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05 June 2020, 07:45 PM

Session: Conversations for Connecting

A talk by Ben Roberts

Speaker expertise

Ben is driven by a belief that we are being deeply challenged at this moment in history by the urgent need for systemic transformation, the continued dominance of "Business as Usual," and the yearning for constructive programs with the critical mass to fully demonstrate that new paradigms are possible. Ben sees dialogue as an ideal tool to address such complexity, uncertainty and emergence. He also recognizes that our dialogic processes must evolve just like everything else. +See this piece drilling down into the popular Butterfly Metamorphosis metaphor for a bit more on his views re our collective work as change agents at this time. Ben’s work focuses on: -Weaving communities, networks, conferences, and movements -Co-leading the core teams of collaborative projects and initiatives -Creating open spaces for emergent dialogue.

So many of the questions I hear people asking these days are about how to create systemic change. Meanwhile, the protests in the US and around the world can be seen as a reaction to the failure of “talk” as a source of transformation. Personally, I have become frustrated with “abstract conversations” about what “needs to be different.” So often I see these taking the form of blame, i.e. “how do we get those people to change?” Or “how can we get all these different groups, projects, initiatives, etc. to coordinate and collaborate so we can have more impact?” My experience is that these questions have little power.

How might “connecting” offer a different and powerful context for dialogue and engagement? In this session, I will tell a bit of the story of the Now What?! global gathering, the ways in which we are weaving social fabric through dialogue, and the theory of change that has informed its design. We will then spend a bit of time in small groups connecting with one another. You will have a choice of either 1) seeking ways to support some of the work you and those in your group are engaged in or 2) engaging in a brief co-creative flow that produces some sort of “artifact” that can be shared with summit participants.

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