One of the most strategic decisions we will make at the Community-Driven Institute this year is a name change. In a post back in January, I wondered aloud what questions we should be asking, to guide us towards a name. Here is some of the wisdom you all shared at that time:
• Imagine yourself years from now, hanging a ‘mission accomplished’ sign on the door. What label would you give to that assertion?
• What Kind of World Do You Want?
• What feeling do you want to evoke upon hearing the name? What “curiosity spark” do you want to ignite?
• What words do you want your stakeholders to associate with your organization?
• What does empowerment feel, look, smell like for those who learn and grow from your work?
• What changes in knowledge, attitude, behavior, skills will you create?
• What are visual analogies? Gardening? Spreading seeds? Other?
• What feelings do you want the name to evoke?
• How does your audience find you? What name will resonate for them?
• What energy do you want to create? Playful, serious, outcome-oriented?
• How memorable is it? Can it be descriptive and yet unexpected?
First, WOW! When we opened the decision-making at the Community-Driven Institute to include whoever might provide input for those decisions, we were excited about what that would make possible. These insights confirm what a gift transparent engagement can provide.
Shortly after that blog exchange, Dimitri and I found ourselves in the car on the way to Phoenix. We used that 90 minute ride to allow these questions to prompt further questions, all focused on the big concept of a name that reflects what the Institute is about at its core. We talked nonstop as Dimitri drove and I took feverish notes, drawing arrows to connect thoughts, words circling over and back.
I confess we felt like we were making no progress at all. We shoved the notes into the “Name Change” folder where they sat as we dove into teaching an immersion course and then packed up to spend a month teaching in New Zealand.
Several months have now passed. We opened the file, ready to dive back in. But now as we look at the words and phrases and thoughts we brainstormed back in February, we are seeing patterns we hadn’t realized were there. And we’re getting excited because it feels like we’re getting closer.
So I am sharing with you the notes from that conversation, to help move our collective thinking forward and engage the discussion that will lead to the name. Here they are, in their free-form, stream-of-consciousness entirety:
What outcome do we want? And for whom?
For the world – to be the humane, peaceful, healthy, vibrant place we know it is and can be.
Our highest potential is the highest potential for the planet (and all beings living here).
For the sector – to create that change. To know it’s possible, and be acting upon that potential.
To not think it is in any way special to not only be creating huge, bodacious, visionary social change, but to have already done so much of it that the world HAS changed. To be in “no big deal” mode about creating MASSIVE social change – “But of course that’s what we do! What else WOULD we be doing?”
That the sector is actively catalyzing the highest potential of our planet.
What does a catalyst do?
Brings together components to make something happen.
Ultimate improvement in communities
Vibrant, healthy, joyful world
Expecting that humanity will of course live up to its goodness.
Bring people together
Making something happen
Focused on vision
Working towards, not away from
Clarity of vision, of purpose
What do we want organizations to expect to accomplish in their work?
How does each component fit into that?
Taking action on behalf of the whole rather than on behalf of self
What do we want to be different in the sector?
Reaching for what matters
HUGE dramatic forward motion!!
Eyes Opened and Looking UP and OUT!
Seeing its potential
Changing expectations (to what???)
Bridge between dreams and reality
LEAPING from dreams to reality
Dreams become reality
Sector is aiming and seeing what is possible and REACHING for it
Walking the path/bridge from dreams/vision to NOW and DO IT
Turn expectations into concrete steps to create a different reality (or SEE this reality differently)
Reaching for potential
Reading this list even just at a glance, the line “LEAPING from dreams to reality” leaped out at me. That is, in fact, the most dramatic outcome we’ve seen from the work we have been doing at the Community-Driven Institute – teaching people how to turn “pipe dreams” about community into reality, not slowly and not with baby steps, but with huge leaps forward.
I am smiling that the word I have been using as a shorthand label for our work in my journaling and notes is the word “leapfrog,” often talking about what we’re doing as “Creating Leapfrog Social Change.”
The other outcome that jumps out at me is that the norm for the sector’s assumptions and expectations will be, “Of course that’s what we do!” That creating such change is no longer a “thing.” That we don’t wonder if we can, or if it’s our role, or if we should even try. That we don’t marvel that it’s possible.
That creating such dramatic social change is just taken for granted to be the expectation that guides our work.
So what do you think? From what you know of our work, does this resonate as a clear definition of the outcomes we are seeking to create? And if not, please help us clarify by adding to the list of free-flowing thoughts Dimitri and I generated.
From there, let’s then dive into the more specific brainstorming questions to find the name (Or does Leapfrog do it? Is there another word for “Leapfrog” that says it as well yet doesn’t evoke a line of educational toys?)
Photo credit: Dimitri – Gannet soaring at Muriwai Beach, NZ