Talked with anyone from another world recently?

Freah Air Learning - we fix teamsEver had that feeling when talking to someone that you are somehow missing one another?

The language and culture are the same. The words are recognisable. Yet nothing makes sense.  You listen ever more closely.

“Just where is this other person coming from?” you think to yourself.

This was brought home to me when working on the design of an evaluation for a programme. To cut a long story short I felt that the context we were working in was a complex one, where “good” could best be described in words rather than numbers; words in the form of stories the sponsor would like to hear participants, the wider organisation, customers etc. tell. Mood music stuff. Pretty subjective.

The person I was discussing this thought I was being a bit fluffy. He was clear about how simple it was. The intervention would take place and this would map pretty directly to a measurable effect. A number. Good could be described by a number.

“I don’t see vaat de problem is. Simplzz!” he said, mimicking the TV meerkats.

So there we were: me drawing on complexity theory to make my sense of the context, and using aural and kinaesthetic language – “hearing”, “feeling”, “mood music”; and he expressing a world-view of predictable cause and effect, and using visual language – “clear”, “map”, “direct”.

Different world-views. Different languages. Potentially different action.

Now that we have recognised this we are having a richer more learning’ful engagement. Making sense together. Dialogue.

Have you spoken to anyone from another world recently? How did it go? How is your engagement unfolding now?

Dave Stewart

The Fresh Air Learning Company