"Natalie Zend is an exceptional resource for our work to educate and equip policy-makers and influencers... We’ve achieved significant outcomes with great credit to Natalie’s broad range of skills, including her detailed preparation and her ability to help shape compelling content. She is a consummate professionaI – she has her eye on every detail as well as the big picture – enabling her client and the beneficiaries to have a transformative experience, and in so doing, transform what we do for children and how we do it."
- Lisa Wolff, Director, Policy and Education, UNICEF Canada
Online support for strategic conversations, rapid assessment and design, and multi-stakeholder collaboration to navigate uncertainty and co-create the new systems that are wanting to emerge.
Find your inner guidance in times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
One-on-one work with leaders and change agents based on the work of Larry Nusbaum, MD.
Find your own best role in creating the more beautiful world your heart knows is possible.
Workshops to inspire your organization or community's response to global crisis.
Online capacity building in Children's Rights, Rights-Based Programming, Results-Based Management and Theory of Change.
Services available in English, French and Spanish, online, in Toronto and around the globe
Dialogue: The Final Frontier
"Dialogue comes from the Greek logos, 'word' or 'meaning,' and dia, 'through,' and can be literally translated as 'meaning moving through'... Dialogue is the capacity of a system to see itself. To see its own patterns. To see its own assumptions."
- Otto Scharmer
"In its deepest sense, dialogue is an invitation to test the viability of traditional definitions of what it means to be human, and collectively to explore the prospect of an enhanced humanity."
- Lee Nichol
These are unprecedented times. Humanity has never before faced such uncertainty. As the nuclear age, climate change, mass species extinction, growing inequality and exclusion, and food insecurity converge, we can no longer take for granted the continuation of complex life on Earth. This is uncharted territory. We simply have never been here before, and the ways of being, thinking and doing that have brought us to this brink may not keep us afloat in these choppy waters.
As Einstein famously said, “a new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.” It is not merely an up-leveling of our consciousness as individuals that is needed. Our collective survival requires collective intelligence. Together we can--at our best—vehicle more wisdom than any one of us can alone.
This is an age that asks for, not one strong visionary leader or ideology to steer our course, but a continual accessing of our deepest wisdom, and the wisdom that is more than the sum of us. It requires a kind of collective learning that, as Ed O’Sullivan puts it, “dramatically and irreversibly alters our way of being in the world.” To embrace and transform the challenges of this time, we need to access the fullness of our individual and collective potential.
And yet our current mainstream institutions and systems for organizing our lives together often end up producing less than the sum of the parts. As Otto Scharmer of MIT writes, “we collectively create outcomes (and side effects) that nobody wants.” Academic, government and civil society conferences are often stale exchanges of what participants came in already knowing.
Workplace meetings are frequently exercises in competition and compromise that result in win-lose outcomes. And if anyone loses, ultimately everyone loses.
I’ve survived umpteen meetings and conferences and am here to tell you there is a territory beyond conversation as usual. It’s what William Isaacs calls “dialogue” or “the art of thinking together.” In his words, it’s “a new frontier for human beings – perhaps the true final frontier.”
This is the kind of conversation that leaves its participants expanded, deepened, and lifted into higher possibility. People surprise themselves when they express what they’ve never heard or thought before, as if their words are being drawn forth by the moment itself. This is the land where new ways of seeing and doing get seeded, watered, and fertilized. In this space, individuals access, as Tom Atlee puts it, “the wisdom of the whole on behalf of the whole.”
This is the type of land I like to till and tend. And this is the territory into which I’d like to invite you—fertile ground for transformation, co-creation and paradigm shifts. In spaces such as this, rather than only “learning from the experiences of the past,” in Scharmer’s words, we begin to “learn from the future as it emerges.”
Ultimately, all of my work is about helping people listen together for possibility – and feel more wholly alive while doing it. Because there’s a new world emerging, and we are the ones who get to create it.