[Springboard] Dialogue on the Future

M. George Walters m.george.walters at verizon.net
Thu May 29 14:09:22 EDT 2008

Posit - Facilitation is a transformational role in organizational and
individual development –  a spirit practice engaged in by spirit people –
otherwise it is just some technically correct workshop and set of techniques
and gimmicks performed by some smooth “sales-person” beginning with
ice-breakers and ending with celebrations so we can get paid. God knows I
have done enough of those. I will risk being the only sinner among us.


The edge today in facilitation I have discovered is what I think Bill Bailey
is implying – objectifying choices and options and catalyzing decision
making that honors the irrevocable emergence of the new. In the process both
the choice maker and the situation are transformed.


Indecisiveness and passivity hiding behind “overwhelmed with opportunity”
seems to be the order of the day in society at large. The facilitator these
days has to abandon some of the Rogerian modes of the past – answering
questions with questions - and take positions with the posture that “I am
willing to change – give me a reason!” which forces others to take a
position. Getting real debate going in politically correct circles where
parroting familiar quotes and “have you read so-in-so” is the norm.


This is my experience working in the area of homeland security where every
country is concerned about their security and has to get off the dime if
they are going to have any, not just wait to see what the USA is going to do
next. Fortunately, many are beginning to see that. That is my speech at home
and abroad. It usually results in some people walking out of the room and
others clamoring for more conversation – sound familiar?


One great eschatological hero common to many of us, when he saw something he
thought was true, never hesitated to make a speech – making a speech is a
form of facilitation – it catalyzes dialog -, and then he would apologize
for making a speech and offer others the opportunity to make a speech – and
then accuse them of making a speech but somehow it worked. But then he knew
the secret – it was always and is only what we think is true and WILL change
tomorrow. He knew how to keep confession close at hand.


I am glad to see some “speeches” emerging here. Let’s see how many question
marks we can replace with exclamation points and get some good speeches on
what we believe that all this gray hair has earned us the right to declare.
The only question is what do you think?




M. George Walters

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From: springboard-bounces at wedgeblade.net
[mailto:springboard-bounces at wedgeblade.net] On Behalf Of Bill Bailey
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2008 11:13
To: 'Springboard Dialogue'
Subject: Re: [Springboard] Dialogue on the Future


Everything seems to be in flux today! Could that be the chaos of
possibilities that are shaping the form and function of the future? Is the
question the catalytic engine demanding our creativity in realizing the new
world and new human we dreamed of yesterday?


Bill Bailey


-----Original Message-----
From: springboard-bounces at wedgeblade.net
[mailto:springboard-bounces at wedgeblade.net] On Behalf Of Larry Philbrook
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2008 9:30 AM
To: Springboard Dialogue
Subject: Re: [Springboard] Dialogue on the Future


It happens ;-)

----- Original Message ----- 

From: James Wiegel <mailto:jfwiegel at yahoo.com>  

To: Springboard <mailto:springboard at wedgeblade.net>  Dialogue 

Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2008 22:23

Subject: Re: [Springboard] Dialogue on the Future


Larry, your last answer was another question . . . ;)

Larry Philbrook <icalarry at ms69.hinet.net> wrote: 


Dear Colleagues and Friends


I have been thinking a lot about the future lately.  I have been in Taiwan
17 years and am still enjoying myself and learning a lot but I also see my
role as changing - many more of our colleagues are fully capable
facilitators and wise mentors for the next generation so what is my role?
The past year I have been asked to work in 9 countries besides Taiwan and
each offered a great opportunity for me to learn and interchange with new
cultures and great people.  I am doing my best to make no assumptions and to
continue to go with the flow of what life is offering me.  


As many of you know my organization, the Institute of Cultural Affairs, will
be doing our 7th global conference in Japan. This represents 28 years of
conversation about what is going on in the world.  I am trying to figure out
what the critical questions are that need to be asked and who might be
people to involve in the conversation.  Below you will see the official
context from the website if you want to read it you can. I thought I would
share my questions and see if anyone else wants to share either in this
dialogue on or offline. 


1)    I have been seeing a lot of negative signs the last several years ¨C
signs of hopelessness like Iraq and perhaps the final destruction of the
myth of America as the good guys - What are signs of hope for you in the
world today? 


2)    Despite the enormous efforts made each year to address the world¡¯s
persistent development challenges, the international community can point to
only incremental impact on the status quo. Why?  What is going wrong or
right with societal and community transformation?


3)    What are the critical questions that it would be worth having a group
research and discuss in depth?



I figure if I am asking others to venture their answers the least I can do
is give it a try so here are my current thoughts:

1.    What are signs of hope for you in the world today? 

**         For me a sign of hope is that the choice for the democratic
candidate for president in the US is between a black man and a woman ¨C both
seen as strong and viable

**         For me a sign of hope is some of the youth I am working with in
Hong Kong who are trying to figure out how to be young, Chinese and in
transformative relationships

**         I connected with a group call the Generative Change Community
(GCC) who are supporting the use of dialogue in deep conflict situations
like the southern Philippines ¨C adding the concept of dialogue before
decision-making to deepened the trust and build community.



2.    Why? What is going wrong or right with societal and community

**         I see the business of development as being a major driver ¨C one
of my colleagues was talking about working with an NGO and no one wants to
talk about the costs they have because it will reveal how much their
operation overheads eat into the donations this is even in internal
conversations ¨C How do we build viable development models based on real
costs without getting caught by the same profit motive of the private

**         Value based NGO¡¯s have learned that they can use development to
convert people to their belief system which has long term consequences on
the communities and individuals involved this shows up a lot in madrassah
movement and Christians teaching English in China - At what point is service
for the needs of others and at what point service to my own vision of how
others should be?

**        Development that is tided more to the givers needs than the
communities - wheat growing in Africa because that was the technology - cash
crops over food because of the need to pay debts to donor countries


3.    What are the critical questions that it would be worth having a group
research and discuss in depth?

**         The economics of today and tomorrow are driving the poor to be
poorer and the rich to be dramatically richer ¨C expectation of return of
investments of 10+ % is very destructive ¨C How do we shift the context of
more more more?

**         Healing has become a business how do we return to healing as a
vocation - levels of stress and cancer grow every year - we have begun to
have diseases of the poor countries and diseases of the developed countries.
One way to know if you are becoming developed is the increase in cases of
certain types of cancer.

**         How is facilitation a transformational role in organizational and
individual development? What is the edge today in facilitation?


Just a few thoughts


With respect, Larry


My name is Larry Philbrook 

I am with the ICA in Taiwan ¨C I have been with the ICA since 1970 based in
6 nations and have worked in more than 30.  I have worked in community
development since 1968 and with organizational change since 1984.

I am happily married to Evelyn Kurihara Philbrook and we have two wonderful
children Lela and Lloyd both of whom are now in Chicago.



GLOBAL CONFERENCE ICA International Unlocking the potential to create a new
world together

¡°Despite the enormous efforts made each year to address the world¡¯s
persistent development challenges, the international community can point to
only incremental impact on the status quo. As a result, many have called for
a paradigm shift, in order to usher in a new era of holistic social change. 

The Institute of Cultural Affairs International¡¯s 7th Global Conference on
Human Development: Unlocking the Potential to Create a New World Together
will serve as a launching pad for realizing the paradigm shift needed to
overcome our deepest human development challenges. Breakthrough is possible
only through a comprehensive, integrated approach, which facilitates the
exchange of information and collaboration across disciplines and areas of

The 7th Global Conference will take place over five days, from 17-21
November 2008 in Takayama, Japan, and will include more than 1000
participants. It will bring together key stakeholders from civil society,
government, and the private sector to explore our most pressing human
development challenges and design groundbreaking approaches to resolving
them. By bringing together peoples from the various sectors, as well as
different fields within each sector, a tremendous opportunity for
partnership is achieved. To guarantee the productive engagement of all
participants, facilitators will be engaged to guide the conference process.

The Central Challenges for this Global Conference are£º 

1.  The Effective Governance and Protection of Human Rights

2.  Persistence of Poverty

3.  Environmental Degradation and Climate Change

4.  Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods

5.  Violent Conflict and Social Disintegration

6.  Access to Heathcare and Preventing the Spread of Diseases

7.  Literacy and Education

8.  Consumerism and Over-Consumption

9.  Disconnectedness and Barriers to Engagement

10. Private Sector Collaboration



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