Sustainable Business Learning Community Conversations, Nov 2015 - Dec 2015
Sustainable Business Conversation, December 17, 2015 Topic: 2015 Review
Looking back at 2015: Thoughts from the group on our Thursday meetings and other stuff!
- There is a synergy discussing things in a group.
- Everything is a sharing. We are always in abundance.
- The group thinks together.
- Different people bring new perspectives.
- A mistake can illuminate what’s needed.
- Asking the quiet people to speak if they want to, is important.
- This group is a non-convergent dialog. People can take away what they need and what is valuable to them.
- Kimberley: In other groups I take part in there is somethimes a big issue (elephant in the room) that is being ignored while people stick to a set agenda. Also, people tend to take things too personally. This can be hard to tolerate and is unproductive. I want to improve leadership in that other group. I have a sense that something more healthy is possible.
- Dealing with change is kind of awkward. I’m starting to identify what I want to do in my business. I want to become more comfortable doing design. It’s better to do things one at a time. Honest feedback helps a lot.
- How can a theater company impact the community beyond the art itself? On the one hand there are no answers – yet there are many answers. Shared learning is powerful for a group to go through. Process is important. Set a direction without a definitive answer or goal.
- Starting with a nugget of an idea, doors open and things change.
- We are like a think tank.
- We are different but agree on important things.
- You can learn a lot by listening to others and letting it fly.
- Trust the process.
- I leave here a different person than when I come in.
- There is a sense of safety on this bus.
- Idea: write a love letter to your business. Where is the path to follow? Why is this your seed? Give the letter to trusted other people and reflect on what they see. Within myself – what do I love? How can I make a living with it?
- Linda: I needed new energy in my life – and I found it at Green Garage. Everybody feeds my soul. There is an opportunity to be excited about change. Everybody is valued and listened to. Many people put up fences – but less so here. Sometimes I need to get re-energized – so I go to the cottage.
- Stephen Covey talks about scarcity and abundance. Scarcity requires building fences. Abundance is better. Don’t compete with another person. Is there any reason we all couldn’t win?
- Trust and safety are basic to a healthy commons.
- Work steadily toward what you want to attain.
- Be grateful.
- You don’t know who can help you.
Sustainable Business Conversation, December 10, 2015 Topic: Ideas for the El Moore Gardens
El Moore Gardens: Tom asked for ideas related to the new spaces under planning and construction at the corner of Alexandrine and Second, next to the El Moore. This is a green space at an urban corner (see Frances Grunow on the power of urban corners). Tom describes:
- The old water tower from Dalgliesh Cadillac will be transformed by an artist to create the entry to the fenced garden area.
- A kiosk for posters and notices will be located outside the fence.
- Inside the fence will be a small building with four faces that will include a stage, food service places, other spaces and restrooms.
- There might be pergolas with vines growing on them to create shade.
- The fenced area will be open to the public at certain times and closed at other times.
- The idea is to create a place at neighborhood scale that offers playful learning for children of all ages.
- The theme is how to live sustainably in an urban environment.
- Alumni of the Cass Corridor will be invited to take part, with their spirit of creativity and activism.
- An extremely creative and caring group of elders live and work in this area.
- We hope to nurture makers, since Detroit is a city of makers.
- Could we make things that are directly connected to the earth?
- This project needs a sustainable economic engine and should not be reliant on grant funding.
Some ideas from the group:
- Rent space for group picnics or weddings
- Hyde Park speakers corner – with soap boxes for speakers
- War of the grandmothers – debate on an issue
- Demonstration project for Mason bees
- Info-graphic with history of the site and the water tower
- A senses tour of the garden (taste, touch, smell), with labeled plants
- Visit from a petting zoo
- Place-based learning that connects the environment to health
- Games – chess and mancala
- History night, with cultural partners
The abundance of Detroit is inspiring. There is more work to be done on the identity of this space and project. Themes include culture, community and communication. Begin with a conversation and tell people your ideas. Don’t be afraid someone will steal your idea. Start with an identity, which anchors you. But don’t be limited by that identity, keep adding on and enhancing ideas. Keep lists of ideas – there may be too many – you have to start somewhere . Need to re-energize periodically.
Sustainable Business Conversation, December 3, 2015 Topic: Edges in a Multi-Cultural Context
- Detroit is a culturally diverse city – like New Orleans. We need to learn about different cultures - Lifelong learning is part of being sustainable.
- Some people have a lot of walls up and refuse to change. Every major civilization that has fallen had previously closed itself off to new ideas. Being closed off can lead to one’s own destruction.
- Think of a diverse city as a salad bowl, not a melting pot. We want to value ethnic and religious diversity and not become one big blob of sameness.
- In a multi-cultural society, we can still retain our identity and yet have permeable edges – open to new ideas and change.
- To retain your identity, you need to know yourself to start with which is not always easy. An actor needs to know him or herself in order to be able to portray a character. You may need to dig deep sometimes.
- Traveling and experiencing other cultures teaches us that you can’t impose your own values on others, a lesson that can be applied even within our own communities and through our work.
- Observe but don't judge. Remember that It’s OK to ask basic questions.
- Do some homework - try to learn about the people who populate the "edges" or beyond of your business.
- Susan talked about CISV International (formerly Children’s International Summer Villages) who works with a group of students and leaders to build trust before sending them abroad. As people get to know each other more, prejudices and stereotypes are challenged and broken down.
- Language is an expression of culture. Korean agencies want translation services but may not be aware that there are many varieties of English. These include International English, US English, British English, Australian English and more. Film actors in the 1930s and 40s were trained to speak English with a mid-Atlantic accent (blend of British English and US English). How we speak can really identify us to others. Some concepts don’t really translate from one language to another. Translators need to be careful not to change the meaning of something.
- Having a good understanding of cultural differences is really important - and helpful! In Korea, for example, it is normal to tell someone that they need to lose weight. In the US, this would be terribly offensive. Different cultures also think about time differently. Some are really strict about punctuality – and other cultures are fine doing things mañana. Putting together an international supplier network – you need to find out who tells the truth, who delivers on time, who charges a fair price.
The culture inside a business is important. In a large firm there may be multiple cultures in different areas. Quicken Loans talks about their culture and ideals. Their ISMs book has good ideas about how to manage a creative company – although some think it may be overly zealous.
- If you have a dream and write it down – it becomes a goal.
- Someone who makes beautiful earrings may see herself as just a crafter – but really she’s an artist. You have to get beyond the point of being fearful and talk about your ideas. Fear can block you from opening up and having permeable edges.
- What is money? Money is a tool to get something done. There is a lot more equity in Detroit than just money.
- When big powerful people get too much power, bad things happen.
- Julian: Moving from the US to Chile at age 9 was the best thing that ever happened to me – although it was hard at the time. Having a different point of view – dealing with culture shock – lots of learning happened.