Our predicament calls for new conversations. We evidently find it beyond our current capacities to talk and work across divides to do the things we know will solve some of our trickiest problems. We know we need whole system transitions, and that change at scale requires people from across the community to work together. It will simply not be sufficient for change agents to succeed in their own projects. We can only find work arounds for so long. Our education and careers have taught us to be independently clever but, as a society, we probably look collectively stupid. Could it be that we are not as smart as we think we are?
Perhaps we need radically new ways of relating and knowing. Perhaps these new ways might emerge by experimenting with different ways of being together.
The Make it Better Table is an initiative of the donkeywheel Foundation. Make no mistake, we understand the urgency. We know in our bones how hard it is to work for real social change. But we also know that we cannot keep doing things the way we’ve always done them and expect different results. If we work harder and invest more money, we’ll just help get to the status quo faster despite having some good stories to tell along the way. So we are trying something else, something different, at least for the communities within which we operate.
We are not working out of a manual that has already been written, but we can say this:
- No capes allowed. We might be the social change experts at public conferences, but at the Make it Better Table our starting assumption is that we don’t know what to do to get to the kinds of tipping point changes our world so desperately needs.
- We are therefore experimenting with deeper ways of listening; to each other and as we have opportunity, to people whose value sets, ways of knowing and world views stretch our minds and maybe even expand our hearts.
- This does not mean we are passive and that the MiBT stops at dialogue. We have a set of carefully designed gatherings that allow change agents to start innovative experiments with perspectives to which they would otherwise not have had access.
Paradoxically, it turns out that however clear our vision is for a better world, change may well start not from ‘out there’, but among ourselves and deep within us. Perhaps you are up for the journey. There is always room at the table.