I’m at the 10th annual Web of Change conference in British Columbia.  About a hundred leaders from organizations working on environmental, immigration, and other policy issues (as well as a number of vendors) are gathered to weave the Web of Change.  We had an opening session last night, where we were all invited to think about “The Question” on our minds.  We wrote them on stick’em notes and posted on the wall.  I took pictures of each of them and transcribed them below.  Between poor lighting and the occasionally illegible post, there might be a few omitted or incorrectly transcribed.

I’ve been very fascinated lately with emergence.  The idea that a system or group of individuals start to express characteristics or patterns that only emerge when the group interacts.  It’s interesting to me to read the questions of the groupmind here at WOC. I’ve not parsed the questions into themes, though that was the original intention. I’ll invite you to comment on patterns you see here.

  • How do we get a critical mass to be environmentally aware?
  • How or what changes and relationships will be a lever for climate change?
  • How can I connect my work (as one person, in one city) to a larger vision?
  • Why is there such poor working practice in the nonprofit sector when the sector has such a social justice/warm fuzzy bent?
  • What is the best undiscovered thing we can do?
  • How to respectfully disagree and still push those that are against us?
  • How can the web change me?
  • How do we stop Fox News?
  • How can we match the intensity of the challenges we face with even bolder actions and solutions to resolve them?
  • Where can video storytelling intersect with social networking to help create positive change?
  • How can community orgs with limited resources connect with creative agencies to build online movements that is a win/win for both?
  • How can we move effectively and broadly create change?
  • How can we turn everyone into a social change agent?
  • Why are nonprofits — explicitly the big progressive ones — so segregated by race and ethnicity?
  • How do I help a community transform strength into power?
  • How do we spread hope, love and believe in the power of interdependency faster or better than the Tea PArty spreads fear?
  • How can we integrate anarchists into the mainstream?
  • What kinds of support do businesses need to enable and catalyze social innovation online?
  • How can use the tools, resources and support that exist but that I have yet to tap to reat the schange I hope to see?
  • Which of our different domains/areas of interest are best suited for social media?
  • How can everyday people build power, online, and fundamentally change U.S. politics?
  • How can you help individual people feel powerful?
  • How can I be of service in this space?
  • Where can video storytelling intersect with social networking to help create positive change?
  • How can we move effectively and broadly create change?
  • How do we surface truth/reveal it more broadly?
  • What is the best use of me for the next decade?
  • How do 7 billion people work together to get carbon emissions near zero? (to end global warming?)
  • What will it take to transform how and with whom we create social change – to integrate equity – to be as diverse as we used o be authentic credible, and effective – to include those people?
  • How can we broaden critical thinking skills across the population?
  • How do we use online tools to fight the isolation in our  ‘would be’ communities
  • How do we sustain hope in the midst of so much bad news?
  • How do we invite the unexpected and mine it for creative solutions?
  • How to build awareness in a way that inspires decisive action?
  • Is it enough? Collectively we are all doing amazing powerful work. So is it enough to create the change? And if it’s not enough then what?
  • Hello there!!  how do we practice embodying our values and methodology internally with each other while or even before taking them out to the world?  I LOVE YOU!!!
  • How do we find/do/learn what works to change hearts, minds, policy?
  • How can we have people internalize the meaning of human rights?
  • Is technology really creating more social good and justice in our world?
  • How can art help move the conversation from criminalization of immigrants to legalization?
  • How do we become revolutionaries not survivalists?
  • How can we collectively write the story that can turn the tide toward the world we want to live in and way from the intolerance spreading from Arizona?
  • The majority of people need facts to base their decisions on. How do we create/evolve a thinking conscious world that understand the world is relative?
  • How do you get beyond preaching to the converted?
  • How can I best be of service to help the social change movement accelerate to a better world?
  • How can I be invigorated an not worn down by the work that needs to be done.
  • How do I develop the online & offline model to build the scale of activist leaders to match the ambitious goals of my organization?
  • How do we connect people with a cause that’s bigger than themselves?
  • How or what changes and relationships will be a lever for reversing climate change?
  • What’s the best undiscovered thing we can do?
  • Where will the WOC experience take us in the next year?
  • Where can I find the strength to be confident in what I bring to this movement?
  • How do we measure our input?
  • What’s next and is it what’s best?
  • Where do I find the courage to do and not just dream?
  • How do we change/transform the hearts and minds of those who fear “the migrant” and how do we manifest a world where no one is forced to migrate, but not do so out of (an) intention of growth?
  • What is the intersection between complex science and social justice movements?
  • What is at the root of what motivates agents of change, and how can we stimulate that thing in everyone?
  • Online political conversation happens in distributed spaces.  How do you train citizens to create a conversation that can impact policy out of these widespread political spaces?
  • How do we get people to believe?
  • How do we make our work find its true audience?
  • How to convince my boss social media is not the devil?
  • How do we create online citizen engagement in government that emphasizes dialogue and deliberation (not just crowdstorming and ranting?)
  • What are some intentional practice national organizations can do to push the possibilities of being a hybrid (Decentralized network of everyday people and a national org seeking national impact?
  • How can I push myself my organization in the nonprofit community beyond our comfort zones to achieve the transformational change necessary to truly change the world?
  • How to build more structured training of the organic community to do their own tech/web work?
  • How can we better help people after the ground work is ready?
  • What is the story that will change your world?
  • How do we migrate towards a world where people migrate out of want not out of need? How do we move towards a world where the piece of earth we are born on is no longer the primary guarantor of our god-given rights?
  • How do we best integrate face to face and online engagement?
  • Who is doing the best work to move corporations to organize their customers, and how can I get involved?)
  • What is inclusion?
  • What does effective 21st century black feminist movement look like?
  • Will I be able to be a fully engaged part of the network without Facebook?
  • What is (how can we show) the greatest impact we can have working across traditional boundaries/borders?
  • What does democracy look like?
  • how do we stay inspired when we know the battle will outlast us?
  • What’s the next best way to collaborate?
  • How do we connect with the people we need, build the trust and harness all our intelligence and knowledge?
  • how do we own the media without compromising our values?
  • what’s the easy barrier to entry online action beyond online petitions?
  • how to build long-term relationships with colleagues and clients?
  • How to amplify work in communities/sites of struggle?  And how to support oppressed/dominated communities thriving through deep personal and social transformation?
  • If more and nearly instantaneous information is not making society smarter or better… what will?
  • If the ability to act is infinitely possible, why not more of it?