Entries by Gillian

What Exactly Are You Facilitating?

I have had a few people ask me about the value of facilitating other people’s workshops. What does that contribute to the grand scheme of things? What Facilitators do that is visible to participants (that is, stand up in front of a room and guide discussions/give instructions), is probably about 30% of the work of […]

Facilitator’s Notebook: Star Speakers

We are just going into a week of facilitating learning and conversation activities and no doubt we will have some learning to share on this blog. Here is the first post for the Facilitator’s Notebook: Lights, Camera, Action: Working with Star SpeakersHere is a lesson that I absolutely need to learn as a workshop facilitator: […]

Relationships, Relationships, Relationships

* A team retreat to do strategic planning for the next 5 years;* A one-day meeting of partners to contribute to an upcoming summit;* A co-development process for the design of a leadership programme with a colleague a country away; What do these things have in common? Each one of them will be more successful […]


The Strength of Weak Coffee

We write frequently about informal learning in our blog – that 80% of the learning that you do that is not structured in some kind of course (taught or self-taught). Informal learning is what happens when you are surfing the net looking for something, watching TV, in a meeting, even having coffee with someone that […]

Learning to Sing

It is a little slow in the office around the holiday season, so I thought I would write in this post about another kind of learning that I have embarked upon recently. I joined a local choir a few months ago with my neighbour because I like to sing and am a fairly competent; I […]

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Jumping in Front of the Bus

Why do people sometimes find learning so frightening? Even me – last weekend I was offered the opportunity to organize a 4-day meeting of senior scientists, systems thinkers and sustainability practitioners on the topic of climate change and behaviour change. My response – no way! I have worked in the sustainable development field for over […]

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How Old is Your Knowledge?

When you learned your science, physics and chemistry at high school, could you imagine that the information you were getting was over 30-50 years old already? How old are you now? You do the math – you might possibly be a little bit out of date. Professor Natalia Tarasova, Director of the Institute of Chemistry […]


We Don’t Use the “L” Word…….Enough

Did you know that the Earth Charter, a soft law instrument that is gradually becoming “harder”, has the word Love in it? One of the principles of the Earth Charter is to “Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion and love.” Leadership development practitioners, such as those at the Teleos Leadership Institute are […]

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Knowledge Has Changed: 6 Big Ideas from George Siemens

In his plenary presentation this morning at the Educa Online Conference, George Siemens argued that knowledge has changed, here are some of his reasons (read more in his conference paper): 1. We create knowledge togetherToday knowledge and knowledge products are created together, we are no longer passive consumers of knowledge created for us. BBC is […]

Swimming in a Half-Empty Pool? Working in Different Enabling Environments

Ginka Tchavdarova from the National Association of Ministries in Bulgaria spoke at the Conference “Capacity Strategies: Let the Evidence Speak” about the conditions for decentralised development. She gave the case of Bulgaria where initially responsibilities were transferred to communities and leaders, and later (10 years later), the rights associated with the responsibilities were transferred. She […]

Express Yourself Through Celebration: Social Movements and Social Change

“When the imagination is unleashed, change happens.” This is what John Samuel, International Director of ActionAid noticed throughout his Stand Up Against Poverty Campaign in India and other places where millions of people joined the antipoverty campaign in many creative ways, from concerts, events, and other cleverly branded activities. Speaking at the conference mentioned in […]

Is This the Storming Stage?

You derailed a conversation in a meeting;You made an unfair comment;You spoke with too much emotion and not enough forethought;Was that me?What’s that all about? What was it about those conversations that made me react like that? What does the team leader think of this situation? (www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_86.htm)“Soon, reality sets in and your team moves into […]

What Do Change and Strip Poker Have In Common?

Chuck Phillips, a change management consultant for major institutions and corporations in the USA, was a lively speaker during our recent meeting on Deep Change Processes. He started his presentation with an activity that some people likened to strip poker… Two people face each other and take an “inventory” of the other person. Look them […]

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Using Storytelling to Generate Ideas: We Just Went to a Great Staff Meeting – What Happened?

If you read the blog post on 19 October, this title will sound familiar. That blog post was inspired by a discussion with a few colleagues after a staff meeting. Some ideas were already popping up on how these kinds of gatherings could be even more interesting and contribute to good dialogue within the institution. […]

Five Beams Through the Clouds of Information

Some days so much happens that it is a challenge to put your finger on a few things that you usefully learned throughout the day. Today was one of those days. Five different meetings of various lengths, all around the building, up and down the stairs. At the end of the day, tired, yet wanting […]

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Are We Sinking or Thinking? Learning at the Workplace Re-Invented Online

Well, it turns out that many institutions have figured this one out – using blogs for reflective practice. A quick google showed that many environments that are education and learning-based are using them. I found an interesting upcoming conference titled Online Educa Berlin 2006 http://www.online-educa.com/ with a parallel stream titled, “Social Technologies in Educational Practice”. […]


To Blog or Not to Blog?

Why do people blog? “Why do you want to blog?” my husband, the software engineer asked me. “Is it for visibility? Is it an ego-thing? Is it to start a discussion on an interesting topic? Is it to gather a community of like-minded people around you?” What good questions. What was it about blogging that […]


Learning from What Works in Our Organization

We are currently exploring even more ways to “Walk our Talk” within the organization. A meeting last Tuesday was devoted to looking at the assets (experience and expertise) that we already have within the institution in terms of sustainability practices, both individual and institution-wide, and what we would like to know more about. Starting any […]


The Importance of Being Witty

Today the new Director General greeted the staff for the first time (she begins officially in January 2007). People filled the cafeteria with a little trepidation perhaps, a new boss after all… However, a couple of good jokes later, you could feel the mood lighten and energy fill the room: New DG: How many people […]