In2:IN Newsletter
In2:InThinking Network March Newsletter


Check out our calendar of events. And, while you're at it, download our 2007 Screen Saver, hand-crafted for your desktop by members of this year's Forum Planning Team.

This newsletter is prepared monthly by volunteers of the In2:InThinking Network. Content comes from volunteers. We invite you to further develop our network by sharing this newsletter with friends and colleagues.

Why settle for the prevailing style of thought? Be a leader. Improve your thinking about thinking.

2007 Forum Announcements

Registration is now open for our Sixth Annual Forum!
Anyone interested in improving the effectiveness of individuals and organizations will gain a deeper appreciation of leadership and systems thinking from our annual 6-day Forum.  Past attendees reflect a wide variation in backgrounds - which is always a highlight of our event - and as such we have confidence that our program will continue to be valuable to anyone interested in "better thinking about thinking." 

The cost of the Forum is $350 per person.  This includes all pre- and post-conference seminars and workshops, conference presentations and activities, materials, and meals (dinner on Friday, continental breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, and lunch and dinner on Saturday).

Pre-Conference Activities (no charge): Thursday and Friday, April 12th & 13th
Conference Activities ($350 per person): 4pm, Friday, April 13th through noon on Sunday, April 15th
Post-Conference Activities (no charge): Monday and Tuesday, April 16th & 17th

Member Profile - Damian Duxbury
Damian with his dog
The Facts
Run my own training & consultancy business called FutureThinking Associates Ltd, for last 5 years. Spent 15 years before that working for Marshalls Plc. last 7 of those years spent working as a development advisor, this is the time I learned all about Deming's System of Profound Knowledge (
SoPK) and spent 7 years trying to apply it.

Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment.
Over the last 12 months or so, there has been a gradual a-ha moment for me. It is the crystallisation of some thoughts over the last few years - it is this - I have found the biggest areas of weakness for people trying to apply Deming are a poor ability apply systems thinking, coupled with poor thinking skills. This is where my future focus will be.

What book(s) are you reading now?
Currently re-reading Fritz - "The Path of Least Resistance
", and Idries Shah's book "The Commanding Self"

What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable?
Dennis Sherwood's book "Seeing the Forest for the Trees
" - explains systems thinking & the tools for developing causal loops diagrams very simply and clearly.

What advice do you have for people new to In2:IN?
There is a lot of knowledge within the network - make full use of it to help you clarify and challenge your own reasoning - but always make your own mind up.
Member Profile - Kelly Brantner
Kelly BrantnerThe Facts
Currently residing in Beijing, PRC where I working for Rutgers University marketing their Executive MBA in Beijing and Shanghai. In addition to work, most of my spare time is spent exploring the city and of course learning to speak Mandarin.

Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment.
Living and working in Beijing is full of "a ha" moments almost on a daily basis. One of the biggest lessons learned lately is that when communicating with local staff you have to be very careful how you phrase a question because sometimes a "yes" answer actually means "no". Communicating clearly is critical here.

What book(s) are you reading now?
"The Inheritance of Loss
" by Kiran Desai. Spring Festival is a week long celebration here so my last few books have been fictional and just for fun.

What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable?
"China Shakes the World
" by James Kynge. Another interesting read if anyone is looking at the Chinese market is "One Billion Customers" by James McGregor.

What advice do you have for people new to In2:IN?
Take advantage of the opportunity to meet and network with individuals from different industries and backgrounds through groups like In2:IN because you can learn so much from their experiences.

Request for Information...
With my new role at Rutgers, I am quickly discovering that executive and corporate training initiatives as well as how decisions are made is different from my previous experiences in Canada. I am hoping to find a few individuals here in Beijing that would be willing to talk with me further about the HR and training industry here.  Any referrals or ideas from the members of the In2:IN would be greatly appreciated. Email Kelly
if you have more information on HR and training in China.
Book Review
Solving Tough Problems
Solving Tough Problems: An Open Way of Talking, Listening, and Creating New Realities

Adam Kahane
Publisher: Barrett-Koehler
Length: 132 pages
Reviewer: Jon Bergstrom

dam Kahane's new book, "Solving Tough Problems", provides important information we can use in dealing more effectively with our most complex problems. He uses his profound experiences in facilitating the transition out of apartheid in South Africa, the peace initiative process in Guatemala and many other dramatic stories to tell how he learned that we must find a new way of talking and listening if we wish to solve tough problems without force. This includes the everyday tough problems we all face at home and at work.

These problems are tough because they are often complex in three ways:
  • They are dynamically complex, which means that cause and effect are far apart in space and time and so are hard to grasp from first hand experience.
  • They are generatively complex, which means that they are unfolding in unfamiliar and unpredictable ways.
  • They are socially complex, which means that the people involved see things very differently, and so the problems become polarized and stuck.
He notes that there are two ways to try to get a complex problem unstuck. The first is for one side to act unilaterally, to try imposing a solution by force or violence. The second opportunity is for the actors to talk and listen in unconventional new ways in order to find a way forward together.

Most conventional approaches to solving problems emphasize talking, especially the authoritarian, boss or expert, way of talking: i.e. telling. This approach works for deciding between already created alternatives, but it does not create anything new. The additional element that is required to create something new, which is ignored in most conventional approaches, is listening.

Open listening is the basis for all creativity-in business and engineering as much as in politics. If we listen in the normal closed way, for what is right and what is wrong, then we won't be able to hear what is possible: what might be but is not yet. We won't be able to create anything new.

He describes four different ways of listening, as outlined by his partner, Otto Scharmer:

a. Downloading - Saying what is in our heads and what we have always said. When we download, we are deaf to other stories; we only hear that which confirms our own story.

b. Debating - When we debate, we listen to each other and to ideas objectively, like a judge in a debate or a courtroom. When we download or debate we are merely exhibiting and reproducing already-existing ideas and realities. We are not producing anything new, and we are not being creative.

c. Reflective dialogue - We engage in such dialogue when we listen to ourselves reflectively and when we listen to others
empathetically-from the inside, subjectively.

d. Generative dialogue - In generative dialogue, we listen not only from within ourselves, but from the whole of the system.

How can we solve our tough problems without resorting to force? He notes that the answer is simple, but it is not easy. We have to bring together the people who are co-creating the current reality to co-create new realities. We have to shift from downloading and debating to reflective and generative dialogues. We have to choose an open way over a closed way of talking and listening.

I believe that you will find important new assistance in better understanding every complex situation. You will also learn his ten suggestions to help us talk and listen when we face our next tough problem.

Deming Learning Network -
Thought of the Month
Deming Learning Network

These items are contributed by Gordon Hall of the Deming Learning Network in Aberdeen, Scotland.

1. Our Education System fills students full of information, which is often out of date, and tests our ability to regurgitate that information. While, in this very fast changing world, our need for the future is for individuals to take in new concepts and information - i.e. we need a learning ability.
This focus on our learning ability is the background to
Feuerstein's theories of "Structural Cognitive Modifiability" and his "Mediated Learning Experience." It is opening out a whole new vein of thinking in context of educating our children.
And what is great news for Scotland is that in the Scottish Borders they have been introducing these concepts with very significant success - Our education system is moving forward. - The Times Educational Supplement has an article on this project.
"We cannot do what we want to do, and cannot know why we cannot do it" (Walter Shewhart)
This is a difficult sentence to take in, until we start to think it through. The basic message is that we live in complex environments way beyond the limits of our knowledge. Unfortunately most of our organisations are managed as if they are simple entities controlled by the hierarchy. How much more effective we would be if we recognised this complexity and then enable the total intelligence of the enterprise to address its multifaceted and interrelated challenges.

Partner Events and Resources

Deming Transformation Forum 2007 ~ Creating a Culture of Innovation

22, 23 & 24 May 2007
3 days of the year that will change the other 362!

Come to the Transformation Forum 2007 and learn about the key disciplines underlying every successful transformation. It is this perspective and knowledge that focuses the people and change activity and enables the whole organisation to work successfully together. Don't blame the tools ~ get the knowledge.

So what is transformation? A transformed organisation will have a profoundly different approach to managing its processes, its people and its relationships. It will understand its customers in a new way and will use an understanding of variation to learn, innovate and drive lasting improvements. It will confront and challenge leaders, managers, staff and ultimately the entire business culture. The new mindset will raise the organisation to a new richer level, and enable it to stay ahead.

Over 3 days you can learn the principles of the Deming Management method and hear amazing international thinkers and practitioners.

In This Issue
2007 Forum Announcements
Member Profile - Damian Duxbury
Member Profile - Kelly Brantner
Book Review
DLN - Thought of the Month
Partner Events and Resources
OD Preview
Ideas to Ponder...
Making a Difference...
Quick Links
Ongoing Discussion Preview

The Ongoing Discussion (OD) for March will feature Andrew Johnson of Miruspoint in Vancouver, BC.

On Thursday and Friday, March 22nd and 23rd, Andrew will engage us in a dialogue on the topic of "Creativity Beyond Thought."

This month's OD announcement will be released on or before Friday, March 16th.   

For those readers not already on the OD mailing list - click below...

Ideas to Ponder...

Myron TribusIn 2002, we hosted our first
Forum and invited
Myron Tribus to be our opening keynote speaker. 

This month's ideas to ponder come from several of Myron's papers, including one he prepared for our inaugural Forum.
(He has so much to offer, we cannot use just one quote.)

For starters, from the collection of Myron's papers on the
Deming Electronic Network (DEN), we have...

"When you stop learning, you stop living"

To this we have a few of Myron's thoughts from his
Forum 2002 keynote address:

A 1960 quote from David Packard, one of the founders of Hewlett-Packard:

"I want to discuss why a company exists in the first place.  In other words, why are we here?  I think many people assure, wrongly, that a company exists simply to make money.  While this is an important result of a company's existence, we have to go deeper and find the real reason for our being.  As we investigate this, we inevitably come to the conclusion that a group of people get together and exist as an institution that we call a company.  Now they are able to accomplish something collectively that they could not accomplish separately - they make a contribution to society, a phrase that sounds trite but is fundamental."

Myron closed his keynote address with this remark...

"I fear that in this conference you will focus your attention on new ways to measure these individual [ROI] aspects of the management system.  But they are not separate issues, to be dealt with as though separate.  If you develop new measures for the different characteristics of the system, they will be as useless as the ROI.  You will be generating figures by which to manage and ignoring the things which really matter, which will remain unknown and unknowable."
Making a Difference from Where We Are...

Jane Lorand was the Thought Leader for Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's Ongoing Discussion conference call in November 2006.  Her "Green MBA" program is the subject of a recent

Check out the Ackoff Center Blog for the latest feedback on Russ Ackoff's latest book.

You can find a number of insightful articles from member Ernst Glauser and colleagues on the Swiss Deming Institute website.

Sheldon Rovin, our
February Ongoing Discussion Though Leader, will be speaking on Transformation Leadership at an Institute for Management Studies (IMS) session in Seattle on March 20th.

Read this article
on "Challenging the Toyota Way: How to 'Think Global and Act Local'" found on the Seeking Alpha website.

Member Richard Clar, our
Forum brochure artist in 2005 is looking for
help with suggestions on how to gain access to space for a small space memorial he is creating.  Contact Richard if you have any suggestions.   Visit his website for examples of his space artistry.
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