On Monday, September 15, 2014 I invited the guests of A Caring Economy Conversation in SLO to explore the work of Riane Eisler, the Caring Economy and Partnership Culture through the lens of Appreciative Inquiry. Everyone there was an involved, caring community member. Gracious friends prepared lovely desserts, helped with set up and clean up, and photographed the event.
Walk With Me
I began my presentation by encouraging the participants to see this evening as a journey that we would all take together into a beautiful, inviting, but unknown territory. Through the use of a slide deck, projector and interactive experiences, we partnered with one another to learn about the Caring Economy.
Once we stretched, introduced ourselves and set some agreements, next came the introduction of Appreciative Inquiry:
...focus on the best of what is, in order to imagine what could be, followed by collective design of a desired future state that is compelling, and thus does not require the use of incentive, coercion or persuasion for planned change to occur.
...the most important insight we have learned with AI to date is that human systems grow toward what they persistently ask questions about.
These ideas inspired us all to become explorers and to dive in with curiosity.
Play Games, All Sorts
I included a number of physically interactive segments, as well as giving guests many opportunities to share their thoughts and stories. They were up and out of their seats a number of times and the conversation was full and rich.
- Collectively, we created a physical model of the three types of wealth.
- We played Jeopardy to learn more about Gendered Traits.
- Everyone assessed where the various aspects of their lives land on the Dominator/Partnership Continuum.
- One lucky guest who volunteered to invest $1 in children, right there, on the spot, received $17 in return!
What Came Next
The knowledge that the Caring Economy is already happening and that they are a significant part of it gave attendees a new way of seeing themselves and their lives. I've received comments that a number of them are starting to use these models to talk to others in their community. There's interest in continuing this conversation and in creating more ways of connecting. One attendee remarked that this event had brought a lot of joy and light to what could be a very difficult topic.
I invite you to check out more of the story on my blog, as well as my other work that aligns closely with the Partnership Culture concept.