Our 2022 Organization Development (OD) Conference is a wrap! And all I can say is WOW over and over again. Prior to the conference, I posted on Linkedin that I am: looking forward to looking back at this conference and saying: “look what we accomplished together!” As we know from the Anticipatory Principle of Appreciative Inquiry, our images of the future inspire action. Our conference #ODN2022 exceeded my expectations of a pandemic era hybrid conference that required constant adaptation as we adjusted to unavoidable last minute schedule and speaker changes. In addition, we have now set in motion plans for conference 2023 that will further inspire our community into action by using our research and practice for social impact.

Some takeaways from the main plenary events of #ODN2022, included:

Social Impact Day

Social Impact Day takeaways in 6-word stories by the public benefit organizations (PBO aka not-for-profit organizations) we supported.

  • Building a better board with communication
  • Building knowledge and connections to empower!
  • Teamwork is the key to solving problems.
  • Veterans tame the non-profit chaos!
  • The value of learning and sharing together!
  • Lasting change, staff involvement and heart!
  • Organizing strategic paths, tetris-ing expanded communities
  • Discover opportunities and inspire new fringe
  • Communities of supports solve the puzzle
  • The change is in our community…

A highlight of Social Impact Day was that several PBO that serve veteran communities spontaneously came together to form a community of practice and left with the intention of continuing to do so.

Keynote by Fanshen Cox: Share your story, Change the World

  • Stories of impact are stories of #truth #justice #love.
  • Truth requires going beyond the dominant stories to share non-dominant truths, because non-dominant truths influence and change the status quo as knowledge of intersectionality and standpoint theory has shown.
  • Justice requires finding practical ways to resolve the injustices exposed from the perspective of non-dominant truths. For example, the Inclusion Rider which is being used to contractually bind companies to hiring diverse teams in the entertainment industry and is being adopted across various industries.
  • Love is the grounds from which we must pursue truth and justice because: “justice is what love looks like in public!” @CornelWest.
  • What does it mean to share the story of your name?
  • What does your name say about you to the world?

Keynote by Melissa Crump: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion using OD to Make the Invisible Visible

Melissa Crump (Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Provincial Health Services Authority, British Columbia) is this year’s Evolving OD by Connecting People and Ideas Award Recipient in honour of Lisa Kimball. Within 40 hours notice, Melissa agreed to do our keynote on OD and DEI, which was meant to be delivered by Pedro Suriel, SVP of Diversity and Inclusion at Raymond James Financial who was unable to join us. Key takeaways included:

  • Consider non-dominant experiences by answering:
    • When have you been the ONLY? And if you have never been the ONLY, did you notice the person that was? And in either case, what did it bring to your consciousness.
  • We can use Organization Development methodologies to make visible non-dominant stories, amplify voices and advance systems change.
  • It is possible to blend and have diagnostic and dialogic methodologies co-exist to create systems change (Gilpin-Jackson and Crump, 2018, ODP V50 No.4).
  • The action research journey through assessment, action-planning, implementation and evaluation can be infused with non-dominant stories and action-planning must be flipped so that communities for action are empowered to lead the change and leaders take on the role of removing roadblocks to implementation.
  • “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” Audre Lorde. This quote was used to emphasize the need for infusing non-dominant experiences in order to change the dominant house. Online participants remarked that the house however, keeps getting added rooms and a dialogue ensued within the conference space throughout about ways to transform the house, or even build new ones and let the existing one that does not serve everyone atrophy and decay.

Fireside chat with Edgar and Peter Schein

A few takeaways included:

  • Aspects of culture to support or intervene in as noted in Corporate Culture Survival Guide: Culture Change Leadership, 3rd ed.
    • Technical culture
    • Social culture
    • Macro culture
  • Question for OD to consider: In a world of alternative truths, how do we get underneath the surface to understand what’s behind different worldviews and perspectives held?
  • Challenge to the field to remember that we are in the complex and contextual human sciences, not traditional “science” which will not be sufficient for systems change
  • Book recommendation: Sand Talk: How Indigenuos Thinking Can Save The World

A note that comments by Edgar Schein implying an inability to recruit qualified Black and Indigenuos peoples raised follow-up conversations that highlighted the very essence of the conversations already present at the conference in regard to the need to center justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in OD. Indeed, it sparked dialogue from the Awards podium that followed as noted by Fred Miller and in small groups throughout about the need for non-dominant stories and experiences to be central to equity-centred futures. It raised acknowledgement and awareness that even for those most admired and honoured in our field, those with white privilege can only speak and act from the level of consciousness and experience they have unless that is counterbalanced with the knowledge and experience of those with non-dominant lived experiences who have higher levels of consciousness in regard to the dynamics of social marginality.

Awards Ceremony

Congratulations to our 2022 Award recipients:

  • Lifetime Achievement – William J. Rothwell, Ph.D.
  • Elevating Humanity – Carolyn Lukensmeyer
  • Sharing the Wealth – Angelika Burovski
  • Organizational Excellence and Impact – CG Strategy, Inc.
  • Service to the OD Network – Chris Crosby
  • Communicating OD Knowledge – Richard W. Woodman
  • Evolving OD by Connecting People and Ideas – Melissa Crump RN, MSN, MScHQ
  • OD Review Outstanding Article of the Year – No Going Back by Judith H. Katz and Frederick A. Miller and Why is it so Hard to Change Organizational Culture by Lukas Neville and Benjamin Schneider and curated responses organized by Assoc. Editor Marc Sokol

Keynote by Dr. Bonita Thompson on How Leaders Create Collaborative Environments

Dr. Bonita Thompson joined us in place of Dr. Noémie Le Pertel and shared her research with us about the collaborative leadership required for leaders who create flourishing environments for social impact and reject the narrative that “Greed is Good”

Her qualitative research shows among other things that collaborative leaders:

  • Set clear goals
  • Assign clear roles
  • Build Trust through honesty (No hidden agendas! solutions focused/Future Orientated/Collaborative Honesty)
  • Get curious: Model leader humility and willingness to learn (confidently humble)

For more on the interviews that have been part of her research, see the Chief Executive Alliance podcast and interviews highlights with renowned business and social sector leaders.

Hybrid Closing Panel: Global OD Matters co-moderated by Enrique R. Zaldivar and I.

With panellists from around the world: Khadija Moore, BSc, CPTD Florin-Ioan Petean, Ph.D. Justine Chinoperekweyi, Ph.D., RODC, COLDC, Dr. Shalini Lal and Michelle De Bruyn, President of IODA.

The panel left us with these questions to ponder:

  1. What will it mean for us to build humanized, ethical, sustainable organizations in a digital age?
  2. What more can we do as OD practitioners to make incremental OD interventions more systemic and visible globally/holistically?
  3. Who do we need to partner with as a profession to do our work at an organizational, societal, environmental perspective?
  4. What can we do more to really activate our OD organizations to collaborate and work together more? (Transform ourselves…)
  5. How can each of us continue to democratize OD?

For more on Global OD content, see our 2021 Global OD Matters podcast conversations in partnership with Organization Development Network, Europe.

Now What:

Special Shoutout to our Board and Conference Co-Chairs and the entire 2022 conference committee, our ODN management staff and all the volunteers that made this happen! We are ready to take on the future at Summit 2023, with our theme of Social Impact: Addressing the Challenges of Now!

2022 Board and Conference Co-Chairs
2023 ODN Conference Theme: Social Impact: Addressing the Challenges of Now

Cross-posted at Organization Development Chairs Corner