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  • - Tomorrow Makers' Journal - Wayfinding
    Twitter Siblings Main Rise WITH the Occasion Monday Nov 15 2010 Wayfinding Monday November 15 2010 at 01 09PM Over the past several months we Gail and Todd mother and son partners in business have been developing a long essay on what we call wayfinding We have been working together as collaborative process designers and facilitators for nearly twenty years In this time we have jointly designed and facilitated more conferences workshops sessions happenings and other forms of convening than we can count While we have coauthored numerous essays white papers and letters this may be our most substantive written collaboration to date As we continue to iterate refine illustrate and hone our writing into a form that can be independently published we have decided to post the paper as a series of journals welcoming your thoughts and comments to help us move and shape our ideas going forward On to Wayfinding Todd Johnston 1 Comment Share Article View Printer Friendly Version Reader Comments 1 Looking forward to joining you on this writing journey and learning more about wayfinding It sounds like a distant cousin to a few other of my favorite activities like reconnoitering sight seeing purposeful meandering and

    Original URL path: http://www.tomorrowmakers.org/journal/2010/11/15/wayfinding.html (2016-04-24)
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  • - Tomorrow Makers' Journal - ... Rise WITH the Occasion
    52AM Everyday our children spread their dreams beneath our feet paraphrased from Sir Ken Robinson s TedTalk referring to a poem by William Yeats A three year old is not half a six year old Both of these comments are from Sir Ken Robinson s 1010 Ted Talk Eighteen minutes and he can say so much This is definitely a talk worth watching I claim that we most of us understand what Sir Ken is saying People from all economic sectors races cultures understand his words and concepts How is it then that we are so slow to embrace the unknown As Sir Ken emphasizes as he quotes Abraham Lincoln we must rise with the occasion not to it That implies that we are all in this together We are going into the unknown with each other supporting each other having the resources to seek together This is what a revolution is all about Let s get back in touch with real vital life giving education Sir Ken Robinson says it all with humor and seriousness Let s undergo this revolution together student by student dream by dream I think it is time for a Slow Education movement gail taylor

    Original URL path: http://www.tomorrowmakers.org/journal/2010/7/18/rise-with-the-occasion.html (2016-04-24)
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  • - Tomorrow Makers' Journal - My Ripples
    s Mom She was always there for my brothers and me and our friends We spent summers with my grandparents and she worked tirelessly to make things work for us while never hesitating to scold and teach Yes she lives still She is part of my fabric I recall several things that have helped me understand how non linear actions are how things I have done ripple out and perturb the universe in strange and delightful ways In 1972 I created the Learning Exchange in Kansas City Missouri I left the Exchange and the city in 1979 believing I had completed a cycle and that the Exchange was in good hands In 1997 I was invited to return to KC and help celebrate 25 years of success with the Exchange I got a call from a reporter asking if she could interview me while I was in the city As we sat and talked over coffee she told me her story One of the premier programs that I started just before leaving was Exchange City a program for 5th graders to come to know the workings of a city Students would come from all over the city to take part in running a town for a few days Students would vie for being Mayor or banker doctor baker etc This young women interviewing me told me her Exchange City story She wanted to be Mayor or banker but was not selected to be either In fact she got her last choice that of being a reporter Now here she was 15 years after her City experience interviewing me as a reporter She said that week in Exchange City changed her life What part did I play in that I was long gone before she entered the program Ripples Another moment

    Original URL path: http://www.tomorrowmakers.org/journal/2010/6/18/my-ripples.html (2016-04-24)
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  • - Tomorrow Makers' Journal
    not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity Oliver Wendell Holmes Former US Supreme Court Justice It used to be that most people hated the SCAN process They just felt we should get down to business and get results Today far more participants enjoy this process of reaching out reaching beyond the known for new possibilities They see the value in looking at a problem from many different vantage points Many realize the art of Play as well Still for some people SCAN is difficult and probably will always be even though they come to recognize its usefulness and integrity to good results Each of us have different thinking patterns and a truly great group process accounts for all kinds of thinkers knowing that aspects of going from SCAN to FOCUS to ACT will be frustrating at some time or another to a majority of participants But I truly love it when someone who really did not like the process comes up after we are done and says We got really good results But surely we could have cut out the first day and a half and done the work in half a day Well you see they don t understand what Oliver Wendal Holmes was trying to convey True simplicity comes after you have climbed that hill of complexity We are not after simple answers that have been gotten by cutting out most of the things that cannot be seen up front Simple answers and answers with simplicity are two very different things David Bohm s ideas about play are so important When will schools conferences and all too many workshops stop pounding play out of process It is vital to our ability to survive and thrive If science always insists that a new order must be immediately fruitful or that it has some new predictive power then creativity will be blocked New thoughts generally arise with a play of the mind and the failure to appreciate this is actually one of the major blocks to creativity Thought is generally considered to be a sober and weighty business But here it is being suggested that creative play is an essential element in forming new hypotheses and ideas Indeed thought which tries to avoid play is in fact playing false with itself Play it appears is the very essence of thought gail taylor Post a Comment Share Article Thursday Oct 22 2009 Long Term Visions Once Again Thursday October 22 2009 at 08 34AM Our imagination is stretched to the utmost not as in fiction to imagine things that are not really there but just to comprehend those things that are there Richard Feynman The Character of Physical Law The last five projects I have been asked to participate in are all long term visions A breath of fresh air It seems to me that people are reconnecting with their natural hunger

    Original URL path: http://www.tomorrowmakers.org/journal/?currentPage=9 (2016-04-24)
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  • - Tomorrow Makers' Journal - Galumphing
    cycles of organizations That first phase start up is where creation time and vision is all there is There is seldom money people are doing it for the love of an idea a need they see being able to fulfill I would dare to say that without a fair amount of galumphing these organizations would not have survived and been able to sustain themselves into the next phase of organization Galumphing is a grand scaffolding process But then something happens Someone steps in who knows better and declares that to survive it is imperative to get down to business to eliminate the play to get serious Dollars and profit take over This is true of most communities as well Suddenly parts of communities begin fighting with each other competing for what they consider scarce dollars The parts of what should be a whole system begin fragmenting pulling apart from each other and in the end wasting resources and making the scarce dollar syndrome real The either or syndrome is alive and well Yet systems thinking demands AND thinking Play and money can go together in fact they must for any living system Without one the other is only partially fit crippled and requiring far more energy of time and money than necessary or available The design process demands galumphing It seeks to discover wild connections to seek difference and fun to go into new territory and discover bold fresh new ideas Perhaps this is why our social systems design process is so engaging to our Krew and to our clients Each time we do an event we give birth to it We do not have templated forms that take no real thought We begin with a beginner s mind and a challenge We expect that each participant including the designers

    Original URL path: http://www.tomorrowmakers.org/journal/2006/7/2/galumphing.html (2016-04-24)
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  • - Tomorrow Makers' Journal
    image Slow By this time I was getting a few email responses from the folks to whom I d sent the Cilliers paper A colleague who works at IBM told me I often find myself aging e mail even when I could answer it immediately to take some time to reflect This interesting paper comes at a moment when I m writing with a colleague in India Our time zone difference just about exactly half a day makes us really conscious of time The slowness with which we have approached our subject is achieving a better result than if we had hurriedly put something together to meet the publication deadline A short while later in what appearances would say was an unconnected event I read in an In Praise of Slow article that a senior manager at IBM now appends this rallying cry to every email he sends Read your mail just twice each day Recapture your life s time and relearn to dream Join the slow email movement This senior manager was not the same person as I d emailed the article to On to another run in with slowness I am an avid sports fan Such a fan am I that I m one of the few Americans without a close or immediate family tie to another country who has been following the World Cup It is not quite March Madness but it is a fantastic tournament Anyway the point is that earlier today watching the Brazil Ghana match after a series of spectacular ball dribbling manoeuvres by a Brazilian player the commentator noted that he seems to slow time down enabling him to see and do things that don t seem possible to those of us watching I was struck by an important analogy that this notion

    Original URL path: http://www.tomorrowmakers.org/journal/2006/6/28/expanding-time-to-compress-time.html?printerFriendly=true (2016-04-24)
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  • - Out of Control, Chapter 4: Assembling Complexity
    burn Several hundred acres of rustling wind blown grass swept over our feet and under scattered oak trees We swam in a field far richer far more complete and far more authentic than Leopold had seen Dissolved into this pool of brown tufts were hundreds of uncommon species The bulk of the prairie is grass Packard shouted to me in the wind but what most people notice is the advertising of the flowers At the time of my visit the flowers were gone and the ordinary looking grass and trees seemed rather boring That barrenness turned out to be a key clue in the rediscovery of an entire lost ecosystem To arrive at this moment Packard spent the early 1980s locating small flowery clearings in the thickets of Illinois woods He planted prairie wildflower seeds in them and expanded their size by clearing the brush at their perimeters He burnt the grass to discourage nonnative weeds At first he hoped the fire would do the work of clearing naturally He would let it leap from the grass into the thicket to burn the understory shrubs Then because of the absence of fuel in the woods the fire would die naturally Packard told me We let the fires blast into the bush as far as they would go Our motto became Let the fires decide But the thickets would not burn as he hoped so Packard and his crews interceded with axes in hand and physically cleared the underbrush Within two years they were happy with their results Thick stands of wild rye grass mingled with yellow coneflower in the new territory The restorers manually hacked back the brush each season and planted the choicest prairie flower seed they could find But by the third year it was clear something was wrong The plantings were doing poorly in the shade producing poor fuel for the season s fires The grasses that did thrive were not prairie species Packard had never seen them before Gradually the replanted areas reverted to brush Packard began to wonder if anyone including himself would go through the difficulties of burning an empty plot for decades if they had nothing to show for it He felt yet another ingredient must be missing which prevented a living system from snapping together He started reading the botanical history of the area and studying the oddball species When he identified the unknown species flourishing so well in the new oak edge patches he discovered they didn t belong to a prairie but to a savanna ecosystem a prairie with trees Researching the plants that were associated with savanna Packard soon came up with a list of other associated species such as thistles cream gentians and yellow pimpernels that he quickly realized peppered the fringes of his restoration sites Packard had even found a blazing star flower a few years before He had brought the flowering plant to a university expert because varieties of blazing star defy nonexpert identification What the heck is this he d asked the botanist It s not in the books it s not listed in the state catalogue of species What is it The botanist had said I don t know It could be a savanna blazing star but there aren t any savannas here so it couldn t be that Don t know what is What one is not looking for one does not see Even Packard admitted to himself that the unusual wildflower must have been a fluke or misidentified As he recalls The savanna species weren t what I was looking for at first so I had sort of written them off But he kept seeing them He found more blazing star in his patches The oddball species Packard was coming to realize were the main show of the clearings There were many other species associated with savannas he did not recognize and he began searching for samples of them in the corners of old cemeteries along railway right of ways and old horse paths anywhere a remnant of an earlier ecosystem might survive Whenever he could he collected their seed An epiphany of sorts overtook Packard when he watched the piles of his seed accumulate in his garage The prairie seed mix was dry and fluffy like grass seed The emerging savanna seed collection on the other hand was multicolored handfuls of lumpy oozy glop ripe with pulpy seeds and dried fruits Not by wind but by animals and birds did these seeds disperse The thing the system of coevolved interlocking organisms he was seeking to restore was not a mere prairie but a prairie with trees a savanna The pioneers in the Midwest called a prairie with trees a barren Weedy thickets and tall grass grew under occasional trees It was neither grassland nor forest therefore barren to the early settlers An almost entirely different set of species kept it a distinct biome from the prairie The savanna barrens were particularly dependent on fire more so than the prairies and when farmers arrived and stopped the fires the barrens very quickly collapsed into a woods By the turn of this century the barrens were almost extinct and the list of their constituent species hardly recorded But once Packard got a search image of the savanna in his mind he began to see evidence of it everywhere Packard sowed the mounds of mushy oddball savanna species and within two years the fields were ablaze with rare and forgotten wildflowers bottlebrush grass blue stem goldenrod starry champion and big leafed aster In 1988 a drought shriveled the non native weeds as the reseeded natives flourished and advanced In 1989 a pair of eastern bluebirds which had not been seen in the county for decades settled into their familiar habitat an event that Packard took as an endorsement The university botanists called back Seems like there were early records of savanna blazing star in the state The biologists were putting it on the endangered list Oval milkweed somehow returned to the restored barren although it grows nowhere else in the state Rare and endangered plants like the white fringed orchid and a pale vetchling suddenly sprouted on their own The seed might have lain dormant and between fire and other factors found the right conditions to hatch or been brought in by birds such as the visiting blue birds Just as miraculously the silvery blue butterfly which had not been seen anywhere in Illinois for a full decade somehow found its way to suburban Chicago where its favorite food vetchling was now growing in the emerging savanna Ah said the expert entomologists The classic savanna butterfly is Edwards hairstreak But we don t see any Are you sure this is a savanna But by the fifth year of restoration the Edwards hairstreak butterfly was everywhere on the site If you build it they will come That s what the voice said in the Field of Dreams And it s true And the more you build it the more that come Economists call it the law of increasing returns the snowballing effect As the web of interrelations is woven tighter it becomes easier to add the next piece Random paths to a stable ecosystem Yet there was still an art to it As Packard knotted the web he noticed that it mattered what order he added the pieces in And he learned that other ecologists had discovered the same thing A colleague of Leopold had found that he got closer to a more authentic prairie by planting prairie seed in a weedy field rather than in a newly plowed field as Leopold had first done Leopold had been concerned that the aggressive weeds would strangle the wildflowers but a weedy field is far more like a prairie than a plowed field Some weeds in an old weedy lot are latecomers and a few of these latecomers are prairie members their early presence in the conversion quickens the assembly of the prairie system But the weeds that immediately sprout in a plowed naked field are very aggressive and the beneficial late arriving weeds come into the mix too late It s like having the concrete reinforcement bars arrive after you ve poured the cement foundation for your house Succession is important Stuart Pimm an ecologist at the University of Tennessee compares succession paths such as the classic series of fire weed pine broadleaf trees to well rehearsed assembly sequences that the players have played many times They know in an evolutionary sense what the sequence is Evolution not only evolves the functioning community but it also finely tunes the assembly process of the gathering until the community practically falls together Restoring an ecosystem community is coming at it from the wrong side When we try to restore a prairie or wetland we are trying to assemble an ecosystem along a path that the community has no practice in says Pimm We are starting with an old farm while nature may have started with a glacial moraine ten thousand years ago Pimm began asking himself Can we assemble a stable ecosystem by taking in the parts at random Because at random was exactly how humans were trying to restore ecosystems In a laboratory at the University of Tennessee ecologists Pimm and Jim Drake had been assembling ingredients of microecosystems in different random orders to chart the importance of sequence Their tiny worlds were microcosms They started with 15 to 40 different pure strains of algae and microscopic animals and added these one at a time in various combinations and sequences to a large flask After 10 to 15 days if all went well the aquatic mixture formed a stable self reproducing slime ecology a distinctive mix of species surviving off of each other In addition Drake set up artificial ecologies in aquaria and in running water for artificial stream ecologies After mixing them they let them run until they were stable You look at these communities and you don t need to be a genius to see that they are different Pimm remarks Some are green some brown some white But the interesting thing is that there is no way to tell in advance which way a particular combination of species will go Like most complex systems you have to set them up and run them to find out It was also not clear at the start whether finding a stable system would be easy A randomly made ecosystem was likely Pimm thought to just wander around forever going from one state to the next and back again without ever coming to a persistent state But the artificial ecosystems didn t wander Instead much to their surprise Pimm found all sorts of wonderful wrinkles For one these random ecosystems have absolutely no problem in stabilizing Their most common feature is that they always come to a persistent state and typically it s one state per system It was very easy to arrive at a stable ecosystem if you didn t care what system you arrived at This was surprising Pimm said We know from chaos theory that many deterministic systems are exquisitely sensitive to initial conditions one small difference will send it off into chaos This stability is the opposite of that You start out in complete randomness and you see these things assemble towards something that is a lot more structured than you had any reason to believe could be there This is anti chaos To complement their studies in vitro Pimm also set up experiments in silico simplified ecological models in a computer He created artificial species of code that required the presence of certain other species to survive and also gave them a pecking order so that species B might drive out species A if and when the population of B reached a certain density Pimm s models of random ecologies bear some resemblance to Stuart Kauffman s models of random genetic networks see chapter 20 Each species was loosely interconnected to the others in a kind of vast distributed network Running thousands of random combinations of the same list of species Pimm mapped how often the resulting system would stabilize so that minor perturbations such as introductions or removals of a few species would not destabilize the collective mix His results mirrored the results from his bottled living microworlds In Pimm s words the computer models showed that with just 10 to 20 components in the mix the number of peaks or stabilities may be in the tens twenties or hundreds And if you play the tape of life again you get to a different peak In other words after dropping in the same inventory of species the mess headed toward a dozen final arrangements but changing the entry sequence of even one of the species was enough to divert the system from one of the end points to another The system was sensitive to initial conditions but it was usually attracted to order Pimm saw Packard s work in restoring the Illinois prairie savanna as validating his findings When Packard first tried to assemble the community it didn t work in the sense that he couldn t get the species he wanted to stick and he had a lot of trouble taking out things he didn t want But once he introduced the oddball though proper species it was close enough to the persistent state that it easily moved there and will probably stay there Pimm and Drake discovered a principle that is a great lesson to anyone concerned about the environment and anyone interested in building complex systems To make a wetland you can t just flood an area and hope for the best Pimm told me You are dealing with systems that have assembled over hundreds of thousand or millions of years Nor is compiling a list of what s there in terms of diversity enough You also have to have the assembly instructions How to do everything at once Steve Packard set out to extend the habitat of authentic prairie On the way he resurrected a lost ecosystem and perhaps acquired the assembly instructions for a savanna Working in an ocean of water instead an ocean of grass David Wingate in Bermuda set out thirty years ago to nurse a rare species of shorebird back from extinction On the way he recreated the entire ecology of a subtropical island and illuminated a further principle of assembling large functioning systems The Bermuda tale involves an island suffering from an unhealthy ad hoc artificial ecosystem By the end of World War II Bermuda was ransacked by housing developers exotic pests and a native flora wrecked by imported garden species The residents of Bermuda and the world s scientific community were stunned then in 1951 by the announcement that the cahow a gull size seabird had been rediscovered on the outer cliffs of the island archipelago The cahow was thought to be extinct for centuries It was last seen in the 1600s around the time the dodo had gone extinct But by a small miracle a few pairs of breeding cahows hung for generations on some remote sea cliffs in the Bermuda archipelago They spent most of their life on water only coming ashore to nest underground so they went unnoticed for four centuries As a schoolboy with a avid interest in birds David Wingate was present in 1951 when a Bermudan naturalist succeeded in weaseling the first cahow out of its deep nesting crevice Later Wingate became involved in efforts to reestablish the bird on a small uninhabited island near Bermuda called Nonsuch He was so dedicated to the task that he moved newly married to an abandoned building on the uninhabited unwired outer island It quickly became apparent to Wingate that the cahow could not be restored unless the whole ecosystem of which it was part was also restored Nonsuch and Bermuda itself were once covered by thick groves of cedar but the cedars had been wiped out by an imported insect pest in a mere three years between 1948 and 1952 Only their huge white skeletons remained In their stead were a host of alien plants and on the main island many tall ornamental trees that Wingate was sure would never survive a once in fifty year hurricane The problem Wingate faced was the perennial paradox that all whole systems makers confront where do you start Everything requires everything else to stay up yet you can t levitate the whole thing at once Some things have to happen first And in the correct order Studying the cahows Wingate determined that their underground nesting sites had been diminished by urban sprawl and subsequently by competition with the white tailed tropicbird for the few remaining suitable sites The aggressive tropicbird would peck a cahow chick to death and take over the nest Drastic situations require drastic measures so Wingate instituted a government housing program for the cahow He built artificial nest sites sort of underground birdhouses He couldn t wait until Nonsuch reestablished a forest of trees which tip slightly in hurricanes to uproot just the right sized crevice too small for the tropic bird to enter but just perfect for the cahow So he created a temporary scaffolding to get one piece of the puzzle going Since he needed a forest he planted 8 000 cedar trees in the hope that a few would be resistant to the blight and a few were But the wind smothered them So Wingate planted a scaffold species a fast growing non native evergreen the casuarinas as a windbreak around the island The casuarinas grew rapidly and let the cedars grow slowly and over the years the better adapted cedars displaced the casuarinas The resown forest made the perfect home for a night heron which had not been seen on Bermuda for a hundred years The heron gobbled up land crabs which without the

    Original URL path: http://www.tomorrowmakers.org/out-of-control-chapter-4/ (2016-04-24)
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  • - Tomorrow Makers' Journal
    creativity The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel I don t know that Auel thought that her book was about creativity rather she was telling an incredible story of survival and emergence of a young Homo sapiens girl being raised by a Neanderthal clan Her story was rebuked by many scientists and anthropologists and then with more discovery Auel s story became quite plausible and many of the ficticious parts in her stories have proven to be fact I have heard that 80 of inventions come from the beginner s mind Someone walks into a situation and asks why something is done the way it is and then makes a suggestion for how it could be significantly improved Most often that person is ignored or told explicitly why it would not work Soon that person becomes a competitor with her better idea Kevin Kelly refers to search images So often we think what we have learned in school or have expertise in defines our boundaries for what is true or practical Kelly reminds us that what we don t look for we don t see Our searches stay within familiar boundaries Yet if we let ourselves play spoze

    Original URL path: http://www.tomorrowmakers.org/journal/2006/6/24/search-images.html?printerFriendly=true (2016-04-24)
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