The Mary Parker Follett Network

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

To organize a new Follett Conversation (Conference)?

Back in 2002 the Follett Foundation organized a modest conference around a format of research, dialogue, and creativity - a "conversation on creative democracy" built around self-selected inquiry teams. Participants collaborated months in advance on a topic of interest, came together for three and a half days of work with their teams (but meeting as a conference group for meals and occasional evening gatherings). The event concluded with a plenary session wherein teams presented their ideas, insights, or initiatives. This format was modeled after the Asilomar Conversation, which has gone on for many years near Monterey, California and actually goes on for five days. Proceedings are attached below.

At the 2002 event, I believe we had 16 participants. We might have had greater participation with a more convenient location (although participants seemed to enjoy Boise's amenities), and by planning longer in advance. The format was, I think, a success, and a quite refreshing contrast from the typical "presenting of papers" conference.

What do you think about planning another "Follett Conversation on Creative Democracy" for 2010? Location suggestions? Any organizations/institutions (aside from the Follett Foundation) that might take a turn hosting it?

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Groutel thinks Boston. Hmm...would allow easy access from Europe and the eastern end of Canada...close to Follett environs...
I like the idea of Boston, especially if it allows easy access for non-Americans.

Suzanne Martin

Morgen Peers said:
I second Boston. I'd also suggest nyc's lower east side. can public spaces, parks or community centres be utilized? I.e. social centers.

Matthew Shapiro said:
Groutel thinks Boston. Hmm...would allow easy access from Europe and the eastern end of Canada...close to Follett environs...
I don't know if it's settled on the Boston area, but does anyone know of a good retreat location there (maybe outside of the city somewhere), reasonably priced, with a meal service...?

Matthew

Suzanne Stigler Martin said:
I like the idea of Boston, especially if it allows easy access for non-Americans.

Suzanne Martin

Morgen Peers said:
I second Boston. I'd also suggest nyc's lower east side. can public spaces, parks or community centres be utilized? I.e. social centers.

Matthew Shapiro said:
Groutel thinks Boston. Hmm...would allow easy access from Europe and the eastern end of Canada...close to Follett environs...
Hi, Albie Davis checking in.

Matthew, Emanuel and Suzanne. I like Boston too. I lived in Boston for 30 years and ran many conferences, but am drawing a blank on retreats that are cheap. However, I do think Boston has much going for it as a site. For those who like to weave Follett's personal story and the zeitgeist of her era with the "dated" and "timelessness" of her thinking, we could have a lot of fun--Quincy (where she was born and grew up), Boston (where she worked for many years), Cambridge (where she went to Radcliffe) and maybe even Putney, VT (where she and Isobel Briggs had a home.)

Has anyone checked in with Joan Tonn? I had lunch with her about ten years ago, however, no longer see her on the UMass Boston favulty list. I do have an old phone number and I'll try it later in the day. But here's my thinking.

The group may be small (and wonderful), maybe a dozen folks. We might think in terms of a cluster of smaller sites with nearby "classrooms" or lounges. I have a friend who runs a B & B in the South End where Follett spent time. There are a network of old friends there who might also have rooms. Great restaurants. Boston's a very walkable city with a good subway system. There's Cambridge, near Harvard and Radcliffe. I bet we could get someone from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School to sponsor us for a few classrooms. They even have a faculty dining room where people have had small luncheon meetings. In fact, that's where I first heard of Follett. If Joan is interested, we could get UMass Boston spaces. Or, I could contact folks from the Dispute Resolution program at UMB.

Almost 6:50am in Maine. I'm going out to weed the garden. Makes me think of Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: "You should rather be grateful for the weeds you have in your mind, because eventually they will enrich your practice." Maybe something will come to me in the garden!

Albie

Matthew Shapiro said:
I don't know if it's settled on the Boston area, but does anyone know of a good retreat location there (maybe outside of the city somewhere), reasonably priced, with a meal service...?

Matthew

Suzanne Stigler Martin said:
I like the idea of Boston, especially if it allows easy access for non-Americans.

Suzanne Martin

Morgen Peers said:
I second Boston. I'd also suggest nyc's lower east side. can public spaces, parks or community centres be utilized? I.e. social centers.

Matthew Shapiro said:
Groutel thinks Boston. Hmm...would allow easy access from Europe and the eastern end of Canada...close to Follett environs...
Albie again. Last night I made a rough map of those who have joined the MPFnet to date. Errors and misplacements in some countries, some folks with no locale given, but interesting, nevertheless. I'm going to try and attach it.

Dear Matthew,

I fully agree with you. Even if I am located in France, Boise, Boston or Monterrey will be perfect for me.
Emmanuel GROUTEL
Albie M. Davis said:
Albie again. Last night I made a rough map of those who have joined the MPFnet to date. Errors and misplacements in some countries, some folks with no locale given, but interesting, nevertheless. I'm going to try and attach it.


Very cool!
I place my vote for Boston. May I please encourage those who are actively looking for meeting space and lodging that the secure wheelchair accessible space. If we can connect with a Harvard group there is, I understand, conference and lodging space at Radcliffe.

Sharon
So who's organizing the 2010 Mary Parker Follett Conversation on Creative Democracy? (Rustic New England location TBD)
I'm just now reading this thread. I'm the executive director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. I did my senior undergraduate thesis on Mary Parker Follett and Edgar Schein (including tracing an intellectual path from Follett to Schein).

Anyways, regarding a conference, if you want to have it in Boston, I'd be willing to help. Not only can I help secure facilities at Northeastern, I have a lot of conference planning experience. Northeastern also has a couple facilities outside of Boston ranging in quality and cost.
Sounds like a great offer! By the way, Schein's culture audit methodology was to have been the core of my doctoral research into the deep culture of schools. If I ever get around to my doctoral research :-) - Matthew

John Sarvey said:
I'm just now reading this thread. I'm the executive director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. I did my senior undergraduate thesis on Mary Parker Follett and Edgar Schein (including tracing an intellectual path from Follett to Schein).

Anyways, regarding a conference, if you want to have it in Boston, I'd be willing to help. Not only can I help secure facilities at Northeastern, I have a lot of conference planning experience. Northeastern also has a couple facilities outside of Boston ranging in quality and cost.
Hello,

Be sure I will do my best to be with you.
Emmanuel GROUTEL from Caen, Normandy FRANCE

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