New Haven bound

I'm a little anxious and a lot excited as I travel to New Haven, Connecticut this week with the Nexus North Fellows.  The reason I am nervous is that I'm exploring uncharted territory, flying to La Guardia, going over to Grand Central Station and catching a commuter train north, all new experiences.  My brain is whirling with all the things I need to do to prepare for the trip and how I can use all of that awesome travel time to my advantage.

We are spending 2.5 days in New Haven with students and faculty from the Yale School of Management (which is devoted to preparing leaders in all sectors to tackle the complexities of modern times) and a team from American Express (focused on supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs).  Together we will explore how we can use Epic Thinking to frame stories and strategies that create shared value.  Apart from being able to spend a few brief hours in NYC (my favourite city), that is the exciting part.

One of the sessions that  really peaks my interest is going to be facilitated by Rodrigo Canales, Associate Professor at the School of Management.  He is going to zero in on how individuals change complex organizations and systems.  I've been focusing on this thought for the last couple of weeks:  what can we do as individual citizens to help our community in ways that result in positive system-wide change?

We are at an important crossroads, especially as it relates to the delivery of major events, arts and cultural celebrations, and festivals in our region.  How do we move forward in a way that is both sustainable and effective in providing quality experiences for residents and visitors while encouraging and developing the breadth of talent we have in the region, from all age brackets, disciplines and cultures?  Conversations are happening and more will happen in the coming weeks, and it is a nut we are going to crack together, not in isolation from one another.

I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity over the years to participate in a number of these deep-thinking events, endeavours and initiatives. Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo, Mindcamp, the Premier's Council on Culture, the Strategy Road Map, and most recently, the Nexus North Fellowship, have given me enormous insights into complexity, systems and the creative thinking process.  Each session,  conversation, and light bulb moment reminds me of how much there is to learn and the unlimited potential that exists when we put aside our assumptions, agendas and preconceived notions about the world.

In my middle age years - I am now 46 - I feel like an explorer, filled with curiosity, ideas, theories and a preponderance of questions. It seems like I have fewer answers and conclusions than I did when I was younger.  The answer to one question tends to lead to another, and another, and another....


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