I have just returned from a conference/workshop titled, Flourish and Prosper. It is the third triennial Global Summit organized by the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, a unit of the Weatherhead School of Management. The title is drawn from the recent publication, *Flourishing Enterprise*, the main product of a project there and is coauthored by myself and eight others. Over 600 people attended, coming fro business, both profit and non-profit, academia, and other places.
On the first day, I gave a workshop (twice) with my colleague and collaborator, Chris Laszlo. Titled, Dare to Flourish, it presented ideas from both *Flourishing Enterprise* and my book *Flourishing*. It was a chance to throw out ideas like Being, caring, flourishing, and get some feedback. From the comments after the class and later around the conference, people did resonate with them. The conference, itself, was organized around David Cooperrider’s Appreciative Inquiry (AI) model. For those unfamiliar with AI, here’s a short blurb from Amazon:
[Appreciative Inquiry is] an approach to organizational change based on the possibility of a more desirable future, experience with the whole system, and activities that signal “”something different is happening this time.”” That difference systematically taps the potential of human beings to make themselves, their organizations, and their communities more adaptive and more effective. AI, a theory of collaborative change, erases the winner/loser paradigm in favor of coordinated actions and closer relationships that lead to solutions at once simpler and more effective.
I chose a working session about creating consciousness of connectedness in the workplace. We were not one of the finalists presenting to the whole audience.
I found the experience extremely gratifying. Here were many of the ideas I have championed for a long time being showcased from the podium and in the hallways. I was recognized from the podium as “Mr. Flourishing.” Nice feeling to see both the emergence of the ideas and a recognition of my contributions. Flourishing showed up over and over again in the speakers and table conversations. Cooperrider used my mantra that reducing sustainability does not create flourishing (or sustainability) in his remarks. The sense that “sustainability” has played out its power and intent was palpable. People are really looking for a different path forward.
I saw many very longstanding friends that I haven’t seen for quite a while. I am not going to many such conferences these days. Another new kind of experience was meeting a student in person who I had gotten to know only through an online classroom. Much nicer in real life. This encounter reinforced my critique of technology. It does many wonderful things, but people do not show up in their fullness.
Just a short blog today to signal my return to these pages. I had taken a short break to care for a series of family matters that took all of my energy and focus.