Liz Rykert Reflects on Engaging Emergence

Liz Rykert, President of Meta Strategies, interviewed me on a “Plexus Call” — an unrehearsed, spontaneous conversation among leading complexity scholars and practitioners — for the Plexus Institute.  Liz shared her notes with me and I share them with you!

My Preparation for the Interview with Peggy Holman and her new  book Engaging Emergence for the Plexus Institue’s Plexus Call on February 11th, 2011.

As I read the book I felt a sense of circling back and opening up and circling back and opening up. I found myself drawing a visual guide to map out the ideas in the book, helping me to both attend to the sections and the whole at the same time. For me this is not unlike what you need to think about when engaging emergence itself. Of particular note I appreciated the section devoted to the “catches” one encounters while engaging emergence. These rang true for me especially in my positive deviance work. As I went through the book I noted the sequence of questions she shared and extracted those for myself to use them as a stand alone guide to assist in the work. I include them below along with my doodles.

The conversation with Peggy was a delight, full of insight and discovery.

Liz Rykert – Feb 14/11

The Sequence of Questions in Engaging Emergence

  • How can we use our differences and commonalities to make a difference?
  • What is the difference that makes a difference?
  • How do we more fully understand each other and our environment?
  • How do we link ourselves and our ideas with others similar and different than ourselves?
  • What does it take to be receptive to the unknown?
  • Call forth what could be: What do we want more of?
  • What is working?
  • What is possible?
  • How do we create it?
  • What guides us when we don’t know?
  • What purpose moves us?
  • How do we cultivate conditions for the best possible outcomes?
  • How do we include the true diversity of the situation?
  • How do we engage so we achieve the best possible outcomes?
  • How do we inspire explorations that lead to positive actions?
  • What could we do together that none of us could do alone?
  • What would it look like if we were working?
  • What could this team also be?
  • How do we release assumptions of how things are to make space for new possibilities?
  • What is arising now?
  • What themes are surfacing that excite us?
  • What can we name now that wasn’t possible before?
  • How do we call forth what is ripening?
  • Once meaning is named how is it spread?
  • What keeps us going?
  • How do we find potential in the midst of disruption?
  • How do we create conditions in which chance interactions among diverse members of a system lead to break throughs?
  • How do we surface what matters to the individuals and to the whole?
  • How do we make space for the whole story – god, bad, or indifferent?
  • What is the least we need to do to create the most benefit?
  • What is our purpose in seeking change?
  • What is one less thing to do and still be whole and complete?
  • How do we disrupt coherence compassionately?
  • How do we engage disruptions creatively?
  • How do we renew coherence wisely?
  • How do we find potential in the midst of disruption?