conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

A Word, Please: Convening Strangers to Discuss Your Future

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Oliver Escobar and the So Say Scotland Project

I can imagine a future where the panhandler seeks attention rather than money. But maybe that is already the case. After living in the inner-city we made deliberate decisions about when to give money. But even if no money is forthcoming, just acknowledging a person asking for help is something—as uncomfortable as it feels. And with attention flows different kinds of help, which could also include money.

A word isn’t a dollar. But a word is another sort of currency—and maybe a word is an even more powerful unit of exchange.

Conversation is an Engine tries to tell the story about the stuff that happens when we talk. Decisions get made. Direction gets set. Organizations set out on missions. We learn something from our interactions and see how to move forward. Words are a powerful exchange that moves us forward.

I’ve been a fan of what Oliver Escobar and his colleague are accomplishing in Scotland. In their “So Say Scotland” project, they’ve drawn Scots into conversation around the question of what a Scottish democracy should look like in 25 years. This is conversation writ large and it seems there is much to learn from their techniques and their outcomes. The notion of “deliberative democracy” for one thing might be worth pursuing. I’ve also been intrigued by Escobar’s course “Creating impact through dialogue.”

But I dare you to watch this seven-minute video and then say regular folks cannot be brought together to imagine a different future.


Written by kirkistan

September 10, 2013 at 9:58 am

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