't have answers to already.  DE is different than just learning as the questions should really be evaluative.

And finally regarding appreciative approach, staying positive….personally I think its fine.  However one thing I recall from Snowden's training (I did it back in 2007) is that he stresses the need for conflict and specially not using appreciate approaches in order to truly get emergence.  Something to consider.

Looking forward to hearing how this all emerges :-)

Namaste, 

Michelle

Chris Corrigan said:

I'm not talking about the Art of Hosting community, but I think George's theory thinking on community will be useful.

What I'm after is the inquiry about two things: "Why do participatory processes work with complex problems?  What is really going here?"  AND  "Why does the four fold practice cultivate better competency in practitioners?"

Those are very rough questions...it's important that we shape these well...so consider this thread the "co-initiation thread."  What are we out to learn with respect to developing a Praxis of the Art of Hosting?

It's perhaps another conversation, but I don't equate "appreciative" with "conflict free"; quite the contrary actually.    For me I use the terms "appreciative" to indicate that we are interested in growing more of what works.  It is very important to understand what doesn't work and to have disagreements about all of that as well; but an appreciative frame to evaluation to me is distinctive from a forensic framework (for example), which looks at what doesn't work or a strictly objective process (evidence gathering) that is essentially "neutral" and just looks at "the facts."  And then of course all of this can be summative or developmental.  So summative evaluation looks at what happened in retrospect and developmental looks at what is happening as it is emerging.  I am seeing a matrix here!  :-)

 



Michelle Laurie said:

Hi Chris et al, 

Interesting conversation and few quick thoughts:

First, regarding the question:

"Why do participatory processes work with complex problems?  What is really going here?"  

- you might gain insights from literature on knowledge management.  

- the guys who created the 'gorilla in the hallway where kids are playing basketball video' may have some brain science on this too (http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/videos.html).  the main message being that most of us see what we want to see or the patterns we are used to.  I think the video is a good analogy for Snowden's rant on his blog that you refer to.  

As for DE - I really like this and think a learning framework is a great way to approach / evaluate things we don't have answers to already.  DE is different than just learning as the questions should really be evaluative.

And finally regarding appreciative approach, staying positive….personally I think its fine.  However one thing I recall from Snowden's training (I did it back in 2007) is that he stresses the need for conflict and specially not using appreciate approaches in order to truly get emergence.  Something to consider.

Looking forward to hearing how this all emerges :-)

Namaste, 

Michelle

Chris Corrigan said:

I'm not talking about the Art of Hosting community, but I think George's theory thinking on community will be useful.

What I'm after is the inquiry about two things: "Why do participatory processes work with complex problems?  What is really going here?"  AND  "Why does the four fold practice cultivate better competency in practitioners?"

Those are very rough questions...it's important that we shape these well...so consider this thread the "co-initiation thread."  What are we out to learn with respect to developing a Praxis of the Art of Hosting?

Adding a developmental evaluation primer to this conversation so people can orient themselves to this form of evaluating.  Please have a read of it.

Attachments:

Thanks for clarification re appreciative :-)  

Or maybe we don't need theory for AoH........... ;)

There is a precedent - Connectionism, the mathematical component, which is part of Artificial Neural Networks, has no theory. Here is a quote, that I pulled out, from this lecture by Ralph Abraham - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvRMg6opC5k

" ….all this led actually to a philosophy of Artificial Intelligence or cognitive software called Connectionism. And in this metaphor the idea is: the basis of intelligence or consciousness is a neural network. The neural network learns through plasticity and through gradual learning by changes in the connections as opposed to changes in the nodes of neurones. There would be occasionally a saltatory leap in behaviour when a whole new scheme emerges and that is called emergence or emergent behaviour. This is an observation of Artificial Neural Networks. There is no theory. So this branch of science or mathematics proceeds by experiments in which Artificial Neural Networks are constructed through drag and dropping neurones and links on the screen. And then the behaviour of that construction is observed. So it is an experimental phase, an early phase, in the construction of a new branch of mathematics." (lecture given in 2010)

This quote contains other parallels to AoH, such as the importance of relationship/connections, rather than the nodes themselves and also the concept of emergence. Perhaps the neural networks that we are playing with are communities of cognitive individuals. So maybe this example of a no-theory science can apply to AoH???

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