Sunday, October 26, 2008


The client wants to encourage collaboration amongst his associates. We design the day to lead them gently to the point where they have an opportunity to form teams. The closer we get to the point where they might start to form them, the more we veer away from the possibility and the less fun everyone has. Now, don't get me wrong - the day was a success and everyone seemed to have an engaging, valuable time. Just that the outcomes were subtlely different from expectations, and the client learnt as much as the delegates, if not more. Some embryonic alliances did form, but 'off-line'; mentoring relationships sprang up and many made new contacts that seemed to be of no immediate business benefit.
I'm now thinking that this was another, albeit gentle, indication that objectives and emergence are mututally exclusive. In this case, the emergent properties (including some pretty critical feedback for the client) were not surpressed by objectives, but the reverse could so easily have been true.
So next time I'll be advising clients to temporarily suspend their need for outcomes and deliverables in favour of the unexpected - on the basis that one is real, the other is fantasy.