Africa may soon be digitally connected but can we put ourselves on the world economic map?

You are invited to catch flying pigs with usFlying Pig

Face to face Pig Catching in Johannesburg
TOPIC: Engaging Africa
DATE: Fri 26 May
TIME: 8:30-11:30 – experience (Please come on time for coffee or tea, we start at 8:30 sharp.)
12:00-13:00 reflecting on the methodology
PLACE: 19th floor University Corner Building Corner of Jan Smuts and Jorissen Braamforntein.
FACILITATOR: Janet du Preez
COST: R250
DRESS: Comfortable clothes you can stretch and move in
RSVP: by  Wed 24 Mayto petro@playingmantis.net

Upcoming dates: Fri 25 Aug and Fri 1 Dec.

Online Pig Catching
TOPIC: Engaging Africa
DATE:19, 22 and 26 June (Mon, Thu and Mon)
TIME: 20:00-21:15 – experience
PLACE: a ZOOM room (we will send link)
FACILITATOR: Janet du Preez
COST: R250 or $20
RSVP by Thu 15 Jum to petro@playingmantis.net

More on the topic
As a continent we may soon be digitally connected but can we be cohesively engaged to put ourselves on the world economic map?

Our pig for this session is the engagement of Africa.
Using Strategic Narrative Embodiment and the Dynamic Engagement Framework we will explore:

  • How engagement changes outcomes
  • The role of trust in engagement
  • The character and faces of trust
  • How we foster trust

Are we mad? Maybe a little!
Does this matter? Yes!
Can we be the agents of continental change? Why not?

 – by Janet du Preez who will be co-hosting Pig Catching sessions in February and March.

About Janet du Preez
2017-04
Janet du Preez is a friend and accomplished flying pig catcher. she says about the SNE tools: “The SNE processes are a vital addition to my toolkit because of their creativity and impact. I am constantly seeking new ways to engage whole people in transformational journeys. SNE processes encourage new encounters with beliefs, thoughts, emotions, relationships and behaviours. When people engage themselves and engage with themselves in unexpected ways they learn and grow. We will not see change in the conditions in Africa until we transform who we are as Africans. We need every possible tool at our disposal to enable us to transform if we are to change our trajectory. SNE is a particularly powerful tool.”

Janet is a versatile leadership and organisational effectiveness practitioner and a passionate, provocative and creative thinker. A strategic people developer and engagement protagonist, she is constantly alert for good people, good ideas and good systems which can be made even more effective.  Janet uses her well-honed coaching, facilitation, process development and strategic consulting skills to engage talent, passion, insight and action in pursuit of great leadership and effective systems. She is completing an MSc through the da Vinci Institute developing a universal integrated sense-making framework for engagement in organisations.

About Pig Catching

Pig catching is what coaches and facilitators do when we chase the moment of insight that brings shift and transformation in our clients.
Please note: No pigs get harmed, our pigs are purely metaphorical and they have wings.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Coaches, facilitators, game changers, thought leaders like you who can accept the following
1        This is not a showcase or sales event geared to impress or win you over. If you come, you already believe that metaphor, embodiment, improvisation and imagination are powerful, fun ways to bring about transformation and you want to know more about using them in coaching and facilitation.
2        Experimentation and mistakes are part of the process.  You must be willing to play with ideas that may not work or may be a bit uncomfortable, but that could lead to new heights of freedom and insight.

Join our group on Facebook:

Upcoming dates: Fri 25 Aug and Fri 1 Dec.

WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING INSPIRED BY YOU. OINK!

Exercise: Short walk to freedom.

This exercise is gaining in popularity. I designed it in a moment of need in the middle of a presentation skills workshop for managers in Mozambique. The guy just could not understand the difference between how he usually is around the workplace and how he should show up when he is required to speak in front of others. The idea of walking himself free from the constraints of an everyday work self into a performative, yet authentic confident self worked like magic. And of course, we all want to identify wit  the wonderfully present  Nelson Mandela and his Long Walk to Freedom –  but without the struggle.

Possible outcomes:

  • Presence and awareness
  • Personal control
  • Building confidence and connection
  • Emotional intelligence

Overview:

Participants walk from one end of the room to the other starting in a state of non-presence and ending in a state of total confidence and present awareness.

Time: 3-7 min
Number of participants: Limited only by the size of the room.

Game flow:

Delegates line up on one side of the room. Facilitator asks them to think of a moment where they felt utterly out of place, intimidated or nervous to enter a room. Facilitator explains: This is your point of entry, where you will be starting from psychologically. (As facilitator you may also use how they are feeling about the session or any other emergent feeling that you may want to work with in this way.) Facilitator continues:

Show how you feel in your body: your spine, your hands, your knees, your breathing, the cast of your eyes, your shoulders, your face, the tilt of your head etc. As you walk to the other side of the room, discard each of these physical attributes one by one and with them the feelings: lift your head, smile, deepen your breathing, straiten your spine, relax your hands, lift your eyes, open your shoulders etc.

Repeat the exercise adding a sound or words starting with something like ‘oooh’ and ending with ‘wha’ or starting with the word ‘no’ and ending with a ‘yes’. Or just let them be creative.

Repeat with different scenarios in mind.

Debrief questions:

  • How was that for you?
  • What was interesting?
  • What was difficult / easy?
  • How does it relate to the ideas of presence, or courage or confidence?
  • How does it relate to the workplace?
  • Where can you use it?
  • Why is it called the short walk to freedom?

How can we vehemently disagree and still remain good friends, colleagues or neighbours?

You are invited to catch flying pigs with us

Long time pig catcher Alison Gitelson will be facilitating.

Face to face Pig Catching in Johannesburg
TOPIC: How can we vehemently disagree and still remain good friends, colleagues or neighbours?
DATE: Fri 24 Feb
TIME: 7:15 am to 10:30 am – experience
10:45am – 12:00 reflecting on the methodology
Please come on time for coffee or tea, we start at 7:30 sharp.
PLACE: 305 Long Avenue Ferndale
PRICE: R250
DRESS: Comfortable clothes you can stretch and move in
Coffee, tea, muffins and fruit on arrival.
Contact us to book

Online Pig Catching
TOPIC: How can we vehemently disagree and still remain good friends, colleagues or neighbours?
DATE:13, 15 and 22 Mar (Mon, Wed and Wed)
TIME: 20:00-21:15 – experience
PLACE: a ZOOM room (we will send link)
COST: R250 or $20
RSVP by Wed 8 Mar to

More on the topic

Much is said and written about finding alignment; harmonizing; finding the win-win; integrating; being a happy family. What happens if we don’t agree? Why should we agree? Few things are simply right or wrong: there are multiple perspectives, multiple truths and even many different ways to achieve the same result.

The more diverse the group the more likely there will be disagreements. And that is part of the benefit of diversity. It takes us away from group think. This article explains how diversity makes us smarter.
However the reality is often an illusion of agreement on the surface with bubbling resentment underneath.

Let’s explore how we can use SNE (Strategic Narrative Embodiment) to discover our individual ways to
handle disagreement;

  • give and receive feedback;
  • feel curious instead of threatened;
  • be open to other perspectives;
  • be assertive without aggression;
  • have the courage to tackle the tough stuff!

My hope is that we will find tools we can use to help our clients and communities.
 – by Alison Gitelson who will be co-hosting Pig Catching sessions in February and March.

About Pig Catching

Pig catching is what coaches and facilitators do when we chase the moment of insight that brings shift and transformation in our clients.
Please note: No pigs get harmed, our pigs are purely metaphorical and they have wings.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Coaches, facilitators, game changers, thought leaders like you who can accept the following
1        This is not a showcase or sales event geared to impress or win you over. If you come, you already believe that metaphor, embodiment, improvisation and imagination are powerful, fun ways to bring about transformation and you want to know more about using them in coaching and facilitation.
2        Experimentation and mistakes are part of the process.  You must be willing to play with ideas that may not work or may be a bit uncomfortable, but that could lead to new heights of freedom and insight.

Join our group on Facebook:
About  Alison Gitelson (her words)

I am a maximizer, facilitator and management enabler.  Similar to many of you.
In 2006, after twenty years in business and careers in optometry, IT and transformation, I started CanBeeDone to help individuals be the best they can be, and managers to become much, much better managers and leaders. Today I describe what I do as “working with leader-managers to find their new and better way of doing business so that they, their staff and the business all thrive”.
Over the years I have grown my talents and my toolbox as a facilitator. I met Petro in 2013. Each time I was at an event where she facilitated using applied improv games I was as nervous as anything when we started. But each time I was excited at the outcomes: at the power of the tool for discovering one’s own answers and for changing behaviour. So I began introducing AI games into my programmes. I combined them with the sharing of concepts and theories, having focused dialogue and doing other participative exercises. Then in November 2014 I did the Essentials in SNE three day course with Petro.

Since then I have incorporated SNE (strategic narrative embodiment) tools and techniques into most of my workshops, talks and programmes; combining them with my other tools. It enhances work which was already powerful and makes it uniquely me.

I’ve worked with groups as diverse as high school pupils, introverted coaching clients, middle and senior managers, illiterate community members and IT technicians.
I have plenty to learn and plenty of areas where I am still working out how best to use SNE to bring about the shifts we need in society and in business. Hence my wish that you will join me to learn and grow at this Pig Catching. And then perhaps at another session we can help you experiment with some of your ideas.”

WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING INSPIRED BY YOU. OINK!

Contact us to book

Join our group on Facebook:

How to reflect on 2016 in a fun and meaningful way

Grueling, exhausting and a never ending seesaw is how the 12 participants of the week long writing retreat I facilitated at the beginning of this month describe 2016. “Please help us find a way to reflect on the year, make sense of it somehow and find a way to focus on our writing” they asked.

What was your year like? Do you want a fun and meaningful way to make sense of it for you?

On the Wednesday morning before breakfast I offered to facilitate an embodied reflection process with reflecting on and making sense of 2016 as strategic intent SNE style. Here I will share with you what we did and give you a way to do it yourself at home. You may also like to try it with a group. Finally I will offer you a version of the same exercise using drawing, rather than embodiment for people who prefer this medium or do not have the luxury of space just now.

Setting up a spacekufunda

Find a room or section of garden where you will be left alone for the next 30 min or so. A place with a variety of pieces of furniture or rocks and benches and grass is ideal. This space will represent the landscape of 2016 for you. We used a large round thatched roof hut designated as workshop space at Kufunda Village outside Harare, Zimbabwe, where the writing retreat was held. The neat circle of chairs you see now in the picture were grouped arbitrarily around the space, e.g. one on the platform in front, others turned on their sides or standing seat to seat and covered with a blanket. The idea was to create a variety of structures to work with.

Kufunda Village is a learning community 13km from Harare Zimbabwe. It is a self sustaining collective where they farm organic grains. They also run participative leadership workshops, a Waldorf primary school and are open to visitors for workshops and conferences when they are not running their own courses. I was there facilitating a writing workshop for 4 days with 11 members of the SLOW Art network – SLOW is for ‘The Social Life of Waste’.

Transitioning into play

Four participants came for the session and I invited them to move around the space getting used to its new configurations.

“Imagine that the whole space is immersed in a mist – a mist that has settled on your memories of 2016. Let’s whoosh the mist away and out of all the little spaces and hollows.”

We used our arms and voices to whoosh the mist away, Large and loud whooshing for open spaces and small delegate whooshes for blowing it out of narrower spaces, moving our bodies and hands low on the ground or high in the air. The process helped us explore the space as well as warm up our bodies. It also switched on our imaginations and engaged our play muscles.

Into the open experimentation phase

I explained that I will name different kinds of moments that they may have experienced during the year. For each moment I would invite them to find an appropriate spot in the room and place their bodies in a position that expresses that moment for them. There would be 5 such moments and we would place them one by one on the 2016 landscape that is the room.

Typical SNE style, I designed these moments with the mythic structure of story in mind. However, I am mindful of the fact that these moments may not follow one after the other for each individual.

The moments I chose were as follows:

  1. A moment of being called to a higher purpose, where you experienced an inner tug (relating to a call to adventure in the hero’s journey).
  2. A moment of conflict, doubt or confusion (relating to the uncertainty and doubt on the threshold as you cross into the world of adventure in the mythic structure).
  3. A moment of complete ordinariness, even slog (relating to the tedium of the journey and the continuous small trials and tests).
  4. A moment of unexpected joy, surprise or reward (relating to the reward that follows the ordeal).
  5. A moment of utter despair, loss or defeat (relating to the moment of death and sacrifice present).

Note: I did not mention in the workshop that these moments relate to the mythic structure of stories. It is just mentioned here for those of you who are interested in the design aspects of workshop processes in general and in the lens of Strategic Narrative Embodiment (SNE) in particular.

Why these moments? Why five?

I picked moments that were diverse in energy and spread across the mythic journey landscape. I chose five because I find that is the maximum amount of moments a brain can hold without getting muddled and needing a script of some kind as reminder. As it is, people might still get muddled, so you can let them mark their spots in the room with sticky notes. You can use them yourself in a private version of this too.

Here is how I facilitated the process

You can follow along:

1. Plotting the moments

Find moment one: being called to a higher purpose – an inner tug. Then breathe into it three times. With each in breath you imagine that your body is a mould and you are pouring soft plaster-of-paris or cement into the mould. With each out breath it hardens allowing you to cast this moment in time. Once you have done three breaths, climb out of the sculpture and look back on it. Climb back in to see if you can find the position again and then climb out and begin walking through the space once more.

Repeat with moments two and three: (a moment of conflict, doubt or confusion and one of complete ordinariness or slog).

I did this with the first two moments and then we were joined by two more participants. I told them what we were doing and named the third moment, letting them come in at this point. Now we went back and rehearsed the first three moments up till now. I would have done this even if we did not have new arrivals, but as it happened this gave them a chance to catch up.

Go back to each of the three moments and pause in each one by one. As you do, order the moments chronologically in time as they happened during the year. Repeat the sequence and find a flowing movement from one to the other to the next.

One participant asked: “What if the moments slide into each other and reoccur more than once in the year?” I answered that they are free to repeat moments or find a way to move through the sliding.

Play with it.

Once you had established the pattern of chronology you want, introduce moment 4: A moment of unexpected joy, surprise or reward. Breathe into it as before and then slot it into the flow of time. Finally add the fifth moment (one of utter despair, loss or defeat) in the same way.

2. Playing with the journey

For the next few minutes I invite you to move through your sequence experimenting with different kinds of energy: high, light energy; slow, deliberate, heavy energy and any other kind you fancy to try. Continue with this until you run out of steam.

Finally, pick one last energy texture to play with, but instead of stopping at the fifth moment, move through the final moment in your sequence to the moment that might lay beyond it. This is where you rest and come to a stop. Repeat one more time.

3. Reflection

If you are doing this process on your own, take a journal or paper and pen and write about the experience and what it was like for you, Set a timer and write nonstop for 5 to 10 minutes.

In the larger group, I waited until all had come to rest. Then I asked them to pair up and walk each other through their journeys. I explained that they can share as much or as little as they are comfortable with.

4. Integration

The process of moving beyond the final moment into what might lie beyond is already an integration move on the part of the design. However, complete the process in your own reflective writing: give this moment some thought and write a concluding sentence capturing the meaning of this moment for you.

In the group I invited participants to share in the large group what that moment was like and what it meant to them.

Here are some of the participants’ responses:

Louis: “It was rather insightful to me that my final moment was not what you might expect. My fifth moment was the moment of being defeated and instead of the sixth moment being one of breaking free, it was instead a moment of acknowledging that breaking out was not an option at the moment. Rather I should find a place of stillness amidst it all. I just stayed right here in a space of being.”

Johan: “Mine was no moment of acceptance or resolution. I still feel rather tired and caught in it all, though that might just be the hangover talking. I did find the courage to look up and consider new possibilities or perspectives.”

Other comments:

Ingrid: “I found it very emotional to revisit some of those moments, but in the end I found a way to let it go and move on from there. I don’t need to dwell in it anymore.
Ricardo: It was more than just a reflection, it was rather transformative.”

Zima: “I thought my year was just hard and difficult, but I discovered moments of joy that I had forgotten.
Karel: This practice of being aware of where I am and considering what it might lead to is something I would like to try and do more of. I usually just let myself be in the moment without considering the bigger picture. I probably won’t use the body movement thing though.”

The same reflection as a drawing

If you feel like Karel did, you can happily replace the body movement with drawing. Take a piece of black paper as your landscape of 2016. Draw a feature of the landscape for each of the five. A mountain top for the moment of calling, a waterfall for confusion, a cave for defeat, etc. Now you can draw a path linking them chronologically. This represents the path you had walked this year. Take a pen and trace your steps as you walked this journey. Follow the pattern a few times, pausing at each moment and imagining yourself in that place on the landscape.

Finally move your pen to a sixth spot and draw what you think you may find there on the landscape: a tree? A spring?

Again, reflect by writing for 5 to 10 minutes.

Let me know what comes up for you as you do this exercise.

Petro

Let’s solve South Africa’s problems in 3 hours flat!

Final Pig Catching session of 2016

You are invited.

Will we solve the problem of free, decolonised education for all SA’s students?

When pigs fly!

Will we manage to bring our corrupt leadership to justice?

When pigs fly!

Or put apartheid in its place once and for all?

Or reduce violence against women and children?

Or improve service delivery?

Or fix the economy?

Or at least get rich ourselves?

When pigs fly!!

Let’s make them fly!

We will use applied improvisation and Strategic narrative embodiment to explore our deepest desires and our wildest dreams building the SA that we want to live in.

Nothing is impossible when we make believe and when we do, unexpected insights and action steps show themselves. If this does not happen in the session, at least you will have had a lot of fun.

So, come play with me and the other pig catchers when we pull out our magic wands and say abracadabra!

Details:

Date:     9 Dec 2016

Time:    9 to 12 am

NOTE: We will start at 9:00 sharp to make the most of our time.

Facilitator: Petro Janse van Vuuren

Cost: R250

Venue: TBC – I am trying for the flying saucer on the 21st floor of the University Corner building in Braamfontein (it used to be a revolving restaurant)

Dress: Comfortable clothes you can stretch and move in

Coffee, tea, muffins and fruit on arrival.

RSVP: by  Wed 7 Dec

Join our group on Facebook:

Subscribe to our Muse-letter

Bring your curiosity, your open minds and your questions.

About Pig Catching:

Pig catching is what coaches and facilitators do when we chase the moment of insight that brings shift and transformation in our clients.

Please note: No pigs get harmed, our pigs are purely metaphorical and they have wings.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Coaches, facilitators, game changers, thought leaders like you who can accept the following

1        This is not a showcase or sales event geared to impress or win you over. If you come, you already believe that metaphor, embodiment, improvisation and imagination are powerful, fun ways to bring about transformation and you want to know more about using them in coaching and facilitation.

2        Experimentation and mistakes are part of the process.  You must be willing to play with ideas that may not work or may be a bit uncomfortable, but that could lead to new heights of freedom and insight.

WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING INSPIRED BY YOU. OINK!

Book by sending me an email

The heart of Strategic Narrative Embodiment (SNE)

September Muse Letter

There is a war going on – a war for your heart and your soul, for mine. A bit melodramatic?

I wake up in the morning with an unreasonable fear lodged in my chest. What ifI loose? Loose what, I ask myself?

  • The battle against boredom and overwork.
  • The fight to stay fit and healthy when all I want is another doughnut and a good long sit in the sun.
  • The struggle against loneliness, as I long to be with my family but despise them for crowding my headspace.
  • The strife I feel when trying to get friends to come over – do I even have friends?And then the fear that they won’t enjoy it here; so why bother?
  • The war against entropy, in my money matters, my house, my garden, my paperwork, when at the same time I would rather turn a blind eye and read another novel.

I am not one of those people caught up in the rat race: I refuse! I have been there and bought into all its frenzy, and I didn’t get the big house and the two cars, the housekeeper and the swimming pool.

In fact,my rat race brought my family and me to the brink of bankruptcy as we ploughed all our resources into ‘making it’ and failed.

Now that both my husband and I have jobs in education – with a good enough income to survive, but not to get rich, or even get ahead – ­we are much happier and have much more time for our kids, each other, the garden, the house, the friends, and the paperwork.

BUT…

  • We long for action.
  • We yearn for significance.
  • We pine for the opportunity to express our innermost selves.
  • We wish with all our hearts that someone else would wash the dishes, do the garden, organise our papers.

We now have the time, but no motivation to do all the things on the list. So, and I will only speak for myself here, I sit around wishing for action, for someone to come visit, for some external impetus to get me off my buttto go, go, go! Of course the moment the impetus comes I resent it for stealing my peace and dictating my responses. When is sitting in the sun ‘being mindful’ mad when is it laziness? When is being present with my children healthy and when is it an excuse not to engage with something else?

How much more divided can I get?

This is the war that is destroying my heart and soul.

Inside the race, I feel controlled, diminished and taken advantage of. Outside it I feel useless, insignificant and without value.

Where is the third side of this coin?

That is the essence of my quest through war-torn territories: the search for the third side of the coin – not just in this current struggle, but in all struggles that seem so two dimensional, so binary, so colourless:

Does this mean we should take up more colourful and complex struggles like the one between the students and the government with the Universities and the parents and the whole of South Africa’s history in between?  The same one that colours all organisational and leadership interactions, whether we know it or not: the struggle between those who have and who can and those who have not and can’t – along with all the colours of our rainbow nation getting involved in the mess?

I think so.

This is the heart of the SNE lens: between the strategic plan and embodied reality, you find the narrative, the story, which can integrate opposites, transform ambiguities, dance with contradictions. Between the head that plans and the hands that act, lies this treacherous landscape of the heart, the landscape of stories. Stories long to heal the broken heart. They yearn to bridge the chasms between warring opposites and mend the rifts between binary dichotomies.

Join me on this quest to mend broken hearts – especially those broken by the race for more money, opportunity and power.

Meet me at the next Pig Catching session to help process the grief of your broken heart.

Date:     7 OCt 2016
Time:    7am for 7:15 to 10am Pig Catching
10:30-12:30 Research conversation or maybe we simply continue with the session. NOTE: We will start at 7:15 sharp to make the most of our time.
Facilitator: Petro Janse van Vuuren
Cost: R250
Venue: 305 Long Ave Ferndale
Dress: Comfortable clothes you can stretch and move in
Refreshments: Coffee, tea, muffins and fruit on arrival.
RSVP: by  Wed 5 Oct.

Other Pig Catching dates this year:
9 Dec
Please diarise!

Join our group on Facebook<http://playingmantis.us10.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=bd2144f97d4741293f68d899e&id=5904ae36ee&e=ef28aa4955>:

Bring your curiosity, your open minds and your questions.

About Pig Catching:

Pig catching is what coaches and facilitators do when we chase the moment of insight that brings shift and transformation in our clients.

Please note: No pigs get harmed, our pigs are purely metaphorical and they have wings.

Let’s catch some flying pigs!

Flying Pig

An online experience for coaches and facilitators

“When pigs fly” is a figure of speech that says something is completely impossible, even unthinkable. For example: “Can people really change for good?” “Yes, when pigs fly.”

For us a flying pig is the moment of insight that brings shift and transformation in our clients, students, participants…

Join us in our quest.

We will not only look for flying pigs, we will also research ways to catch them, integrate them in our work and our lives with the help of methods and inspirations from the fields of Applied Improvisation and Strategic Narrative Embodiment.

In this online Pig Catching adventure you will be accompanied by Petro Janse van Vuuren from south Africa  and Christian F. Freisleben from Austria. We will invite you to take a close look at your pig catchers’ wardrobe, i.e. your strengths as coach, facilitator, trainer  and teacher. We will meet three times online, talking, sharing, working and also moving together. The sessions foster insights and inspiration, ideas and dreams, concepts for your work in, changing the world for good.

For more details see this prezi presentation and/or listen to this podcast (Soundcloud / Youtube).

Join us for:

A taster session, where you can learn more about flying pigs and the methods we use

Monday 18th of July, 8pm

A longer journey of learning, laughing and transforming:

Thursday 22nd of August, 29th of August, 5th of September – on all days from 8 to 9:15pm, Johannesburg time.

Before and between these dates you will have time to take a closer look at flying pigs!

Cost?

In return for our preparation and facilitation of the journey we ask you to pay us whatever amount of money you think it is worth for you and your work.

Facilitators:

Petro Janse van Vuuren & Christian F. Freisleben

If you want to join this journey please send us an E-Mail to: connect@playingmantis.net

Why we used Strategic Narrative Embodiment (SNE) at the 2016 Southern African Knowledge Management Summit

SNE at SAKM summit
SNE at SAKM summit

What SNE did, and did not, deliver

Background

During our planning for the 2016 Southern African Knowledge Management Summit (2016SAKMS) we pondered the current state and needs of the KM network in South Africa. Based on Etienne Wenger’s stages of community development it seemed to us that the current KM network in South Africa represented a potential community, with a desire to coalesce towards community. It was this move to a next stage in the lifecycle of  a community that we wanted to stimulate.  According to Wenger & Snyder (2002) the emergence of the strategic purpose or intent for the community is a core construct in this shift from a potential community to a coalescing stage. The structure, role and activities of the community to-be need to fit and adapt with this strategic purpose.

The discovery of strategic intent or purpose is supported and informed by the finding and recognition of common ground and engaging issues on a communal level. There must be a sense of the development of a shared domain together with the redirection of attention towards seeing own issues as a communal fodder. People also need to see how their passions and desire for community can translate into something useful. They find energy for coalescence around recognising similar problems, passions, and contributions.

These typical aspects of a potential community informed the design for the Summit.

Strategic Narrative Embodiment (SNE) presented an interesting opportunity as methodology and conversation partner for our summit design. Not only is it a methodology designed for organisation (and per implication community) development, but it would also be fresh and innovative. We were intrigued by the embodiment component especially since the possibility of accessing tacit knowledge located in the body is a hot emergent topic in the KM space.

Initial conversations made us curious about:

  • What knowledge in and about our network can such a process access and externalise?
  • How can it enable the network to shift from potential community to coalescence towards community?
  • What can it tell us about emergent narratives in the KM network?
  • What level of engagement can it elicit from delegates?
  • How can it facilitate the interplay between individual and collective learning?

Read the rest here…

What irks you about trying to change the world?

June Muse Letter

Whether you are on the receiving end or on the giving end of a learning/change process, I invite you to write to me and vent all your frustrations about it. You are welcome to play the ‘meanie’ and let rip – even if just for fun. As they say, many a truth is spoken in jest!

Let me make three points as context to this invitation:

  • Thank you for your engagement
  • Playing Mantis’s service to you
  • Engaging with what irks you

Thank you for your engagement

In my last Muse Letter, I explained that Playing Mantis was going through some changes and I invited you to have a cup of coffee with me to talk about the topic‘What do you think of an ethics of artistry? Can such a business make money?’

I had beautiful conversations with Christian Freisleben-Teutscher, Graham Williams, Wilhelm Crous, Katya Ratcliffe, Wendy Cooke, Josh Ramsey, Steve Banhegyi, Bobby Gordon, VasinthaPather, LurindaMaree,and others. I also tip my hat to the Playing Mantis Pig Catchers

ho happily engaged with the questions, as well as many of my students at Wits.

Because of these conversations –

  • Christian and I will launch an online Pig Catching group (for coaches and facilitators who want to change the world for good).
  • Graham, Steve and I have collaborated with a few others to design a leadership retreat for battered bosses.
  • Vasintha and I are talking about a cohort of people like us who use playful methods for serious business.
  • I found someone who can redo my website in response to these changes (please be patient, he works full time and is doing this for me as a favour).
  • Wendy and I have begun to laugh together.

Most importantly, though –

I have a much clearer picture of what Playing Mantis could offer.

Playing Mantis’s service to you

Playing Mantis wants to help thought leaders like you to change the world with the help of Strategic Narrative Embodiment (SNE).

With the Strategic Narrative Embodiment model you will find courage to play spontaneously and passionately, to connect with yourself and the people around you and to transform your everyday life into a force for positive change. And then to do the same for your clients, your team and your community.

Let’s return humanenessto the workplace and transform the world of work into a healthy thriving place where generosity, collaboration and social justice can be a reality!

So, our service has three parts:

  1. Your personal transformational story (strategic narrative) embodied in your own work.
  2. Helping your client find and embody their transformational story.
  3. Creating a community of thought leaders who learn from each other’s stories and collaborate to change the world.

Engaging with what irks you

True, I could cook up a million benefits of SNE if I wished, but who says it would mean anything to you? So, that is why I want to know what it is that irks you.

If you let me see into your frustrations with your own or others’ attempts to change the world, we could find ways to reduce the frustration together.  You could think of it from any [ers[ective that makes sense to you: the one who tries to change something or someone, or the one who is being asked to change.

  1. Set your watch for three minutes.
  2. Rant without stopping.
  3. Mail it to me as is.

Give it as it comes. Be nasty, funny, satirical, ironic or just plain mean–as long as you enjoy the game. I will listen to what you care about and the values that lie beneath the storm. I will feed it back to you just as in the facilitation game ‘The Rant’. It will help us discover what is important to you and address the frustrations together.

By all means, use the game in your practice and see what happens …

If you know the exercise already, tell us what it does for you and your clients.

Bonus facilitation notes for using ‘the rant’:

Sometimes I give two people who really have it in for something a rope to tug at between them. I might also give each member of a group a rolled up newspaper and instruct them to hit a chair with it. I let them imagine their frustration sitting on the chair and motivate them to attack it with as much vehemence as they can muster. Notice, it is not an imagined person on the chair but an imagined issue.

I once did this with a group of health insurance agents from one of our prominent medical aid providers. They had a blast! Then we sat down and recorded all their grievances about their work, along with positive suggestions to management about solutions. The work was productive and meaningful because emotions had been cleared and the things they really cared about were articulated, then heard and seen.

Of course, some people enjoy this exercise and others hate it. They hate it because they see themselves as positive, peace-loving people. Others hate it because they have to work so hard at keeping those emotions down that allowing them to bubble up can be painful. Keep it light and only use props if they seem appropriate.

Back to you

Please set the timer and rant, then mail. I can’t wait to hear from you!!!

OR

Book me to tell a story, design a conference, engage people in your vision.

OR

Simply invite me for a cup of tea.

 

Website Reboot

The Playing Mantis have been running since the start of Playing Mantis 7 years ago. In this time it has had several updates but since recent changes a new update is necessary. This means, that for a while at least, things might look a bit funky or become a bit strange. But the hope is that once this strange times has passed that the Playing Mantis site will be a much more user friendly and focussed website.

Thanks for sticking around for the ride.

Oh, and yes, this is Gerhi Janse van Vuuren writing. I am Petro’s husband and webmaster in charge of this reboot. Please blame me for all the things that go wrong. Petro will take the credit.