11/2010 對話訊息:創新從小處開始-與奧圖.夏瑪大師的對話 | Innovations Start Small", interview with Otto Scharmer


奧圖‧夏瑪博士是U理論的作者,行動研究者,致力於為學習與領導領域帶來創新。他在麻省理工學院、全球線上學習、Presencing 機構等地方傳授這些課程,並且與組織和社群進行創新與變革方案。本篇訪談出自於Inwent-國際能力建構非營利組織,致力於人力資源與發展,進階訓練以及對話 http://www.inwent.org/ez/articles/072913/index.en.shtml

問:要應付人類目前面對的艱鉅挑戰,我們必須具備甚麼樣的能力

: 光靠傳授某種專業知識是絕對不夠的。根據我的經驗,如果我們希望組織能夠創新、改變,並提升表現,有四個重點必須加強:

  1. 全球化
  2. 個人化
  3. 架構原型
  4. 跨業結盟

問:請您進一步說明您所指的全球化為何?

答:這裡的『全球化』,我指的是能夠把來自於不同文化地區的人們凝聚在一起的正面、增能的力量。我們都面臨同樣的問題,我們可以彼此互相協助,如果我們用有意義的方式連結的話。

問:個人化的層面指的是什麼呢?

答:我指的是個人歷程。有關於如何與人類創意的核心連結。

-我是誰?

-我想往那裡去? 我在何處感受到呼喚我走向未來的可能性?

– 我服務的目的是什麼?

任何人對於這些問題如果缺乏清楚的答案,將很難找到他們的創意及力量的源頭。對那些承受極大壓力,並且負責執行改變的人,需要有內在的安定,否則他們無法保持競爭力與韌性。靜坐對他們有幫助,其他的方法也很有用,例如寫日誌,記下你的反思,用關鍵性的問題引導你對自己成長有更多的了解。

問:甚麼是架構原型?

:基本上,我強調的是『做中學』。光是在理論術語上討論沒有太多用處的。你必須從實做中取得具體的經驗,否則不會獲得真正的學習。所有重要的創新開始時都是小小的。要連結任何的社群或個人的關鍵性創新,我們需要的不只是聰明的頭腦,還需要雙手和一顆心。

問:您第四點談到有關『跨業結盟』那指的是甚麼?

答:是的,而且這可能是最困難的地方。當我們面臨複雜的系統挑戰時,任何一個組織都太小,產生不了太大的影響。即使是當今的大企業也不會單純地在他們的生產線上進行創新,他們會邀請整個供應鏈加入,同時考慮供應商以及客戶的技能與需求。最嚴重的全球性問題─從飢餓到戰爭到保護生物多元性─都不可能被解決,除非所有的主要利益關係人,包括政府機關、民間團體以及私人企業等以有意義的方式參與。總而言之,我們向來傾向對抗同樣的限制,但我們必須將每一個關心的人包含在有創意的對話中,經過覺知的歷程,理解且放下舊有的模式,讓行動的新關係和形式浮現, 接著,我們必須進行些小實驗來檢驗它們。

問:在您心目中還有其它的選項嗎?

答:我們少了兩個東西:第一是場所,那是可以針對特別議題將跨組織、跨行業的第一線領導者聚集一起的地方。第二是流程,它可以讓這群人從平常的利害相關人的辯論進入到深度對話以及集體行動。在個別組織中可以作出改變的人要和實際運作的人產生連結,這樣才會產生創新的契機。目前的利害關係人資本主義的發展是從19世紀的自由市場資本主義而來,強調在基礎建設上實施重要的創新。現在,我們必須繼續往前,需要的是另一組創新的基礎建設─新的空間讓人們有集體的想法與行動,一起面對當代的挑戰。我們需要轉換我們集體的察覺,讓我們看到「整體」並且「從整體」 採取行動。

問:這個方法聽起來好極了!但我好奇它是否真的可行?

:我對此滿懷希望。就如我所說的,大企業不斷的在社會情境中思索,因為他們無法只有在自己的企業內強制改變,這在其他的領域也如此。拿醫療保健來說,如果所有改革的努力只著眼在醫院因為醫院的成本增加最多,那麼這個改革注定失敗。改革一定要從問題的根源包括結構面、社會面、精神面、 生病及健康的原因著手。這是與我們自己及他人如何過日子、工作、飲食有關。處理這些議題是降低疾病成本的唯一永續方法。我們要了解這種『事事皆相關』的現象是越來越普遍。

問:但是改革看起來還沒上路, 反而是全球性的挑戰越來越多, 讓政府和其他相關者難以招架。

答:這也是人們在工業革命時的感覺。後來社會創新的出現,有些問題在一些富有的國家就解決了。當某種社會制度行不通時,總是會有新的機會與想法出現。

創新從小地方開始一般不會是來自核心。在上位者通常有很多利益要關照。在邊緣者,則有更多的空間去作實驗─與外界接觸越多越有可能產生新的想法。我在很多地方目睹過重大改變。我覺得一旦人們與自己真正的目的連結時,能創造、能做的則毫無限制。

問:對於人類目前艱鉅的挑戰,你不覺得靠這個方法進行改變太慢了嗎?

答:如果你這麼想,你一定會感到絕望。我偏向採取Margaret Mead的立場。她的一句名言『絕對不要懷疑一小撮有承諾、有思想的人可以改變世界,因為這是唯一可以改變世界的方法。』

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朝邦文教基金會今後將陸續提供與對話有關的新訊息。U理論強調社會領域要從自我系統轉移到對生態系統的察覺。這個論點與本基金會的宗旨─推動對話力、促進社會正項改變、營造永續社群─吻合。我們重視U理論因為它能透過不斷浮現的真誠自我有效地將個人、集體與正在發生的事情連結。通常透過對話,個人或團體會從他們的真誠自我出發,開始感受到未來新的可能性,對話的焦點則轉換到我們如何像一個國際化的工具運作以面對即將來臨的未來。傾聽是U理論以及對話的一項核心修練。建議你不妨閱讀U理論此書,或者瀏覽基金會網站: www.cp-yen.org上面有關U理論的練習的詳細資料。


Innovations Start Small", interview with Otto Scharmer


The following is an interview with Otto Scharmer, author of Theory U and an action researcher dedicated to creating innovations in learning and leadership, which he delivers through classes and programs at MIT, the Global Classroom online programs, Presencing Institute programs and through innovation and change projects within and among organizations and communities.  The interview below was conducted by Inwent – Capacity Building International; a non-profit organization with worldwide operations dedicated to human resource development, advanced training, and dialogue. http://www.inwent.org/ez/articles/072913/index.en.shtml

Q: What must capacity building be like to enable people to tackle the huge challenges humankind is facing? 

A: It is certainly not enough to impart specialist knowledge to individuals in any specific field. In my experience, if we want organisations to become innovative, to change and to boost their performance, it boils down to four points:

1.  globalization,

2.  personalization,

3.  prototyping, and

4.  networking across sectors. 

QPlease elaborate some more, what do you mean by globalization? 

A:In this context, I am thinking of the positive, empowering force that stems from bringing together people from different cultural spheres.  We are all grappling with the same problems and we can help one another, provided we are networked in a meaningful way. 

What is the personal dimension? 

A: I mean the personal journey. It really is about getting in touch with the core of human creativity: 

– who am I? 

– where do I want to go – and where do I feel a sense of possibility that pulls me towards the future? 

– what purpose do I want to serve? 

Anyone without a clear understanding of these matters is unlikely to find the source of their creativity and strength. People who are under great pressure and in positions to implement change need inner places of stillness; otherwise they will not stay competitive and resilient. Meditation can help in this regard. But other approaches are useful too, “journaling”, for instance: writing in a reflective mode, guided by crucial questions allows individuals to better understand their personal development. 

Q: What about prototyping? 

A: That is basically an emphasis on “learning by doing”. There is not much point in discussing things only in theoretical terms; you have to try them out and gather tangible experience. Otherwise, no lesson will really stick. All major innovations have small beginnings. To get in touch with the decisive innovative ideas of any community or individual, we need not only the intelligence of the mind, but also that of the hands and the heart. 

: Your fourth point was cross-sector networking. 

A:Yes, and that is probably the most difficult aspect. When it comes to complex systemic challenges, any single organization is normally too small to have any meaningful impact. 

Even large corporations today do not simply implement innovations at their production sites. Rather, they involve their entire supply chain; they consider the skills and needs of their suppliers and customers too. The most serious global problems, from hunger to war to protecting biodiversity, will not be solved unless all key stakeholders are involved in meaningful ways; and that includes governments as well as civil society and the private sector. All summed up, we tend to always come up against the same limits. We must involve everyone concerned in creative dialogue, in a process of perceiving, understanding and letting go of old patterns, allowing new relationships and forms of action to emerge. And then we have to test them in small experiments. 

Q: What do you have in mind as an alternative? 

A: What is missing are two things: first, places that convene key frontline leaders across institutions and sectors around specific issue areas; and second, a process that allows such groups to move from normal stakeholder debates to deep dialogue and collective action. In order for that to happen, people who can make a difference in their respective institutions must get in touch with people who operate in other contexts. That is how opportunities for innovation emerge. Current stakeholder capitalism developed from free-market capitalism in the 19th century by implementing significant innovations in infrastructures. Today, we have to move on. We need another set of innovations in infrastructures – new spaces for collective perception and action – in order to rise to contemporary challenges. We need to shift our collective awareness in a way that facilitates seeing and acting “from the whole”. 

Q: The approach sounds fascinating, but I wonder whether it is really practicable? 

A: Well, I certainly see reason for hope. As I said, large corporations are increasingly thinking in societal contexts, because they cannot enforce the changes they require on their own inside their own business. 

And that is also felt in other areas. Just consider health care, for example. If reform efforts in this sector focus only on hospitals, because that is where the greatest costs arise, they are doomed to fail. Reforms have to go to the structural, social and spiritual root of the problems, the causes of illness and health. It is all about how we live, work, eat, and relate to ourselves and one another. Dealing with these issues is the only sustainable approach to reducing the costs that result from illness. Understanding of such interrelated phenomena is obviously growing. 

Q: But it doesn’t look as though reforms have really got under way accordingly. On the contrary, global challenges seem to be growing, overwhelming governments and other relevant actors. 

A: That is how many people felt at the time of the Industrial Revolution too, and then social innovations came about which made the problems manageable in the rich countries. When a social system hits the wall, there are always opportunities and new ideas too. Innovations start small, and they do not usually start at the centre. Those at the top have an especially large number of interests to protect. On the fringes, however, there is more room to experiment – and more contact with the outside, which makes new ideas more likely. I have seen profound changes happen in many places and feel that there is no limit to what people, once we tap into our real purpose, can create and do. 

Q: In view of the daunting challenges the human species is facing, isn’t this process far too slow to really make a difference? 

A: If you think like that, you will despair. I prefer to take the stance of Margaret Mead, who said one should never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, because that is really the only way in which the world ever was changed.

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The CP Yen Foundation provides this interview as part of our Dialogue newsletter series because of the connection we see between Theory U’s focus on shifting the social field from ego-system to eco-system awareness and the Foundation’s mission to foster the art of dialogue, facilitate positive social change, and forge sustainable communities.  We value the U-process as an effective means for connecting us individually and collectively to what is emerging in the world through our emergent authentic self.  Once an individual and group operate from their authentic self, oftentimes by way of a dialogue, they start to sense a new future possibility, the conversation then shifts focus to how we each can function as an intentional vehicle for the emergent future. Listening is a core discipline of the U-process and the art of dialogue. We recommend you read the book Theory U by Otto Scharmer for great detail of the process, or you can read the resource guide posted on the CP Yen Foundation ning site here: www.cp-yen.org for a step-by-step approach to practicing the U process.

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