Are you a consumer or a citizen?

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This past weekend we’ve been part of a workshop unlike any other I’ve attended. The Art of Hosting taps into the power of group activities to harvest collective intelligence.

There was some theory involved – how to host a world cafe, or a circle, or an open space. But the best thing about the Art of Hosting Workshop was the opportunity to learn by doing.

This meant that, on day two, inexperienced people (in other words, us, the participants!) were leading the rest of us in activities. Was it perfect? Of course not!

For everything that went well, something went wrong.

And here’s what’s easy to miss- that was the whole point of the exercise. Doing it wrong is learning experience, and providing a safe place to do it wrong is crucial.

But there’s a change in mindset needed for every participant. Normally we’re used to having very high expectations from a conference or workshop. It’s all supposed to deliver a seamless customer experience.

But when we’re all learning by doing, failures happen. And we all share responsibility for making things work. It’s less like consumerism and more like citizenship.

How else might this be applied?

  • Obviously, if we all started to see ourselves as citizens of Earth, that would help … a lot!
  • As marketers, if we started to think less about outsourcing to experts, and instead sought trusted partners who could help us develop our own solutions – we would develop longer-lasting, more effective (and cost-effective) strategies

What else? How would the citizen mindset change the way we do education, technology, shopping, church, public transport?

These are revolutionary times. Can we afford to maintain business as usual?

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