I had a nice lunch yesterday with my friend Madis Kanarbik and new acquaintance Grete Kodi over at Verner. By the way, the pasta was very good. We were there to chat about food. Not our own eating habits, but food culture. Grete and Madis work with Norden, an agency of the Nordic Council of Ministers and Grete has organized a conference about locavore that will take place in Tallinn on October 21st. Here is a link for more info. And I wanted to talk about a potential locavore project over at loomemajanduskeskus.
The conversation drifted at bit when Madis said that it would be useful to have at hand an organizing principle to attract more donors to Estonia for more and better projects. I agree. Later in the day, I was drafting a set of topics that I may offer in Finland next winter that touches on the same themes. Here are the key ideas
1. Effective communication and conflict management
2. Using a normative leadership model to do better incubation
3. Building innovation ecologies
It is a “hack” so far in that it seeks to merge three interesting areas of thought to suit our local goals. The idea is to go step by step “up the ladder” from looking at personal skills development to institutional thinking to community building. The first step is to ground ourselves in communication theory (related in particular to negotiation). The second step is building an institutional development model (mainly related to ideas about team building and revitalizing institutions). The third step is about embedding this as a value in the community and looking at innovation more generally (based mainly on the ideas of Steve Johnson and Matt Ridley).
I should add that at least some of the ideas in the above model have been kicking around for some time. I have been working with my friend Marju Unt at Estonian Euromanagement Institute on negotiation and leadership training programming for years now. Going back even further, with generous support from BAPF, we began developing training in “advocacy” to build an Estonian model more than a decade ago. Some of the ideas we employed back then have found their way into this current model. Steve Johnson would say “well, of course they did. That is how innovation happens.” I agree.
I am interested in connecting with people who are pursuing similar agendas to share ideas and see if we can develop case studies and perhaps hammer out some best practices for implementing projects within this framework. Any takers?
FOLLOW - For those who are more into locavore than leadership, check out these fun photo montages from NYT about “food groups” and “the urban county fair“. No doubt about it, food is a great community building McGuffin.