Generating Resilience

forest-roots_640How could organizations and communities become more resilient?

A key answer nature provides is to create a redundancy of interconnections.

One answer at the community level is; get a group of committed, can-do people together who want to create a context to support others in creating concrete, practical outcomes.

This happened recently in an effort I contributed to in my community. Some conveners hosted a gathering to support practical action towards environmental sustainability in our city. The conveners didn’t yet know exactly how this was going to happen, but they had sketched out a process and had invited others to attend to shape it out that.

The culmination of months of work and collaboration more than met expectations. Several hundred people gathered to gain support for over 30 different projects, each of which were intended to effect environmental sustainability in the city.

Projects were grouped into three categories; infrastructure, community impact and forums.

Infrastructure projects provided the support needed for other initiatives to gain ground. For example, collecting funds to disperse for other projects. Another initiative was The Eco Talent Network, with the intention of mining the talent, skills and expertise in the city and matching this with specific needs expressed by non-profits and community groups.

Community Impact Projects focused on specific improvements in the community and preference was given to projects that could be replicable or scalable. Some of these included an outdoor classroom that could be a model for other schools to follow. Another was showcasing green buildings and businesses within the downtown core.

Forums were designed to continue to gather, inspire and collaborate. For example, a monthly dinner to connect people with expertise and resources with grassroots leaders starting up new initiatives.

How might this be replicated in a business setting?

One change would be to value the work of natural connectors, the people who network with others. These networkers may seem to be less productive than others, but when this function is deployed well, what they do can be a necessary but invisible line of communication.  For example, with networkers around, projects get the timely information they need rather than bottle-necking or becoming less relevant to stakeholders.


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