Over the past two weeks I have been inspired by people sharing their stories at both the International Riversymposium in Perth, and then at TEDx Canberra where we heard from an incredible array of speakers covering the ‘twittersphere’, to space travel, slavery and providing ‘abundant water‘ to communities in developing countries. The extent to which I was inspired resulted in two new pages on our website for you to explore, both focus on inspiration with the first being a place to put our most recent ‘inspirational experiences’ and the second providing information about why inspiration is so important in our personal and professional lives.
For the very first time in its thirteen year history, the International Riversymposium was held out of Brisbane and on the other side of our great country in Perth. As is the case at every International Riversymposium there was a mix of international case studies and presentations about key developments in river management and science, as well as a number of Australians sharing the work they have been doing. For me the sessions on community engagement were enlightening, as well as some I attended on urban water and the work that is focusing on engagement with city dwellers to reconnect them to their rivers and waterways.
The highlight of the Riversymposium was the announcement of the winners of the International and National Riverprizes. This year the worthy winners are the River Thames in London and the Derwent Estuary in Tasmania. Both rivers have been declared biologically dead in the past, however, as a result of coordinated and visionary actions, otters are now breeding up and down the length of the Thames, and recently a Southern Right Whale gave birth to her calf in the Derwent – the first time in one hundred years!
When you build bridges, you can keep crossing them.
~ Rick Pitino
In all things, be willing to listen to people around you. None of us is really smart enough to go it alone.
~ John Clendenin
On 20 October 2010 the ARRC will be running a workshop on Connecting through Conversation: Narrative techniques for Organisational Knowledge Sharing. This workshop stresses the importance of conversation and other narrative techniques and how to use them in your everyday work life. These are simple and cost effective techniques which won’t break the bank.
We still have a few places available and would love to see the workshop completely full. Come along and join Siwan , Nerida and Matt and build your skill set.
So how does Most Significant Change (MSC) actually work? The overall process is simple but the details for each stage do matter.
- Defining the project to be evaluated and the community involved.
- Collecting stories of the most significant change caused by the project in the lives of members of the community. The stories can be collected by interview, in group discussion or else community members can write themselves.
- Assessment of the stories by project stakeholders to identify the most significant story for them. In discussing the stories, stakeholders have to make explicit which outcomes matter them and which do not. The debate around the stories is most important.
- Feedback by the stakeholders to the communities. Which significant change story was selected as the most important and why? The story selected demonstrates in a concrete way what matters to key stakeholders.
MSC offers solutions to three issues outlined in the previous post:
- Unexpected Outcomes: MSC does limit itself up-front to looking for pre-determined outcomes. Its questions elicit the outcomes and impacts that matter to participants.
- Measuring the Intangible: By using stories, MSC allows participants to discuss intangible impact in a concrete way.
- Making It Meaningful: The stories provide concrete examples of successful practice.