Generating ideas, connections, and action


CSXII Perspectives | Thoughts from Jeffrey Jones

The following was written by our Creating Space XII facilitator Jeffrey Jones. 


Greetings Creating Space XII family,

As some time has passed since our shared journey into non-traditional leadership at Creating Space XII, I have had the opportunity for reflection and I thought I would take this opportunity to relate my some of my perspectives and learning with everyone. Undoubtedly, the raw emotions and genuine examples of non-traditional leadership that we experienced during Creating Space XII are testaments to our collective commitment to this work; to witness it first-hand at Grace in Action and the Oakland Avenue Market Garden turned a mirror upon ourselves and the tremendous work that we all do.

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Lessons From Creating Space XII

Creating Space 2015 has the potential to change the conversation about leadership development if we listen deeply to the voices and experiences of people on the ground doing heavy lifting change work in their schools, neighborhoods, and communities. There were several important questions that surfaced during Creating Space 2015:

  • What is leadership (or who is a leader)?

  • What is leadership development?

  • What are the problems with these concepts and language?

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Webinar Follow Up: Questions on Self Organized Leadership in Networks: Lessons from Occupy Sandy and the People’s Climate March

When Hurricane Sandy hit, a self organized network quickly emerged from pre-existing networks and new volunteers that resoundingly out performed traditional relief agencies.  Why and how was this network able to do this?  What does leadership look like in situations such as this that are complex and ever shifting? In our webinar we explored the nuts and bolts of self organizing, strategies for supporting such networks and how self organized strategies and leadership can be applied to your work on complex problems. However, some questions remained for participants. Below are the answers to your pending questions.


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Webinar Series | Evolutionary Leadership: How To Redesign Our Communities, Institutions, and Societies


Thursday November 12th, 2015 at 11:00am Pacific


Most leadership programs today train leaders to be effective in the world we currently live in - the same world that is not working for all the humanity and its ecological systems. This makes leaders to consciously or unconsciously reinforce established cultures and institutions even if they have best intentions and are truly concerned about the people and the planet. This traps leaders in always leading from the past rather than from the highest possibility for all stakeholders. Evolutionary Leadership addresses this leadership trap of our time by enabling leaders to be effective in redesigning the world.

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Answers to Questions: Boundary Spanning Leadership Integrated with Network Development by Chris Ernst and Chuck Palus

Q: I get the "direction, alignment and commitment" elements of leadership, but I don't understand what (if anything) changes from traditional to networked leadership in terms of role clarity: who does what, when? (Ann Janette Rosga)

Response: There are two phases of realizing networked leadership. The first is creating awareness that all management and leadership is already networked as the natural order of things. The second phase is intentionally shaping those networks toward specific strategic purposes, as Juniper is doing. In this second phase, the strategic purpose is key in determining roles. In other words, start with the logic of what you are trying to accomplish with the network. Then, the shapers of the network (a few people who are themselves energizers, boundary spanners, and leaders) have the task of helping the key parts of the network determine how to achieve shared direction, alignment, and commitment.


Q: Would love more insight on cognitive differences and how that might be defined  (Samir Mehta)
Response: In terms of the 5 boundaries identified in the CCL research – vertical, horizontal, stakeholder, demographic, and geographic – we include cognitive differences as well as any dimension of human difference as part of demographic. Interestingly, when we began the research, we were focused only on boundaries associated with demographics. As the research unfolded in organizations across 6 continents over a decade, we came to realize that many of the same underlying forces beneath demographics also were in play for vertical boundaries (associated with authority and power) or horizontal boundaries (associated with experience and expertise). In short, fundamental issues of identity is at the root of these boundaries in our organizations and communities.

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership | The Complete Series

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If you haven't already, we encourage you to read the "Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership | The Complete Series." This series details modules that support non-traditional leaders.
Each article is linked below:

Why We Are Talking About Non-Traditional Leadership? A Conversation With Sheena Solomon

For this article we interviewed Creating Space design team member, Sheena Solomon from the Gifford Foundation.  After all, who better to ask about why non-traditional leadership than a member of the design team?


Sheena was inspired to ask the question about non-traditional leadership and who is a leader because as she explained, “When I have conversations with everyday people doing extraordinary things they don’t see themselves as leaders although they are all about the community and they have followers and credibility.  The community sees them as honest and they are trusted to speak for community.”

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GUEST BLOG: AnnJanette Rosga

By AnnJanette Rosga, Director, Informing Change


In May of this year, the Management Assistance Group’s Network Leadership Innovation Lab (MagLab) released a very inspiring evaluation report on its first iteration of an “ongoing program of dialogue, analysis, partnership, co-creation, and active learning to strengthen progressive movement leaders.”

As someone who is excited by all kinds of action learning projects (five of which MagLab spawned), I’m writing here to both recommend and briefly summarize this report for those of you who might not have time to benefit from its full 50+ pages.

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GUEST BLOG: The Most Impactful Leaders You’ve Never Heard Of by Jane Wei-Skillern, David Ehrlichman, & David Sawyer

Originally posted on Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Network entrepreneurs are ensuring that systems-level, collaborative efforts not only succeed, but thrive.

Collaboration has taken the social sector by storm. Collective impact, social media, and other tools play important roles, ensuring that the right structures, resources, and technologies are in place for groups to successfully work together. But while these approaches have advanced collaboration in practice, we believe that on their own, they are insufficient for achieving transformational change. In the rush toward readily available solutions to social problems, we often overlook a powerful missing link.

In our research and experience, the single most important factor behind all successful collaborations is trust-based relationships among participants. Many collaborative efforts ultimately fail to reach their full potential because they lack a strong relational foundation.

The new leaders at the heart of some of today’s most sophisticated, large-scale solutions to the world’s social problems—network entrepreneurs—are undoubtedly some of the most accomplished leaders that you’ve never heard of, and they are ensuring that systems-level, collaborative efforts not only succeed, but thrive.
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Guest Blog: Undoing Patterns of Privilege as We Learn by Laurin Mayeno


Undoing Patterns of Privilege as We Learn

In my work with organizations around race, power and privilege, I’ve noticed a pattern. Sometimes we anticipate defensiveness on the part of white people in the group and plan our sessions to accommodate this defensiveness. I’ve begun correcting this pattern and setting goals more proactively. At the same time, I have become hyper aware that a primary reasons we’re doing this work is that people of color may feel unsafe, unsupported, and even silenced. I’ve been wondering how to make their needs a higher priority in the work. read more »

“My weariness is rooted in realizing how often starting the race conversation with white privilege automatically centers the experience of white folks.” Austin Channing Brown