2 min read

🌿 The Spore

Brought to you by the team at Organizational Mycology

Brought to you by the team at Organizational Mycology

🌳 What we’re thinking about - Willows

I ran across this video explaining how useful willows can be for all kinds of things including stream restoration and protection from erosion, creating living fences, providing food for animals and basketry. At the end of the video, one of the speakers says this:

“It’s almost the stereotype of the willow, the storm bends the branches, and yet they do not break. I use the willow as an image for my own resilience during these challenging times. The fact that when I cut the willow, willow grows back in a way that is actually more generous, makes more useful shoots for baskets. All the ways that we feel we get hurt, that I feel I am hurt during this time in history and just being cut again and again and again - How can I manifest my inner generosity and grow back in a way that produces good in this world?

Suddenly I began thinking about how we are facing difficult times with global climate change, war, political instability, inequality and more. The idea that we might use these times to become more resilient is compelling. There is a great deal of resonance between the resilience of willows and the way in which communities often grow stronger when there are human disasters (Perrow on Normal Accidents comes to mind).

Willows welcome their shoots being cut, because the shoots can grow back based on a strong root system. So cutting them isn’t actually a problem. What does it look like to respond to difficult things with resilience? How can this generosity be a way of producing good in the world? 

What I wonder is how we might use the lessons of the willow in what we do. What would it look like to welcome sharing as a way of propagating ideas? How can we use challenges to become stronger as individuals, organizations, networks? How can we send out more shoots and connect to become stronger, especially after we are cut? What ways can we learn from willows as we seek to create and to sustain in an uncertain world?

Oblique Thinking Hour

On May 14th and 21st, we’ll be running a two-part Oblique Thinking Hour(s) to explore the method of “Group Concept Mapping.” The technique involves a single prompt which everyone in the group will respond to on a very general topic that everyone is likely to be familiar with. We’ll then go through the process of “clustering” the responses, both together “as humans” and then on the second day using a natural language processing tool. More info and signup link

Short updates 

Everyday Open Source - Everyday Open Source is a project to stop and think about how major innovations came to be throughout history. How they probably had that playground energy of delight when building a fort, or collaborating on building something together. How ownership of ideas wasn't the priority, of those creating, inventing, problem solving. Check it out on Bluesky, Mastodon, LinkedIn, or Twitter

Dan at Stanford’s “Reinventing Digital Infrastructures for Civic Empowerment” Workshop -  On May 20th, Dan will be attending a Stanford Digital Economy Lab workshop on the future of digital infrastructures. A group of academics, industry leaders, and policy-oriented folks will be discussing “concrete pathways for AI-enhanced digital communications to promote human deliberation and enable productive collective action, all within constraints such as preservation of privacy and autonomy, inclusiveness, and accountability.” The event doesn’t have a livestream, but Dan will be sure to share key takeaways and summaries in our next newsletter. 

Astropy Reports - We were embedded with the Astropy project for six months in 2023, learning about the project and supporting community development needs across the project. Out of that work came two reports, one on a survey of community members and a second report about community views on DEI across the project.

Contact us at [email protected]