A couple of weeks ago, one of my Clean Language buddies, Adrian Goodall, sent me a link to a You Tube video called “Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant” (click the picture, left, to play). He sent it to me because he knew that, many moons ago, I was a maths teacher, and I still have a love of maths. And he was right to send it because I was riveted to the spot as I watched this incredible display of mathematical thinking that highlights the fabulous patterns in cones and flowers and artichokes. Part 2 is now available, and I can’t wait for part 3. As someone on You Tube has commented, whoever would have thought there could be a mathematical cliff-hanger?!
Permaculture is the practice of working with, rather than against, nature, in order to optimise the output from any piece of land. For example, by observing its natural resources in detail, practitioners are able to design an allotment to minimise weeding and to maximise yield. And although permaculture principles are derived from nature, they can be applied to all kinds of living systems, including business and community design.
Charlotte has been taking a course on permaculture, one weekend a month, for most of this year – and in talking about it, we’ve noticed that there are a number of similarities between permaculture and Clean Language.
When I read an article in my Toastmasters Magazine about a new presentation style called Pecha Kucha (Japanese for ‘chit chat’), which involves making exactly 20 slides, and delivering them in exactly 20 seconds each, I was intrigued and decided to give it a go. The particular appeal of Pecha Kucha for me is the fact that it's based on two simple rules. I love the idea that just by following simple rules we can make something different – and sometimes very creative - happen.
How can we create a workshop that's 'clean' (i.e. attempts to not give people our models, theories, ideas, suggestions, advice and metaphors but instead creates experiences that enable them to learn from themselves and others) AND which has a distinct topic?
This is the challenge Penny Tompkins and I set ourselves when we first conceived our Discover Your Assertive Self workshop - and it took a LOT of thinking about. We were so tempted to add in a few pearls of wisdom, and to talk about our favourite models! We had to be strong for each other when one of us made a 'let's tell them' kind of suggestion. We had to notice what assumptions were going into activities we were designing. And we had to acknowledge that it was impossible to make no assumptions at all. Even the name of the workshop has an assumption or two: that everyone has an 'assertive self' for example, and that it's possible to 'discover' it.
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