Intruequest Idea Exchange

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I was riveted to my car seat recently as I listened to an interview with Wangari Maathai (2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner). Her description of the relationship between trees and the quality of life was poetry. She described a Kikuyu tradition of protecting fig trees, believed at one time to be sacred. Of course, with the tradition having been lost to some extent, life has become much harder for women. Thus, land is now eroded and water is less abundant due to the absence of those deep roots drawing water closer to the earth’s surface. With the trees’ absence, women have to walk farther to find water sources and the effect cascades – to time, to health, to farming, to local and global commerce. As I listened to her, I wondered about the degree to which people in organizations think about and understand the systems interdependence in their work. Of course, we often help people think systemically within the organizational boundary and perhaps slightly beyond. But it’s apparent, given current business and social challenges, that much of systems thinking practice has been narrow rather than from a position of everything being in some way related to everything else. It seems like time is of the essence to expand the boundary – very widely, in fact. Even for those of us who say that we understand interdependence, I still imagine that other than a little recycling and/or energy conservation, we live our lives from the place of individualists rather than from one of interdependence. I wonder what it would take to shift our perspective to one of true interdependence?

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Blogger Intruequest Idea Exchange said...

A huge shift in global consciousness. (I found your paragraph so interested that I just want to ponder it rather than have a longer comment).

May 7, 2009 at 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so dependent on others for energy, comfort, and joy that I have a hard time trying to wrap my head around an idea of true interdependence. I like the idea above need to spend time to ponder the whole idea

May 12, 2009 at 4:51 PM  
Anonymous cah said...

Developing and maintaining a perspective of interdependence requires TIME and CARING. With corporate focus on $$s and measurable, short-term results, it is seemingly more expedient to maintain an individualist perspective. Corporate leaders are usually compensated for short-term (one year max) results. Thus, little focus on interdependence.

As for the thought that we do a bit of recycling or energy conservation - The "green" concepts have been around for decades. However, it was a very small group of caring people, who took the time to advocate, lead by example, and work for the greater good that made "green" the trendy concept it is today.

May 13, 2009 at 8:50 PM  

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