I sit in a packed train from Brussels to Amsterdam passing by snow covered villages in the beautiful Belgian countryside. I am reflecting about a very intense week and pondering how to summarize this in one blog.
It started with two days of reflective action with our multinational Core Facilitation Team (CFT) in Brussels about our ‘business models for the future’. Phil Forth tossed the most important word of the two days: FRACTAL. Like a snowflake consists of all similar snowflake structures, we realize that we are a fractal organization where new member organizations (RDC, Bel, PNG, India, Kenya-Competence etc) become fractals of our own Core Facilitation Team in Chiang Mai. Core functions will be the same which also allows great opportunities for mutual capacity building through peer assists. What the CFT learned the last four years will be useful for them. The global CFT functions can even be transferred to other members in a later stage. Suddenly, I have to leave behind the models I learned at University or earlier jobs. In the latest business literature, we are considered a ‘Starfish’ organization. The goal remains: structure follows function and not the other way around. Not obvious for NGOs and the UN as I experienced later that week.
The next two days I spent in Geneva. Great discussions with different institutions both UN and non-UN. I won’t go much into the content of the meetings and the very positive outcomes, but once again the importance of innovative and creative leadership became clear. It also strikes me how often function still follows structure for some institutions which limits innovation and creativity.
Thursday evening it’s time for Transfer in my own context. I am invited at the Rotary club of my father to speak about the Constellation and our work. My parents are in the room and 2 minutes before the start I choose to forget my Powerpoint and just start talking. Passionate words flow from my mouth with illustrated stories from around the world. The 30 men are blown away after 25 minutes and cannot stop asking questions. The local mayor tells me:” My community here would find it very difficult to discuss such topics openly with each other”. Afterwards he mentions that it would be interested to apply it to youth and crime. Another successful business man tells me his nephew died of AIDS a few week ago and everybody told him: “he was just sick”, while whispering afterwards in his ear: “he had AIDS”. So is my own home province AIDS Competent? No, far from that. They could learn a lot from a settlement in Papua New Guinea or Kithituni in Kenya.
The Rotary club will finance a pilot to connect Indian and Kenyan communities via video-conferencing to share local responses to common challenges. The Rotary members are invited to attend the video conference, share, learn and apply in their own context. I turn the world map on my desktop 180 degrees and suddenly the North becomes the South. I agree with Marlou: It’s just how you look at it. I smile and continue my beautiful train journey.