Home Blog Blog Archives: Akkie Okma
  1. Invitation

    Invitation for the 2018 EU AI network meeting!

    The year 2017 was shaped by high energy periods of hard work by all of us. The network did not get all the attention it deserves, but we are happy to report that fresh ideas have come to life. Yvonne Bonner, Miriam Subirana, Ann Shacklady Smith, Cees Hoogendijk, Akkie Okma, Joep de Jong and Cora Reijerse met in Amsterdam recently.

    We discussed substantive options for exchanges within the Network and we explored possibilities for meetings. We investigated among ourselves as to what has inspired the Network over the past 10 years. The group concluded: friendships within the Network, landscaping and flash company visits (working together with new European colleagues).

    We concluded that it would be valuable to continue to learn from each other and to re-energize the Network.

    Therefore: A European AI Network meeting will be organized in The Hague, the Netherlands, on 12,13 and 14 September 2018.

    The city of The Hague has expressed its willingness to host this meeting. The Hague city is an organization in change. The city looks forward to having exchanges on its change processes and challenges with the European AI practitioners.

    City Hall of The Hague

    We decided to work on draft papers with them. The theme (under discussion): Youth Resilience. Youth resilience resonates with the City of the Hague, as it is part of an European network of resilient cities. http://www.100resilientcities.org We are very excited about this meeting. In order to prepare the meeting, we will organize a pre-summit in the spring to explore the theme with as many stakeholders in the room as possible. Please let us know if you are interested to join us!

    Kind regards to all! The Dutch organizing team: Akkie, Cees, Joep and Cora

  2. Accelerating Postive Education Worldwide

    An upcoming amazing project:  Uniting the Best in Education with the Best in the Positive psychology of Human Strengths by David Cooperrider.

    A couple of years ago Marty Seligman and David Cooperrider gave 11 speeches together throughout Australia. Marty spoke about his most recent book called Flourish, and David spoke about the breakthroughs happening with AI at the “whole system” levels”—with cities, whole industries, international organizations, and even UN World Summits. Marty, while showing David many Australian schools that have adopted AI and the tools, language, and methods of positive psychology at the core of their educational experience, shared a dream of bringing all of these resources to teachers, school systems, and children and young people all over the world. There are two billion children and young people in our schools.

    Marty said to David: “The work in positive psychology and AI at the whole systems levels can be tectonic together…you all know how to move systems and institutions, while we’ve been more working with individuals and relationships, more micro.”  Perhaps this is the call of our time, that is, to bring together our communities to advance “Positive Education” in schools everywhere. How about using the AI Summit method to do a world summit to launch a ten-or- more-year-long initiative?”  

    Well, it was not long before a groundswell of interest for this happened. And Champlain College’s Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry received a $1 million-dollar gift to get it going!

    In just a bit over one year there will be a World Summit, tentatively called “Accelerating Positive Education Worldwide: Uniting the Best in Education with the Best in the Positive Psychology of Human Strengths.” And we want to invite the worldwide AI community to help bring the AI side of this initiative to regions all over the world where projects and programs will emerge to catalyze schools and systemic educational changes. The Global Positive Education AI Summit will be in Dallas where our core UK partner IPEN (http://www.ipositive-education.net/) had already decided to host their international conference. But instead of a conference a major shift happened. It is now going to be an AI Summit, intended to not just have a great conversation, but to DO something—to come out of it with new designs, working groups, and a worldwide network that becomes a multi-decade effort.

    In designing our recent WAIC’s in Belgium and then in South Africa there were strong urges and attempts on the AI community’s part to find a truly meaningful and significant initiative where the whole AI community might have a practical opportunity to unite, serve, learn together, and make a historic difference in the world. While these urges or bubbling up visions did not come to pass, it appears now that we have a real possibility right here, within our grasp.

    Again, all of this is late breaking news, with contracts, funding, and concept all coming together literally just a week or so ago. Yet, we wanted to let you know immediately. What’s on the drawing board is a World Summit with regional/country summits linked through a digital platform where people in the AI community could help facilitate regional summits in parts of the world where there is a passion for the topic of accelerating Positive Education. That’s about all we can say right now, it’s all happening so fast.

    So, within the coming weeks, there will be a place on the new AI Commons to share more—the whole concept paper, ways to register your excitement and interest, and timelines etc. We want to do interviews with people who might be interested, either one on one (skype) or in groups.

    For now, we invite you to share your ideas for this project at: https://goo.gl/forms/dFMo6HcuOv3sbqSW2

    We have an unprecedented opportunity in human history to create positive
    educational systems– beginning with our youngest in early childhood and
    continuing up through our college classrooms– that can lead to developmental
    flourishing and high achievement for all students. And we are thrilled to share this announcement with you. This is truly at the ground floor. David Cooperrider recently said in regard to this:

     “I’ve worked on many amazing and significant projects…but there is no doubt this one is going to be the most important and world-changing initiatives I’ve ever been part of. We are talking about children and youth and educational systems everywhere that will be shaping the next generation and generation after that—we literally have an opportunity, with two billion kids in our schools, to encircle our blue planet with the brightest Appreciative Intelligence the world has ever known. Moments like this, with all the complexities in the world, are times for magnified meaning making. It’s an incredible time to be alive. There is a sense of tremendous privilege.”

    We want to share our joy in this “gift” that’s come our way to create a positive revolution in education worldwide, and to use this as an “excuse” to be together, to learn together, and advance the theory and practice of Appreciative Inquiry. Meg Wheatley once said, “a leader is anyone who wants to make a difference and this time.” And that’s you, that’s we, and that’s all of us in the AI community.



  3. An Appreciative Inquiry into the Third Generation Lean Six Sigma

    Looking back on my workshop Crossing improvement borders with Strength-based Lean at the European Appreciative Inquiry Network Meeting in Hasselt, Belgium on 20 May 2016. Early in the morning I arrived in Hasselt and noticed how the city is changing. The parking lot I remembered from earlier visits wasn’t there anymore. Huge building cranes had taken over the skyline. Not only on the old parking lot but also in many other places in the city as I learned later on that day. The city is flourishing, looking forward to its future. A beatiful location for organizing the European Appreciative Inquiry Network Meeting.

    My workshop was also about looking forward, looking into the future of Lean Six Sigma.

    In his book Strength-based Lean Six Sigma: Building positive and engaging business improvement David Shaked mentions three generations of Lean Six Sigma.

    The first generation is the classic Lean Six Sigma as many organisations work with it at this moment: deliver more value to the customers by identifying and eliminating waste, defects and bottlenecks.

    The second generation is Strength-based Lean Six Sigma which adds a new perspective that focuses on what is wanted and what is already working. Identifying where value, perfection and flow already exist and using them to deliver more value and efficiency. In this generation strength-based approaches to change like Appreciative Inquiry, Solution Focus and Positive Deviance are combined with Lean Six Sigma. It is developing in the time we are in now.

    The third generation is a glance into the future: ‘in addition to the ideas from the second generation, this generation fully integrates the full spectrum of existing personal strengths, passions, values, purposes, personal ‘flow’ (as defined by Positive Psychology) and emotional intelligence’.

    I invited the participants to dream a bit about the third generation. How does continuous improvement look like in the third generation? What possibilities do you see? What (small) steps do you think of to make your way into the third generation? A question was added by one of the participants: why a third generation?

    Hasselt 34 What came up in dreaming

    Let us reinvent efficiency. Give people time to really develop their personal ‘flow’ and let it be the core of a new way of working. Internal values count: it is more about the inside and about your own purpose. It will offer you more space to coordinate your own direction. Therefore a big why is of major importance: you need a big why to emerge a big me. And from the inside out there will be more connecting.

    In the description of the third generation ‘personal’ is mentioned. ‘We’ is missing but it is surely inherent to connecting and creating results together. Maybe you could see the personal part as a personal winner in a winning team. Appreciative Inquiry is a lot about ‘we’, so let’s go beyond Lean Six Sigma and do Appreciative Inquiry! Let’s speak a new language, because new language creates new focus. And last but not least, let Frederic Laloux’s vision on reinventing organisations be a source of inspiration.

    It was great to see the participants being inspired by the positive questions and to feel the energy in the dialogues. Thank you for sharing your dreams and bringing the third generation Lean Six Sigma a small step closer to reality! Theo van den Eijnden

  4. Hello Stranger!



    “Hello stranger!”

    We don’t do it often, do we? Talking to a complete stranger. Actually it may be more fun than we might think. We all have these moments when we find ourselves perhaps in a waiting room or a bus with those unknown third parties. We quickly grab our mobile phone or a newspaper. In any case many of us look away and evade making direct contact.
    Why is that so? Is it because we genuinely prefer being on our own in those moments or do we presume that the other doesn’t want contact and that we run the risk of being turned down?
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