Category Archives: Uncategorized

Procastinating Co-Creation

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For the past two months, our washing machine has been unpredictable during the spin cycle. Sometimes it spins out the water and then other times it just stops without any spinning at all. Now-a-days we slowly open the lid to see what mood it is in. If in a “no-spin” situation, we look to the gauges at the top of the machine and try a different combination. Maybe this time putting the settings on small load with the second rinse and cold/cold will do the trick. If a combination works, we announce proudly to all family members that “it is fixed” and then we hold our breath. We know that we need to get a new washing machine but we …

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Father Meninger on Beauty and Co-Creation

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I attended a seminar on contemplation taught by William Meninger, a monk who leaves the monastery only a few times each year. He is nearly 80 years old, but he looks and sounds closer to 60. He glows. He said that we need to intentionally invite beauty into our lives in order to counteract all the “anti-beauty” that bombards us each day. He commented that reading sacred texts or a good novel, looking at a baby, or perhaps standing outside under a clear sky all count. Then he encouraged us to pause and reflect, with our hearts, on this beauty. Our usual response to beauty is a sigh or a “wow” and we feel glad and grateful for the experience. …

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Peeping Tom and Co-Creation

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On Sundays, sometimes we invite people over for a leisurely lunch. We get out the “real” china, cloth napkins and sit at the dining room table. My husband has befriended a woman who is homeless and he invited her over one Sunday for grilled vegetables. She brought a Hershey bar for dessert. During our lunch, she had moments of brilliance and other stretches of confused rambling. At one point she stopped and said that on the previous night that she had a dream of a peeping tom. When we asked for additional details she said: “It was Thomas Jefferson.” Then she told us that he was looking at the pictures she keeps with her at all times and he saw …

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Collaboration or Co-Creation

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On a break during a workshop I was conducting on servant leadership, a man came up to me and explained that his company had mandated a national policy of collaboration among the distributors. He complained bitterly that  “it was not working” and that most of the distributors were furious and resisting this new plan. He said: “This sounds like a fine idea on some levels but actually “doing it” is another matter. Plus we were never asked our opinion on this at all.” I recognized the mantra “sounds like a good idea BUT is it practical?” There are so many dilemmas here but mandating cooperation never works. When the initiative starts with coercion,  resistance results. Because collaboration about the collaboration was …

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Co-Creation with Our Children

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I was asked to speak to a group of moms—all of whom had young children. I asked them to tell us what question they were holding about being a parent. They said things like: “How to get my child to do his homework?” and “How can I get the siblings to play nicely with one another?” They seemed to want strategies to “control” the situation. I told them that the most important parenting strategy was to learn to be present to their own communication and to recognize how their own communication influences everything. I told them about the time our 4th grade daughter came into a room and I said something to her. She was silent for a minute and then …

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Co-Creation on Our Face

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When my stepson was little and we were in the middle of a board game or just outside in the backyard, he would stop, look at us and say: “Isn’t this great?!” with a huge smile on his face. Then he would turn back to his activity. He announced that this moment, right in the middle of whatever we were doing, was splendid. Even though he asked it as a question, he already had answered it with the look on his face. As I approach a really full week, I am going to stop every once in a while and take a breath and declare “isn’t this great” and see if my face follows.

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Co-Creation no Same Old Same Old

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We had an emergency meeting because nonprofits were not signing up for a conference on how nonprofits and universities can collaborate. There is an unfortunate divide between the university and nonprofits—another “us versus them.” The nonprofits think that academics have their head in the clouds and the academics wonder why nonprofits are not using best practices based on solid research. These two attitudes do not allow for true engagement with one another. So in our emergency meeting, we used our imaginations and kept asking questions: What would meet the needs of both? How might we structure a conference that allows for space to really dialogue and develop more trust for one another? How might we encourage positive conversation rather than …

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Co-Creation in Plain Sight

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By Ruth D. Anderson Last week we had a visitor—from four states over—who came to our school for three days. He was looking for “best practices” and heard about some of the work we are doing through our school. Each time I took him to a class or to a nonprofit affiliated with our work, he looked at me and said: “This is extraordinary.” For example, when I took him to a nonprofit that works with homeless people in our community, the chaplain told him that we had collaborated together for over two decades on numerous projects. When we left that meeting our visitor said: “Never underestimate the spirit of collaboration. In our community we have two separate nonprofit agencies …

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Co-Creation Curiosity

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We are at a turning point in our micro-financing group. We have been meeting for one year to learn and to figure out how to offer local micro-financing in our community. The issue has some complications: Who qualifies? What amount? Grant or loan? How to track? What if we are flooded with requests? These questions could stop us. Instead, we created a brochure with our best judgments as to what might work and we will meet with our group and capture some final feedback. Then we will begin. We decided to call this a pilot project—which allows us to think of this work as emerging. In other words, we are going to simply begin, with a structure that makes sense …

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Co-Creation Choices

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I was walking through a park when I heard a bullhorn in the distance. When I turned a corner, a man was talking about the race that was about to begin and the cause it supported. As people stretched their legs, he talked about the research they were doing to find a cure for a particular kind of children’s cancer. As I walked along, I saw groups of people wearing different colored tee shirts. The blue team’s shirts said “Jason’s Bluebirds” and the green team’s “We love you, Casey.” The teams began the race together but then all the colors got mixed up as the race progressed. Along the road where they ran, markers were set up every hundred yards …

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