Creating Our Possible Future Together: Using Arts Based Approaches to Explore Collective Experience

By Colette Dumas.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

We are facing ever growing crises in poverty, education, healthcare, the environment, and all the related challenges pervading our communities. Leaders from around the world, from all walks of life, including big business and local government, school districts and healthcare, grassroots organizations and global non-governmental organizations, are gathering with the intention of working together to generate meaningful social innovations that can begin to address these interdependent crises. Initiating social innovation requires a fundamental shift in the way we approach our problems and ourselves as change agents within them. “The structural, regulatory, and economic obstacles to social innovation are the result of what we humans in the system have created. Failure to address these “exterior” obstacles is most often due to “interior” barriers within ourselves” (Huston, 2007, 148). The self becomes the gateway to transformation, and through the self, we can transform our ways of being collectively. Additionally, if we are to approach change systematically, to engage the many interdependent pieces of our whole community systems, we need to move from independent, institutional action, to cross-institutional collaboration and knowledge sharing. This requires us to cultivate the relational and structural capacities to work together across boundaries to achieve shared aspirations. We need to develop the relational bonds and leadership practices that will allow us to transcend formal structures and, together, to forge generative approaches to whole system transformation. One such social innovation or “social technology” called “Presencing” (Scharmer, 2007) supports leaders in collaborating to initiate and sustain profound social innovation. Presencing, which is to sense, tune in, and act from one’s highest future potential, blends the words “presence” and “sensing” and works through “seeing from our deepest source.” I examine the social technology of Presencing which can prepare business leaders to create generative approaches to whole system transformation. I propose arts-based tools for developing these competencies.

Keywords: Knowledge Sharing, Presencing, Social Technology, Whole System Transformation, Arts-Based Tools for Systemic Change Collaboration, Exploring Collective Experience

Global Studies Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.75-82. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 541.382KB).

Dr. Colette Dumas

Professor, School of Management, Suffolk University, Boston, MA, USA

Dr. Dumas is a professor of Organization Behavior at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. She is also the Director of the Center for Innovation and Change Leadership at Suffolk University. She teaches, conducts research, publishes, and consults in the areas of organizational behavior, change leadership, and creativity and innovation in organizations.


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