Transformation conference 2013
Second day conference summary
How do we do transformation in practice?
Putting transformation into practice was the theme of the second day of the Oslo Transformation conference. Centre researcher Per Olsson opened the day by stating that "Transformation is often a result of the right constellation of people coming together and doing something that ends up having a huge impact."
Wait for the avalanche
Frances Westley from the University of Waterloo and board member of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, compared transformation with an avalanche, and transformational leadership with the ability to step into the avalanche and let it carry you.
"An important part of transformation is waiting for and finding the right moment, when the window opens and it becomes possible to move ideas quickly," she said. She also read David Wagoner's poem "Lost", reminding us to find our connection to nature, and to learn to wait for the avalanche.
The importance of innovation and different kinds of knowledge was brought up by Anil Gupta from the Indian Institute of Management.
"Never before has the knowledge of our elders been lost at such a fast pace. We need to de-professionalize the knowledge system and look for problem solvers and innovators who are not paid to do it. There is too much pressure on the academics and too little acknowledgement of other types of knowledge."
This was followed by one of the much appreciated art events during the conference, a movie called "Critical transitions" presented by the artist Tone Bjordam who made the movie after being inspired by discussions with Beijer Institute board member Marten Scheffer who also made the music for the movie.
"Science and art have many things in common, there can be many answers to the same question and they can all be right", Tone Bjordam explained.
Let your feet do the talking
After lunch the participants where gathered for an open space event facilitated by Bill Aall (unconference.net), where different aspects of transformation was discussed in small groups.
The session was guided by four priciples: whoever comes is the right people, when it starts it starts, when it's over it's over, whatever happens was the right thing to happen. The participants where asked to take responsibility for their own passions, and to follow the law of two feet: when your mind starts to wander, let your feet follow.
"In order to learn from our mistakes we need to acknowledge them", was one of the messages that came out of the afternoon plenary discussion moderated by Per Olsson about the role of innovation in a global sustainability transformation. The panel consisted of Anil Gupta (Indian Institute of Management), John Thackara (Doors of Perception), Eva Bakkeslett (artist and cultivator) and John Thompson (STEPS centre).
Closing the second day of the Transformation conference, Debra Roberts from eThekwini Municipality in South Africa gave her story about climate change adaptation in Durban.
"At the end of the day we understand that transformation is made up of a lot of 10% solutions. There is no silver bullet".
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