Each of us must choose how we will approch the future.

The past 3 years, I was part of the facilitator-team of Pluk Ideas:

a social innovation & learning platform in the housingsector in The Netherlands. Participants stepped in, as a team of stakeholdes, with a complex societal challenge they were facing in their environment. With a lot of inspiration, on-the-edge knowledge of MIT & the coaching of Adam Kahane, we applied Theory U in 18 months-changelabs.

It was great work that offered me a lot a learning opportunities that I’m very grateful for:

  • We went to Boston for a 10-day, very intensive, Executive Education Program at the the Sloan  Management School (MIT).
  • Adam Kahane was the lead facilitator, and he offered us many stories about his work, all over the world.



At the last Pluk Innovation Festival (Sept 2012), Adam introduced his new book: “Transforming scenario planning”. (which I recorded entirely as you can see in the picture :-))

I read the book- with a bit of delay- this January. Adam starts his book with “This book is for people that have chosen to try to change the future and have realised that they cannot do so unilaterally. … This book is for those people, who are looking for a way to work together – not only with friends and colleagues but also with strangers and opponents- and so to be able to get unstuck and move forward and create change.”

Key message of the book (for me) about HOW to do that:

The revolution lies in changing how we look at things. Through tranforming our understandings, intentions, actions and relationships.

What I liked a lot is that Adam introduces a process for dialogue, not about what people predict WILL happen or what they believe SHOULD happen but only about what they think COULD happen.

The book offerend me many insights and stories, that I weave into my work.


The sentence that stayed with me the most is:

“Succeeding in the inner game of transformative planning requires dealing with a mystery, wrapped in a dilemma, inside a paradox.”

What a wonderful way to describe the work 🙂


The paradox

is that we move forward by pausing and stepping back. The capacity that that takes is suspending “taking our thoughts about our situation and hanging them in front of us, as if from a string.”


Inside the paradox is a dilemma

the dilemma is that we need to work with 2 apparently oppsed imperatives, 2 drives that are in permanent tension: power and love. Love is the drive to open up and connect to other ideas, actors and possibilities. Power is the drive realise one’s potential and to grow. We work with power and love by working with the parts and the whole.


Wrapped in this dilemma is a mystery

the mystery is that we cannot know the future, we can investigate it and influence it, but we cannot calculate it or control it. We can plan and must prepare but we cannot know the outcome of our efforts.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *