Archive for relationships

Introduction to Magic in The Middle – Part One

By Finn Voldtofte, 2005

The magic in the middle begins with a shift in awareness, from parts to relations between parts.

Imagine a circle of people in conversation. When we are interested in understanding the processes that take place in the conversation, we can pay attention to the individual in the circle, to the circle as a whole (group or team), or to the relations between the participants. All three realities coexist at once, but we can choose to let one of them come in the foreground.

To pay attention to the field of relations is not the same as paying attention to the whole. The parts are still important. The whole is still important. But we are particularly interested in what goes on in the interaction between the parts, and let that reality come in the foreground.

“Magic in the middle” may be found everywhere, where we choose to pay attention to the relations between the parts.

Example: Ants are the parts. The anthill is the whole. The ability of the anthill to maintain itself emerges as a magic in the middle of the ants, when they relate to each other. For instance, ants interact by leaving scent trails of their activity while they search for food.

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Systems Thinking in Action 2007

This post is the ToC for an in-depth harvest of the 2007 Pegasus Systems Thinking in Action conference, held in Seattle, Washington.

If you were there, please use the comments link at the bottom of
each post to give your own perspective or share your experiences at the
conference, and if you weren’t, please add your questions and ideas.
(Use the Quick Link guide below, or start at the beginning and just follow the links straight through)

 Prelude – A quick background of the relationships behind our collaboration and the role the World Café played at this year’s event

Day 1: AM – Monday’s morning weaving & Debra Meyerson’s Keynote on ‘Tempered Radicals

Day 1: Conversation Space – The first hosted Conversation Space session

Day 1: Afternoon – Afternoon weaving and Otto Scharmer’s Keynote on ‘Theory U

Day 1: Evening – Dinner with the Japanese book translation team and other colleagues from Asia

Day 2: AM – Tuesday’s morning weaving & a Keynote by the team from Boeing entitled ‘Synergy of Action: Large Scale Change Takes Flight at Boeing

Day 2: Conversation Space – Tuesday morning’s Conversation Space session

Day 2: Conversation as a Radical Act – Juanita Brown’s presentation, with Nancy Margulies and Nancy White

Day 2: Afternoon – Tuesday afternoon’s weaving and Van Jones’ Keynote on ‘Multiplying our Impact

Day 2: Evening – Informal open reception co-hosted by The World Café, Berkana Institute & Art of Hosting

Day 3: AM – Wednesday morning’s weaving session

Day 3: Conversation Space – Wednesday’s hosted Conversation Space session

Day 3: Final KeyNote & Closing – The last Keynote, Peter Senge’s ‘Collaboration: The Human Face of Systems Thinking‘, and the conference closing

Day 3 – Conversation Space Debrief – with the Conversation Space hosting team and the Pegasus conference organizers