Friday, August 16, 2013

News from the Society for Organizational Learning, North America

SoL has affected many thousands of people since its founding.  It is home to many of the ideas and frameworks out of which Art of the Future draws its inspiration and aspirations. In fact, Michael and Anika met through their work together at SoL.  Structural Dynamics, our framework for thinking about the future was stressed tested through workshops, discussions and thought pieces we've done with SoL and its members.

SoL has been going through an extensive transition over the last three years as a new legal framework has been established to support its revised mission - being a network of networks for those who want to understand and influence the dynamics of organizational and societal systems.  There are now twenty two SoL entities around the world operating in a loose confederation in support of the five disciplines of systems thinking in all of their manifestations.

Michael is the co-chair of SoL, North America (SoL NA), one of the largest and most well-established of the SoL constellation.  In this capacity, he and his colleagues on the Sol NA Council and in the SoL NA Connectors Infrastructure Subcommittee have  been exploring and promoting a number of activities: 
  • The Project Incubator uses a Strategy Matrix co-created by the SoL North American Council and Peter Senge.  The Incubator is a bottom-up approach to generating projects related to
    Action at the Incubator
    SoL's mission and principles that members own and develop.  Michael has co-facilitated two of the Incubators.  The response of participants has been excellent, generating a high level of energy and enthusiasm.   Six projects were investigated and developed through the last Incubator.  There are several Project Incubators planned in the coming months.  In addition, Michael and colleagues like Carol Gorelick, Deborah Reidy, Mark Alpert and Tom Flanagan of 21st Century Agoras 
    are working on creating a version of the SoL NA Incubator that can be applied inside organizations to facilitate greater member engagement in the strategy process at all levels of responsibility.  
  • The Speaker's Bureau is an effort by SoL NA to place members (and probably some others as well) who are skilled at keynote presentations into conferences, associations,
    David Koehn
    corporate, public agency, academic and other settings.  Many people who cross paths with SoL NA, either as members, course participants, or "friends of the family" are skilled speakers with wide networks of association.  The objective of the Speaker's Bureau is to match up talent with paying opportunities to spread insight and conversation about systems thinking and organizational learning.  SoL NA is pulling together profiles of prospective speakers, which it is publishing and will be communicating to potential engagement sponsors.  David Koehn's profile is an example of what the end result looks like.  (NB:  We're still in the process of creating the Bureau; so, the contact number isn't finished at the moment.  Please contact Michael at for inquiries regarding the Speakers Bureau. 
  • As part of a larger effort for SoL NA to act as a one-stop shop for association conferences, Stephen Gianotti has taken responsibility for creating a team that will place SoL NA members as workshop leaders before and after these events.  His work has already seen some impressive results with a placement at an important organizational learning/systems thinking event.  Prasad Kaipa, a long time SoL member, will be addressing the American Society for Training and Development's Global Forum on August 21, 2013.  To learn more about these efforts, please contact Stephen direct via email  
  • SoL NA's core courses (Foundations for Leadership, Executive Champions Workshop and Leadership for Sustainability) featuring faculty like Peter Senge, Beth Jandernoa, Robert Hanig, Otto Sharma, and Darcy Winslow (among others) continue to be extremely popular.  Most of these are sold out well in advance of the event.  SoL NA's President and CEO, Frank Schneider, takes the lead on the management of these programs.  All SoL members receive a 15% discount on these courses.  Please contact Frank directly at for further information about these SoL NA programs. 
  • Deborah Reidy is taking the lead on designing and piloting a Systems Thinking Certificate Program. Tentatively entitled “Accelerated Learning: Results in Systems Thinking” the program will build systems thinking capacity in organizational leaders in a way that is collaborative, challenging and results oriented so that critical business challenges are successfully addressed and new learning occurs.  The program is currently envisioned as a virtual program offered over a period of weeks to a cohort of participants working in the same company. It is being designed based on cutting edge research in the field of neuroleadership. Program advisors will include experts in neuroleadership for the design and systems thinking for the content.  For more information, contact Deborah at      

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