I-Open Curriculum at Baldwin Wallace College: Closing Summary: Ed Morrison

I-Open presented curriculum for new practices and tools for open source economic development March 27 & 28th at Baldwin Wallace College. Ed Morrison provided this wrap up - a story about that morning's meeting of the CuyahogaNext (formerly Blue Ribbon Task Force) process demonstrating strong First and Second Curve behaviors and the affect on economic development:

Open source economic development offers an opportunity to spread the word about new opporutnities the Second Curve economy offers all of us.

The first session (Monday, March 27) outlined the importance of people moving their thinking to second curve paradigms. The CuyahogaNext (formerly Blue Ribbon Task Force) process is an example of a new and inclusive way of thinking. But, there are still difficulties communicating with people, who, as David Morganthaler says, "are prisoners of their own paradigms." The County process has afforded us all the opportunity to observe examples of First and Second Curve thinking.

For example, in the latest CuyahogaNext meeting groups assembled to work on next steps for the transformative initiatives. Group No. 1, designing next steps for Innovation Zones, demonstrated First Curve thinking - and here's how: ground rules were set, all three exercises were completed, prototypes were built and innovation zone criteria were discussed. Examples of the group's outcomes include: the decision to set up of 3 to 4 zones in NEO and that zones are not confined to geographic boundaries but are lead by anchoring organizations. This group moved quickly, finshing 30 minutes early and all exercises completed.

Contrast this approach to working together to Group No. 2 focused on the development of clusters. The first question is essentially the same for all of the meeting's working groups: How do we build networks? Group No. 2 instead chose to request the County give all of the alloted funding (for the entire process) to Group No. 2. Group No. 2 spent the first 90 minutes trying the get through the first question. At the close of the meeting Group No. 2 was only able to complete 1/2 of the first question and set the date for the next meeting. Group No. 2 was comprised of philanthropic, foundations, and intermediary leaders. Their's was an effort with a questionable faith to resolve these issues. It is valuable for us to learn that First Curve thinking is slower. And certainly not as much fun. Nor productive. This is what happens when participants demonstrate little appreciation for strengths.

Group No. 1 included Eric Fingerhut, Prof. Pete Rea (Baldwin Wallace College), Collette Hart (Cleveland State University), James Haviland (MidTown Development Corp.), Ed Morrison (I-Open) and two leaders from NASA.

Group No. 2 addressed:
What we need to do is to worry about this as a boundariless problem
Strengthening what the big vision is for each participant
We don’t need competition among groups: we need learning to take place
Sharpen our focus on how will we move quickly to build collaborations

Participants resolved to establish a new pattern of behavior. And from these two examples it is clear to see why our region moves so slowly. One example of First Curve and Second Curve thinking was right next to each other.

Peter Rea is a consummate appreciate leader; for example, he admitted he didn’t know about Midtown and didn't hesitate to be open to learning.

There is a complex set of tasks that need to be done appreciatively and on a short leash.

This is similar to embarking on a family vacation; the group decides what to do next and in doing so may make wrong decisions. But the end result is people are working together to get to next steps.

These are the lessons Jack Ricchiuto, Valdis Krebs and June Holley teach us about appreciative leadership, building collaborative networks, working together in focused hubs of activity sharing resources to achieve specific outcomes quickly.

Valdis reminds us of this lesson: We must transform from the inside-out and the bottom-up, to “criticize by creating,” as Michelangelo said.

There was alot of frustration in the meeting room; but, we are seeing a gradual transformation happening. And, new people are engaging from the libraries, NASA, and Baldwin Wallace College …many new links.


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