Effective organizations require both tactical and strategic thinking as well as culture building. The culture is the setting within which the vision takes hold. 

2019-02-23T10:32:58+00:00
Effective organizations require both tactical and strategic thinking as well as culture building. The culture is the setting within which the vision takes hold. 
Morally coherent design practice requires an inner ear, tuned to the stories not told and the fears not expressed.

2019-02-23T10:18:14+00:00
Morally coherent design practice requires an inner ear, tuned to the stories not told and the fears not expressed.
Incidentality is a profound statement. Things have a language of their own, one that nobody notices is being spoken. 

Smith, 2016

2019-03-02T02:49:01+00:00

Smith, 2016

Incidentality is a profound statement. Things have a language of their own, one that nobody notices is being spoken. 
When I change, the rest of the world changes.

Herda, 1999

2019-02-24T03:11:46+00:00

Herda, 1999

When I change, the rest of the world changes.
Stories keep an organization or community alive—in all the messy, unpredictable, unmanageable, amazing ways people can be alive.

2019-02-24T03:08:44+00:00
Stories keep an organization or community alive—in all the messy, unpredictable, unmanageable, amazing ways people can be alive.
Organisations are human social systems, sources of unlimited relational capacity, created and lived in language.

2019-02-24T03:01:54+00:00
Organisations are human social systems, sources of unlimited relational capacity, created and lived in language.
If you’re feeling nervous, that’s a good spot to be in.

2019-02-23T10:09:09+00:00
If you’re feeling nervous, that’s a good spot to be in.
Seemingly innocuous coffee-based activities can be infused with ritual-like elements that transmit or reinforce cultural messages.

2019-02-23T10:20:09+00:00
Seemingly innocuous coffee-based activities can be infused with ritual-like elements that transmit or reinforce cultural messages.
It is not necessary to force the platypus into any category, except as a matter of convenience. And when we do force the fit, we reduce opportunities for learning about the reality that is actually there.

2019-02-24T03:04:54+00:00
It is not necessary to force the platypus into any category, except as a matter of convenience. And when we do force the fit, we reduce opportunities for learning about the reality that is actually there.
When we operate as culture carriers and are conscious of our cultural membership, we are emotionally attached to our culturally learned categories of thought; we value them and protect them as an aspect of our group identity.

2019-02-24T03:05:50+00:00
When we operate as culture carriers and are conscious of our cultural membership, we are emotionally attached to our culturally learned categories of thought; we value them and protect them as an aspect of our group identity.
You do not have to wait for the culture to change for you.

2019-02-23T09:56:10+00:00
You do not have to wait for the culture to change for you.
Stories are like communicative suitcases: wrappings that protect experiences, feelings, and beliefs so that they can connect people through time and space.

2019-02-24T03:07:32+00:00
Stories are like communicative suitcases: wrappings that protect experiences, feelings, and beliefs so that they can connect people through time and space.
Dialogue at the executive level is not enough for organisational learning to occur.

2019-02-24T03:06:46+00:00
Dialogue at the executive level is not enough for organisational learning to occur.
What are the alternatives to telling stories? There aren’t any. No system can do it. No human resource department can do it. There’s nothing else but stories.

Brown et al, 2005

2019-03-02T10:23:06+00:00

Brown et al, 2005

What are the alternatives to telling stories? There aren’t any. No system can do it. No human resource department can do it. There’s nothing else but stories.
Human understanding requires a relationship of openness, participation and empathy.

Butler-Kisber, 2010

2019-02-23T10:21:00+00:00

Butler-Kisber, 2010

Human understanding requires a relationship of openness, participation and empathy.
Words create worlds.

2019-02-24T03:02:44+00:00
Words create worlds.
Understanding the meaning of experience is a defining condition of being human.

2019-02-23T10:19:27+00:00
Understanding the meaning of experience is a defining condition of being human.
You are part of the problem, and a key part of the solution.

2019-02-23T09:56:55+00:00
You are part of the problem, and a key part of the solution.
Metaphors can start the dialogue, establish a connection between two things that seem only distantly related, thereby setting up a discrepancy or conflict which suggests multiple meanings: thus metaphor can carry dialogue into truly creative effort.

Cherry, 1999

2019-02-24T03:13:25+00:00

Cherry, 1999

Metaphors can start the dialogue, establish a connection between two things that seem only distantly related, thereby setting up a discrepancy or conflict which suggests multiple meanings: thus metaphor can carry dialogue into truly creative effort.
This little neon sign lights up in my head that says “Oooh, I can be admired for this!” And it’s hard, hard, hard to turn that little sign off.

2019-02-24T03:09:29+00:00
This little neon sign lights up in my head that says “Oooh, I can be admired for this!” And it’s hard, hard, hard to turn that little sign off.
Rather, it was a slow realisation that something important was percolating beneath the surface of things; these tiny threads of evidence…needed to be pieced together.

Butler-Kisber, 2010

2019-02-23T10:25:27+00:00

Butler-Kisber, 2010

Rather, it was a slow realisation that something important was percolating beneath the surface of things; these tiny threads of evidence…needed to be pieced together.
But here’s the thing: every story is needed somewhere, by somebody, sometime.

2019-02-24T03:10:51+00:00
But here’s the thing: every story is needed somewhere, by somebody, sometime.
Change is realised in webs of personal commitments to others.

2019-02-23T10:11:22+00:00
Change is realised in webs of personal commitments to others.
Lack of acknowledgement is devastating to most human beings.

2019-02-24T03:04:13+00:00
Lack of acknowledgement is devastating to most human beings.
One of the most effective things we can do is put ourselves in situations where we are novices.

2019-02-23T10:08:21+00:00
One of the most effective things we can do is put ourselves in situations where we are novices.
All parts of a system are interrelated...because parts of a system interact constantly, a change in any single part affects the entire system.

Wood, 1982

2019-02-24T03:12:40+00:00

Wood, 1982

All parts of a system are interrelated...because parts of a system interact constantly, a change in any single part affects the entire system.
Whoever makes up the story makes up the world...so always try to welcome people into the home of your story.

Smith, 2016

2019-03-02T02:48:04+00:00

Smith, 2016

Whoever makes up the story makes up the world...so always try to welcome people into the home of your story.

Human from Scratch is a participatory action research project that investigates culture, change and the human experience at UNE and aims to shift the organisational culture from one of default to one of intentional making (culture “from scratch”) through the implementation of a cultural design framework. The titular focus on the human aspect stems from the fact that humans are the agents that create and experience culture and change, through the shared meanings of languages, rituals and artefacts. The action research process focuses on gaining deep understanding of the culture and human experience of staff at UNE through sustained inquiry, followed by the co-design and implementation of a cultural design framework that may have the ability to shift culture, increase change capability and improve the human experience.  The project exists as two parallel concepts – the first is the implementation of the cultural design framework; the second is the undertaking of the action research process itself, particularly the inquiry work and its focus on organisational storytelling.

Research design

The project uses a participatory action research (AR) methodology, based on the work of Maxwell’s (2003) modified action research model. It begins with a reconnaissance phase that incorporates three simultaneous processes – situational analysis through sustained inquiry and organisational storytelling, competency analysis of researcher and participants, and engagement with the literature. This reconnaissance informs the development of the action research question, which in turn drives the action research spiral of planning, implementation (action), reflection/evaluation and iteration.

The inquiry process uses a participatory narrative inquiry (PNI) methodology (Kurtz, 2014 and Clandinin, 2007) with an orientation to organisational storytelling. The goal of this inquiry is gain deep understanding and capture the narratives of UNE culture and the experience of change – how do humans experience life at UNE? What stories do we tell ourselves? What stories do we tell others about UNE? How do we create shared meanings? and so on.

The action research question will be refined based on the reconnaissance phase, but for now stands as ‘Can we shift UNE’s culture from one of default to one of intentional design using a cultural design framework, and can we increase change capability and improve human experience by doing this?’. This question leads into the action research spiral, consisting of a hybrid appreciative inquiry (Whitney & Trosten-Bloom, 2003) and design thinking (Brown & Wyatt, 2010) process of co-creation, an implementation phase, and a reflection/evaluation phase in which PNI is revisited to understand and evaluate the impact of the framework.

The co-creation process will focus on the development of a cultural design framework for UNE. A cultural design framework is an adaptation of a concept developed by Ozenc & Hagan (2017) that describes the development of strategies to intentionally engage in culture-making through a design process, to create new ways of doing and being and build positive culture in organisations.The framework developed in this project will focus on three key areas of human organisational experience identified in the literature – language, ritual and artefact – and use these to shape the design work.

The contexts for innovation can be drawn from key AR and PNI principles – situated in a workplace context during the course of carrying out business as usual, with a real world focus on people and place, and drawing together the researcher and those involved in the research (done with, not done to). The workplace context in this project will follow a spiral trajectory, beginning with local context (starting in one’s own backyard), then progressively moving outwards through the institution as scale and capacity allow.

Preliminary research design framework
References

Armour, C. (2018). Leaders Who Ask. Bacca House Press.


Bass, B., & Avolio, B. (1993). TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE. Public Administration Quarterly, 17(1), 112-121. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40862298

Brown, J. S., Denning, S., Prusak, L., & Groh, K. (2005). Storytelling in organizations: Why storytelling is transforming 21st century organizations and management. Routledge. Chicago  

Brown, T., & Wyatt, J. (2010). Design Thinking for Social Innovation. Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2010


Butler-Kisber, Lynn. (2010). Qualitative inquiry : thematic, narrative and arts-based approaches. Los Angeles ; London : SAGE


Campbell, K., Schwier, R. A. and Kenny, R. F. (2005). Agency of the instructional designer: Moral coherence and transformative social practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 21(2), 242-262. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet21/campbell.html

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Maxwell, T.W. (2003). ‘Action Research for Bhutan?’, Rabsel III, 1-20.


Ozenc, F. and Hagan, M. (2017). Ritual Design: Crafting Team Rituals for Meaningful Organizational Change. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, Proceedings of the Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics International Conference, 2017. Springer Press.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2994394


Sachs, J. (2018). Unsafe Thinking: How to be Nimble and Bold When You Need It Most. Cambridge, Massachusets: Da Capo Lifelong Books


Schein, E. H. (1993). On dialogue, culture, and organizational learning. Organizational Dynamics, 22(2), 40+. Retrieved from https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A14606098/AONE?u=googlescholar&sid=AONE&xid=7b62f181

Smith, A. (2016). Autumn. London: Penguin Random House.


Smith, A. C. and Stewart, B. (2011), Organizational Rituals: Features, Functions and Mechanisms. International Journal of Management Reviews, 13: 113-133. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2370.2010.00288.x


Thomas, S. (2012) “”Narrative inquiry: embracing the possibilities””, Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 12 Issue: 2, pp.206-221, https://doi.org/10.1108/14439881211248356


Whitney, D and Trosten-Bloom, A. (2003). The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler


Wood, J. (1982). Human communication : a symbolic interactionist perspective. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New York