martes, 17 de octubre de 2017

Inteligencia Colectiva frente a la Estupidez Colectiva

Comparto aquí la columna publicada en el Blog de Acción Empresas

Durante la última semana de septiembre visitó Chile el académico del M.I.T. Otto Scharmer, reconocido autor de “Teoría U”, un marco para el liderazgo transformador y la innovación profunda. Reunido en un taller reflexivo con numerosos líderes de diversos sectores planteó una pregunta que quedó flotando en el aire: ¿Por qué generamos colectivamente resultados que nadie desea?
Acuñaré el concepto de estupidez colectiva para describir ese fenómeno social que se desencadena cuando un grupo genera –consciente o inconscientemente- resultados con impactos que nadie desea, que en el largo plazo terminan perjudicando  sus propios intereses y los de la sociedad (Cipolla). Posiblemente, nadie se levanta cada mañana con el propósito de contribuir deliberadamente a la insostenibilidad, al cambio climático o a la desigualdad. Pero finalmente, en el diario vivir muchos terminamos –consciente o inconscientemente- tomando decisiones que contribuyen a perpetuar el status quo.
¿Qué condiciones desencadenan la estupidez colectiva? Enumero aquí diez patrones que he observado reiteradamente a partir de mi trabajo como facilitador en diversos países, culturas y sectores:

  • El aislamiento de las élites en burbujas que les impiden sentir los impactos de las decisiones que toman, lo que les lleva a desconectarse de la realidad circundante
  • La homogeneidad –a veces casi endogámica- de los grupos con poder, que les dificulta empatizar con la diversidad
  • La falta de transparencia, antagonismos mutuos y conflictos de interés implícitos que gatillan quiebres de confianza
  • La fragmentación de la información por diseños mecanicistas y excesos de burocracia.
  • La incapacidad de detectar oportunamente cambios del entorno y la incapacidad de cambiar a tiempo los patrones de comportamiento
  • La incapacidad colectiva de aprender de los errores, producto de liderazgos arrogantes, que no reconocen sus equivocaciones
  • Contextos emocionales marcados por el temor a ser juzgado, donde se inhibe la autenticidad y la iniciativa
  • Excesivo foco en detalles y la sobre-argumentación, que desvían la atención y la energía
  • Pérdida de vista del propósito, o desconexión del sentido profundo de misión
  • El monopolio de la palabra, que no permite escuchar las voces de los distintos involucrados en los problemas
  • Las trampas comunes del pensamiento lineal, el pensamiento mágico, el pensamiento egocéntrico, el pensamiento reduccionista, y el pensamiento cortoplacista.


Frente a esto, las más recientes investigaciones realizadas en el M.I.T. sobre el fenómeno de la Inteligencia colectiva, muestran que el mero hecho de reunir a personas con un alto coeficiente intelectual no garantiza que dicho grupo tome decisiones más inteligentes. Dicho de otro modo, un directorio o un equipo directivo formado por personas altamente brillantes individualmente, formadas en las mejores universidades, puede llegar a tomar colectivamente decisiones con resultados que nadie desea. Sin eufemismos, puede tomar decisiones estúpidas. Ocurre hasta en las mejores familias, en las mejores empresas y hasta en los mejores gobiernos. Y a juzgar por los hechos, es más frecuente de lo que queremos reconocer.
Entonces, ¿qué podemos hacer para prevenir la estupidez colectiva, y por tanto, liberar la inteligencia colectiva? El Centro de Inteligencia Colectiva del M.I.T. ha encontrado tres variables altamente correlacionadas con la inteligencia colectiva:

  • La sensibilidad social, esto es la capacidad de estar atento y consciente de los comportamientos de otros, entendiendo por qué ellos actúan del modo en que actúan, sabiendo tratar adecuadamente con las reacciones negativas y cómo apalancar las acciones positivas de otros.
  • La distribución equitativa del turno de palabra en una conversación
  • Un mayor porcentaje de mujeres en el grupo


 A estas tres variables, a partir de la observación empírica de las dinámicas grupales en procesos participativos y colaborativos, me atrevería a añadir otras 10 condiciones que permiten el despliegue de la inteligencia colectiva:
  • Contextos emocionalmente seguros, donde las personas se sienten seguras de mostrar sus vulnerabilidades con autenticidad
  • Grupos pequeños que no inhiban la expresión de miembros introvertidos
  • La posibilidad de visibilizar sus procesos cognitivos ya sea mediante pensamiento visual, registro gráfico con dibujos y esquemas en una pizarra, mapas mentales o similares
  • El uso de mecanismos y dispositivos de registro que les permite dotar de trazabilidad a sus procesos decisionales y creativos.

Finalmente, si verdaderamente anhelamos movilizar nuestra sociedad hacia un futuro más sostenible, resulta urgente fortalecer y multiplicar las capacidades de liderazgo y colaboración que nos permitan evolucionar colectivamente, conservando aquello valioso que queremos conservar, transformando lo que es necesario cambiar, pero sobre todo, aprendiendo juntos a co-crear un futuro donde todos queramos convivir.

lunes, 16 de octubre de 2017

Parceros y Parteros

Solo mi silencio acoge mi dolor
y la herencia de dolor
de mis ancestros y sus muertos
en las historias de mis abuelos.

Solo en  mi dolor puedo acoger tu dolor
Solo en tu silencio y mi silencio
puedo escuchar y acoger tu miedo.

Sólo en mi coraje
puedo encender tu coraje
Sólo en el presente puedo llegar
más allá del miedo y la esperanza.

Sólo aprendiendo juntos
podemos construir un futuro para todos.
Solo abriendo espacio
podemos convivir humanos, brujas,
lobos, niñas y videntes, amantes y cupidos,
y sí, también los alcaldes.

Si toda paz es interior, todo conflicto es interior.
El conflicto callado viaja en nuestro cuerpo sin palabras
Sin palabras el cuerpo, mi cuerpo, tu cuerpo no mienten.

Solo el cuerpo en silencio descubre su dolor,
su miedo, su rabia y también su coraje.

Oh, natureza silente, anfitriona de mi silencio,
territorio de memoria,
acoge nuestro cuerpo,
territorio primordial,
del cuál solo quedarán
los huesos, las semillas,
los vientos, los vientos,
las corrientes que se llevarán nuestras semillas
semillas que serán sembradas con intención
intenciones que serán sembradas con fe.
Con fe en esta comunidad que brota,
revive, fragua, cicatriza y sana sus heridas.

Sana bailando, bebiendo y celebrando, sin culpa y sin vergüenza
danzar danzar con los ojos cerrados,
lanzarse a ser uno mismo entre las flores del abismo...

Una mariposa nos trajo
a la tierra del olvido, de la memoria y la esperanza,
de la paz, la rumba y la pasión
Una rana nos llevará a la tierra rica,
al monte verde, al bosque nublado,
del quetzal y del casado,
a la cuna del perezoso y del tucán,
de la vida pura, pura vida.

Sí esa alegría,
si ese nudo en la garganta
tuviera nombre...
aunque no tuviera nombre,
un suspiro dejaría.

Sí, conozco la ciencia, pero prefiero la magia,
Sí, conozco el dolor, y prefiero la risa.
Sí, tengo miedo y actúo en el coraje.
Sí, la escasez existe y elijo la abundancia.
Sí, me duele y te perdono.
Sí, me asusta el futuro, y elijo construirlo contigo.
Sí me pesa la carga, y  camino liviano.
Sí me siento encerrado, y mi corazón está abierto.
Sí, el cuerpo me duele, y el corazón también,
y mi estúpido cerebro no descubre la diferencia.

Si todo esto emergió en estos siete años...
¿qué intención deseo sembrar para los próximos siete?
¿Cuál es el bosque que está latente y latiendo en esta semilla?

martes, 3 de octubre de 2017

The Future of Changemakers

A continuación, comparto la charla que preparé para el Congreso Internacional de AIESEC Alumni, que tuvo lugar en la hermosa ciudad de Cartagena de Indias, en Colombia, durante Julio del 2017.

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WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF CHANGEMAKER LOOK LIKE?
(Pablo Villoch)

I always say that if you want to know the future, see what the AIESECers are doing today . Learning from pioneers, from visionaries, can give you some hints about the future.

But Now I will tell you some stories from the past.

Almost 70 years ago, after the Second World War, a group of seven students from different countries gathered in Sweden and decided to create an Exchange student association to promote cultural understanding, peace and the fulfillment of humankinds potential, to change the world, one person at a time. They created AIESEC, that still changes thousands of lives.

40 years ago, in rural India, a group of young women met with a teacher. They got inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy  and started The Barefoot College to help rural communities  become self-sufficient, empowering poor women from all over the world with sustainable technologies.

In Finland, 24 years ago, a Marketing professor posed a question to his  students: “Do you want to travel around the world and learn Marketing at the same time?”. They said YES. And they created Team Academy, a cooperative entrepreneurial school that is expanding in the five continents right now, thanks to Mondragon Team Academy. It is a business school without teachers, but with Team coaches. Without exams, but with KPIs. With real projects for real clients. And lots of travelling. They have learning journeys into three continents to run their business and their learning process.

In Brasil, 18 years ago, a group of Architecture Students realized that their University was not teaching them the kind of architecture they wanted to learn, a more participatory, community based approach. So they occupied an old abandoned theater and they started teaching the architechture they wanted to learn. That is how Warriors Without Weapons was born.

In an Ecovillage in South Africa, 18 years ago, two young teachers founded the Sustainability Institute, where they train leaders for sustainable development.

And it happened the same in Denmark with Kaospilots, in the Netherlands with Knowmads… and so on..



COMMON PATTERNS
What do all these stories have in common? What are the common patterns?
In different countries, small self-organizing teams of young people
had the courage to start something new.
All of them created learning spaces to educate new leaders, entrepreneurs, facilitators, changemakers… for a better world.

They felt the current educational system is not enough. It is not developing the skills we really need to face the challenges of our time. Climate change. Terrorism. Wars. Refugees. Drugs. Corruption. Poverty. Unemployment. AIDS.
There is no single country that can solve them. There is no single changemaker that can do that. There is no single institution… The challenges of our time demand great scale collaboration from all of us.

We cannot guess the future, but we can create it. Indeed We need to co-create it.

How can we learn together to co-create a future where we all want to live?
What if learning together is the kind of collective leadership we need today?

In which world do you prefer to wake up every morning?
-     A world where everyone expects somebody else to fix the problems
-     Or a world where everyone wakes up inspired to build a better place for all

Now I want to tell you a story from the future...
Imagine that you wake up in a world where every one can be a change maker
Imagine all those changemaker schools
·         collaborating,
·         connecting young leaders,
·         co-creating cross cultural and meaningful projects,
A world where every city, every town has a in Impact Hub, a social innovation lab, a changemaker learning program, where people from different origins learn together to cocreate the future they want to live....
Imagine a global network of learning spaces, locally rooted, globally connected, with both virtual and physical platforms.
Where a whole new generation of changemakers can play, work, learn and celebrate.
A world where everyone can be a changemaker!

CALL FOR ACTION
Well... the challenges of our time are exponential.
However, the speed of our changemakers production is not exponential.
How can we accelerate our capacity to inspire, connect, and empower a whole generation of new changemakers to dedicate their life for a better world?

Now, I think that if you want to see the future, IMAGINE what could happen if Team Academy, Kaospilot, MSLS, the impact Hub network, Warriors without Weapons, AIESEC and all those changemakers schools just get together, sit on a circle, connect, learn from each other, cross-polinate each other, coinspire and create conditions for a new generation of changemakers to learn and empower themselves.

Being a changemaker …is not only about making changes.
Changemakers are not only happy clappy people playing with post its
Being a changemaker is a learning journey, an  inner journey and an outer journey.
Being a changemaker is an emotional rollercoaster of
·         joy, sadness,
·         fear and courage,
·         ceaseless cycles of failures, learning and success, rage,
·         frustration, enthusiasm, pain and hope..
·         sometimes, several times a day…
We need silence and introspection to connect with our higher self, with our purpose...re-energizing your self to energize others.

“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it." 
(David Orr 


If you are a parent...
If you  are an entrepreneur...
If you are an activist,,,
If you are a leader in charge of a team.,,
 What can you do to create / inspire / empower… more changemakers around you?

I am sure that in your country, there are already amazing people prototyping amazing things.
Come on, go and support them!

What can we do locally to contribute to a new generation for changemakers worldwide?
Previous generations—our parents and grandparents…- didn’t have the knowledge and the technology we have today. They didn’t have internet, google, smartphones!

Our generation , I  don meant those who are in their 30s or their 40s of 50s
I mean all those who live on this Earth today, all of us
We have the technology, science, knowledge… 
we have a responsibility for the next generations
but do we really have the courage?
Do we really have the willpower?

I must confess that I bring more questions than answers
We already know the consequences of absence of leadership in a team or a local committee.
We have also tasted the power of collective leadership when it is truly in service of a shared vision, a higher purpose for the common good.

What if leadership is the most important and abundant renewable energy of our time?
Are we really harnessing it? Are we unleashing all its potential?

What is the legacy of our generation? …  What will be your legacy?
·         Are we leaving enough changemakers for the next generation?
·         Are we giving space for the next generation of changemakers to shine?
·    
    We are here to shine. Because when we shine, we ignite others, we illuminate ...
    when we put our light in service of others, we shine and let others to find and ignite their own light….
How can we all shine in this world?
Transforming what exists and conserving what matters, both demand vital energy.
Where are you putting your vital energy?
Where do you want to put your vital energy in this life?
Transforming the old? Creating the new? It is up to you.

martes, 13 de junio de 2017

NEGOCIOS SOCIALES EN LOS ALBORES DE LA CUARTA REVOLUCIÓN INDUSTRIAL

Negocios SocialesAún recuerdo la primera vez que escuché estas dos palabras juntas. Fue en una inspiradora conferencia de Muhammad Yunus en la Estación Mapocho en Santiago de Chile en 2003, organizada por la red local de microcrédito. Reunido ante centenares de jóvenes, el fundador del Grameen Bank, el llamado banquero de los pobres, uno de los impulsores del movimiento mundial del microcrédito, nos invitaba a accionar el poder de los negocios para enfrentar desafíos sociales.  Han pasado más de 14 años desde aquel día.


Se define algo social como aquello perteneciente o relativo a la sociedad, o las relaciones entre sus miembros. Mirándolo en perspectiva, dado que todos los negocios ocurren entre personas, dentro de una sociedad, todos los negocios, en teoría son sociales.  Sin embargo, esta distinción de negocios sociales aparece para diferenciar el propósito superior del negocio, más allá de la maximización de utilidades, orientándose a resolver una problemática social.

Inicialmente bajo el concepto de “Economía social y solidaria” cabían las sociedades cooperativas, las iniciativas de comercio justo, y otros proyectos alternativos de organizaciones no gubernamentales y entidades sin ánimo de lucro. Recibía esos apellidos frente a la economía pública y la privada. En los 90 eran pioneros los intentos de aplicar métodos de gestión propios de la empresa privada al denominado tercer sector. Aparecían investigadores, programas formativos y hasta consultoras especializadas en ese ámbito.

En Reino Unido en el año 2005 se introduce la figura jurídica de la Compañía de Interés Comunitario (CIC). Del 2006 en adelante, van tomando fuerza y visibilidad las iniciativas de Fundación Ashoka que va visibilizando a sus agentes de cambio como “Emprendedores sociales”. Con el lema, “Everyone can be a changemaker” busca inspirar a una nueva generación de personas comprometidas con la transformación de su sociedad. En ese año se publica el libro “Cómo Cambiar el mundo. Los Emprendedores Sociales y el poder de las buenas ideas” de David Bornstein. Ese mismo año también se crea B-Lab, la organización que después impulsaría la certificación de B-Corps. La Fundación Schwab comienza a premiar a líderes destacados como emprendedores sociales en el Foro económico de Davos. 

En el 2008, cuando decenas de personas contribuyen a elaborar el libro “Business Model Canvas generation”, destinado  a facilitar la innovación en modelos de negocio, pocos podían imaginar cómo iban a cruzarse estas dos tendencias de innovación en negocios y de emprendimiento social. En ese tiempo, todavía estaba en boga la “fortuna de la basede la pirámide”, término popularizado por un artículo de Prahalad en la revista de Harvard, haciendo referencia a la oportunidad de negocio escondida en los miles de millones de personas viviendo bajo la línea de la pobreza.

En el ámbito corporativo, cuando en 2011 Porter y Kramer tratan de instalar el concepto de “Creación de ValorCompartido” para dejar atrás  la “Responsabilidad social empresarial”, otros comienzan a hablar de negocios inclusivos. Poco a poco las memorias y reportes de RSE pasan a denominarse reportes de Sostenibilidad  / Sustentabilidad (en algunos países latinoamericanos), y tímidamente van incorporando los indicadores que surgen del Global Reporting Initiative. En paralelo, se avanza con el consenso global para la  guía ISO 26000 de Responsabilidad Social.

Con el aumento de ONGs y Fundaciones que comienzan a diseñar modelos de negocios para auto-sostenerse, grandes empresas que comienzan a crear fundaciones para gestionar sus aportes al desarrollo local, nuevas empresas sociales lucrativas que buscan generar impactos sociales positivos, se va configurando la emergencia de un cuarto sector, de propiedad privada pero de fines públicos.
Desde la política pública se comienzan a inyectar fondos para enriquecer un ecosistema de emprendimiento e innovación, en el que se va configurando un nicho de emprendimiento e innovación social, en el que se van articulando simultáneamente universidades, organismos públicos, entidades privadas, sociedad civil organizada, emprendedores y agentes de cambio.

En la medida que el movimiento va ganando momentum,  van apareciendo términos como economía colaborativa, economía circular, economía consciente, economía sagrada, economíadel Bien Común, la economía B… cada una con sus impulsores, sus comunidades y sus campañas.  Un importante hito se dio durante 2017 en el Foro NESI de Málaga, agrupando a todas estas tendencias dentro del concepto de “Nueva Economía”.

Finalmente, más allá de los apellidos y las nomenclaturas con las que se etiquete el fenómeno, es importante darse cuenta de la relevancia histórica que tiene. La revolución industrial de Londres a fines del siglo XVIII y principios del XIX no fue planificada por un gobierno ni diseñada por una política pública, ni duró un solo periodo político. Se alargó varias décadas, atravesando a varias generaciones. Fueron centenas, miles de pequeños emprendedores en sus talleres  aplicando pequeñas innovaciones que les permitían las nuevas tecnologías y sus nuevos inventos. Si bien hoy esta nueva economía de los negocios con propósito social aparece con un porcentaje marginal, en la frontera de vanguardia, son los pioneros de un nuevo paradigma que está abriendo campo para nuevas generaciones de emprendedoras y emprendedores con sentido. La denominada Cuarta revolución industrial, que hace unos años ya Peter Senge denominaba “La Revolución necesaria”, no solo estará dominada por la robótica, la inteligencia artificial, el BIG data y la computación infinita. También deberá ser circular, con propósito, colaborativa, cuidando el bien común, basada en energías limpias y con rostro humano. Es más, la cuarta revolución industrial será social –y sostenible- o no será.

domingo, 28 de mayo de 2017

¿Cómo aprender a ser una organización que aprende?

La aceleración de los avances tecnológicos en robótica e inteligencia artificial está sentando las bases de un nuevo modo de entender el trabajo. Llevamos en nuestros bolsillos  smartphones y aspiramos a vivir en Smart Cities. Son comunes en ciertos círculos los términos de “computación cognitiva”, “machine learning” o “deep learning”. Por su parte, los avances en astronomía nos han llevado a explorar la posibilidad de encontrar un día formas de vida en otros planetas. Sin embargo, me pregunto si en lugar de buscar vida inteligente en otros planetas, no deberíamos preocuparnos primero por la vida inteligente sobre el nuestro y ocuparnos en desplegar la inteligencia colectiva en nuestras organizaciones para abordar sabiamente los desafíos que enfrentamos como humanidad.

Hace algunos años, en un webinar con jóvenes líderes en el norte de Europa, el reconocido experto estadounidense Peter Senge, nos confesaba a los asistentes cómo había evolucionado en su enfoque desde “Learning Organization” a “Organizational learning”, esto es, desde la “Organización que aprende” hacia el “aprendizaje organizacional”.

Al convertirse en un concepto de moda durante los años 90, muchas empresas e instituciones deseaban ser “organizaciones que aprenden” para aparentar ser inteligentes, posicionándose como modernas y no quedarse fuera del tren de la última moda del management. Sin embargo, una difusión superficial del término, llevó a que fuera percibido por muchos como un adjetivo, como una categoría binaria que se poseía o no se poseía. O eras una “organización inteligente que aprende” o “no lo eras”. Esta comprensión omitía lo más relevante, que es el proceso de aprender colectivamente a partir de la experimentación y la reflexión individual, grupal y colectiva.

Han pasado más de veinte años y aún hoy me encuentro con frecuencia, especialmente en mis proyectos de consultoría en el ámbito educativo, el concepto aún vivo de “comunidad que aprende”. Y nuevamente me encuentro con la misma simplificación, ya sea de un anhelo percibido como inalcanzable, o bien de una declaración formal sin sustento de evidencias en la  práctica. Sin embargo, si entendemos el  aprendizaje como un fenómeno emergente a partir de la coexistencia de ciertas condiciones, este proceso puede ser facilitado e incluso acelerado de modo mucho más asequible.

Aunque pueda parecer un juego de palabras, o tan solo una perogrullada, es posible aprender a ser organización que aprende. A ser organización que aprende, se aprende en el acto de aprender colectivamente. El aprendizaje colectivo implica un comportamiento adaptativo ante los variantes estímulos del entorno. Este comportamiento adaptativo proviene de sucesivos ciclos iterativos de experimentación activa, observación reflexiva, conceptualización abstracta y aplicación práctica.

Así como un etólogo distingue aprendizaje en un animal cuando presenta un comportamiento distinto ante un estímulo del entorno, una organización aprende cuando es capaz de transformar y mejorar adaptativamente sus prácticas, sus sistemas de gestión, sus modelos de negocio, sus procesos productivos, sus estilos de relación como respuesta a los desafíos de su entorno. Para poder sentir oportunamente las tensiones del entorno –brechas entre lo existente y lo deseado- las organizaciones deben dotarse de órganos sensitivos, que pueden tomar forma de encuestas, formularios online, instancias de diálogo, focus groups, monitoreo de redes sociales, u otras instancias y canales para escuchar las necesidades, intereses y expectativas de cada una de las partes interesadas. Junto con ello, Dee Hock plantea que las organizaciones también necesitan dotarse de una estructura flexible, la mínima necesaria para poder cumplir con su propósito. En el momento en que la estructura es mayor de la necesaria, la propia supervivencia del sistema se pone en riesgo por el anquilosamiento de sus procedimientos (la esclerotización de la tecnoestructura, en palabras de Antonio Freije)

Para que las tensiones sentidas sean movilizadoras de cambios, se requiere construir una cultura abierta al aprendizaje libre de miedo, donde se valide sistemáticamente el error como una oportunidad genuina de aprendizaje  y motive sistemáticamente la experimentación, la reflexión y la acción. La construcción de una cultura con esos rasgos será resultado de un liderazgo sistémico que acoge e inspira una visión compartida, acompaña y transforma. Pero no basta con una flexibilidad estructural, también es clave la flexibilidad cognitiva y narrativa, para poder ir modificando, ampliando o reemplazando unos modelos mentales obsoletos por otros más pertinentes para el momento en que vivimos. Un alto grado de diversidad en los equipos permitiría poder distinguir oportunidades frente a las que una cultura endogámica mantendría puntos ciegos.

En el último tiempo, se han difundido numerosas prácticas de diversos ámbitos que permiten facilitar y agilizar los procesos de aprendizaje colectivo:

  • En el mundo del desarrollo de software e ingeniería de sistemas, se ha difundido durante los últimos años un conjunto de principios y prácticas ágiles, que incorporan una lógica iterativa que permite acelerar los procesos de aprendizaje grupal en el desarrollo de proyectos.
  • Desde movimientos diversos como cooperativas,  ecoaldeas y empresas sociales de la nueva economía regenerativa nos llega una versión actualizada de la sociocracia que también permite profundizar la responsabilidad compartida en los procesos de llegar acuerdos, con claridad de roles y efectividad, permitiendo el despliegue de la inteligencia colectiva.
  • En el ámbito del emprendimiento se han difundido masivamente enfoques como el Design Thinking y Lean Startup que se basan también en la iteración permanente para garantizar el contraste continuo de hipótesis a partir de evidencias. 
  • Entre quienes cultivan el conjunto de prácticas denominadas Art of Hosting, o el Arte del Liderazgo Participativo, también es común escuchar la distinción de la inteligencia colectiva como un fenómeno emergente que se evidencia cuando se propician ciertas condiciones de autenticidad, conexión con el propósito, seguridad, polinización cruzada, inclusión de la diversidad, libertad con responsabilidad, preguntas significativas y mecanismos de visibilización del pensamiento y su recolección, permitiendo a los grupos aprender juntos a construir el futuro que verdaderamente desean vivir.

miércoles, 10 de mayo de 2017

Apuntes sobre Facilitación y Complejidad

Comparto aquí los apuntes de una entrevista que me realizó mi amigo y facilitador peruano Rodrigo Arce, en el marco de su investigación doctoral en la Multiversidad Edgard Morin.

Rodrigo Arce: ¿Cómo abordas la complejidad desde la facilitación?

Pablo Villoch: 
Para mí abordar la complejidad desde la facilitación es más que una metodología, pues tiene que ver con una cosmovisión, es un modo de ser y estar en el mundo.
Existen diferentes manifestaciones de complejidad cuando trabajas como facilitador: la complejidad del cliente, la complejidad del grupo y mi propia complejidad. La complejidad se expresa desde un átomo hasta el universo.
La complejidad es algo que se incorpora en el todo el proceso de la facilitación:

 1.- El codiseño

Se parte de la solicitud de un cliente que puede ser un organismo, una empresa o comunidad (lo llamamos a veces "sistema cliente")

El sistema cliente tiene un quiebre, un problema, un dolor, una tensión, un desafío.

Se busca identificar la situación deseada partiendo de la situación actual.

A través de la escucha profunda (directa o usando medios de comunicación) se busca comprender de donde viene el dolor, cuáles son las intenciones, las inhibiciones, los no dichos, los silencios para identificar las variables claves del sistema.

Además de los discursos también se busca conocer sus creencias, valores, emociones, miedos. Todo esto es muy intuitivo no siempre fácil de sistematizar.

La principal herramienta aquí son las preguntas. Las preguntas pueden ser para entender los insumos, los productos, las relaciones, las historias, los desafíos y las potencialidades.

Una vez comprendido el sistema se puede diseñar pero es importante que se haga con el cliente (Co diseño). De esta manera el sistema cliente comienza a descubrir sus propias posibilidades, estrategias, recursos que de algún modo los externaliza con el facilitador. El hecho de reflexionar lo refuerza, lo fortalece, le abre posibilidades.

Es un proceso de acompañamiento más que de intervención.

En este momento del proceso hago preguntas sobre el propósito, la situación deseada, los entregables, los indicadores de éxito tanto cualitativos como cuantitativos. También colaboramos para que el grupo se proyecte al futuro deseado, cómo se ve la gente en su mente, sus acciones, sus habilidades. Esto nos permite identificar las intenciones en cada uno de los niveles.

En esta etapa del codiseño se van intuyendo las metodologías, técnicas y prácticas que serán necesarias dependiendo el tipo de desafío.

A veces el proceso se diseña con más apertura a lo emergente del sistema, a la inteligencia colectiva. Existen diferentes tipos de desafíos.

Diferencio si se trata de un problema claro y una solución conocida y eficaz puede ser un sistema complejo más lineal. En ese caso ya sabemos lo que hay que hacer.

Pero también puede ser que el sistema sea complejo y necesita una solución lineal para un desafío simple.

Si el desafío es difuso, ambiguo, con muchos actores, entonces se requiere una aproximación más abierta a lo emergente. Ahí aparecen prácticas como el espacio abierto, el café global, el círculo, la indagación apreciativa.  Lo emergente no solo se refiere a pensamiento sino a un estado del ser. Implica estar abierto a lo que emerja.

Cuando es más simple el enfoque es más cartesiano, una dinámica, la reflexión y la síntesis.

2.- La interacción con el grupo

Es aquí cuando uno se enfrenta con la complejidad y debe abordarla desde la diversidad de saberes, emocionalidades y trayectorias. Un facilitador cartesiano se puede perder entre tantos niveles.

Eso implica físicamente estar bien aterrizados, con los ojos, la mente y las manos abiertas.

La facilitación es ponerse al servicio del grupo en la complejidad. Para mi es clave que las prácticas del facilitador estén orientados en el servicio.

También es posible que surjan valores contrarios a los del facilitador entonces se requiere capacidades para suspender el juicio, saber enfrentar las sombras y dragones del facilitador.

No obstante, puede ser que no era lo que pidió el cliente. A veces las organizaciones y las personas están muy marcados por pensamientos lineales, cartesianos, reduccionistas, fragmentados y se anclan en juicios, en críticas a lo que consideran infantil y desestructurado. Aparece la resistencia, los temores, sea porque tratan de mantener privilegios o formas conocidas de hacer las cosas.

Dentro del evento o proceso es importante evidenciar la complejidad. Esto se puede hacer mediante pensamiento visual, legos, constelaciones, telarañas. Entonces decimos esto somos, esto es lo que nos está pasando. El sistema se sana cuando se acepta a sí mismo. Amar lo que hay, aceptar lo que está emergiendo en el sistema.  De todas maneras uno corre el riesgo de simplificarlas. Se requiere un grado de simplicidad para abordar la complejidad: simplicidad sin llegar a reduccionismo. El reto es como quedarte con los principios y el propósito sin perderte en las ramas.

Hay que tener presente que el facilitador trabaja con la conciencia colectiva como una propiedad emergente.  

Una de las propiedades de los sistemas complejos es la autoorganización. En este caso el rol del facilitador es, paradójicamente, organizar la autoorganización.

Nuestro rol es actuar como un contenedor emocionalmente seguro. En ese caso ponemos un desafío con una pregunta, delimitamos con base en ciertos principios, establecemos acuerdos para la convivencia y después sostenemos el espacio para que la complejidad haga su proceso.

Para mí un indicador central es el brillo de los ojos que da cuenta que se ha desplegado emocionalidad, inspiración, reconexión, una experiencia religiosa que nos reconecta, nos religa con nosotros mismos y el sistema. Esos ojos brillantes que indican la presencia de oxitocina, hubo cariño, amor, ternura; que se construyó algo más relevante como relaciones de confianza.

En ocasiones la gente declara que vuelve a creer en la inteligencia colectiva. Una aproximación lineal genera productos pero no necesariamente moviliza emocional y espiritualmente. En este caso el impacto es más relacional. Tiene que ver con lo emocional, con la inspiración, con el orgullo, con la alegría.

También he observado que quedan capacidades mejor desplegadas que están inhibidas en el sistema. Las capacidades tienen que ver con crearse a sí mismos, se superen barreras paradigmáticas o de actitudes de desconfianza.

Estos cambios profundos reciben diferentes nombres como desplazamiento del observador, el cambio del umbral ontológico, la transformación del ser.  Procesos facilitados desde la complejidad tienen el potencial de ser profundamente transformadores, abren posibilidades,  empoderan a la gente. Una vez que atraviesas el umbral ya no vuelves a ser el mismo.

El acompañamiento desde la complejidad hace que el equipo se sienta con sentido de apropiación y por tanto  más responsable de las consecuencias de sus actos. Se siente no sólo empoderado sino que se hace cargo de las consecuencias (accountability).

Es interesante también anotar que se sana el sistema como el facilitador. Es una relación biunívoca, de interpenetración mutua. Cuando el facilitador no se transforma termina inhibiendo al grupo.

En general hablamos de la evolución del sistema, la conciencia evolutiva del sistema. El sistema se da cuenta de sí mismo y de su propia complejidad. Cuando uno se hace consciente del quiebre se puede gestionarla y resolverla.

3.- La cosecha colectiva

El método tradicional es sistematizar de manera más positivista y cartesiana y de una sola mano. Muchas veces por eficiencia terminamos haciéndolo de esa manera.

No obstante, para ser coherentes con la complejidad la sistematización tiene que ser un proceso de construcción colectiva, que respete las propiedades emergentes.

La cosecha debe ser un proceso de construcción compartido de sentido. Devolvemos la información al sistema para que se mastique y digiera de manera conjunta, compartida. De esta manera logramos mayor compromiso con las acciones.

Hay prácticas muy sencillas que ayudan al facilitador como la respiración, meditación que ayudan a estar más presentes y abiertos. Cuando uno facilita la complejidad uno tiene que estar presente y conectado con el propósito.  

Exploring the Cultural Dimension of Strategic Sustainable Development

Comparto aquí una entrevista que me hizo Jessica Conrad, en el marco de una investigación con Prescilla Sossouhounto y Yannick Wassmer, que studian el MSLS, Master en Liderazgo Estratégico para la Sostenibilidad en el Instituto Tecnológico de Blekinge BTH de Karlskrona, Suecia.


Exploring the Cultural Dimension of the FSSD
Interviewee: Pablo Villoch
March 24, 2017

Interviewer: [6:37] We know that you’re currently located in Chile. Is this your home country?

Pablo Villoch: No. Now it’s the country that I call home, however I was born in Spain. I was born in Europe. I was born in the Basque Country in Bilbao. It is a city at the North of Spain. I was born in a family of a Basque engineer and flamenco dancer from Andalusia, which are two different cultures in the same country. So I had this intercultural sensitivity before understanding that there was a word for it. I also  was grown up in the Basque Country in a place of terrorism and political violence, but finally it’s a cultural conflict. It’s a conflict of identities—of those who feel more Basque than Spanish, and those who feel more Spaniard than Basque. Finally, it’s not a political conflict, but it’s about cultures and identities. [7:59]

Interviewer: Thank you. So you also shared your company with us, and we looked at your company website. I’m wondering if you can briefly describe the work that you do? It seems like it’s very multi-faceted. You’re using backcasting and Art of Hosting and Theory U.

Pablo Villoch: [8:20] Okay, yeah. I will try to make it brief because I […] [8:26] a lot. Yes, Glocal Minds is an intercultural network of consultants and facilitators. Our mission is to accompany the evolution of systems towards sustainability. When we say “accompany” it means facilitate, design, systematize. When we say “evolution” it means learning, development, transformation, conservation.  And when we mean “sustainability,” you know the definition of that. And “systems,” we work with universities, communities, companies, multinational SMEs, NGOs, whoever asks for help basically and can pay our services. Sometimes even if they can’t pay, we can also..we have a part that can be volunteer.

Interviewer: Nice. And is most of that work taking place in Chile, or do you also work in different countries? [9:35]

Pablo Villoch: Yeah, in Chile is our headquarters, which is this room where we do our meetings and our workshops. Today we have a workshop this afternoon. By the way, we also fly and move around Chile. To the desert, in the North to the jungles, to the Patagonia. We also go to Peru to Ecuador. Basically most of Latin American countries. We have been working in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia. And there are two emerging nodes of this network in Colombia and Mexico.

Interviewer: Colombia and Mexico, okay. Have you ever done any work in Spain?

Pablo Villoch: Yeah, in Spain, well I go to Spain every year—or every two years—just for family, just to see my parents and my brothers. My last trip to Spain just was holiday. A few years ago in the Basque—it was 2010 or 2011—I facilitated a workshop in the Basque University of Mondragon. [11:10]

Interviewer: Great, thank you. That’s helpful context and helpful just to provide a foundation for our next questions which are more related to our thesis topic. First of all, we’re hoping that, perhaps briefly, could you describe your sustainability journey for us? Is this something that you always knew you wanted to work on, or how did you get into the topic? [11:37]

Pablo Villoch: Yeah, my sustainability journey. Well, I was born in the Basque Country in a post-industrial city. I was born at the end of the 70s, and we had an industrial crisis in the 80s. So the basic source of employment in the Basque Country was the iron, steel iron industry. So when Spain entered the European Union, they suffered a crisis. My father, at the age of 45, lost his employment, and we are four brothers.

Since the age of 9 or 10 years old, I started going to summer camps. That was my first experience with environmental education through experiential learning and doing games to understand the interdependence of the web of nature. After that I remember that my brother was a Greenpeace fan, so he draw for me the whales and things like that. [13: 23] I remember that I was a child, and I had a clear idea that I didn’t want to be an industrial engineer as my father because I had heard that industries pollute. [13:37] Create pollution and pollute the environment. So that was like a triggering idea in my childhood.

After that, I had a dilemma at the age of 18 when I had to choose my studies. [14:00] So my dilemma was biology—more related to nature—and economics. Finally, I understood that if you want to change the world, you must change the economy. So I decided to study economics to understand how the world works, to understand how the economy works, to understand how business works to change from within. And in the business faculty I joined AIESEC, which is an amazing exchange student association that works on sustainability, and that was the first time that I heard the word “sustainable development.” It was 1995, and I remember that we pushed in our university. We collected signatures and support of some teachers to introduce a new subject in the university that was economics of development in order to bring those issues into our studies.

So, since that age, during my business studies, I had a foot in the business school and another foot in volunteering. I volunteered as an environmental educator, peace educator. I was volunteering with handicapped children, with elderly, with gypsy communities in the South of Spain during summer camps. So I was an explorer or the world of different social issues. [15:57]

Then, the first time I’ve heard the word “intercultural,” I was in the fourth year of my business studies. The dean of the business school, Monterrey Tech, an important university in Mexico, he was offering scholarships for an exchange program. So I had always been in love with Latin America, and that was the first opportunity to see Latin America and to explore what intercultural means. So I went to Mexico, and in Mexico I joined the hiking club, and I started climbing mountains, and I climbed my first glacier. I read that the glaciers were going to disappear, and in fact that glacier doesn't exist anymore 15 years later. [17:12]

And then from Mexico I applied for a scholarship to come to Chile with UNESCO in order to work on international cooperation. Trying to help NGOs and local municipalities to apply for funds, grants, and help them in social development issues. At that time I saw that culture was a key factor in the success of development projects.

After that, I worked for three years in organizational consulting. Basically I was an economist working with psychologists facilitating leadership and team-building workshops for multinational companies. [18:12] You know to integrate cultural change. Basically at that time, my question was not only about how to change economy, but it was also about how to change culture. So how to change organizational culture. And that’s why I started studying how to change organizational culture. Basically organizations are made of people, and people are grounded by culture.

After that, well, I forgot one milestone. After my time in Mexico, I volunteered with indigenous communities in southern Mexico, and that was also a very meaningful milestone about my encounter with “otherness,” or with other worldviews. I think that was my first experience and approach about different worldviews with indigenous communities in Oaxaca. [19:23]

And then in Chile, with this company, yeah, I started feeling again ‘the call of the mountain’—what I call the ‘call of the mountain’. And literally I went to work for three years in a mountain area in the Andes mountains close to Santiago. I was there for three years as the director of sustainable tourism in this mountain area. That was an in-depth immersion on local, territorial approaches to sustainability, on multi-stakeholder style of building a shared vision, understanding the local conflicts between the mining industry and local communities, between the ski resorts and the glaciers and the tourists and the scarcity of water the carrying capacity of the land. So that was in-depth immersion journey of three years. [20:33]

After that, well, I saw that I saw people at mining industry told me, “Hey, we are doing sustainable mining.” And the skiers and the ski tourist industry said “Hey, we are doing sustainable tourism.” So if everything is sustainable, then nothing is sustainable. I started looking for a theoretical framework and science-based definition of sustainability. I started searching for scholarships and post-graduate programs to have a more theoretical framework, and that’s how I found MSLS. Well, I applied to different programs in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, and finally I was accepted at MSLS, and we sold everything with my wife. That was a car and a fridge, and we went with my wife and our little daughter—she was nine months old—and we went to Karlskrona, and we spent one year of our lives there. [21:57]

Interviewer: Wow, that’s wild! Thank you for all of that. Really lovely story!

Pablo Villoch: Sorry, I tried to be brief, but it’s impossible!

Interviewer: No, I really enjoyed it. Thank you. So it sounds like you learned about the FSSD, the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, before coming to MSLS, and then you understood it better at MSLS. Is that correct?

Pablo Villoch: [22:23] Yeah, I basically I read some PDF documents about the FSSD, but I didn’t understand it until I was in Karlskrona.

So in that time, once I ended my time in the mountains, I went back to the city and started teaching about local sustainable development at the university. In 2008 I founded Glocal Minds, but it was in a latent state, a standby state, until we came back from Europe. That was at the end of 2010. So during the last 7 years, I’ve been both teaching in different universities sustainability leadership, facilitation, participation. I’ve been also doing facilitating process, participatory process, and also intercultural coaching,  helping  expats who come to Chile to understand the Chilean culture.

Interviewer: Oh, excellent! Well that’s right up our alley, obviously. And I wonder if you...It sounds like from your email you have been applying the FSSD in some of your facilitation work. Is that true? Are you applying it with your clients? [24:06]

Pablo Villoch: Yes, I mean, our clients don’t say, “Hey, we want FSSD!” Our clients ask for “Oh, we have a challenge. We need to build a vision. We feel confused. We are doing many things, and we don’t have a systems approach.” So I would say that I am teaching the FSSD in different universities to companies, to people who work in different companies. So I am using the FSSD as content, as a main framework or approach to  sustainability in different post-graduate programs in local universities, and also in Ecuador. I’ve been doing some workshops there. And not all of my client use FSSD. I would say that we use a lot the backcasting approach. Basically the FSSD is a strategic thinking approach toward sustainability with the principles. However if you use the backcasting approach, it’s a great strategic thinking framework for whatever problem it is. Most of our clients work on social issues, so basically the environmental principles—the first three SPs—are maybe not so relevant for them. However, reflecting on...using this backcasting approach, going to build a shared vision, and then go back and have a baseline, have a participatory co-creative process of the solutions—that’s very meaningful for our clients. [26:24]

Interviewer: Okay, great. Thank you for clarifying that. So now we have a few questions that are more related to the cultural dimension. And, just as a reminder, we’re interested in the cultural dimension because the sustainability challenge is a global challenge. When we look at it from that perspective, it really becomes clear that sustainable development will require collaboration across traditional divides. Just as we learn at MSLS.  In our initial literature review, we noticed that the link between culture and sustainability is relatively unexplored, but the literature also says that cultural values and cultural perceptions need to be considered when working toward ecological or social sustainability. So that means that people’s cultural backgrounds and worldviews will intrinsically shape how development is defined and how the future envisioned, just as you described. So uncovering the gap in the literature was part of the motivation for us to explore this cultural dimension of the FSSD and its application.

So I have a few questions for you related to that, and the first is, Can you describe an experience when you noticed the influence of the local culture on your application of the FSSD?

Pablo Villoch: [28:17] Hmm, Yes, I can. Yeah. I will tell you a story. One time, it was about six years ago in a local indigenous community in the South of Chile. It is called Quinquen community [Quinquen, Lonquimay] in southern Chile.  Their Indigenous culture is called Pewenche. Pewenche means the people of the pewen. Pewen is the sacred tree of these people. That project was executed by WWF. It was funded by the Public Innovation Agency. So the aim of that project was to build with the local community a strategic plan to develop a community-based ecotourism plan in their land. That was one of the first indigenous communities that was still officially stewarding a big piece of land with amazing valleys and forests. That was in recognition of their role in the protection of the land. [30:07] But in some ways, they have some conflicts, internal conflicts, within the community about opening to tourism or not opening to tourism.

So at that time, they asked me to help them in the facilitation of the process. One part of the process, that was how to build a strategic marketing plan within the strategic plan. So at that time, my intervention in that program was around six months. Every month had to go there and facilitate a one-day workshop, and I also spent a few days with them building trust. That’s very important. Especially with them. Especially when you are a foreigner.

So the application of the FSSD at that time… First, I will zoom in. I will “double-click” in one session when we built a shared vision. That was a workshop—a three-hours workshop—with elderly people of the community with women and with three young men. [31:57] We did it in the school, in the local school. There is a beautiful wooden building in the middle of a sacred forest. Amazing. The kids were there during the morning. We arrived sooner, so we asked the children to draw their vision. What was the community they wanted for their future. So all these indigenous kids draw the drawing, draw their place the same as it is now. So the message was very clear to the adults to say, hey, the kids of the community want a future that conserves our land, our trees, our rivers. So in that moment, before we started the workshop, we pasted the drawings at the entrance so the adults can see the drawings before starting the workshop. And we did a world cafe. We did a world cafe in order to build a shared vision. However, in that culture, women self-inhibit. They inhibit themselves to speak aloud in front of men. So we had to create a safe space for women to express their dreams. It was the same World cafe, the same questions, but at different tables. So there were tables for men, tables for women with a female host for women, and a male host for men. Because if we cross-pollinate, and if we mix them, then we could lose their voices. And in that project it was not our role to change that part of the culture. So we considered that.

I would say that during the harvesting of the world cafe, one the elders told us that from the worldview, time is not linear. Time is circular for them. So, for them, they cannot talk about future without talking about the past. For them, stewarding the peace and harmony in the land is preserving past. In order to preserve the future, you need to preserve the past. To honor their ancestors, to honor their traditions. So that’s they way they think. That’s the way their worldview is about putting first the past, and that’s why they start all of their meetings honoring their ancestors, honoring their traditions in order to preserve the future. [35:38] So basically to do a strategic planning approach in a linear way is very different. Because in some way, when you are building a shared dream, well, that shared dream is also a memory of the past. So the projection of the dream is equal to the past in their worldview. [36:08]

Another cultural aspect that was very important in that process is to involve the spirits in the process. Yeah. That’s something that no MSLS, no MBA, no master’s degree will prepare you for! How to engage, how to involve spirits in a strategic planning process, participatory process. We needed to involve the spirits. We needed to ask the spirits for permission to start the workshop. And finally, after a few months of facilitating workshops, we saw that the elders were more reluctant, were more afraid of opening the community to tourism. And the youngsters, the teenagers were more open, because some of them have Internet, some of them have Facebook. But finally, after lots of talk around the fire and having mate, which is this local infusion, they told us that what they were more afraid about. Their biggest fear is that the foreigners, the tourists, come to the forest, and they don’t ask for permission from the spirit of the forest. The spirits will be angry, and they will go away. That was their biggest fear. So, well, our proposal was what if we make the tourists ask for permission to the forest? What if we oblige the tourists to have a local guide and we put a sign out with three languages—English, Spanish, and their local indigenous language, Chedungun[38:15]—to ask for permission for the spirits? Ok! And with that condition they accepted. They were willing to accept that condition.

So I told this because in some way the FSSD is a science-based definition. It is difficult to involve spirits in that kind of science framework, scientific framework. However,  it was very meaningful for the success of this process.

Interviewer: Wow, okay well your story elicited a couple questions—some new questions. It’s a wonderful story, and it’s so helpful for our project. So it sounds like you maybe were able to do some advance research to understand some of these dynamics? Probably not the spirits. It sounds to me that that’s something you may have discovered during the process of the project. Is that true? And I guess my question really is how much can you learn about the culture in advance? Do you try to do that? And how much do you adapt your process as you’re going? [39:47]

Pablo Villoch: Yeah. Prior to going to Karlskrona, I studied post-graduate intercultural studies and local development. I had read hundreds of books on indigenous mythology. It’s something that I am personally excited about. However, I had no idea about the gender dynamics within that community. I had read about the circular perception of time, but I never faced the challenge of doing a strategic planning in a circular worldview in circular time.  I had read about the spirit. In their worldview, everything has a soul. The stones have a soul. The river has a soul. Spirit. However, I had never imagined that I should invite them to...or that I should ask for permission for that.

So, yeah, definitely maybe you can read about, but only theoretically. The most important thing during the process as a practitioner is to be open, to be curious, to be compassionate in order to understand what is really meaningful and important for them.  Basically working in sustainability is about working on what matters. And for them, spirit matters. [41:48]

Interviewer: And I’m curious about exactly how you find that out, too. Does those kinds of things emerge when you’re facilitating a big group process? Or do those things emerge more in one-on-one conversations? Or is it really dependent on the situation?

Pablo Villoch: [42:07] Yeah, I think it’s very intuitive. I would say that especially...I don’t know in other cultures, but Latin American cultures are cultures of informal conversations. Much of the process is built through informal conversations, one-to-one, in small groups. Then in the workshop you prepare the scenario to make it formal, however most of the “cooking” process is previous to the kitchen. You need to pre-cook the process, and that means a lot of informal conversations with communities, gaining validity with informal leaders. Especially with indigenous communities, they have a distributed leadership. So they have a leader for spiritual issues, a leader for conflicts, a leader for strategic things. So it’s important to build trust with all of them.

Interviewer: Thank you. So my next question, it sounds like you’re primarily using backcasting to do this visioning, but I’ll still ask this question, which is are there specific elements of the FSSD—whether that is backcasting or the sustainability principles—that require special attention when applying the framework in different cultural contexts?

Pablo Villoch: Yes, especially in a continent as South America where there is a social awareness about social issues. This continent has some of the most unequal countries, where the divide between the poor and the rich are huge. In terms of the order of slides, I put the social principles first. I haven’t changed my slides yet. Are you still using the social human needs approach? With Max Neef?

Interviewer: Yes.

Pablo Villoch: Yeah, I’m not using Merlina’s principles yet. I will soon change that slide. And I use Neef’s needs, because Manfred Max Neef is Chilean. As he is from Chile, Chileans feel that they have a local connection. So I would say, yeah, putting social first. I know that social and environmental are both important and intertwined, however in this country it’s important to put social first and then environmental. It works better. I faced some resistance when I put environmental first. The environmental principles first.

What else is important to consider? Yeah, the wording is quite scientific. “Systematically increase of blah blah blah substances”. When you put it into Spanish, it’s very scientific. It works for an academic context. Tt works for a corporate context. But if you are working with NGOs, with grassroots movements, you really need to be very visual, be very pedagogical, try to avoid technicalities. I would say put it into street language. I would say that, yeah, the idea of the FSSD is to engage people, to empower themselves, to collaborate, to build a better future. If we create a very scientific jargon, and we cannot speak the local language, then you create a divide. The idea is to bridge those divides, not to create separation.

Interviewer: Great, thank you. Have you noticed any impact of culture on the way people understand sustainability or engage in the process of the FSSD?

Pablo Villoch: Yes. I would say, for example, Chile. Chile is a country where every year we have earthquakes, big fires, floods, and we are having them more and more because of climate change. Well, there is no evidence of the correlation between earthquakes and climate change yet, but Chile is a country of plenty of natural disasters, or human provoked disasters. For example, what is emerging in some conversations in places like Chile, we need to focus more on resilience, on collective resilience, on territorial resilience, on organizational resilience. Here in Chile, to be sustainable, in order to sustain your business, in order to be sustainable, we are exposed to so many disasters that here in order to be sustainable you need to be resilient first. So I’m starting to explore the connections between sustainability as an approach that prevents damage, and resilience as an approach that assumes that damage will come, [49:20] which is the case of this country.

What else in terms of impacts. Well, especially in Latin America, there is like a green bias. When you talk about sustainability, people think green, people think environment, and people are blind about the social dimension of sustainability. People still see a tradeoff between environment and society, and they don’t see it as interconnected. [50:00]

What else? And also, yeah, especially most of Latin American countries, their economies are based on extractive industries. Latin America is a continent that extracts raw materials, such as oil, wood, fish, fruits, and vegetables, and exports to the world. Especially Chile is a main producer of copper. Half of the Chilean economy is copper. In order to extract one kilogram of copper, you need to destroy one ton of mountain. [50:54] I would say that in most of these extractive economies, there is extractive culture. That’s not about take, make, waste. It’s about take, take, take. Take and export. Take and export. And even we say that Chile exports copper and imports copper wire. Exports wood and imports furniture. Chile exports paper and imports books. So all of the added value is created somewhere else. So there is not local industries. Basically the local industries are focused on extracting and taking raw materials from the earth’s crust. So when we start talking about the first sustainability principle, you can see the “grunt grunt grunt” the movements in the seats in the audience. Because it’s something that deeply puts them in a discomfort zone because you are telling to their face that the economy is not sustainable.

I remember that I shared this concern with Kalle, and he told me, “Hey, talk with them! They are smart, they are intelligent.” Yeah, I’m still struggling with that. I think working with mining companies...I would say that culture, not only national culture, but also organizational cultures it’s something we need to work with. Because organizational cultures are based on worldview, and I think that is something we need to understand. Because especially with local governments, they say “Hey, we need to extract today the copper, because that’s how we’re funding our public free education for all.” So they use the extractive speech in order to justify their social expenses. [53:23] So, yeah, I think there is still a lot of work to do.

Interviewer: Well, I think in this most recent response just about the different elements of Chilean culture that may be challenging to work with as a sustainability practitioner to the unexpected cultural elements of the indigenous community—whether it’s gender dynamics or working with spirits—you’ve encountered a lot of challenges as a sustainability practitioner! I wonder, based on all of that experience, what leadership qualities and/or competencies you feel are necessary for working in different cultural contexts?

Pablo Villoch: Wow, I love that question! [54:13] Yeah, definitely. Leadership qualities in order to work with sustainability in diverse cultures. Definitely, first, awareness. Self-awareness of your own biases. It’s a paradox because you can only be aware of your own biases when you are exposed to a different culture. Asking yourself about your own culture is like asking a fish what’s the color of water. That’s impossible because water is always there. A fish of sweet water will not realize that sweet water—I don’t know if that’s the technical word—will realize that sweet water is not the universal water until this sweet water fish goes to the sea, and it finds the salt water. So whatever we think is natural is cultural, and whatever we think is natural is natural until we notice that it’s cultural. We can only notice that when we face the other, when we are immersed in another culture.

So, first. Leadership qualities. Be aware of your bias. So that means travel. Travel a lot. Question your own beliefs. [56:08] Your own worldviews. Be open to that. Another quality I would say is empathy. Not only emotional empathy, but cognitive empathy. Worldview empathy. It’s about not only connecting with the emotions of people, but also connecting with their worldview—with their way of thinking about what matters to them, how they see the world. What else? I would say that could be named as cultural sensitivity.

Yeah, what else? It’s something that the experts call not only intercultural dialog, but also inter-epistemic dialog. Have you heard about that?

Interviewer: No, can you say a word about that?

Pablo Villoch: Epistemé is a greek word that is to do with “epistemology.” That is the way we know. The way we know what we know. So last year, I co-facilitated a workshop with some academics and scholars with the indigenous intercultural university whose mission is to “interculturalize” the academic world. They are introducing...they are infiltrating indigenous wise people in the faculties of different traditional universities. So they say that they want to go beyond intercultural dialog. They need to have an inter-epistemic dialogue because it’s not only about Chilean culture or European culture, it’s also about holistic worldview and scientific worldview. The scientific worldview has this bias of mechanistic, positivistic, rationalistic way of understanding things. Indigenous worlds are more open to validate intuition, non-linear knowledge, or spiritual tradition as a valued way of knowing. So for them...So inter-epistemic could be like faith, spirituality, religion dialog with science. That’s also inter-epistemic dialog. Inter epistemic dialogue: It's a dialogue between different ways of knowing...
(I recomend to read Boaventura de Sousa Santos, a portuguese sociologist  who created the concept of  "Ecology of knowledges", where scientific rationale knowledge can be in dialogue with community embedded common sense... "Decolonizing knowledge to distribute power") http://www.boaventuradesousasantos.pt/media/Introduction(3).pdf


Interviewer: Wow, what a great concept! I’ve never heard of that before. Thank you for introducing us to it.

Pablo Villoch: Yeah, maybe it’s something you will not read about at BTH. [laughing]

Interviewer: Yeah. [laughing]

Pablo Villoch: Yeah, engineering and mechanical faculty.
Interviewer: Yeah, probably not. Oh, that’s great. Thank you. [laughing] Kind of along the same lines, I wonder what advice you might give to a practitioner of the FSSD who is preparing to work in a different cultural context for the first time?

Pablo Villoch: What advice I would give to someone who is?

Interviewer: An FSSD practitioner who is preparing to work in a different cultural context for the first time?

Pablo Villoch: Yes, perfect. [1:00:13] Maybe this is something that your advisors would not like. Who is your advisor?

Interviewer: Do you now Pia?

Pablo Villoch: No, no I don’t. [laughing]  I have no biases. My advice—with a lot of love to the MSLS tribe and BTH—is forget FSSD! I mean...first, build trust. First, listen genuinely. First, ask questions that matter. First, connect with people. First, be humble. Be generous. And then, once you have been working with people, and you have been building trust...maybe this is my own bias because Latin American cultures are very relational. Because Latin American cultures put relations first. Whereas when you first build relations, you build trust, then you can make business. In other cultures you first make business, it’s more transactional. Then once you build trust after the business, then you build a relationship. [1:01:58] However, that’s what I could say.

In order to be successful as a FSSD practitioner, be humble. Be curious. Ask questions. Ask questions that matter. Be appreciative. Yeah. Ask people what matters for them. If they matters their family, their business, or their future, then you can say “Hey! I have an amazing Swedish methodology that can work for building a shared vision within sustainability principles.” I think that’s that. Don’t put your FSSD first. Put people first. Put their feelings first. I think that’s a more cultural sensitive advice I can give. [1:03:04]

Interviewer: Thank you. So then it’s interesting to ask you this next question, which is if there’s something that you would change or maybe add to the FSSD to make it easier to translate to different cultural contexts, what might that be? [1:03:23]

Pablo Villoch: Yeah. It’s something that I’ve been doing myself for the last seven years, and it’s something that MSLSers have been doing through their thesis projects. I see that people have been using...that have been combining...I would say that we were pioneers in our thesis. We used the Theory U as a methodological framework for our thesis, so I’m always combining Theory U with Art of Hosting with FSSD. And I see that last year’s theses have been working on it. I saw some theses with The Weave, with the Lotus [1:04:23]. They have been doing a great job combining it. So I probably know how they work with it. It has been evolving. I see that it’s also evolving. I would say that in the Five Level Framework (5LF)...for me the 5LF is a lens to observe, to understand. But it’s very important to understand that there is an observer who observes through that lens. So from my understanding it’s very important to draw...to be explicit about the observer who observes through the lens of the 5LF to see the system and this arrow and the vision and the principles. Because the observer is the one who is embedded on culture. The observer is the one who has mental models, who has beliefs, values, awareness, consciousness, faith. So in some ways, as the FSSD is more in the rich field of natural science of biology and oncology, the observer is a blind spot [1:06:05]. So, yeah. I think that my main suggestion to change how the FSSD is being taught is about including the observer. Because it’s to recognize the subjectivity of all these parts [1:06:24]. I remember that Goran Broman showed in one of the first lessons a slide with a  spectrum with two poles (objective approach, natural science vs subjective approach, social science) and situated the FSSD closer to the first pole [1:06:42] He recognized that the FSSD is much closer to the worldview of natural science, assuming that there is a real world outside of us and we can measure it. However, when we work with culture, culture emerges from inter-subjectivity sciences. So the intercultural encounters, intercultural meetings, the cultural communication are intersubjective. So it’s important to be aware. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the observer, because it’s the observer who has this bias. And finally, if we are talking about leadership, leaders are people. Leaders are people who are grounded, consciously inserted in cultural contexts. Does that make sense?

Interviewer: Yes, it does make sense. I’m so grateful that we’re talking because I feel like a lot of the lessons you’re sharing are things that I can take with me when I leave MSLS. So thank you! It does make sense to me.

And actually that’s a good segue because my next and actually last question is what advice do you wish you would’ve received when you were preparing to apply the FSSD for the first time?

Pablo Villoch: I ask you to repeat the question, please.

Interviewer: Yes. What advice do you wish you would’ve received when you were preparing to use the FSSD in a different culture for the first time?

Pablo Villoch: [1:08:50] I think it’s the same. I would say, be patient. Be patient because your clients will not ask you to apply the FSSD, the framework. Be patient. Be connected. Create your own tribe. Especially if you are in a country or in a city or in a region, where you are one of the only crazy guys or people who spent one year in Sweden, and you are part of that Swedish mafia, you are the only one in your city or your country or your continent. I’m thinking of your mate Prescilla, for example. If she comes back to her country, don’t feel that you’re alone. There will be many moments of loneliness. You will feel like a prophet that is bringing some prophesy. You feel like praying alone in the desert. So be prepared for that, and the way of being prepared for that is build your own tribe. Invite people to follow, to work with because I think that sustainability leadership is for brave people. It requires courage and all the words that you know for that: braveness, value, courage. So, yeah, in order to be persistent and courageous, it’s important to feel part of something bigger. A network, a community, a conspiration. So for me, yeah, that could be the main advice. Be patient. Be wise. Don’t feel alone. You will feel alone, but you are part of something bigger. We are part of the world transition team.

Interviewer: The world transition team! I love that. [1:11:56]

Pablo Villoch: Be aware that we are a part...I don’t know how many MSLSers there are now, but we are part of the same team. And we, this generation who are living on the earth now, regardless our culture, regardless our backgrounds, we are a part of that. It’s our role. It’s our challenge. And we need to have some sense of urgency, and also historical patience. Yeah.

Interviewer: Yeah, well, thank you! It’s been such a nice experience doing these interviews because we’ve gotten to have connection with people who are part of the world transition team out in field. Thank you so much for all of your anecdotes and your stories. Is there anything else that you’d like to add that we didn’t talk about, or that I didn’t ask you?

Pablo Villoch: [1:13:10] No, I only want to thank you. You and all your team. Say goodbye to Prescilla... Big hug for the next steps in your thesis. I know it can be challenging, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel!