Environmental Collaboration Spaces
Working to sustain our natural environment commonly requires collaborative involving multiple stakeholders. The complex nature of the challenges can benefit from ecological and complex adaptive systems paradigms and practices.
A group of academics and mining industry leaders had a shared commitment to the addressing the longstanding environmental challenge of acid-mine drainage. Through previous work in a leadership retreat context, one of the academic leads was convinced that the issue was not just a scientific/engineering challenge but was a complex-system issue. Sustainable improvements could only succeed if the collaboration was much broader. An online international Open Space forum was organised to bring people together from various backgrounds, including universities, anthropologists, community, indigenous, government and industry to cross-fertilise insights and learnings.
Adults learn best through doing things which they are genuinely interested in, and reflecting together on what works and what doesn’t. This is called ‘action-reflection learning’. Several ‘leadership for sustainability’ action-learning programs were run in Perth, involving sustainability leaders who were all aiming to facilitate transformational change within their organisations. Participants met for a series of full day sessions over six months, where they engaged in reflective practice using a peer-peer coaching approach. There was also a spin-off benefit of developing cross-industry relationships.