The Art of Hosting

When we ask the question "why does it work?" what do we mean by 'it' and what do we mean by 'work' and how do we know these things?

Views: 351

Replies to This Conversation

ou-ou-ou - I had a good chuckle just reading this question! And I don't really know where to begin, but a few unbaked thoughts popped into my head.......

I think that cause and effect are actually much closer than we often think they are. In the case of complex adaptive systems, this could be part of the trait that such systems are very sensitive to initial conditions. And if we're committed to a wholistic view and not pulling things apart as much as we used to do, it may be more difficult to answer the above question. 

Another interesting point from the article by Alicia Juarrero on Complex Dynamical Systems Theory ( http://cognitive-edge.com/uploads/articles/100608%20Complex_Dynamic... ) is that although Complex Dynamical Systems are more resilient, they are "exquisitely vulnerable to targeted interventions" (page 8). What this means in the context of this question is that there is a sliding scale from being a Complex System to being one that, although still complex in ways, is no longer resilient since targeted interventions have made it more rigid and more controlled.

So what I've done here is simply present 2 reasons why the answer to Chris's question may be more elusive. ;)

A timely tweet from @BarbaraHubbard only minutes ago:

"The question, "What do we mean by what works?" leads us to the very nature of the new society we choose to cocreate"

I think the question hits fundamentally at our values... and from those values, the philosophy they generate that determines how we frame things.

I'm not sure that we'll be able to get collectively from a practice to this core, because I think our values are likely different - though no doubt they will be similar.  AoH isn't a practice devoid of values after all.

Personally, I lean more and more towards aliveness as my weathervane and core value.

This is drawing on Christopher Alexander, architect and originator of pattern languages (cf The Timeless Way of Building - my notes).

Reading Pamela's response... wondering what the translation would be of this question: "Why does it work?" in a complex system? to get us out of our nomal thinking of A 'causing' B; and instead pointing to what P says that cause and effect are way more 'close' then our scientific mindset makes us belief.

* Is the 'it' not about participatory approaches with the intention to let the self-organisation happen (as much as possible)?

* and is 'it works' not about that more self-organisation is happening, with the effect that 'more of life' can happen: meaning more relationships formed, more meaning shared, more life-affirming actions happening...

* then 'how we we know?'... again there is a different kind of knowing than just the mental or conceptual knowing; I think - and learned from experience - that we need an embodied knowing (I sometimes call it a Wholeness of Knowing), where there is clarity on many different levels: a sensory clarity, a mental clarity but also an interpersonal or cultural clarity...

my two cents for now...

To me the "it" is, hopping on Ria's feedback, participatory approaches with a focus on emergent results and processes. 

"Work" to me, is the group's achievement of the implicit and explicit goals it sets for itself, in a way that is consistent with its own values. In other words, it's both the process and the outcomes being in line with the initial intention of the group. It varies from group to group I believe. It would be interesting to notice if it "works" better for certain intentions more than others. 


Yeas and something else about "works..."  Something about results that surprise the group and that are better than what the group expected.  I'm quite curious about these kinds of things.  With emergence, there is a chance that we will be surprised by quality that we never could have foreseen.  And also we sometimes enter into these processes and get results that are worse than we could have foreseen...this is the double edged sword of emergence.


Rita S Fierro said:

To me the "it" is, hopping on Ria's feedback, participatory approaches with a focus on emergent results and processes. 

"Work" to me, is the group's achievement of the implicit and explicit goals it sets for itself, in a way that is consistent with its own values. In other words, it's both the process and the outcomes being in line with the initial intention of the group. It varies from group to group I believe. It would be interesting to notice if it "works" better for certain intentions more than others. 

Another way to know that it works is the good old measurement of employee satisfaction, or organizational participant satisfaction, or whatever we want to call it......

We don't often talk about measurement in AoH, but I believe that, when used appropriately, it can move to a new level of providing value. 

I love Rita's comment about alignment: "In other words, it's both the process and the outcomes being in line with the initial intention of the group." And I believe that when you have this kind of alignment, people will simply be happier. For example, this happiness survey can be used to measure the impact of a project: http://www.happycounts.org/

And I Just came across this old article...something to keep in mind at the same time. Pamela, while it's critical, I'm not posting it to contradict your contribution, but to help us reflect on how to be mindful of the methodologies we choose and how we use them....

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130809130345-143695135...

Yes Rita. Quality of measurement is crucial. Both the intention and academic rigour are key components to setting up a good survey. To ensure that intention is addressed, I like to use Art of Hosting. And then there are the issues of politics or media spin that come afterwards......... 

We had a major issue here in Canada a few years back. For many decades, Canada's Federal Department of Statistics had a stellar international reputation. This was largely due to the man who was chief statistician and then led this department: Dr. Ivan Fellegi. He understood quality as well as the importance of treating employees well. After his retirement, our current prime minister, who is not a statistician, removed a key component to our census surveys. This resulted in the new head of the department resigning. 

So, especially during the times in which we live, numbers and statistics are highly valued. And this can result in huge pressures being brought to bear on the data and on the reporting.


Rita S Fierro said:

And I Just came across this old article...something to keep in mind at the same time. Pamela, while it's critical, I'm not posting it to contradict your contribution, but to help us reflect on how to be mindful of the methodologies we choose and how we use them....

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130809130345-143695135...

I just started reading the book Design in Nature, by Adrian Bejan and J.Peder Zane. He/they state that there is a 'constructural law' throughout nature, which explains why and how design emerges without an intelligent designer. His definition:

"For a finite-size flow system to persist in time (to live), its configuration must evolve in such a way that provides easier access to the currents that flow through it."

more quotes:

"Everything that moves, whether animate or inanimate, is a flow system. All flow systems generate shape and structure in time in order to facilitate this movement across a landscape filled with resistance (for example, friction). The design we see in nature are not the result of chance. They arise naturally, spontaneously, because they enhance access to flow in time."

"Flow systems have tow basic features (properties). There is the current that is flowing (for example, fluid, heat, mass, or information) and the design through which it flows."

This got me thinking... what is the current that is flowing when we design AoH processes? is it exchange? is it meaning? is it knowledge? ??? I guess this is what we call the 'it'???

and what we call 'works', might be that we come up with a design that is close to a natural design, where the flow gets easier????

Thanks Ria! Your post about flow strongly resonated with something that I've been thinking/feeling about -- but hadn't gotten any words for. A Complex System, in a natural state, seems to "flow". And when I think about a system that has been overly controlled, such as a hierarchical organization, it's as if the "flow" has been interrupted. I must get this book.....

And to bring this back to our conversation, I often think about the start of the "it" as being the intention. And because of the complex system's sensitivity to initial conditions, this intention can have strong ramifications. Perhaps the intention then becomes the meaning or the knowledge that you spoke about?

I like it Ria...
I think you and Pamela would get a lot out of Christopher Alexander if you're not familiar already.

A (re) quote from A Timeless Way of Building:

“The specific patterns out of which a town is made may be alive or dead. to the extent they are alive, they let our inner force loose and set us free; but when they are dead, they keep us locked in inner conflict.
(…) Certain patterns do create a special sense of life.
They create it in the first place by allowing people to release their energy, by allowing people themselves to become alive.”
“(…) Each pattern that creates conditions in which people can resolve the conflicts they experience, for themselves, reduces people’s inner conflict, helps to put them in a state where they can meet more new challenges, and helps them to be more alive.
On the other hand, each pattern that creates conditions in which people experience conflicts which they cannot resolves for themselves, increase their inner stress, reduces their capacity to resolve other conflict”
(@lilious shared on blog)
And one more for illustration...
Sometimes you would think he was an AoH facilitator:
"It is a fearsome thing, like diving into water. And yet it is exhilarating – because you aren’t controlling it. You are only the medium in which the patterns come to life, and of their own accord give birth to something new."
But nope, he's an architect!

RSS

Support the Aoh online community

Contribute to the Art of Hosting online presence by donating here in Euros.

Here you can do a bank transfer, donate in USD and pay with credit card.

Groups

© 2019   Created by Rowan.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service