I'm undertaking the U Lab programme sponsored by Scottish Government. Angie Meffan-Main who is coordinating the programme invited me to write a blog post on the experience so far. Here's my reflections....
Half-way through the U Lab programme it's too early to report on outcomes. We're currently sitting at the bottom of the U.
Instead I reflect on the origins of The Melting Pot Hub in Edinburgh and some of the questions that are arising for me as Host. Maybe these questions will resonate with others.
Hubs are a feature of the U Lab programme and bring the learning alive. They're self organised and connect people by virtue of special interest or locality.
Since the independence referendum and probably long before, people in Scotland, whatever their political affiliation, seemed to be searching for something different. It was nebulous but palpable.
If change is so 'wanted', does this mean that the journey to the 'something different' will be easier? Less fraught?
When the conditions are right and the political will is there, will change happen more fluidly?
These are some of the questions that have emerged for me.
The Roots of What's Gone Before Are Still Growing
Otto Scharmer describes the dance between the security of the familiar and fear of the unknown as the complex interplay of 'Presencing' and 'Absencing'.
Dayna Cunningham's contributions as a guest speaker during week 3 of U Lab were particularly powerful. Using a tree metaphor to describe her experience of campaigning against racism, she reflected that you can chop down the tree but the roots continue growing unseen for years to come.
Liken the roots to the behaviours that support the status quo and you get a sense of why planned change can be problematic. The roots of what's gone before are still there to trip you up.