The ALARA Australasian Conference in Brisbane last week was a stimulating collaboration across disciplines and methodologies around the theme “Creative Responses for New Challenges“. A few of the presentations that really resounded for me:
- Dr Joy Humphreys using story to illustrate the concept of negative capability and applying it to stakeholder relationships. Apparently the poet Keats first coined the term negative capability which he defined as “capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries or doubt”. Joy’s approach illustrated the potential of story as a means to encourage people to stay in the state of negative capability rather than rushing to judgement of those whose interests in a particular situation might be different;
- David Tripp’s interesting work using critical incidents as the trigger for deep reflection and triple loop learning and the challenging role of the coach in this context; and
- Vicki Vaartjes and Rose Wale for their fascinating exploration of public sector leadership development programs using action learning and how they have adapted to the cultural nuances of the Solomon Islands.
I very much appreciated the efforts of the volunteers who organised the conference and all of the presenters. As always, the intersection of action learning and action research across diverse disciplines and cultures was fascinating and a learning experience in itself.