For today's leaders who feel in-over-their-head, cultivating the practice of curious inquiry is critical to meeting the challenge. From the corporate sector to social enterprise, designers, strategists, problem-solvers and decision-makers are tuning in to the arts and natural sciences for fresh inspiration on how to create the conditions that enable both collaboration AND innovation amidst complexity and rapid change.
As part of my own development, I’m about to complete a 9-month leadership program with MetaIntegral Academy, an organisation made up of world-class experts in conscious leadership, cross-sector coordination for large-scale change and complex organisational development issues. The program is called, The Embodied Practitioner Certificate, and explores both the skillsets and mindsets leaders need to cultivate in order to meet the demands of volatile, uncertain, changing and ambiguous environments. For me, the exploration has been professional AND personal, subjective AND objective, intellectual AND embodied; I've been stretched to my growth edges and beyond.
Certification required that I create a video to document my journey thus far. This seemed a perfect vessel inside of which I could throw all of my autopoeitic and adaptive self. So, I gathered images I’d been collecting for the past twelve months and composed a musical vignette to help tell the story.
I played all of the instruments on the recording (accept for the crickets). This was, in itself, a process of experimentation in which clearly defined constraints set by the recording software and my own artistic parameters (all sounds were live samples) determined the edges of the metaphorical river bank. Once the structure was in place, I was free to flow purposefully downstream.
Distinctions like reproduction AND replication were explored, recreating harmonies to resonate with the original melody AND edits that could be used repeatedly across the track.
Most intriguing were the accidental moves that produced unexpected beauty.
For example, the delayed layering of strings and the natural harmonies that ensued were totally unintended after dragging and dropping edits into what I thought were the wrong locations in the mix. There was also the
phenomenological presence of natural drift; accidents, experiments, compositional ideas that were incongruent with both my creative flow and the emergent melodic, harmonic, rhythmic soundscape taking form... 'there were to be many extinctions, many surprising forms, and all sorts of forms imaginable that we shall never see appear.' (Maturana, R, Humberto Ph.D & Valera, J. Francisco, Ph.D, 1998, The Tree of Knowledge, Shambhala, London, p. 109)
I could neither predict nor anticipate the twists, turns and final outcome of the endeavor. This included how the video platform synergistically ordered and displayed images in time with the music. Creative practice is full of these anomalies. For me, this is a sublime example of, ‘bringing forth the world through the process of living itself.'
Artists, scientists, mystics and organisational leaders traverse far-reaching and fertile territory. It is through the rich exchange of ideas that novelty emerges. Most poignant is the humility that comes with allowing one to ‘not know’, and to have the courage to expose this evidence to our peers, colleagues, beloveds and selves. It is through this expression of a ‘failure to know’ that a sincere conversation of discovery is born.
As curious practitioners across a multiplicity of professional domains, our challenge is to be willing to traverse unknown terrain with an open mind, heart and will; to inquire with genuine curiosity, then yield to the silence. The answers are as much in how we ask the questions as they are in the quality of our listening.
I invite you to sit back and enjoy the collage of sound and image. I hope it ignites the essence of curious inquiry within you.
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