Agendashift roundup, October 2021

In this edition: Agendashift Academy update; The 1967 manifesto for the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation; Get unstuck and get going; Upcoming; Top posts

Agendashift Academy update

What really happened: on the brink of releasing a new intermediate-level self-paced training module Outside-in Strategy with Outcomes, we decided that it would be much better to revisit Leading with Outcomes, our first self-paced training module. A big decision not taken lightly! As part of a significant pivot for the Academy itself, we’re now re-recording it, repositioning it for a much broader audience.

We’re adding, not taking away, and if you’re a practitioner of some kind (the main audience for the first version) there’s still plenty to be had from the second version. Still the familiar and well-tested exercises, but every session now connecting with leadership, speaking to a specific leadership theme, and with practical takeaways for leaders at all levels of experience. We think of it now as doing something foundational for transformational leadership, the Academy aimed squarely at “leadership and strategy in the transforming organisation”.

What to expect:

  • We’ll release each session of the new Leading with Outcomes as it becomes available, the first one mid-November and the remaining three sessions at intervals of a couple of weeks (ish). While it remains incomplete (we know that some of you like to binge on these things) we’ll offer it at a discount.
  • As a thank you and in the hope of fresh feedback, past purchasers of the old one – even those whose purchases have now expired – will be granted access to the new one up to the end of January 2022
  • We’ll announce the next interactive workshop Coaching with Outcomes soon, conducted now over four sessions to match Leading with Outcomes – you can take them in either order but you’ll be encouraged to take them together as cohort-based training, publicly or privately
  • The two in combination effectively replace the first half of the old Agendashift Deep Dive; its eventual replacement will go quite a bit further, covering the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation also
  • A re-recorded Outside-in Strategy with Outcomes (intermediate) and a new Transforming with Outcomes (advanced) will follow in the early months of 2022; complementing them will be more interactive workshops both old and new

As allowed by the quantity and growth rate of the content – soon if we hit our stride as we expect – we plan to move to a subscription model, covering what will be an ever-growing portfolio of self-paced material and offering substantial discounts on interactive workshops. Meanwhile, we’re putting in place the infrastructure to better support corporate purchasers also.

Let me finish this update with a massive thank you to everyone who gave feedback on LwO version 1. Highly encouraging for the most part, and we took to heart your ideas for improvement. We think you’ll love version 2 – not just a refinement but a bold step!

The 1967 manifesto for the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation

The first of two more-than-usually successful blog posts this month:

It has provoked some interesting conversations and no doubt I’ll be returning to the topic soon.

Get unstuck and get going

The second of those posts was this one:

For “Practice Outcomes” (the name of a warmup exercise), now think “5% Outcomes, 15% Outcomes”. Typically we do it just before doing 15-minute FOTO for the first time, and an updated 15-minute FOTO will make reference to it. There’s another change in the wings to come on top of that, so watch out for version 11 soon.

Upcoming

Per my Academy update above, there are still no workshops in the calendar but we’ll be addressing that soon. Other events:

Top posts

  1. The 1967 Manifesto for The Deliberately Adaptive Organisation
  2. Get unstuck and get going: Starting small with 5% and 15% outcomes
  3. My favourite Clean Language question (January 2019)
  4. I’m really enjoying Challenge Mapping (June 2020)
  5. Celebration-5W version 6, “your next big breakthrough” (September)

What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

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The 1967 Manifesto for The Deliberately Adaptive Organisation

It may still too early to judge the 1990’s for its net contribution to organisational understanding. If much of what was published on the specific topic of change management had never been written, it might have been for the better! It’s not all bad though: I have recently enjoyed two books from that period, Karl Weick’s Sensemaking in Organizations (1995) and the 1994 first edition of Henry Mintzberg’s Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning. (Regarding the latter one, if you can tell me whether I should also read the 2000 second edition, do let me know.)

Reading Mintzberg, what stood out for me wasn’t so much his concept of emergent strategy (arguably not much more than a fancy name for what really happens to our best-laid plans) but these five things:

  1. The limits of rationalism and control, and the apparent disregard shown for them not just by the mid 20th-century strategic planners but by their champions in academia
  2. The idea, attributed to Edelman, of experts being those who avoid (or merely bemoan) the pitfalls but fail to notice the grand fallacy (see point 1 above, and I suspect I may never hear the words ‘expert’ and ‘pitfall’ in quite the same way again!)
  3. Primed by my prior reading of that Weick book on sensemaking, the idea of strategy as the means by which we make sense and meaning of our decisions; strategies don’t just help us to act in the present and project ourselves into the future, their role in helping us reinterpret how we got here is important too
  4. And before we get too comfortable with strategy as story, strategy as theory – something to be tested, lightly held
  5. Brian Loasby’s 1967 Manifesto for the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation

I’m having a bit of fun with that last one of course. I’ve no reason to think that Loasby (now Emeritus Professor in Economics at Stirling University) had anything manifesto-like in mind, and the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation didn’t exist back then. Not even its sources: the Viable System Model (Beer) was not yet fully formed; the Deliberately Developmental Organisation (Kegan & Lahey) was decades off; Agendashift’s main architect (yours truly) was just two years old.

But check this out:

if, instead of asking how they can more accurately foresee future events and thus make better decisions further ahead, firms were to ask first what they can do to avoid the need to decide so far ahead, they might be led to discover important ways of improving their performance.

Brian Loasby, 1967, via Mintzberg

Let me recast that in the “this over that” style of a notable document familiar to many readers, the Agile Manifesto. Adding some flourishes of my own:

In the pursuit of business performance, we are finding it useful to see plans and strategies more as theories to be tested quickly than as predictions and commitments for the longer term. Through this change of perspective, we are learning to value anticipating and meeting needs over setting and meeting deadlines, open options over past decisions, and rate of learning over closeness of control. Not that deadlines, decisions, and control have no value, rather that when valued against needs, flexibility, and adaptability, it is the latter group that drives our development forward.

I am not seriously advocating a new manifesto – for me, that ship sailed long ago – but Loasby was definitely onto something all those years ago. Rewriting history, there is already something Lean-like about his heuristic, and for anyone trying it, I’ve little doubt that Lean’s explicit attention to people and to flow would soon be required in any determined application of it. Invite the customer inside that way of thinking and you get something quite Agile-like. And compared to Agile as first framed, much more obviously relatable to business agility too. Interesting!


What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

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Agendashift roundup, September 2021

In this edition: Academy update; Up and down the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation; Celebration-5W version 6; Upcoming events; Top posts

Academy update

Time to come clean: our next public workshops (there are still private workshops taking place) won’t happen until the new year. Honestly, the desire was there, but with all the behind-the-scenes work we’re currently doing, it just got too complicated.

For a taste of things to come, Coaching with Outcomes will return in the format of four 2-hour online sessions over four weeks. Although (like the current one) you will be able to take it standalone, it will also:

  1. bring together cohorts of students taking Leading with Outcomes, and
  2. form part of a modular replacement for what was the Deep Dive workshop (actually we’re up to something more ambitious than that, but more than that I can’t say at this stage)

Outside-in Strategy with Outcomes (originally planned to be out by now) and the advanced modules based on the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation (more on that below) are similarly postponed. We’re confident though that the delay will be well worth it.

Up and down the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation

This month’s big event was the webinar Up and Down the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation. Read about it and watch the video!

Meanwhile, the Deliberately Adaptive assessment pilots are going strong – three have their debrief workshops scheduled for October.deliberately-adaptive-image

Celebration-5W version 6

Also this month, an update to our context-creating workshop kickoff exercise Celebration-5W. Read about that here:

I am also testing some changes to 15-minute FOTO, our Clean Language-inspired coaching game. More on that next month I hope, and in the #cleanlanguage channel in the Agendashift Slack meanwhile.

Upcoming events

Top posts

Predictably perhaps:

  1. Up and Down the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation
  2. Celebration-5W version 6, “your next big breakthrough”
  3. My favourite Clean Language question (January 2019)
  4. From Reverse STATIK to a ‘Pathway’ for continuous transformation (October 2019)
  5. ‘Right to Left’ works for Scrum too (July 2018)

What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

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Up and Down the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation

As mentioned in last week’s roundup, I was the guest speaker last night at a #bacommunity webinar hosted by Adrian Reed of Blackmetric Business Solutions. I am blown away by the response (still ongoing), and Adrian has kindly made the recording available already. You can watch it here (below, ad free), on YouTube, or on Adrian’s webinar page (blackmetric.com).

A modern take on a 70’s classic, we take some of the tools of modern product and organisation development and plug them into Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model, a model that (still) describes organisations of all sizes that have the drive to survive in a changing environment. The result of this exercise will feel remarkably familiar to Lean-Agile eyes, and yet it helps to reveal some of the serious dysfunctions too often experienced with current frameworks, both team-level and larger.

Mike Burrows

About the Speaker
Agendashift founder Mike Burrows is the author of Agendashift: Outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation (2nd edition March 2021), Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile (2019, audiobook 2020), and the Lean-Agile classic Kanban from the Inside (2104). Mike is recognised for his pioneering work in Lean, Agile, and Kanban and for his advocacy for participatory and outcome-oriented approaches to change, transformation, and strategy. Prior to his consulting career, he was global development manager and Executive Director at a top tier investment bank, CTO for an energy risk management startup, and interim delivery manager for two of the UK government’s digital ‘exemplar’ projects.

Links shared in the talk:

  • deliberately-adaptive.org
  • agendashift.com/changeban
  • agendashift.com/assessments
  • agendashift.com/a3-template
  • agendashift.com/book (the 2021 2nd edition of Agendashift) and its recommended reading page, looking out in particular for these authors:
    • Stafford Beer (VSM originator)
    • my friend Patrick Hoverstadt – for The Fractal Organisation, the second of two of his books I reference
    • Robert Kegan & Lisa Laskow Lahey – here for An Everyone Culture.  Despite my oft-expressed aversion – alluded to in my talk – to staged development models, maturity models and the like, they impress hugely. The name ‘Deliberately Adaptive Organisation’ is totally inspired by their ‘Deliberately Developmental Organisation’, referenced towards the end of my talk. To integrate strategy, delivery, and development to the depth envisioned in Agendashift’s wholehearted mission, you need this stuff. Their Immunity to Change resonates too.
  • agendashift.com/subscribe – per the last slide, a ton of stuff still brewing and you don’t want to miss out 🙂

Enjoy!


What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

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Agendashift roundup, August 2021

By design a quiet month blog-wise, but still plenty happening! In this edition: Another non-update on the big reveal; Up and down the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation; Another virtual trip to New Zealand; Agile Uprising Podcast; Top posts, recent and classic

Another non-update on the big reveal

Unusually, there are no public Agendashift workshops in the calendar right now – in fact we cancelled some. With some changes, they will resume shortly. Yes, we’re up to something! More here (but not much):

Still foundational to what’s coming, this self-paced training:

Up and down the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation

One item under active development that I don’t mind talking about is the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation (deliberately-adaptive.org). In the coming months there’ll be new training modules (both self-paced and interactive) that depend on it. Meanwhile, I have multiple pilot projects at home and abroad getting underway with the new assessment tool, and the early results are very encouraging, suggesting a good fit with the now quite mature trust-building and agreement-based approach to assessment already pioneered and formalised in Agendashift.

For a taste of what’s to come in this area, don’t miss this webinar on September 9th kindly hosted by Adrian Reed of Blackmetric Business Solutions:

Up and down the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation – business agility at every scale with Mike Burrows

I’ve done a lot of work on this since my slightly rushed presentation at Lean Agile Global and I’m looking forward to this very much!

Another virtual trip to New Zealand

Talking of presentations, I’ve been doing ‘Leading with and Transforming with Outcomes’ at meetups for a while now. They’re interactive enough that no two are ever alike! Returning in June to the New Zealand Limited WIP Society this fantastic comment came in the debrief on the breakouts (around 51:25 in the recording, which only recently hit YouTube):

You’ve taken us into a space where, for me anyway, I’ve not quite been in that space before

To understand how we got there, watch it here:

And a followup blog post:

Agile Uprising Podcast

I was delighted to be invited back to the Agile Uprising Podcast, interviewed jointly this time by Claudia Orozco-Gomez and Jay Hrcsko. It’s about the 2nd edition of the Agendashift book and is done with the benefit both of a few months’ perspective and the fact that my interviewers have both participated in Agendashift workshops. Hear it here:

In this week’s episode Claudia Orozco-Gomez and Jay Hrcsko sit down with the creator of Agendashift (and repeat podcast guest 🙂 Mike Burrows to discuss the second edition of his book.  We’ve covered some of the Agendashift classes before as well as Mike’s most-recent book (Right to Left) and we were quite excited to discuss Agendashift, what led to the newest edition, what learnings Mike and his team have gained to lead to a second edition, and we get to thank him in person for beautifully explaining how to use Cynefin.  Enjoy!

Top posts, recent and classic

Recent:

  1. All Agendashift assessments now available in Korean (August)
  2. Not quite ready for the big reveal (August)
  3. Pilots wanted (July)
  4. Optimising for Significance (July)
  5. Inside-out or outside-in? A strategy warmup (June)

Classic:

  1. My favourite Clean Language question (January 2019)
  2. How the Leader-Leader model turns Commander’s Intent upside down (June 2018)
  3. From Reverse STATIK to a ‘Pathway’ for continuous transformation (October 2019)
  4. ‘Right to Left’ works for Scrum too (July 2018)
  5. What do I mean by ‘generative pattern’? (May)

What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

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https://www.agendashift.com/books/agendashift-2nd-edition

Pilots wanted

As of the past week or so, Agendashift partners now have access to a new assessment template, a spin-off from the 2nd edition of the Agendashift book. It’s an Agendashift-style (non-prescriptive, non-judgemental, outcome-oriented, trust-building, etc) assessment tool for the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation (deliberately-adaptive.org) and a significant development.

It’s a key part of the roadmap for 2021, both in its own right and as a stepping stone to Transforming with Outcomes, the third of three self-paced training modules (the first, Leading with Outcomes, is already up and running and the second, Outside-in Strategy with Outcomes, launches soon). The assessment is highly accessible and requires no special knowledge on the part of participants; nevertheless, the underlying model is super interesting.

The Deliberately Adaptive Organisation integrates Agendashift and the Deliberately Developmental Organisation (see Bob Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey’s 2016 book An Everyone Culture) into the Viable System Model. VSM is Stafford Beer’s classic at-every-scale (fractal) model of systems that “have the desire to meet the demands of a changing environment”, and it’s a model of extraordinary diagnostic power. Combining it with Agendashift creates the opportunity to use it in a dialogic way – not diagnosing and prescribing, but helping the organisation have the conversations it needs to have with itself.

The assessment comprises 35 prompts across 5 categories:

  1. Intentful Knowledge Discovery
  2. Mutual Trust Building
  3. Adaptive Strategy
  4. Between and Across Levels
  5. Self-governance, Self-development, and Self-organisation

I’m looking for potential pilots to test the assessment, complete with its accompanying Agendashift-style debrief and followup exercises.

Further to the fourth of the above categories, Between and Across Levels, I’m particularly interested in contexts where there’s the potential for strategy to develop at and across multiple levels of organisation – in teams of teams for example.

To set some expectations:

  • There are no set limits to the number of survey respondents – typically most will respond online in their own time but scheduled one-to-ones for a selected few can work well too
  • The debrief workshop requires 6-25 participants, ideally representing at least 3 levels of seniority

The debrief workshop identifies the raw materials for an Agenda for Change, a shared organisational strategy:

  • Survey results sliced & diced in various ways
  • Survey prompts prioritised in breakout groups of 3-5 people
  • In those groups, consideration of what those most important prompts could mean for you in context, when they’re working at their “ideal best” for you
  • Obstacles and outcomes, in each breakout group’s own words

The IdOO (“I do”) pattern and very much as recommended in the book (the Exploration chapter specifically), with room also to explore the models behind the new tool. The process for moving forward from there is well practiced; I can get you started in a few hours if you’d appreciate help with organising outcomes strategically, designing some initial experiments etc.

All in all, it comes to a few hours to at most a few days work at heavily discounted rates – I am not in the market for longer engagements. Think of this as sponsored research for mutual benefit. I’m looking to do a few of these between now and late autumn – mainly to test the assessment, to compare results within and across diverse organisations (so there’s no right kind of organisation if you were wondering about that), and later in the year perhaps to pilot the training (interactive &/or self-paced).

Interested? Contact me here!


What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

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Agendashift roundup, June 2021

In this edition: Two podcasts; Self-paced training at the Agendashift Academy; Upcoming; Top posts

Two podcasts

In recent weeks I have done interviews for a number of different podcasts. Two were released during in June:

Self-paced training at the Agendashift Academy

Our most recent change at the Agendashift Academy: you can work your way through Leading with Outcomes as quickly as you wish, no longer are you expected to wait a week between of its each four sessions.

Meanwhile, I’m busy recording our next self-paced training, Outside-in Strategy with Outcomes. It’s due this summer so watch out for its launch in the coming weeks! See meanwhile entry #1 in Top posts below.

Later this year will come Transforming with Outcomes. As previewed at deliberately-adaptive.org and described in the Agendashift 2nd edition, we will explore here the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation. In short, this means plugging Agendashift into the Viable System Model, seeing how it scales both up and down, describing a path towards business agility at every scale. Still some months to go before this comes out but we’ll be publishing at least one new tool in the meantime. Already we have a number of partners reviewing it and preparing to test it – news on that soon!

Upcoming

Just a few days until the next interactive workshop:

And always at your convenience and pace:

Top posts

  1. Inside-out or outside-in? A strategy warmup
  2. Loved Adam Grant’s Think Again
  3. What do I mean by ‘generative pattern (May)
  4. The IdOO pattern as leadership model (May)
  5. From Reverse STATIK to a ‘Pathway’ for continuous transformation (October 2019)

What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model
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Loved Adam Grant’s Think Again

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On Daniel Hulter’s recommendation I grabbed the audiobook edition of Adam Grant’s Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know (Penguin Audio, 2021). Loved it, highly recommended!

Let me share a couple particularly relevant quotes. The first one sits very well with Agendashift’s opening two chapters, the second with the closing two and a bit:

Listening well is more than a matter of talking less. It’s a set of skills in asking and responding. It starts with showing more interest in other people’s interests rather than trying to judge their status or prove our own. As journalist Kate Murphy writes, we can all get better at asking truly curious questions that don’t have the hidden agenda of fixing, saving, advising, convincing, or correcting.

Rethinking is more likely to happen in a learning culture, where growth is the core value and rethinking cycles are routine. In learning cultures, the norm is for people to know what they don’t know, doubt their existing practices, and stay curious about new routines to try out. Evans shows that in learning cultures, organisations innovate more and make fewer mistakes. After studying and advising change initiatives at NASA and the Gates Foundation I’ve learned that learning cultures thrive under a particular combination of psychological safety and accountability.

He goes on to describe something quite similar to my “expectation that learning will be accounted for” (deliberately-adaptive.org).

That’s all! Enjoy!


Upcoming

Always and at your convenience (and highly relevant to the first of the quotes above, as is Coaching with Outcomes below):

Scheduled:


What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

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Agendashift roundup, May 2021

In this edition: Conferences (I): Agendashift comes of age; Conferences (II): Lean Agile Global and the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation; Xagility podcast interview; Upcoming; Top posts

Conferences (I): Agendashift comes of age

2021 will go down as an epic year for Agendashift – the 2nd edition, the Agendashift Academy, and now (last week) our first conference. More than 400 registrations taken over a highly compressed launch period (500, if you count those who asked to register after the event), great feedback, and given that it was neither instigated nor organised by me, proof that Agendashift has a life of its own! Expanding on that thought, I blogged about it the following day:

If you have a paid ticket, you have access to the recordings already. Log back into the conference site, visit the auditorium, and find the plenary sessions (my introduction and opening and closing keynotes), the two main tracks, and a bonus session. If you don’t have access, watch this space – we’ll make an announcement on that soon.

Conferences (II): Lean Agile Global 2021

This week I spoke at Lean Agile Global 2021 (which we sponsored) with a brand new talk titled ‘Up and Down the Deliberately Adaptive Organisation – business agility at every scale‘. As per the last couple of chapters of the Agendashift 2nd edition, it’s Agendashift plugged into the classic Viable System Model, a model that scales like no other. Check out deliberately-adaptive.org both for a flavour and for some clues of future developments.

deliberately-adaptive-image

Xagility podcast

I had the pleasure of doing a podcast interview this month with John Coleman for the Xagility podcast. Listen to it on your favourite podcast platform (where you can leave a rating/review) or here:

This and past recordings both audio and video are available listed on our media page.

Upcoming

My apologies for the postponement for family reasons of the June Deep Dive. That leaves no interactive public workshops in next month but don’t forget the self-paced option! It’s a great place to start and there’s plenty of time to complete it before Coaching with Outcomes in July.

Not that it’s compulsory but there’s easily time to complete this before the next of our scheduled interactive workshops:

*Expanded from 2 hours

Top posts

  1. What do I mean by ‘generative pattern’;?
  2. Agendashift came of age yesterday
  3. The IdOO pattern as leadership model
  4. From Reverse STATIK to a ‘Pathway’ for continuous transformation (October 2019)
  5. Announcing 1) our first self-paced training Leading with Outcomes (LwO) and 2) the Agendashift Academy (April)

What if we put authentic agreement on meaningful outcomes ahead of solutions?

Welcome to Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model

Agendashift™, the wholehearted engagement model
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What do I mean by ‘generative pattern’?

That question came up recently in our weekly #community Zoom and again afterwards so I thought it would make sense to write it up here. I have two possible definitions, but before I get to those, some lower-level building blocks:

  • Generative and generative process: Generative has two meanings, (i) capable of creating something, or (ii) something with finite rules that when applied repeatedly can produce things of arbitrary complexity (for example the production of language from the rules of grammar; computer-generated art or music). Both of these meanings have some relevance here; I use generative process when referring specifically to the second of those meanings.
  • Generative image: words or images designed both to challenge and to inspire a wide range of possible responses, usually achieved by taking care not to prescribe or otherwise over-specify, perhaps to the extent of deliberately introducing ambiguity or paradox. Two notable examples, beginning with the most famous of them all: “sustainable development” and “Agile Software Development”. Examples from Agendashift include our True North statement, “wholehearted organisations” (best left under-specified), and the assessment prompts (inspired by practice but carefully non-prescriptive); we have others. These examples are all carefully crafted well in advance but they might instead be harvested from the organisation or created through (say) a workshop exercise; one of the earliest exercises in  Gervase Bushe’s The Dynamics of Generative Change (2020) has the objective of crafting a generative purpose statement for the change initiative in question.
  • Generative question: open-ended questions that can be used in a wide range of contexts and generate a wide range of valuable but unpredictable answers, perhaps provoking some insight in the process. Examples: setup questions such as “For this ___ to be really useful for you, it will be like what?” (from Clean Setup) and menus of questions that can be used repeatedly within a generative process, for example “Why is that important?” and “What stops that?” (from Challenge Mapping), and the Clean Language questions (our Clean Language-inspired coaching game 15-minute FOTO includes 8 of the 40+ canonical questions)

Rather like the word generative, the term generative pattern could have several meanings. Literally “things that as patterns recur in different contexts and that are generative”, would do. Then there’s the more specialised, “patterns that combine in a pattern language” – think for example Christopher Alexander’s pattern language for architecture and the facilitation patterns of Liberating Structures.

Agendashift’s usage is tends to be more specific but still compatible with both of those meanings. Usually I’m referring to higher level structures into which which all of the lower-level generative elements mentioned so far can be plugged in. The design community’s double diamond would be an example of that, a recognisable pattern with applicability in a wide range of innovation contexts, within whose overarching structure a wide of generative tools can be used.

The most memorable generative pattern in Agendashift is the IdOO pattern (“I do”, for Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes) and it meets all of these definitions. It’s clearly a pattern (it’s recognisable in different contexts), it combines with other patterns (even with itself – the landscape of obstacles and outcomes is fractal), and it’s a structure into which other generative elements can be inserted:

  • Ideal: typically a reflection on a generative image and often with the aid of a setup question; sometimes it’s just a question, perhaps with the hint of a generative image embedded in it (see the Outside-in Strategy Review template for at least one example of that)
  • Obstacles: “What stops that?” as a generative question or something more elaborate, the TRIZ exercise from Liberating Structures for example
  • Outcomes: SFBT’s miracle question on its own or as a precursor to 15-minute FOTO, generative question and generative process respectively

What it does of course is keep that generative conversation moving forward in a productive direction. Unconstrained, the random walk might be enjoyable for a while but trust in the process would diminish rather quickly.

Postscript 1

It’s about time I announced the IdOO breakout generator tool. I’ve been using it in meetups for a few weeks now. It’s simple online tool to help you facilitate breakout discussions or personal reflections with the Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes (IdOO) pattern. These convenience links will take you to first user-facing page with an Agendashift-related challenge already configured for you:

You can also configure it to use a challenge of your own. Read the tips and gave a play!

Postscript 2

Talking of structure, while this post was already under construction I saw in a community forum this from Ian Phillips . With his permission:

…so I know a few people on here attended the MindShift Conference on ING’s. Am reflecting a bit on Jesko von den Steinen and:
  • “There is intuition in your structure.”
  • “Structure your intuition.”

Love that! It took a while for Agendashift’s patterns to crystallise out but it was well worth encouraging that process. After doing it once with the IdOO pattern (and it took much of the time between the 1st and 2nd editions of the book), it got easier. 2MBM took only hours 🙂

Related

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agendashift.com/book (March 2021)


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