Facilitating conversations that matter and groove: CMM as a dialogic approach and method

Facilitating conversations that matter and groove: CMM as a dialogic approach and method

Inspired by Difference logoFacilitating conversations that matter and groove : CMM as a Dialogic OD approach and method, illustrated by Jazz metaphors (with live played music examples) was the title of our (Eerika Hedman-Phillips and Rik Spann) creative jam session on the 9th of May in Amsterdam. At the Organizational Development Network Europe conference, we offered the audience a low-key but hi-sophistication (yeah !) introduction to this thing called CMM. Our goal : making the audience even more curious after our show than it was before the session. It worked.

The conference (logo above) was called Inspired by Difference. From many angles and perspectives we all explored what OD was, is, and could be in our future. The whole thing was very inspirational. Our contribution added its own specific flavour to the conference gumbo. Some twenty people (there were many parallel sessions) were invited to our story in a small cafe-like place, with couches to hang on, a bar in the back and even some jazz vinyl and an LP player in the other back of the room. An informal vibe in tune with the setting of our story.

The essence of CMM in less than one hour? We didn’t even try. To use an analogy with a music festival: it’s about the music, not about the full message. Some weeks before the conference I went to the fabulous Motelmozaique Festival in Rotterdam. The festival is renowned for the really creative and imaginative blend of experimental, independent acts (music, art, theatre, film) that present a taste of their work. The atmosphere is informal, very well organized and respectful. The audience at the concerts is listening deeply to all that emerges. From very soft and tender soundscapes to roaring walls of rumble & roll. Inspired by difference. Co-learning in action. The musicians interact with the audience while ‘jamming on the ambience’. Rewarding the depth of the listening with high quality impressions of whatever it is that their takes on a well-sounding universe might be like. Friendly earworms from another planet.

After the concerts, the audience leaves the room refreshed, inspired and, yes, renewed. Looking for more seeds for organic transformation of their perspectives and paradigms. Where can I buy an album of these great artists? Where can I find their stories, sounds, adventures? How can I be part of the jam?

In our session at the ODNE conference we used a loosely structured mix of words, slides (beautifully crafted graphics by Eerika) and sounds to invite the audience to our CMM-universe. After the show they came up to us (some rock stars stay very approachable…) , asking questions, being curious. Some books lying on the table (works from Barnett, Kim, Ilene, Beth and some jazz and music sources). They scanned, made notes, asked questions, while in the background Miles Davis still provided the soundtrack. Intriguing stuff, folks ! What is this thing called CMM? Where can I find more stories, sounds, adventures? How can I be part of the jam? What is life and work like on planet CMM ?

A jazz album normally lasts about forty minutes. We only had a few minutes more. It was enough to give a taste of our story. It surely was not enough to Spread the News in ways that do honour to the value of it. But well, every friend of the family or ambassador of our groove might be moving towards making that difference that makes the difference. Inspired by difference, the cool and funky way.

And, in line with the gratitude and ethics that are part of the jazz experience : Eerika, thanks for jamming ! Already looking forward to the next gig. Other players that want to   jam along: the session is open.

Rik Spann, Amsterdam, June 2019

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