Marine Protected Area - Croatia

10 January 2013

Back in 2009 we had the delight of running our training course for some fun and enthusiastic people on the beautiful Island of Mijet in Croatia.  It was for a project working on Marine Protected Areas.  This 13 min video shows what they have achieved working with others to look after some amazingly beautiful underwater seascapes and fisheries.   This is the first conservation project in Croatia working at this scale and with the approach of working in partnership with others.  We feel privileged to have been a small part of it.  The video is inspirational and worth a look even if only for the underwater shots, sunshine, and enthusiasm.  Youtube

10 Year Anniversary

10 January 2013

Depending which way you look at it,  the end of January is our 10th or 13th Anniversary.  Diana first set up and traded under the name dialogue matters back in 2000 but was still working part-time for another organisation. She left employment in January 2003 to focus fully on dialogue matters – making this January the 10th anniversary.  Our first contract was to help the Isles of Scilly prepare an integrated plan for the islands.  A piece of work Diana still talks about -  and the photos of the beautiful azure seas continue to grace our screen savers and website.  Since then we have designed nearly 80 stakeholder process, run well over 100 workshops and trained in excess of 900 people.  Not bad for a micro enterprise like ours!

New Guidance on consultation!

1 October 2012

The Government has recently issued new guidance on consultation which focuses on real engagement rather than tick box exercises. Check out:

The new guidance takes effect from early autumn 2012.

A reason to be cheerful

30 July 2012

We have long championed the need to take a positive approach to the environment. Focusing on problems just discourages people. When people work out what they are already doing that is working well and taking things in the right direction, they feel encouraged. The discussion is then about how to enhance, add to and strengthen things further. We were therefore delighted to find this link from the RSPB about reasons to be cheerful because of the huge positive achievements since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit:

Great little animation worth a look!

9 July 2012

Author and fellow of the New Economics Foundation think tank, David Boyle (who was an insipring speaker at our conference Natural Connections 2012) has just sent out his newsletter with a link to a brilliant short animation about co-prodution with a voiceover by Brian Blessed. Check out the parable of the Blobs and Squares at:

Dialogue Matters on Facebook

2 February 2012

Find us on Facebook. We will post updates on our activities and any pearls of wisdom we pick up day to day.... find us here

Another new book

13 December 2011

I am off to order my next read recommended by our new associate Mark, who says: “I have been enjoying an elegant little book called Gentle Action by David Peat; I think it fits well with dialogue matters' approach and ethics.  It captures a lot of things I have learned about complexity and uncertainty, feedback in systems, not being constrained by rigid frameworks - and a realisation that the urge to rush in and provide solutions is not the best approach, when 'creative suspension' will help actions to emerge.”

David Boyles book 'The Human Element'

9 December 2011

I have recently finished reading David Boyles book The Human Element: Ten New Rules to Kickstart Our Failing Organisations, and its BRILLIANT!  This book deserves to be read widely.  I would like to afford a bulk order and send it to key folk in our large environmental organisations to inspire them.

David’s book sets out ten new rules for organisations.  These address some of the current flaws including an overreliance on systematised procedures that appear to deliver efficiencies of scales and protect against human error, but end up stifling and underusing or even quashing knowledge, creativity and endeavour.  The result is frustration.  And more seriously, leaves front line people feeling disempowered and unable to make innovations and adaptations to complex situations, unforeseen challenges or new opportunities. 

In workshops we often facilitate creative solutions finding and then, to everyone’s frustration, a key player will say something along the lines of “that is a great idea and I wish we could do it, but it doesn’t fit with our way of doing things”.    I even had a meal recently with a Director of one of our major environmental organisations who said how much he himself had to game the procedures to get things done – but at least had the seniority to get away with it!   Something is seriously awry when Director level people feel thwarted by their own organisations.   

According to David “There is a growing understanding, not that people are infallible, or that they are endlessly trustworthy and benevolent - but they are nonetheless what makes change possible” and change is what we need.  His book sets out the “People Principle: If you employ imaginative and effective people, especially on the frontline, and give them the freedom to innovate, they will succeed. If you don't, they will fail”. If some of our public, private and charitable institutions came to understand this book and implement its recommendations, people and nature would benefit.   Chapters include:

  • Rule 1: Recruit Staff for their Personality not their Qualifications
  • Rule 2: Dump the Rulebooks and Targets
  • Rule 3: Put Relationships at the Heart of Organisations
  • Rule 4: Demerge Everything
  • Rule 5: Obliterate the Hierarchies and Empires
  • Rule 6: Give People Whole Jobs to Do
  • Rule 7: Chuck Out the Big IT Systems
  • Rule 8: Give Everyone the Chance to Feel Useful
  • Rule 9: Make Organisations into Engines of Regeneration
  • Rule 10: Localise Everything
  • Conclusion: Finding a New Horse

I am delighted to say that David is speaking at our forthcoming conference in London - if you haven’t already booked, please do so, so you can come and hear the ideas straight from the man himself

A new associate

7 December 2011

We have a new associate, Mark Goldthorpe.  Mark has an unusual background starting out with a degree in Physics and Astrophysics, before shifting to Environmental Management and then spending 20 years working on climate change research and practice.  He first trained in stakeholder participation back in 2003 and refreshed his skills with us recently by attending our three day training course in November 2011.   Mark has now helped run the first of two workshops focused on sustainable fisheries management in the SW Sole Fishery.  We look forward to having Mark work with us more in the future.

Conference update

7 December 2011

We now have virtually all of our conference speakers confirmed.  Some fantastic and inspirational speakers again this time - the conference in February is set to be another good one!  See more information here

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