Speaking in Medellin

July 31, 2014

I delivered my keynote at Héroes Fest this afternoon here in Medellin and it produced what is to date my favourite picture of me speaking; if I can get permission it's going up on Wikipedia.  I also remembered that the conference of the Latin American Bishops here in 1968 was one of the seminal moments in the formation of Liberation Theology, something I mentioned yesterday in the context of the need to take action in the present to properly understand the future.  The Dominican Gustavo Gutiérrez gave name to that movement in this 1971 book and emphases the role of Praxis, formative in my own thinking since the English translation came out in 1973 when I was first becoming active in that movement and the following year I was on the Board of the SCM Press which published it in the UK.

The overall goal of the event is to motivate the people of Colombia to innovate and the underlying assumption was that innovators are heroes.   The keynotes were a mixture of motivational and content based (I was the latter which I find more motivational but never mind).  I was also meant to talk about the project we have recently completing using SenseMaker® to understand attitudes in Innovation across six cities in Colombia.  So I had a chance to give our new iOS Explorer tool its first public outing by giving a live demo of the material captured in Medellin.  

It was a large theatre and a full house with all the music and lights of a major production.  From a speakers point of view (well the content side less so those into motivation) this is problematic as you can't see the audience, add to that the delay on translation and the fact a fly kept landing on my head in mid performance and it wasn't the most comfortable of performances!   With the majority of the audience working from the translation you get a response delay which means you have to assume the right reaction is coming, rather than respond to it.  But from the number of people who came up to talk to be afterwards it went down well.  There were also lots of pictures being taken of participants with the speakers so I wish to make it clear that this is the context of any Facebook pictures of myself with young Colombian women!

The major thing I emphasised was for the need for innovation programmes, and education in general to situate development within their communities, not to be the means why which that drive and intelligence leaves its locality resulting in greater impoverishment,   I used the Miners' Libraries of South Wales by way of illustration.

It was all filmed so I suspect the presentation will be on line at some stage.   In the meantime the slides can be found here.  The wider content on innovation and issues I have with the atomistic assumptions behind the idea of a 'hero' will be the subject of future posts.   For the moment I have for the first time in some time managed to get a daily blog in place for a full month so that feels good.  More tomorrow, then its multiple flights back to Brisbane for another presentation Monday morning.



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The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

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