Imagination, intuition … and small steps?

by Dina on March 7, 2009 · 7 comments

in Life,Stuff

Interesting thought from Euan and all the folks who’ve left comments at his post. Quoting, almost in full:

One of the challenges for those of us who believe that we are at the beginning of a very significant period of change in how we see ourselves, our societies and our businesses is how to imagine what the future will be like. Having grand schemes and megalomaniac designs seems out of place with something that is in essence personal and intimate.

Part of me believes that we will get somewhere worthwhile if each of us takes the small steps that seem to make sense to us and that in aggregate these small steps will achieve something significant. The other part of me believes that this will confine us to thinking small and achieving less than we could and that without some inspiring, grander and more comprehensive vision we won’t make much difference at all.

This ties in with concerns I have about making things happen in a world where making things happen is associated with old values and ways of thinking. How do you bring about significant change using conversations, influence and sticky ideas rather than command and control and grand plans?

This is something many of us are struggling with especially as we head into an uncertain future.  Many many I know and love are facing real and immediate problems with the recession. I’m more fortunate but I do find I’m having to re-think how to get more clients doing research and ethnographies, as work is slow, for the first time in over 10 years of running my own company.  It’s also making me re-negotiate my next 10 years especially after meeting the most extraordinary folks from all over the world that I met at the Info-Activism camp and I feel such strong tugs to go in that direction.

As with Euan, I’m conflicted about how to go about all of this. I’m a firm believer in small steps but without imagination and intuition, I fear they may just be limited.  Just thinking aloud … can imagination help us frame our grand visions, and perhaps intuition drive us into taking the small steps required to get there? Will each step then provide the momentum for the next one? How does the rational mind cope with these when we are facing the barrel?

Maybe it’s good to just Keep Walking as Manu suggests.  And talking, as I did with an ex-colleague and fellow qualitative researcher just last evening. I feel secure enough to do this within the safety of the several networked communities I live in. As does Ken Camp when he says, in the context of Unified communications:

So which is more powerful?

  • A network of some major players representing potentially large single points of failure?
  • A mesh of small players all connected and intelligently routing around failures?

For me the answer is crystal clear. The power is in the mesh.

Which ties back beautifully into the thought Euan leaves us with:

How do you bring about significant change using conversations, influence and sticky ideas rather than command and control and grand plans?


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shefaly March 7, 2009 at 11:43 am


Interesting questions which are pertinent for many whose numbers will grow in the next few months, I anticipate.

Your question: “How does the rational mind cope with these when we are facing the barrel?” made me think immediately that in fact, only a rational mind will cope with uncertainty well.


Because a rational mind remembers that economies are cyclical, that amplitudes of troughs may vary but it will recover into a crest, that we cannot control time but we do control what we do with it, that we may not have thought deeper about the skills we have not had to use when times were good, that fear is that it is just another name for uncertainty.

Spoken rationally, of course, but you and I have had long conversations about this so rationally, I expect only you -and a handful of others – to understand 🙂

2 Yusuf Kirmani March 7, 2009 at 7:08 pm

It,s pity. We all are living in uncertainty. I don’t know much about all this. But I am feeling uneasy.

3 Chris | Intuition Zone March 8, 2009 at 9:30 am

I used to have a lot of conflict about my intuition – it always told me to do things that didn’t make sense… after a decade of not listening… and getting into trouble, I finally learned to pay attention. 🙂

In my experience, I usually hear my intuition the clearest about very very big things. So for me, intuition often causes jumps, leaps, and bounds moreso than incremental improvements. There’s still the little clues that keep me moving along.

How this relates to change in the world?

I don’t try and hide my intuition. When I feel intuition, I let other people around me know what’s going on – especially if it’s leading me to make big life decisions that others are concerned about.

In other words, I lead by example. I let others see that intuition doesn’t have to be feared just because it’s misunderstood.

The less we hide behind intuition, and the more we bring it to the forefront of our lives, our conversations, and the experience that *OTHERS* have of us, the more others will begin to see its value and give intuition a try.

4 Russell Small March 10, 2009 at 11:20 am

There is nothing wrong with having grand plans if that is the nature of the SELF. The problem is when grand plans are created out of the EGO. We are coming to the end of the ego and entering a time where using our imagination and intuition will become natural skills that we honor once again. Thanks for the interesting post and for starting this dialogue!

5 Praveen March 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Personally believe that this so called recession is the greatest thing to happen as it provides opportunity to rethink a few fundamental blocks of life that we so easily take for granted. There is providence in calamity, we only have to see it.

6 Dina March 11, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Shefaly, I do I do :). Cope with uncertainty I understand. Cope with Imagination and Intuition??

Yusuf – you’re not alone in feeling uneasy. Trust and believe it can only get better.

Chris and Russell – thanks very much for taking the time to share your perspectives!

Praveen – to see it and then think about how to face it, not right now alone, but also in the future

7 Jo March 15, 2009 at 10:11 am

Kiaora Dina, thank-you for visiting my blogs and leaving such filling (fulling, fulfilling) words of peace…I also went and checked out the full article and it is very beautiful.

I’ve had a look through your website and there are so many sides to you as well! Your work sounds really interesting and amazing at the same time!

I don’t think that you came to my session on indigenous communities at Sukabumi but I talked about an exhibition project that I am working on for indigenous people around the world and part of that project is to create an online community where indigenous people can share conversation and stories about colonisation and the effects that loss of land has had on their communities.
The main objectives of the exhibition are to:
1. give indigenous people a voice to tell their stories through moving image, photography and artforms and
2. for these communities to move forward and look at solutions.
3. educate the rest of the world on indigenous peoples, our histories and our cultures.

It has been quite an organic amazing process and Sukabumi was very much a part of this project for me. Over the next 3 years I will be doing a lot of travelling!

I’ve mentioned it to you because I have been researching what might be the best way for these conversations to take place online as another way to connect and share these many indigenous communities around the world in addition to visiting different places and giving communities the tools to share their own stories.

I could go on forever to share more of the project with you but would love to know your thoughts on this and in your experience what is the best way for these conversations to take place.

Info-activism would have been amazing especially with so many different people from around the world sharing their stories.

Thanks Dina, so cool to connect with you on Twitter too!
Jo 🙂

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