ENGAGING EMERGENCE Is Getting Around and You Can Get a 30% Discount

Engaging Emergence has been making its way into other blogs lately.

Monde from www.scotomagallery.com

My last entry  — The Challenge of Power – inspired Curtis Ogden to further the conversation on power and emergence, Power and Emergent Change « Interaction Institute for Social

And the Freisen Group post, Reading about Change, reflected on the pace of change.

My publisher, Berrett-Koehler, hosts blog of lists.  Here’s my entry: Don’t Hold On!

They featured the post in a recent BK Communiqué.  (A quick, amusing read.  I recommend it!)

In the process, they offered a 30% discount for Engaging Emergence through November 30th.

More, The Change Handbook chapters are available electronically via Fast Fundamentals for 99 cents each through the end of November.  Take advantage of the sale through the links below:

THE CHANGE HANDBOOK on Fast Fundamentals:

Opening Chapters

The Big Picture: Making Sense of More Than Sixty Methods

Selecting Change Methods: The Art of Mastery

Preparing to Mix and Match Change Methods

Creating Conditions for Sustainable Change

In-depth Chapters

Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change

Dynamic Planning and the Power of Charrettes

Collaborative Loops

Community Weaving

Dialogue and Deliberation Processes

Future Search: Common Ground Under Complex Conditions

Integrated Clarity: Energizing How We Talk and What We Talk About

Online Environments That Support Change

Open Space Technology

Participative Design Workshop

Using Playback Theatre to Create Empathy

The Rapid Results Method to Jump-Start Change

Scenario Thinking

Search Conference

The Six Sigma Approach to Improvement and Organizational Change

The Technology of Participation

Visual Recording and Graphic Facilitation: Helping People See What They Mean

Whole-Scale Change

The World Cafe

Thumbnail Chapters

Action Learning

Action Review Cycle and the After Action Review Meeting

Ancient Wisdom Council

Appreciative Inquiry Summit

Balanced Scorecard

Civic Engagement: Restoring Community through Empowering Conversation

Collaborative Work Systems Design

Community Summits

The Conference Model

Consensus Decision Making

Conversation Cafe

The Cycle of Resolution: Conversational Competence for Creating and Sustaining Shared Vision

The Drum Cafe: Building Wholeness One Beat at a Time

Dynamic Facilitation

Employee Engagement Process

The Practice of Empowerment: Changing Behavior and Developing Talent in Organizations

Gemeinsinn-Werkstatt: Project Framework for Community Spirit

The Genuine Contact Program

Human Systems Dynamics

Idealized Design

JazzLab: The Music of Synergy

Large Group Scenario Planning

Leadership Dojo

The Learning Map Approach

Evolutions of Open Systems Theory

OpenSpace-Online Real-Time Methodology

Organization Workshop

PeerSpirit Circling: Creating Change in the Spirit of Cooperation

Power of Imagination Studio: A Further Development of the Future

Real-Time Strategic Change

SimuReal: Action Learning in Hyperdrive

SOAR: A New Approach to Strategic Planning

Strategic Forum

Strategic Visioning: Bringing Insight to Action

Study Circles

Think Like a Genius: Realizing Human Potential Though the Purpose

The 21st Century Town Meeting: Engaging Citizen in Governance

Values Into Action

Visual Explorer

Web Lab’s Small Group Dialogues on the Internet Commons

The Whole Systems Approach: Using the Entire System to Change and Run the Business


Closing Chapters

From Chaos to Coherence: The Emergence of Inspired Organizations

High-Leverage Ideas and Actions You Can Use to Shape the Future

Hope for the Future: Working Together for a Better World


The Challenge of Power

Thanks to Google Alerts, I discovered a great review of Engaging Emergence by Ron Lubensky, from the Centre for Citizenship and Public Policy in Sydney, Australia.

An excerpt:

This is the sort of easy-to-read book that you want to leave lying around so others will find it accidentally. Maybe they’ll recognise, as Peggy hopes, that modern life is not a predictable, steady state that is occasionally and annoyingly disrupted. Rather, life should be celebrated as an evolution of surprises, change and adaptation. Peggy provides us with a straightforward roadmap about how to constructively steward positive change.

In the last paragraph, Ron raised an issue about power (bolding is mine):

Engaging emergence requires that we talk to one another in a civil manner with mutual commitment. Perhaps wisely she has sidestepped the thorny challenge of motivating people who exercise power to graciously and generously devolve their authority to a shared enterprise. The book presumes that a situation where the practice can be exercised poses no political barriers to emergent change. Unfortunately, this would be a rare occurrence. So just like the enterprise of deliberative democracy, which requires the practice of engaging emergence, the initial challenge is just getting to step 1.

Illustration by Steven Wright

Since the challenge Ron raises is no doubt a common one, thought I’d share my exchange with him:

Thanks for your reflections on Engaging Emergence. I’m delighted at your enthusiastic response!

And I want to comment on the challenge you raised of motivating people with power. There are virtually always political barriers! Shame on me that I wasn’t more explicit on how to address them.

What I have found to be true is that when the issue faced is more important than their position, people in power positions will engage. In other words, they’ll step up when:

  • the situation reaches the point that they realize that they can’t solve it alone;
  • it is critical to their success; and
  • they’ve found a partner to work with that they’re willing to trust.

Essentially, these are the conditions when anyone will engage. It’s just that people with more to lose tend to wait longer. By then, the situation is really messy and they’re desperate.

I’ve experienced this shift in government agencies, like the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), and in organizations, like the Boeing Company.  As Chris Innes of NIC put it so eloquently, they stepped up to “make it up as they went along” when doing the same old thing was not worth the trouble.

Posted by Peggy Holman 05 October 2010 06:47 am | link


Peggy, thanks for your elaboration regarding motivations to stepping up. It also points our community of practice to work harder to generate opportunities using the non-instrumental language you recommend. ps, I’ve posted sections of my review to Amazon for you! Best of success!

Posted by Ron Lubensky 05 October 2010 10:18 am | link