So what did you read this year?
I read some amazing books on topics such as leadership, appreciative inquiry, facilitation, coaching, language and communication. As an ESL teacher and leadership and coaching student, the ideas presented in these books fed me all kinds of stimulating thought matter.
Thought of the year: co-creation
However, if I were to look back over the year and pick one topic that really stood out for me the most in terms of personal and professional impact, it was definitely the concept of co-creation.
What do I mean? As the word says, it’s the idea of working with (thus the ‘co’) another person, or people, to learn the English language, or work on a team project, like an assignment for a university class, or plan a new business (both learning and working on a project requiring processes of creation).
It’s really a way of interacting with others to create new realities, whether they be in the home, educational, business or community contexts. I really can’t imagine working any other way now. It’s not me imposing my ideas or projects on others (a top-down approach), but rather seeking to create a synergy in an ecological and organic way. It’s more about the true communication process with a sender and a receiver, but from start to finish, from partnership committment to program objective-setting, process course-correcting and outcome assessing.
How do you know if you’re co-creating?
Co-creation is a fresh, synergistic way to take on projects of all kinds. Okay, so how do you know if you’re co-creating? Here are six characteristics that I culled from some of the titles I read this year.
- Verbalization is generalized (from Leadership is Language: The Hidden Power of What you Say – and What You Don’t by David Marquet). In other words, everyone has a say in some form or fashion. It’s not one person telling everyone else what to do, but it’s a democratic process of giving and taking of concerns and comments.
2. Diversity is appreciated (from Les Lois du Vivant by Danièle Darmouni). Everyone belongs because everyone is a human of value. The Law of the Forest, as opposed to the Law of the Jungle, operates in organizations that seek to protect, nurture and collaborate towards favourable outcomes, using differences to enrich and learn.
3. Openness is welcome (from Leading from the Emerging Future by Otto Scharmer). As Scharmer explains, before being able to create a new paradigm of operations, it is crucial to let go of beliefs and mindsets that are no longer working to allow for the new to emerge.
4. Positive inquiry, stories and images are used (from The Power of Appreciative Inquiry by Diana Whitney & Amanda Trosten-Bloom). These authors very succinctly and powerfully demonstrate that when organizations and groups focus on what is working (as opposed to what isn’t) and give everyone involved the opportunity to discuss why and when, they can they go on to create more positive experiences.
Empathy is the generator that activates the moment a power failure occurs (i.e. the organic communication is interrupted) to ensure people keep talking.
5. Empathy is evident (from Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Non-Violent Communication by Oren Jay Sofer). Team-work, by it’s very nature, involves people of varying experiences and mindsets. Inevitably, discord and disagreement will ensue. Empathy is the generator that activates the moment a power failure occurs (i.e. the organic communication is interrupted) to ensure people keep talking. It helps people step back, breathe and consider the feelings and thoughts of the person or group with whom there is disagreement.
6. Listening is deep (from Power & Love: A Theory & Practice of Social Change by Adam Kahane. Kahane wisely states in his book that love without power is anemic, and power without love is destructive. It therefore goes without saying that deep listening is essential for people of varying backgrounds (political, sociological, economic, etc.) to really connect and comprehend and validate each other’s dreams and intentions.
Personally, I’m taking this modus operandi into 2021 and really looking forward to applying it in all the various activities I have planned. The benefits of co-creation are numerous: more creativity, wider horizons when problem-solving or opportunity-seeking, greater group satisfaction…
So, my questions to you are: where do you see using co-creation will help you? what do you think I missed out on this list (as it definitely isn’t exhaustive)?
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Keep learning, and have an amazingly co-creative 2021!