Planting, Watching, and Building, II

I’m publishing this post a bit later than usual in the day because I spent the morning responding to two (somewhat unexpected) pieces of (at least potentially) good news.  As I did so, and as I did some household tasks before that, I kept thinking about the themes of planting, watching, and building that united my experiences in New Orleans … and I kept thinking, too, about how those themes have played out in my recent work.

A Facebook friend asked me a great and very logical question: “What exactly are you building?”  He also could have asked “What have you planted?” or even “What exactly are you watching … or watching for?”  One of the things I learned about design thinking from my new friends at 4.0 Schools is that you often don’t know exactly what you’re building when you start.  You see a need, talk to people, discover that the need is real, and build something … but that something will probably change significantly from its first prototype.  When we started on this journey, I thought we were building a set of stories that could serve as extensive reading, along side a 20th-century textbook, and a set of characters and situations that our subscribers could use to build their own stories for each other.  That’s still at the core of the Tres Columnae Project, but we also had to build a community.  And as that community has grown, we’ve seen other ways to use the project materials and other things we needed to build into the project.  I’m pretty sure a similar process will occur as we actually build the Three Column Schools.

As I talked with my new friends at 4.0 and at OSBG last week, I discovered that they’d undergone a similar process.  Both groups started out with a vision, planted the initial seeds of that vision, and watched as a community began to form and grow.  In turn, the community members had their own needs and concerns.  So while the vision stayed constant, the details of what was built had to change.  And unlike 20th-century organizations that resist such changes, my new friends were able to embrace them and keep building.

What do you think?  Where are you in your own process of planting, watching,  and building?  And as a member (or potential member) of the Tres Columnae community, what do you think we need to build next?

quid respondētis, amīcī?


Published in: on August 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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