wacky bubble.jpgSomebody really smart (was it Einstein?) said we can’t solve the messes of today with the same thinking that made them. We just make bigger messes.

Like using deregulation (like cutting weekend pay loading) to create jobs, or using corporate self-regulation to tackle obesity, or criminalising drug use to stop drug addiction. You just get more poverty, more obesity, and swollen prison populations with more people more likely to use drugs when they’re released.

The evidence for this is …all around us. If those answers worked, we’d have solved poverty, obesity, and drug addiction DECADES ago.

To solve these big problems, and little problems too, we need thinking that didn’t create them, thinking that’s not boxed in by the conventional wisdom.

As facilitators our job is to create safe spaces for that thinking to happen. It should be a core competency. We give people crowbars, or explosives, to help people break out of the box of safe answers.

Normal facilitation doesn’t cut it: it so often just reinforces the echo box. We need techniques that create safe bubbles for wacky thinking to flourish, where it feels OK to say something that’s unsafe, or nuts, and let it blink in the light of day to see if it transforms into something really useful. Remember that what makes an idea nuts isn’t the idea itself, it’s the conventional wisdom that surrounds it.

Let’s call this “facilitating a wacky bubble”. Our job is to make ways for people to feel safe to sprout seemingly crazy ideas, like free houses for the homeless, public lounge rooms for smokers, or injecting rooms for ice addicts.

But just telling participants that “Any idea is OK”, or “Please be wacky” doesn’t cut it. A good facilitator “draws innovation out of thin air” with techniques that do require a little bit of art.

In Engagement Lab we’ll use these techniques for a relatively humble purpose – to increase community engagement in our community projects, or workplace projects, or anytime we want people to ‘come and play’ with us. But exactly the same techniques work for big problems as well.

Here are the dates:

BRISBANE: 4 May 2017

MELBOURNE: 11 May 2017

SYDNEY: 26 May 2017

Details here: http://www.enablingchange.com.au/engagement_plus.php

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