Community, Environment, For-profit Business (Corporate), Government, Healthcare, Manufacturing, NGO, Psychology/Therapy
“21st Century Wisdom Tools that Broaden and Build” was the title of our 90 minute breakout session at the International “The Power of Positive Change Conference” in Orlando, Florida, September 16-19, 2007.
We used our collaborative team meeting system Positive MatrixTM on the Zing platform. The team meeting system provides the environment, structure and process to help groups create new knowledge and apply that new knowledge faster. At the same time, members switch from being individuals to performing as a team. At the end of our session, the participants documented the effect of the experience as
• “[It] increased creativity, we created a group energy or “bubble”, merging beyond our individual bubbles. Got to a sense of connectivity and oneness. Felt accomplishment in our task and a sense of group pride”.
• “[we] used the same strategy w/out discussing it, moved from what we couldn’t use to what we could and that’s when it started flowing“;
• “bringing us closer–coming from diverse backgrounds and bringing to the table diverse perspectives and resources–appreciating one another–enhancing generativity–playful, fun in the creativity“
Our excitement in offering this session was to test out our assumption that this tool facilitates the “broaden and build” theory of positive emotions as outlined by Barbara Fredrickson. We already know, from years of experiments, that our team meeting system helps groups create new knowledge faster and moves them quickly into high performing teams.
Through our questioning sequence, the participants applied a range of tools – wireless keyboards, words, poetry, voice, song and improv to create a shared experience that elicited positive emotions through natural playfulness. The play, coming out of feeling good, facilitated a broadening affect of their “thought-action repertoire” in the short term. That is, from a positive emotional state, members in the room were open to being playful, creative, expansive, savoring, and socially connected. Our hypothesis is that over time repeated experiences of this nature (engaging people in playful ways with tools that help us use our knowledge wisely) we will feel more engaged in what it is we do and it will be easier to find positive meaning in our work and our relationships, thus building our personal and social resources, becoming more resilient. To quote Fredrickson, ” …positive emotions generate ‘upward spirals’ toward optimal functioning and enhanced emotional well-being.” The implications for enlivening organizational climates and increasing human flourishing are exciting.
The attached resource is a compilation of our seven slides and the full participant responses to the questions we asked them to explore. Not only did they laugh and joke as they played with new ideas and technology, they created poetry and connected to deep inner wisdom. They affirmed that the tool and the playfulness of the activity created positive emotions that opened them up to thoughts and actions, which, in turn, expanded their social interactions and connected them to deep and meaningful collective wisdom.