The Mary Parker Follett Network

Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim. - MPF

I'd like to propose a new Follett conference, to take place in the spring of 2014. I'd like to suggest the Conversation format similar to that used at the 2002 Follett Conversation on Creative Democracy. And I'd suggest a retreat-type setting, although a university could work.

The "Conversation" format, which was pioneered at the series of Asilomar Conversations on Social Systems Design, and at a parallel set of conferences in Fuschl, Austria, involves the following:

1. Anyone can propose a TEAM that would pursue a particular line of inquiry related to the general theme of Follett, her ideas, or specific ideas related to the concept of creative democracy. The team leader or broker or sponsor sets the expectations in preparation for the team's inquiry, although of course they may do so in collaboration with the team members. We'd solicit team proposals over the next couple of months.

2. Long in advance of the Conversation event itself, teams share readings, share thoughts, and each participant develops an "input paper", or the equivalent, to share with their team.

3. At the Conversation event itself, which ideally lasts for three or four days, teams meet to continue working on their inquiry. There are whole-conference meetings in the morning and any other time needed or desired. The whole conference group eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner together.

4. On the final day, a plenary session is held where each team presents the results of their inquiry. This may be insights discovered or new initiatives proposed. Means of presentation can be traditional or artistic - that's up to the team.

5. Team papers and any individual "output papers" are submitted following the Conversation, to be included in a Proceedings. These would be published online. The Proceedings helps to satisfy the need for academic recognition or credit that is required for some to be able to get academic sponsorship to attend the Conversation.

Based on my own experience, this format is both intensive and very fulfilling. Of course, other formats might be considered. Your thoughts welcome!

We'd need someone to volunteer as Conversation Coordinator and probably more than one person to help work on logistical arrangements (primarily finding a suitable location).

With a Follett network of 355 members today and more people who can be reached through announcements in various networks and journals, we should be able to get a nice critical mass of participants.

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Margaret Stout suggested that perhaps Spring of 2014 would not provide enough time for preparation. I will now suggest Fall, 2014.

Hello, what is the status of this proposal, please?

There was minimal response from the network, so it didn't have an impetus. I think, however, that it's a "build it and they will come" proposition. If a few are willing to get it organized, I have no doubt it would be well-attended. Perhaps Spring 2015 is the earliest possibility for a serious conference.

Hi Matthew,

I am a newcomer to the network and to MPF's work ...though I feel I have been practicing in accordance with an intuitive sense and resonance with her principles for many years ...I have only recently discovered her work through my PhD study... a lovely find as you can imagine ... And to discover this network too...marvelous....

I am wondering what the likelihood of a spring 2015 conference, conversation, meeting might be?

Hi Heather - Right at this moment, the likelihood is zero, as there is no known intent or initiative to do it yet. But as soon as someone steps up to organize it, the likelihood will go up quite significantly!

Thanks for the update Matthew. I know how much work goes into planning such events ....& look forward to the momentum ....when the time is right, it shall the meantime...I shall keep reading MPF's work in anticipation of being in a real time dialogue with others at some future moment.

Be well,

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