Applying positive organizational scholarship . . . with difficulty
Last week, I was lucky to attend Amplifed08 in London which I described here under BHAG for Britain! The post mortem of the meeting has illustrated, with quite delicious irony, how difficult it is to implement the ideas of positive organizational scholarship.
The day-after, the organizers, humble as they are, went on to the wiki, which is open as is the way of new organizations, and asked “What went wrong?”
A day or so later, I posted the appreciative alternative “What went right and what should we do more of?”
The two approaches
The “What went wrong?” question attracted at lot more traffic: it got in first, it was posed by the organizers, and we are used to that question. People have lots to get off their chests!
The “What went right?” question has generated a third of the edits and at a rough glance, a tenth of volume.
Both questions have attracted information about props and stage directions (right down to the pips in the olives).
Under the appreciative question, we got a comment about something new happening and some information about social structures (A lister and B listers).
I did a quick Google for better questions (appreciative inquiry questions). There are plenty of help sites on the web.
I also reflected on the event and the post mortem chatter. I think people liked the clean white space of NESTA in the middle of London’s financial district. It felt modern yet solid.
Did we feel that we crossed a Rubicon? Have we taken the battle to Rome? Have we gone from fringe to establishment?
And if so, what is next?
What other deep processes accounted for what is ‘true and good, better and possible‘? I have a few ideas but I would prefer to stop and listen now.