Thursday’s Keynote was Dr. Ken Gergen, whose work has been instrumental and deeply inspiring to many doctoral students in a variety of business disciplines. I had the privilege of having Dr. Gergen on my doctoral dissertation committee and was delighted to reconnect with him. Dr. Gergen is a senior research professor at Swarthmore College and President of the Taos Institute. Dr. Gergen has been a major contributor to social constructionist theory and organizational change practices and shared the stage with Dr. Danielle Zandee, Professor of Sustainable Organizational Development at Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Breukelen, the Netherlands, to speak about how to interweave micro practices into daily conversation.
Conversation itself undergoes renewal–it is an in-between-emerging process, causing the language to develop, including the interpretations and meanings. Ken Gergen and Danielle Zandee highlighted their already enlightening dialogue with a little play about how conversations can degenerate, and how to prevent this – or even turn them into a generative alternative. Danielle asked the audience to think about ways to ‘interweave’ or ‘interlock’ the micro practices into day to day conversations, and make them sustainable. For example, they focused on the act of ‘listening’ in our everyday dialogue to create generative conversations. They demonstrated the difference between an ‘active’ listener and an ‘inactive’ listener and how we chose to listen to each other.
How we chose to listen impacts the outcome of the next moment.