[Springboard] Fwd: ICA Chronological History -Where DID the Wall of Wonder come from??

James Wiegel jfwiegel at yahoo.com
Sun May 24 10:59:08 EDT 2009

Where DID the Wall of Wonder come from??  Here is my story . . .

In the fall of 1978, the research department (called Research Centrum) was moved to a new space in the ICA building in Chicago which had been donated to the Institute 7 years earlier by the Kemper insurance company.  The space was large and open and half of it was book shelves housing the Institute's library at that time.  The "wall" separating the library part from the meeting and work space was the backs of metal book shelves, 6 or 7 feet high.  There were 6 or 7 of these, back to back, perhaps 25-30 feet of them.
One of the projects we were working on was the creation of some sort of a vocational journey retreat to permit people to step aside and reflect on their life journey, make sense of it and discern directions. -- probably a similar intent but different approach to the Profound Journey Dialog program.  An important part of our thinking on this program was that a person had to ground themself in their own lived history -- at the personal level and in terms of what was going on around them.
The opening lecture in the Institute's RS-1 course began with a quick history of the 20th century on a chalk board (yes, it was THAT LONG ago) starting from 1917 -- with sort of a timeline going horizontally across the board . . .
So, there were these 3 ingredients -- a big, empty metal wall, a current project, and the memory of a good visual from a good lecture.  In addition, I believe we also had a supply of magnetic strips (the brown stuff that is now everywhere on refrigerators, but sticky on 1 side)
Then we came up with the idea of putting the history up on the wall so we could look at it and reflect.  Someone had the idea of the TIME magazine person of the year, so we found a bunch of them and put them up as a row, and added lots of other stuff to the wall.
There was a hallway along 2 sides of our workspace, going to a laundry room and also a passage from other workspaces to the kitchen.  As we constructed the wall, people would walk down the hall way and just stop and look at it.  Sometimes they made special trips, or came in and sat in our meeting space to ponder.  Thus, the term  "The Wall of Wonder" was born.
Later that year, a serious controversy rose about the Institute's work and the ICA was under political attack for a while, and I remember facilitating a meeting (we called it a "Flagstaff" --) where key persons working to respond to the situation came together for a day to figure out strategies.  One of the techniques we used was to trace backward from the current moment to find the origins of the controversy so we were grounded in moving ahead with a mimimum of finger pointing.
Perhaps the following summer, we had a "Global Symposium" where we tried to pull together results from Town Meetings and Community Forums that had been held.  As I recall, there was some use of the method there.
Of course, Laura Spencer included a basic description of the Wall of Wonder (I think she used the term "Environmental Scan" in her book, Winning Through Participation, published, I think around 1986.
I think you would say that there were pieces of it, as a method, long before. When my wife and I were married in 1971 we created a family document that included our family timeline -- very long and broad, a description of a life journey, not so much implementation.  I think this family timeline was included as a part of the Individual and Family Course which was taught by the Ecumenical Institute, so that would also be part of the origin.
The term came out of that experience in research.  I think you could credit Beret and Sandra for spelling out the steps and procedures that make it, now, a transferrable method.

I am sure there are additional origin stories and contributions from others as well.  Perhaps we should do a "Wall of Wonder" on the "Wall of Wonder"
Hope this helps . . .
Jim Wiegel

If anyone tells you something strange about the world, something you had never heard before, do not laugh but listen attentively; make him repeat it, make him explain it; no doubt there is something there worth taking hold of.  --  Georges Duhamel.

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Tolleson, Arizona 85353-2401

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   jfwiegel at yahoo.com


--- On Sun, 5/24/09, Sheila LeGeros <sheila.legeros at mac.com> wrote:

From: Sheila LeGeros <sheila.legeros at mac.com>
Subject: Fwd: ICA Chronological History - Stanfield Charts
To: "James F. Wiegel" <jfwiegel at yahoo.com>
Date: Sunday, May 24, 2009, 6:01 AM

Good Morning Jim,
We've got an environmental scanning book published by MN ToP that credits the Wall of Wonder to Beret Griffith and Sandra True as the source.  They both denied being the originators of the method and pointed to you.  Please tell me your thoughts?  I'll inform the authors of the book to change the source to your name if you say so.
Kind regards,Sheila

Begin forwarded message:
From: beretgriffith at charter.netDate: May 23, 2009 7:44:28 PM CDTTo: Sheila LeGeros <sheila.legeros at mac.com>Cc: icatrue at igc.orgSubject: Re: ICA Chronological History - Stanfield Charts

Sandra and I were definitely not the originators. Jim Wiegle has the honor of inventing the Wall of Wonder I'm pretty sure. I think The Environmental Scan name came much later and I think came via ICA Canada. I may have the historical data, which I got from Jim, in my files at home. I am currently at the cabin. As I recall Sandra and I did an IAF session in one of the early conferences on the Wall of Wonder. And...memory is often faulty. There may be something in the "History" about it tho I don't recall that for sure either...

Please check in with Jim. It is a good story and has to do with work going on at Operations Centrum when the ICA had the whole space at the Kemper Building in Chicago. My very faint memory has an image of magazine covers all over the wall as markers for a span of time. 

I'd have cc'd Jim and I don't have his email with me. Please do contact him. I think it is important to get acknowledgement as close to reality as possible. 

Pat Tuecke may remember. I'll give her a call.

Thanks for all the work you are doing.

---- Sheila LeGeros <sheila.legeros at mac.com> wrote: 
Hi Beret,

I just noted in my Approaches to Environmental Scanning book that you  
and Sandra True are the orginators of the Wall of Wonder.  It's an  
honor to receive an answer from you!

Best regards,

Sheila LeGeros   |  phone +1.651.605.1237

On May 20, 2009, at 6:26 AM, Beret Griffith wrote:


I've attached charts created by Brian Stanfield to accompany a  
document I wrote back in 1992, A CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY 1952-1994 of  
half of a Master's thesis in Organization Development and  
Transformation. The original document went to 1992 and then I added a  
bit in 1994. Lyn Mathews took it to the ICA conference in India in 1994.

I'll send you the whole document in another email.

A couple of years ago I started to fill in the charts 1993-2008 and  
subsequently started working on a Member Loan Campaign Tool Box for co- 
ops as a part of a national project and never got back to the ICA  
work. Then working on the ICA material totally fell off my grid. It  
would be wonderful to fill in the data from 1992-2008 for both the  
charts and the larger document.


<All Charts - 2007 Best Copy.pdf>

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