Developments in Social Innovation


Written by Ingrid Richter Thursday, 13 January 2011 16:01

hello out there, seems like a big news day. Just got this newsletter from the McConnell Foundation, and it contains a lot of good links on social innovation. Check it out! expand »


Deciphering that Burning Fire

Written by Ray Gordezky

January 15, 2008 was the launch of the Canadian Organization Development Institute’s (CODI) first training in organization development and change. This CODI initiative is a twenty-day certificate program, and as far as we know, this is the first privately run organization development and change training program in Canada. Ten experienced and eager people signed up for the inaugural session.

One of the questions we talked about during the evening session was this: What brought you to the work of organization development and change? This question sent me on quite a journey, and I found traces in a number of corners and caverns of my mind. And what I found is not so much how I came to organization development and change; rather how I became present to something that was calling me. Here’s the story I’ve got in my head right now.

I recall a moment from years ago when a wide-smile feeling of awe spread throughout my body as I watched the Pacific Ocean on a grey day. I saw cords of light stride down from the clouds and dance in-synch with the ocean’s currents. It was as if some invisible structure of the universe was being offered to me. The dance went on until rain drove me into my car. I had no words to describe what I saw. Not even my science teacher-neighbor, the one who won my allegiance when he dropped dry ice into a bowl of water, could explain.


results and intimacy

Written by Ray Gordezky

If your life is anything like mine, I often feel like I’m engaged in endless activities: clients to call; books to read; meetings to plan and facilitate; lawn to mow, house to maintain, writing to do; family time, yoga classes, haircut, doctor visits, and so on. It is challenging to find the thread connecting it all, not to mention how tiring all the busyness can feel.

Yes I have goals and responsibilities; results to achieve, relationships to nurture and interests to pursue; in short, I have many good reasons for doing what I do. Yet good reasons often beget more good reasons to do more things, to take on more projects. This sense of strain and stress is something I hear about from a great many of the people with whom I work. And this state of affairs leaves me with a nagging question: What if all our effort comes to nothing and our lives, our organizations, or the world, doesn’t get better despite all the advances, successes, and best intentions? Yet, it isn’t as bleak as this sounds.


from the plains can you imagine mountains?

Written by Ingrid Richter

One evening, a few months ago, I was sitting on the sheltered roof of a campement in the Dogon Country, Mali, on the edge of the great Sahara desert. As the thick (and still burning hot) night descended, my African companions began to quiz me about Canada and Canadian ways of life. Finally one asked: “I have often wondered, what is it like to drive through snow? Isn’t it sort of like driving through the drifting sands we have here?”


The Mountain and The Plain

Written by Ray Gordezky

Here in Southern Ontario the landscape is fairly flat. Rolling hills are as high as it gets, except for the occasional outcrop along the Niagara Escarpment. This is far different from the landscape of Southern California where rugged mountains were very much part of my life and perspective when I was growing up.

Recently I was thinking about the differences in these landscapes and the way they speak to how organizations perform and are led. Until relatively recently, organizations were run from the mountain top, so to speak, where individual wizards or a small bands of arbiters carefully crafted strategy and gave direction they expected others to follow. Whether or not renowned leaders from the past worked in such a manner, the predominant mindset of organizational performance was the mountain. A plain, in contrast, brings to mind a ‘level playing field,’ one where unobstructed sight lines invite open collaboration and communication between diverse perspectives.


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