The Pegasus conference is over for our little troupe of librarians. I’m heading home tomorrow afternoon (Thursday) and back to work on Friday. I have an unknown quantity of ideas, concepts, perspective still percolating in my brain (of which we had a session about, incidentally) about what this conference means to me–about how this conference affected my way of thinking about relationships, about how I relate to my family, friends, coworkers, and strangers; about achieving small wins and enhancing collaboration, and other aha! moments that will surely grow to deeper understandings.
This conference had its share of less than stellar presentations, but there weren’t that many. That first night, the “Building the Conference Community” really set the tone for sessions that called you to relate–on a deeper relational level–to openly talk about what is important to you to complete strangers. We took a collective decision to be seriously open to conversation to each other, throughout the conference, and back to our homes. And here I thought we were going to be subjected to managerial tactics and business models/strategies!
So, in a nutshell, here are some of the presentations I attended, and a few bits about what stood out (more on later posts):
- Collaboration: The Human Face of Systems Thinking – Peter Senge
Mr. Systems Thinking himself talked not about systems thinking, but about the work of individuals all over the world who approach problems by looking at them from a holistic point of view. He did distill his message (via an overhead–he was the only one that did not have a PowerPoint) to three points:
- (Convening) Get the system in the room. Everyone has to be involved in the process–it’s not going to happen overnight, it may take years, but it’s necessary for everyone to have a say in it.
- (Suspension) Seeing reality through others’ eyes. “When one human being tells another human being what is real, what they’re actually doing is making a demand for obedience.” We have the same reality but we take away different experiences.
- (Commitment) Putting our purposes together. We have to let go of many issues before we can collaborate. What is the common purpose that will enable two or more disparate groups to work together?
His speech was structured not on his theories but on the very real problems facing us today: global warming, extreme poverty, violence, hunger, etc. And it wasn’t until he spoke about working alongside human rights workers in uncovering mass graves from Guatemala’s civil war (and finding very tiny bones), that he emphasized the importance of working together: our common goal is our very own survival.