Monday, February 26, 2007

Reflections on the Fishbowl

The fishbowl is a memory now, but you can view the remnants of that memory on the Nexus for Change web site. It's fascinating to me to see the myriad ways people process reality. The Nexus was consciously processed in real-time through a graphic recording, an audience chat, and a live blog. The call audio was recorded, too. I'll update you when the recording is posted for listening.

What about the prep work that went into creating, planning, and supporting the fishbowl? Steve Cady told a one-sentence anecdote about conceiving the fishbowl during a conversation with Gabriel Shirley. A team of designers, including Nancy White, Karen James, Jon Kennedy, and Steve Pyser worked for months to craft the experience. Thought leaders were engaged and documented. There was a dry-run practice session! And finally the Big Day arrived.

After the call, the fishbowl team convened via Skype for a debrief. Reflections on lessons learned and what we could do better next time (if there is a next time) were elicited and documented. An idea to follow up with the audience via online survey emerged (a draft is out there already!). Statistics of how many were on the call - total, at any one time, and for how long - have been shared via email. The backchannel Skype chats the process team engaged in have been saved down and distributed, too.

Remarkably, the whole is (still) more than the sum of its parts. The sensemaking began long ago and will go on from here, throughout the Nexus event, and into the future.

What sense do you make of whole group methods? Are they a fad, as one thought leader hinted? Too positive? Not grounded in research and/or reproducible result?

I think I resonate most to something thought-leader Peter Block said: "When we plan an event in community . . . the work into planning the event builds community . . . there's a nuance in all of that." For me that means that it isn't about the outcome per se, it is about the process.

What do you think?

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Blogger Nancy White said...

Thanks for the recap/reflection. I need to do the same!

5:39 PM  
Blogger tina said...

Are you kidding? You've blogged a whole *book* of reflections on Northern Voice! (Made me wish I could have been there.)

Please do blog the fishbowl - I don't want to be the only one whose posts show on the Attendr site! ;-)

- Tina

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Zach said...

Thanks for the wrap-up on the fishbowl.

Whole group methods as a fad? I don't think so. As humans, we've been doing the structured group problem solving for a loooong time. Particularly popular at the moment? Perhaps.

Process over product? I think their inextricable. Imagine Future Search without a future. Yet, without good process design, facilitation and committed group participation the event might as well be a mix & mingle affair!

Thanks for provoking thoughts. See you in BG.

6:20 PM  

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