Ad hoc enquiries into how to do good stuff together

When faced with the challenge of helping people tackle new projects it is tempting to offer up a set of case studies, ideas for action, latest innovations in the field, backed up by “if you want to do this, here’s how to”.

But does that work? Somehow case studies aren’t quite like your situation, and while innovations and ideas may be inspirIng, can they be applied? Howtos are fine … once you know what you want to do.

In practice, new projects usually take a lot of thinking through, and wandering about, before you can get to the timelines and action points. Lively conversation with like-minded people is often the best way to clarify and keep your spirits up, if you can find them.

That’s why I love Tessy Britton’s latest new thing, as an ideal follow up to the Community Lovers Guides (themselves far more engaging stories of practical enthusiasm than most case studies) and the Skills Game , showing we can often do more than we think we can.

As Tessy explains in her post about Ad Hoc Enquiries, Social Spaces will be hosting a series of evening events to explore how to do good stuff in creative and collaborative ways. They start next month at The Westminster Hub.

The primary assumption for the project is that there is new knowledge to be built and that we need to find new collaborative ways of building it.

These weekly Enquiries are structured events designed to give people who have designed and implemented innovation local projects an opportunity to describe their work and their emerging insights to a group of interested and experienced peers. These innovation projects are required to be working specifically in the participatory paradigm where creative and strategic solution seeking and collaborative working are their most evident characteristics.

The evenings will begin with a sociable supper, during which the ‘theorist(s)’ will present their project, their theory of change and new emergent theory – followed by a number pieces of evidence to support their theory.

Each participant in turn will state their core disciplinary perspective e.g. science, philosophy, design etc and offers either a supporting or challenging statement for the theory, connecting with other knowledge bases to understand and interpret the new theory.

I’m doubly delighted by the idea of ad hoc enquiry because it ties in with the the way I’ve been developing social reporting as a process of exploration. John Popham have been doing that for Big Lottery Fund, as you can see here . I wonder if that counts as the sort of collaborative model Tessy invites people to present at the evenings?
Fortunately I hope to have a chance to talk that through with Tessy later today, when I pop into the Hub with Drew Mackie, collaborator in many workshop games. Aha! another model. I think a mini-enquiry is in prospect.

One comment

  • January 5, 2012 - 10:06 pm | Permalink

    David, I agree this is a great way of stimulating discussion.

    Reminds me of Edward de Bono’s ‘Six Thinking Hats’ as used in innovation and facilitation work.

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