How do we get from Here to There? Transition: from Crisis to Resilience. I am suggesting that: 1- as a group of practitioners with so many techniques, methods, tools, the strongest, smartest position we could present to the Open Government initiative would be to create and infrastructure, a matrix which organizes the the various technologies as to when they are effective/appropriate, for whom.
The question we can address is: Where is There where is Here? "There" being Open Government-(participatory, self-organizing, self-reliant, resilient groups/ communities/ cities.) "Here," is where we start the process by considering the social climate, emotional states, skill level of the groups. Are they in Crisis or chaos or creating Security or Proactively coalescing in groups to work together or Resilient, self-organizing communities.
For example: A group in Crisis is not the best social setting for full participation dialog. People would need a more directed, tight, not too many, if any, choices, open ended processes. They could be very well supported by strong clear, simple visual graphics to direct people for what they need for survival and getting grounded. On the other end of the spectrum, when groups have good dialog skills, organized infrastructure and are more self-reliant, you would want social technologies to set a context for deepening their ongoing self-organizing. For resilient groups, highly directive technologies and structures would be resisted as not appropriate therefore ineffective.
The infrastructure/matrix could be a simple 4 stage approach. Some of the offerings could span all four stages, if it can be tailored to accommodate the stage of the population they are serving. eg. Open Space process would be designed very differently for a group in the crisis stage than one in the resilience stage.
2- Skills such as emergency response, dialog, deliberation, facilitation skills, Non-Violent Communication, various leadership knowledge.... could also be placed in the infrastructure matrix for the optimal stage for learning. Resources would be made available; books, research, webinars... to support learning.
3- We, in the field, facilitators/OD/coaches, knowing more about these offerings than Gov., would serve the project with a higher level of expertise for sorting out what can be done, when.
4. Infrastructure would also support scaling up or down. So many of us are single practitioners or have small orgs and associate with each other more in more of a network than a large company form. If we self-organize in a way that the Gov can easily utilize our knowledge of the field to contract with, we could get on the ground and engage quicker. (I think several of us are already doing and this suggestion could refine it to another level)
5. The basic 4 stages (Crisis, Security,Proactive, Resilient) are evolutionary therefore fluid and organic...groups/people can move backwards and forwards many times. It can also serve as a kind of curriculum.
6. We would have to work on developing, among other things;
-Assessment criteria for the Groups needing services, perhaps teams of Assessors;
-Gathering proposals & suggestions for each stage;
-Tracking results & stories from implementing various training or interventions
-Making the four stage definitions and criteria available for Managers, facilitators, OD, HR, and others