In2:InThinking Network
In2:InThinking Network Newsletter   June 2008

Good morning from the San Fernando Valley in southern California (home of our P.O. Box) and welcome to the long-awaited next edition of our monthly newsletter, filled once again with good portions of thought-provoking features, all designed to keep our members thinking and gaining insights on the actions that will follow.

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

As always, this edition was prepared monthly by volunteers of the In2:InThinking Network. Content comes from volunteers, in service to our fellow members.  We invite you to further develop our network by sharing this newsletter with friends and colleagues.

Click either link below to submit the name(s) and email address(es) of anyone you would like to have added to this mailing list, or let us know if you would like to be removed.


In2:InThinking Network Newsletter Team

(Link here if you're having trouble reading this newsletter.)

PS - Don't forget to check out this month's special DVD offer at the bottom of the newsletter.

Welcome First Timers
Your names have been added to our mailing list by virtue of your attendance in our series of Thinking Roadmap seminars, workshops, and overviews, or attendance at the annual In2:InThinking Network Forum, or through a personal request, from you or a friend. Welcome to our thinking network.
Partner InThinking - Society for Organizational Learning
SoL In this feature, we highlight a Partner Organization of the In2:InThinking Network. We believe the resources of these organizations will expand your thinking about thinking.  This month we are featuring the Society for Organizational Leaning, SoL.
We first featured SoL in June 2007.

The Facts:  SoL is a nonprofit global membership organization dedicated to creating and sharing knowledge about fundamental innovation and change. An outgrowth of the Center for Organizational Learning at MIT, SoL was co-founded by Peter Senge, author of the groundbreaking bestseller, "The Fifth Discipline", in 1997. 

How does your organization compliment the In2:InThinking Network?   SoL is an intentional learning community composed of organizations, individuals, and local SoL communities around the world. A not-for-profit, member-governed corporation, SoL is devoted to the interdependent development of people and their institutions in service of inspired performance and meaningful results. SoL serves as a space in which individuals and institutions can create together that which they cannot create alone.

Link here to find out more about SoL on our website.
Member Profile - Shel Rovin
Shel Rovin and grandson EllisEach month we interview members of the In2:InThinking Network to get their perspectives on a variety of questions. This month we asked Shel Rovin (left, with grandson, Ellis, at our 2008 Forum) and George Sereno (below) to provide their insights.  

The Facts:
Live in Philadelphia; spend much time in LA spoiling grandchildren and working with Bill Bellows. Do a lot of writing, some teaching at the Wharton School of Business and some consulting. Some of my passages involved Oral Pathology, Educational innovation, Dean of a Dental School, manging executive education for healthcare people, and having as much fun as I can while doing the above.
In2:IN Forum Attendance: 2007 and 2008, both by invitation; Thought Leader for OD sessions in 2007 and 2008.

Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment. Both young people and adults actually learn better if they decide what to learn rather than being told what to learn.

What book(s) are you reading now? 
On the Wealth of Nations--P.J. O'Rourke; Descartes' Error --Antonio Damasio;
A People's History of the United States--Howard Zinn; The Laws of Simplicity- John Maeda

What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable?  Fooled by Randomness--Nassim Nicholas Taleb

What advice do you have for people new to the In2:InThinking Network?  Don't pay attention to anyone who WANTS to give you advice--find things out for yourself, and try to have fun in the process.

Contact Shel by email at

Member Profile - George Sereno
George (center)
The Facts: Ex-Nuclear Reactor operator, Computer systems hardware and software support engineer for Digital Equipment, Marketing Engineer for Honeywell IAC Global Network Services program, Manager and Consultant to industry.  (George is sitting between Jon Bergstrom (L) and Bill Bellows (R))
In2:IN Forum Attendance.  In which years, if any, did you attend our Forum and what inspired you to attend?  I have not yet attended a Forum but will in the near future.

Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment: I am and have been a systems approach manager and advocate strongly for the systems approach in all of my personal and consulting efforts.

What book(s) are you reading now?
Four Days with Dr. Deming, by William Latzko; The Deming Management Method,  by Mary Walton; and The Change Agents Handbook, by David Hutton

What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable?
Four Days with Deming is very special.

What advice do you have for people new to In2:IN?
Join in and participate. We in America are in trouble but we have the way out. Let's use it and In2:IN is an excellent resource.

Contact George by email at
Book Review - Community
Title: Community: The Structure of Belonging
Peter Block
Berrett-Koehler Publishers
240 pages
Marcia Daszko

Peter Block and Berrett-Koehler Publishers have produced a critically important book that provides a great venue for opening more conversations about transformation, community, purpose, and authenticity. Most powerful are the questions that Peter poses!  Specific answers are not necessary.  What is critical is that the questions help people explore the purpose of community, the methods to achieve greater community, the transformative power of the conversations we, as citizens, need to embrace. 

With a common purpose (Dr. Deming would smile), people who are committed together can create a new future and be the catalysts for new thinking and actions for healthy, interdependent communities that work, play, learn and live together-rather than those fragmented ones we currently experience. Peter's contribution is delivering a masterful work of exploration, a guiding tool for new thinking, and an opportunity for citizens to commit to creating the kind of communities we want to live in.  His overall premise includes shifting our conversations from problems of community to possibilities of community and also transforming the isolation within our communities into connectedness and caring for the whole.

Community is full of stories, examples, operational definitions, systemic thinking, methods, strategies, and questions!!!  Community invites the readers to bring our individual and collective gifts to the community.  Community explores profound concepts with unique perspectives and "the Peter Block conversational style"-and style it is!  The six various methods for conversation offer a path to explore creating an interdependent community collectively. Community offers a lengthy list of resources to support the transformational path for great commitment for community.

While Peter Block's book is easy to read and understand on one level, it will not be a book that does not impact how we think and hopefully act differently, as we explore one of Peter's questions, " What is the new conversation that we want to occur?
Moving From OurEarth to OurSpace
The Earth from space...1946
On January 12, 1920, Robert Goddard, a physics professor at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, awoke to read his name in the headline news of the Boston Herald, "New Rocket Devised By Prof. Goddard May Hit Face Of The Moon."  While pundits detracted from his vision and challenged his appreciation of Newton's Laws of Motion, this first "rocket scientist" quietly moved from designing solid rocket motors to designing liquid rocket engines, all the while maintaining a vision of moving the prevailing thinking from "Earth to Space" (leading to the first photo of Earth from space, shown above, and taken in 1946) and setting the stage for today's conversations about "OurSpace," the final frontier.

Link here to find a recent article about this "Misunderstood Professor" in the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine.  Link here to a recent Time magazine tribute to Robert Goddard, who, along with Bob Dylan, Rachel Carson, and Eleanor Roosevelt, was among "The Time 100", some 90 years after his name was first heard outside
of his small circle of physics peers.
Thinking and Thanking Outside the Usual Box
Rosie the Riveter
A soon-to-be-completed museum in Richmond, California was commissioned by the city of Richmond in the 1990s to honor an estimated 18 million women who worked in World War II defense industries and support services.  What is most striking in a recent National Public Radio (NPR) report is feedback from a real "Rosie," Agnes Moore, who was "anxious to contribute to the war effort."  Upon learning of her former role later in her life, she was thanked by a sailor who served in Quadalcanal for saving his life.  How systemic of both the sailor and Agnes to think and thank outside of the usual those elsewhere in the system.   Link here to listen to this recent NPR interview with Agnes.
Rethinking the Size of the Box to Save Energy and Buildings
Kevin Daniels

Kevin Daniels (shown at left), a Seattle real-estate developer, is rethinking the size of the standard box size in his efforts to preserve an historic church in downtown Seattle.   According to Daniels' estimates, 80 billion BTUs of energy was expended to build the historic church, including energy to extract and manufacture the building materials.  In a recent Seattle Times interview, he said that "all that energy goes to waste...Plus you create 4,000 tons of debris...and still more energy to get rid of it."  In all, he claims that "it would take 65 years to recover the amount of energy that went up in smoke with the building's demolition."  Link here (and follow to the middle of the column) to learn more about Kevin's efforts to expand the size of the standard sustainability box.

More Losses to Society - Flight Delays
Flight delay map
A recent Congressional report claims the total cost of domestic air-traffic delays in the US is a mere $41 billion. So much for Senator Everett Dirksen's "a billion here, a billion there," this is real money.  Sadly, most of these delays are  due to systemic congestion problems and not weather or time spent removing your shoes, or laptop, for inspection at the airport metal detectors.

Follow this link to read a recent news report and learn why this situation is destined to get worse, unless we engage in thinking that expands our boxes.

Hospitals...Heal Thyself
Stanford nurse
In recent news, hospital administrators at Stanford are looking for suggestions for how to "remove six cents from every non-labor operating cost dollar."  The news from Stanford is that great progress is being made ($14 million in savings to date) and the Vice President for Clinical Services and the head of the Value Analysis Steering Committee, Jerry Maki, realizes that this "is not a one-time project." 

A test of this appreciation will be the degree to which the savings from the "improvements" are realized to not be additive, as Russ Ackoff would remind us, but rather be seen as systemic, and, therefore, non-additive.

Link here to find the news report from Stanford Hospital & Clinics.
On the Road Again...
John Pourdehnad
Organizational Dynamics faculty member, John Pourdehnad (left, wearing his In2:IN polo shirt), recently went to Bulgaria as a Fulbright Senior Specialist to work with the school of management at the New Bulgarian  University on the project of creating the Design Center and facilitating the redesign of the master's program in Organizational Excellence.  On Tuesday, June 17, he presented a special Dinner Lecture at the University of Pennsylvania, explaining the complex and intractable problems faced by countries evolving from centrally planned economies to free market economies, as well as additional complexities created by European Union membership and global competitors, all in the space of a very few years.  The talk, entitled "Bulgaria in Transition:  Training a New Generation of Managers for the Turbulent World" explored the challenges faced by emerging economies that now must meet the specifications of the European Union as well as global customers such as the U.S. and Russia, while social, cultural, and sometimes technological development remain at a relatively primitive level.  The Design Center intends to provide a forum for using transdisciplinary teams to meet these challenges. 

Link here to download one of Johnnie's lectures in Bulgaria and this link to access his presentation at UPenn on June 17th.
Jungian Junity
Carl Jung
"The causalism that underlies our scientific view of the world breaks everything down into individual processes which it punctiously tries to isolate from all other parallel processes. This tendency is absolutely necessary if we are to gain reliable knowledge of the world, but philosophically it has the disadvantage of breaking up, or obscuring, the universal interrelationship of events so that a recognition of the greater relationship, i.e., of the unity of the world, becomes more and more difficult. Everything that happens, however, happens in the same "one world" and is a part of it. For this reason events must possess an a priori aspect of unity, though it is difficult to establish this by the statistical method."  So said Carl Jung.
Changing the Size of the System...(to include competitors and save €£$)
UK lorry drivers
In a case of strange bedfellows, Tesco and Asda, as well as Coke and Pepsi, are partnering in the UK.  Call it a slight adjustment to their otherwise ultracompetitive natures.  What could cause such an attitude of sharing?   Nothing but a higher calling, a desire to reduce costs; specifically fuel costs in their distribution systems.  Follow this link to a recent Marketplace radio story on this turnabout.  What's next...sharing equipment, ala Dr. Deming's story about his neighborhood gas station owner, who was willing to share his tow truck with his competitor, all to better serve their customers.
Pegasus Conference
Pegasus Communications
From launching a new operations center in record time to eliminating polio worldwide, how can groups come together to create new realities rather than replicate the status quo? Join in for this year's Pegasus conference in Boston to explore what distinguishes a transcendent performance from a merely excellent one-and how we can work together to produce an outcome greater than the sum of our individual contributions.

Download the conference flyer for more details...

Save $300 when you register now for two and a half days of unparalleled learning.   Link here to register today.

Teams of 4 or more pay even less. Call for details at 1-800-272-0945.

Keynote Speakers: Betty Sue Flowers, Adam Kahane, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Atul Gawande, Peter Senge.
Transforming My Space In2 OurSpace Using Thinker's Thoughts
Shel Rovin
We continue this month with Shel Rovin's reflections on "What organizations can learn from nature." To our first-time readers, this column started with an offer to Shel to write a "monthly short, emphasis short, piece as part of the monthly newsletter." Previous editions, including parts 1-4, plus Shel's agreement, can be found online at this link.


Part 5.
Nature builds (complexity) from the bottom up through self organization, not top down as in an organizational hierarchy.

All individuals are colonies of smaller individuals (cells) which are made up of non-living bits.  These smaller bits were the first to develop in our evolutionary history-they slowly incorporated themselves into cells which then later became multicellular organisms.  Our ancestors were microscopic, wriggling creatures similar to what we now call bacteria and their ancestors were bits of self-replicating molecules.

Before a single plant or animal appeared on the planet bacteria invented all of life's essential chemical systems. They transformed the earth's atmosphere,  developed a way to get energy from the sun, developed the first bioelectric systems, invented sex and locomotion, worked out our genetic machinery, and learned how to merge and organize into higher collectives.  For example, the development of the eye, a highly complex structure, required the prior development of photoreceptor cells, an optic nerve, a transparent lens and a cornea.

Link here to read the rest of Shel's column.  
In Search of a New President  
Pegasus CommunicationsWhile those of us in the U.S. prepare for John McCain and Barack Obama to go "toe-to-toe" and "head-to-head" during the home stretch to the White House this fall, our friends at Pegasus Communications are also looking for a new president.  In doing so, they have asked us to spread the word of this job opening throughout our network.  A complete description of the position and of the hiring process is available at   For those members looking to make an extraordinary difference in the world, this may just be an ideal position for you.
Growing Inside the Box...
Watermelon in a box
While we have a great appreciation of the impact of working inside of a Red Pen Company (i.e.,
Deming's prevailing style of management) box, who would think to grow watermelons inside of a box?   Link on the photo above to find out.

What's next, square wheels?
Ongoing Discussion Preview
Looking ahead to next month, the Ongoing Discussion (OD) will feature Ariane David as our Thought Leader on July 14th and 15th.  Her topic will be the subject of her keynote presentation from our recent Forum - Thinking Outside the "I": Moving From MySpace In2 OurSpace.

Follow this link to register now

The formal "OD" announcement for Ariane's appearance will be released on July 7th.

And, if you missed last month's OD sessions with Cyndi Lauren and Craigmorningstar, or would like to listen to them again, the audio files from these sessions are posted
on our website at this link.  Their subject was "The Rudolph Factor."  
For those readers not already on the OD mailing list - click below...

Add me to the OD list
Ideas to Ponder...
"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
Thirty-fifth President of the USA

"Any frontal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always ready to defend their most precious possession - their ignorance."
Hendrik Willem van Loon
Hendrik Willem van Loon
Duth-American Journalist and Lecturer
Ackoff's Blog...
Check out the Ackoff Center Blog for the latest feedback on Russ Ackoff's last book, Management f-Laws and news on the 2008 Russell Ackoff Doctoral Student Fellowships.
Russ Ackoff
In addition, follow this link to download the mp3 files from our "OD" sessions with Russ in January.

You might also be interested in a Sri Lankan article which quotes Russ on the link between poverty and terrorism..."The basic problem that spurs terrorism is mis-distribution of wealth within a country. The challenge is that we don't understand how to close that gap that makes matters worse."  Link here to Russ's 2002 presentation on this topic.
Deming Learning Network
Thought Provocation of the Month
Gordon Hall
Courtesy of Gordon Hall of the Deming Learning Network in Aberdeen, Scotland, here is this month's thought provocation;

Employees in the public sector before they can seek a meeting with their elected representatives (MSPs or Councillors) are required to adhere to procedures, going up through the hierarchy.
It is the same in the opposite direction. Our elected representatives have restricted access to public sector employees. They, too, are required to go through the hierarchy.
Does the hierarchy manage the information that is fed through to our representatives and leaders?
Where is the trust? Where is the belief in our people?
Maybe a lot of people think that this is how it should be - but how do we create a learning and innovative society if communication is centrally controlled?

2008 Forum DVD
In2:InThinking Network 2008 DVD
For the sixth year in a row, we contracted with Kid Flix, the after-school video services team at Placerita Junior High School in nearby Valencia, CA to videotape the entire  (weekend) conference portion of our upcoming Forum.  Once again, the Kid Flix "CREW" will be led by Paul Kass in recording the conference footage, which will be converted into our final DVD package by Dave Nave & Associates.  The package of 10 presentations, including the after-dinner entertainment by taiko group On Ensemble, sells for $150.  To order the 2008 DVD set, as well as packages from 2005, 2006, and 2007,  follow the link from the DVD image above.

We are also pleased to announce our first-ever DVD set sponsor, Haines Centre International, as the underwriter for our videotaping efforts in 2008.   Special thanks to Steve Haines and his "Forum Partner InThinking" oganization for supporting our network efforts with a generous donation.
Donate to the In2:IN
Our network efforts are enabled day-by-day, month-by-month, and year-by-year by  civic-minded volunteers whose contributions include a passion for making a difference, coupled with ideas, time and energy.   Together, we are working, learning, and thinking about how we can foster and inspire "better thinking for a better future" and what this effort enables individuals and  organizations of all shapes and sizes to do differently.

Contributions to our network also include financial support from our members, coupled with the proceeds of our annual Forum.   Towards this end, please consider contributing a tax-deductible donation to the In2:InThinking Network, which is charted as a 501c3 non-profit organization.  Your donation can be towards our general fund (to support the website and newsletter), or towards scholarships and financial assistance of future attendees of our annual Forum.
Contact Bill Bellows for additional information on how to contribute.
Join Our Mailing List
Save 36%
Members of the In2:InThinking Network are invited by Bob Mason and Clare Crawford-Mason (of to purchase volumes 3-5 of the Deming Video Library (Corporate Leadership, Adoption of the New Philosophy, and Communication of the New Philisophy) at a sale price. Instead of the standard price of $110 each, network members can purchase these volumes for $70 each, for a 36% discount. Follow this link to find information on these videos. Use this link to place your order and reference this limited offer. Special thanks for Bob and Clare.
Offer Expires: July 31, 2008
Save 20%
In addition to a recurring discount on the Deming Video Library, members of the In2:InThinking Network will also receive a recurring discount (20%), on Russell Ackoff's Management f-Laws.  Enter TP20 in the promotional code field at the checkout and our friends at Triarchy Press will apply the discount.
Ackoff's f-Laws
Regular offer to members, beginning June 2008
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