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Please add links to papers and books that might be helpful, with a little summary about why.

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Delphi Method: http://is.njit.edu/pubs/delphibook/delphibook.pdf

With a section on Philosophy that looks interesting.

Book: Developmental Evaluation: Applying Complexity Concepts to Enhance Innovation and Use by Michael Quinn Patton
Patton's book has a fantastic overview of his pioneering work in Developmental Evaluation. Section 8 is a fantastic overview of Developmental Evaluation Inquiry Frameworks. I'll work on typing up a summary of this to help support this conversation. 

Book: Experiential Education for Community Development by Paul S. Denise and Ian Harris
This book has been sitting on my shelves for many years. I finally cracked it open last night after I got sparked by the conversation here. This is a phenomenal compilation of stories of how experiential education is applied in citizen groups, communities, universities, and organizations. I'll type up a summary from the first section of the book that talks about the theories and origins of experiential education - and how they interweave and integrate with the work that we do. 

Looking forward to seeing what emerges here! More to come... 

Chris, I'm finding myself irresistibly drawn to this inquiry you have started...and at the same time, also somewhat reticent to post anything, given all of the different things that people can mean by "theory", and divergent perspectives of what qualifies as "theory"...

so, that said, one of my favorite books that I find helpful in understanding "why participatory processes work", is David Rock's "Your Brain at Work". He's looking at a lot of recent brain research on how quickly the shift from "creative brain" to "defensive brain" can happen… as well as, the major differences between the two states, with regard to complex problem-solving. So from that perspective, creating a space where people feel safe (appreciated, heard, welcome, etc. etc. etc.) is a huge factor in creating a space where people will be able to engage creatively with complex problems (er, challenges… :-) 

I liked Peggy Holman's book, Engaging Emergence. http://peggyholman.com/papers/engaging-emergence/ 

The full text is available on this web site.

Although this book may be more about practice than theory. It might provide some aspect.

Too bad we cannot 'like' the comments here - good stuff!

Complexity Science shows that a system with greater diversity is more resilient. In particular, a quote from the article below in this post is: "Allen's research also establishes that it is micro-diversity or internal differentiation that confers resilience." (page 8) 

My understanding of sitting in circle, is that this increases the availability of the diversity in the circle. 

I've included my post from yesterday, which I put in the wrong discussion group. It also contains the link for the article to which I'm referring above:

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

Thank you, Pamela! I appreciate the link, and also what you mentioned about diversity. One aspect of diversity that I've experienced, is that the "diversity that is present" is not always the same as the "diversity we are able to access". The latter seems to depend so much on the format of the process; for example, group think would be on one extreme end of the scale; while participants might have very different ideas, the microculture of that situation would not create a safe container for that diversity to manifest.

Moving toward the other end of the scale, yes, I find circle to be a space that evokes more of the latent diversity that is present; having a sacred space where each person can speak without interruption, invites people to speak more authentically and from the heart… often taking more risks to show more of themselves.

Coincidentally, my most recent newsletter is on actualizing the power of diversity in groups… making connections with some of Scott Page's work on diversity.  http://mad.ly/3ea164


Pamela Schreiner said:

Complexity Science shows that a system with greater diversity is more resilient. In particular, a quote from the article below in this post is: "Allen's research also establishes that it is micro-diversity or internal differentiation that confers resilience." (page 8) 

My understanding of sitting in circle, is that this increases the availability of the diversity in the circle. 

I've included my post from yesterday, which I put in the wrong discussion group. It also contains the link for the article to which I'm referring above:

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

Thanks Rosa. Thanks for adding more clarity.

I'm also reminded that a wonderful book that speaks about the importance of diversity is "The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki -- this book is more about the practice, rather than the theory.


Rosa Zubizarreta said:

Thank you, Pamela! I appreciate the link, and also what you mentioned about diversity. One aspect of diversity that I've experienced, is that the "diversity that is present" is not always the same as the "diversity we are able to access". The latter seems to depend so much on the format of the process; for example, group think would be on one extreme end of the scale; while participants might have very different ideas, the microculture of that situation would not create a safe container for that diversity to manifest.

Moving toward the other end of the scale, yes, I find circle to be a space that evokes more of the latent diversity that is present; having a sacred space where each person can speak without interruption, invites people to speak more authentically and from the heart… often taking more risks to show more of themselves.

Coincidentally, my most recent newsletter is on actualizing the power of diversity in groups… making connections with some of Scott Page's work on diversity.  http://mad.ly/3ea164


Pamela Schreiner said:

Complexity Science shows that a system with greater diversity is more resilient. In particular, a quote from the article below in this post is: "Allen's research also establishes that it is micro-diversity or internal differentiation that confers resilience." (page 8) 

My understanding of sitting in circle, is that this increases the availability of the diversity in the circle. 

I've included my post from yesterday, which I put in the wrong discussion group. It also contains the link for the article to which I'm referring above:

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 everyone

Another theoretical perspective that informs me sometimes is the psychodynamic one - although I admit I am quite resistant to it too !

A psychodynamic perspective can enable me to see a relationship between the nature of containers that have been existing prior to whatever I am doing and some of the anxieties that are being exhibited in behaviours / conversations.  I find that can give me clues as to where to be particularly attentive in designing a container, but I also think there is always loads more I don't know than I do know, so I think my resistance is around the dangers of trying to be too clever / too diagnostic.

Anyway attached is an article that illustrates the application of some relatively basic psychodynamic theory in the context of organisational change (the basicness unfortunately doesn't stop the use of lots of jargon !)

I imagine that there are very many potentially relevant theoretical perspectives that between us we already know something about and that we may be in the business of developing something quite eclectic.  I remember something about there being two types of eclecticism :

(i)  A 'naive' eclecticism which just pulls in lots of little bits from all over the place, often relatively randomly and without really knowing why

(ii)  A more 'sophisticated' eclecticism which has both the insight to know which perspective tends to serve in which kinds of circumstances and the intuitive creativity to blend things and make it up as you go along (in a good way !)

I am wary both about being too tied to any one theoretical perspective and also about trying to be over-integral .... looking forward to seeing what kind of balance we can find.

Best regards

Chris

Attachments:


Just chucking stuff at the wall right now and seeing what sticks...!

Building theory backwards from practice is interesting...!

I am in a conversation today with colleagues refining a participatory leadership program we have been offering for the past few years and we are having this conversation here too...it feels slippery as do all learning journeys in their early stages...but "whay does it work?" is a good question.  It leads me to thinking about "What is 'it'?" and "What does 'working' mean?"

We are hoping to bring some graduate students on board with us for the next cycle of cohorts and see if any of them are interested in a longer term look at the emerging theoretical basis for the work.  

Any goo dgraduate thesis out there that we need to know about?  There are already some good paers gathered here: http://artofhosting.ning.com/page/research-papers


Rosa Zubizarreta said:

Chris, I'm finding myself irresistibly drawn to this inquiry you have started...and at the same time, also somewhat reticent to post anything, given all of the different things that people can mean by "theory", and divergent perspectives of what qualifies as "theory"...

so, that said, one of my favorite books that I find helpful in understanding "why participatory processes work", is David Rock's "Your Brain at Work". He's looking at a lot of recent brain research on how quickly the shift from "creative brain" to "defensive brain" can happen… as well as, the major differences between the two states, with regard to complex problem-solving. So from that perspective, creating a space where people feel safe (appreciated, heard, welcome, etc. etc. etc.) is a huge factor in creating a space where people will be able to engage creatively with complex problems (er, challenges… :-) 

Chris, I still have a list of email names and addresses of AoH practitioners who where interested in research some years ago - shall I invite them over to this theory creation thread (by email); would that be a good move??

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????

Will post this also on the 'it' and 'works' thread.

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