Strategy and collaboration in open, loosely connected, complex networks require a different approach than the top-down planning that has long dominated organizational strategy-setting.
In this redux episode of the Leading Learning Podcast, co-host Celisa Steele talks with Ed Morrison, who pioneered Strategic Doing, an approach to strategy and collaboration in open, loosely connected, complex networks, and who co-authored Strategic Doing: Ten Skills for Agile Leadership. Celisa and Ed talk about what Strategic Doing is, some of the practical skills needed to do it well, and how learning businesses might apply it.
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Ed Morrison: [00:00:00] In strategic planning, intuition has no role. Planning is all analytic. It’s all based on numbers and facts. But, if we’re dealing with complex environments with open networks, we can’t analyze these things. We can’t predict them. But we can use the intuition—the collective, shared intuition—at the table.
Celisa Steele: [00:00:25] I’m Celisa Steele.
Jeff Cobb: [00:00:27] I’m Jeff Cobb, and this is the Leading Learning Podcast.
Jeff Cobb: [00:00:35] Welcome to episode 390, which features a conversation with Ed Morrison. This is an encore airing of an interview from our archives.
Jeff Cobb: [00:00:44] Ed Morrison pioneered Strategic Doing, which is an approach to strategy and collaboration in open, loosely connected, complex networks. Ed co-authored the book Strategic Doing: Ten Skills for Agile Leadership, which collects and organizes what he and his colleagues learned over many years of Strategic Doing with a variety of groups in a variety of situations. Strategic Doing gets at some of the issues and problems of strategic planning, which was dominant when Ed first began work on this new approach. Ed is a practitioner with lots of hands-on experience with the kinds of strategy work and collaboration described in the book Strategic Doing, which, as the full title suggests, explores 10 skills from a very practical, hands-on point of view.
Jeff Cobb: [00:01:33] At the time of the original interview, Ed was directing the Agile Strategy Lab at Purdue University. As you listen to the conversation, pay particular attention to Ed’s thoughts on appreciative framing questions. How might you reframe the questions you consider in your learning business to focus more on opportunities and hypotheses than on problems? What verbal jujitsu do you need to do? Also, pay attention to Ed’s explanation of the Big Easy. Are there decisions you need to make, decisions that involve a big group of stakeholders, where you might use the Big Easy tool to arrive at a path forward? Celisa and Ed spoke in August 2019, and this episode originally aired in October 2019.
The Origins of Strategic Doing and How It Works
Celisa Steele: [00:02:30] Would you start by explaining to listeners what Strategic Doing is and how it came to be?
Ed Morrison: [00:02:36] Yes. Strategic Doing is a protocol, a way of thinking about collaboration that enables people to form these collaborations quickly, move them toward measurable outcomes, and then learn and make adjustments as they learn by doing. So it’s a new protocol or a new discipline of forming collaborations quickly. It came about through the work that I was talking about, where I was dealing with complex challenges in communities, big and small, facing the challenges of globalization starting in the 1980s. Globalization started really undermining the economies of a lot of communities and regions. And, of course, they were focused on how do we adjust to this new world of global competition?
Ed Morrison: [00:03:28] Part of the challenge, of course, was bringing people together, and the only real approach that we had at the time was strategic planning, which I had learned in my corporate strategy work and had applied. I was a corporate strategy consultant working for big companies like Ford and General Electric before I went off on my own. But the problem with these big planning models is that they don’t work very well in situations where nobody can tell anybody really what to do. So open networks or these loosely connected networks, strategic planning just doesn’t work. In the early 90s, I started exploring a new approach to strategy based on open-source software development, and for about 12 years I worked on this. By 2005, I was convinced that I had a model in my head that worked, that I could replicate, but I didn’t know how to teach it. So I came to Purdue to learn how to teach it, and I’ve been at Purdue ever since. That’s, in a nutshell, where Strategic Doing came from.
Collaboration Is Key to Strategic Doing
Celisa Steele: [00:04:36] You’ve already touched on it some, but collaboration really is core to Strategic Doing, and that collaboration then involves, of course, conversation. I know, in the book, that you and the other four co-authors unpacked 10 skills needed for collaboration. For me, this is really interesting because we talk a lot at Leading Learning around the idea of we often don’t know how to learn. So many of the educational offerings out there focus on content and not really helping people learn how to learn or learn how to learn better. Similarly, you and your colleagues are focused on this idea of collaboration and that we know collaboration is important, but that doesn’t mean we know how to do it. And so you’re down there digging into these different skills.
Framing Conversations with Appreciative Questions
Celisa Steele: [00:05:27] I know we’re not going to have time to touch on all 10 of the skills, but I’m hoping we can get to a couple of them in our conversation today. I know one of them in particular focuses around using appreciative framing questions to design a conversation. So I’m hoping you can talk to us a little bit about what that means and maybe even some of the questions that you think learning leaders, those folks who are working in lifelong learning, continuing education, professional development, what types of appreciative questions might they be asking? Or, if you don’t want to suggest particular questions, maybe give us an idea of how we might arrive at those questions ourselves.
Ed Morrison: [00:06:07] Yes. You’re touching on a core idea around Strategic Doing and collaboration, and that is we have to frame a conversation. When you think about it, collaboration comes out of, is a product of conversations. What we learned early on, and why I came to Purdue, was an understanding that complex collaborations emerge out of a conversation that has an underlying structure and a trajectory. It changes over time. But part of the challenge is to frame the conversation, draw a boundary around the conversation that we want to have. It’s critical that this conversation be appreciative. And the reason is because we are dealing with really complex challenges. Collaboration is a complex, emergent phenomenon. It emerges out of our conversations.
Ed Morrison: [00:07:08] One of the challenges that we want to focus on initially is how do we frame the conversation so that we’re looking at opportunities and not problems? I think if I could digress a little bit into that question for a minute. If we focus on challenges and frame them around problems, typically we frame these problems, and they connect with each other. For example, in Flint, Michigan, when they approached us and asked us about, “How do we use Strategic Doing to reduce teenage homicide rates?” If we started out our conversation and framed it around a problem—the problem of teenage homicides—and got people to talk about the problem of teenage homicides, we’d have a lot of discussion about “Well, the problem of teenage homicides is we don’t have any jobs in the neighborhoods or where the families have broken down.” Or, “The schools aren’t doing their job.” You end up with these problem-centric conversations that end up going nowhere.
Ed Morrison: [00:08:06] However, if we reframe that conversation into an opportunity—“What would it look like if a child in Flint could walk home safely without worrying about being assaulted?”—then you start thinking about “What does that future look like? And how do we move ourselves toward designing that future?” So this is very tightly bound up with insights of appreciative inquiry, which you may be familiar with. David Cooperrider at Case Western Reserve University came up with some very important insights, which are that people move in the direction of their conversations. So Strategic Doing is designed to enable us to design a future that we can’t see yet, but it’s an opportunity for us to design something that produces value for us, something valuable for us that we can’t really accomplish right now. For example, again, in Flint, it’s a question of “How do we design a neighborhood in such a way that kids aren’t afraid of walking home from school?” And, when that happens, people start thinking about “Well, what could I do to engage in that future?” And so you start seeing people sharing their assets, their ideas of what they could do to contribute to that future. So it’s very, very important.
Ed Morrison: [00:09:33] Framing questions, we’ve learned, start with some fairly simple constructions. One of the ways to think about it is to start with “How could we…?” or “Imagine if…” or “What would it look like if…?” In a recent class, we had a professor from an engineering school, and he said just learning this one skill of an appreciative question changed the way in which he interacted with his colleagues on the faculty. He’s an assistant professor, associate dean, has an administrative position, and faculty would come to him with their problems. He immediately learned how to take that problem statement and flip it around, do a little verbal jujitsu, and talk about an opportunity. “What would it look like if…? Imagine if….”
Ed Morrison: [00:10:33] And, by doing that, he opened the door to a more productive conversation with his colleagues. So it’s interesting that you can frame a conversation in an appreciative manner to look for and explore opportunities for the future that we can’t yet see. If you address your conversation around problems, and you’re dealing with really complex challenges, all you end up doing is talking about more problems, and you end up sapping people’s strength and energy, and the conversation usually dies. So that’s one of the key insights. Frame the conversation. Use the framing question as an attractor or an invitation to conversation, and invite people into that conversation to think about a future that we could jointly work together and design together.
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Jeff Cobb: [00:11:27] At Tagoras, we’re experts in the global business of lifelong learning, and we use our expertise to help clients better understand their markets, connect with new customers, make the right investment decisions, and grow their learning businesses. We achieve these goals through expert market assessment, strategy formulation, and platform selection services. If you’re looking for a partner to help your learning business achieve greater reach, revenue, and impact, learn more at tagoras.com/services.
Verbal Jujitsu to Focus on Opportunities Rather Than Problems
Celisa Steele: [00:11:59] I think that’s a really important point to focus on those opportunities, not the problem. I’m thinking, in terms of a learning business. I can imagine, for example, perhaps a non-appreciative inquiry approach might be our enrollments are dropping, or our attendance at the conference is falling. But, as you were just saying, if you can apply a little verbal jujitsu instead, look at the opportunity to better serve the professionals in field x.
Ed Morrison: [00:12:27] Here’s an example. As a conference, imagine we had a conference in which people came to our conference seeking powerful learning experiences that they both created and shared. What would that look like? You invite people to think about this in a different way. Or how could we create memorable learning experiences for everyone every month, not just once a year, but how do we do that for everyone in our organization every month? Or what would it look like if our organization became a testbed for the latest ideas in adult learning? What would that look like? Now you’re starting to trigger some imagination on the part of your potential participants in your conversation, and you’re inviting them, as I said, to design a future that you can’t really see yet, but you think it’s out there, potentially out there. It’s a hypothesis. It embeds a hypothesis about a future that you could do together, you could work on together.
Celisa Steele: [00:13:35] That’s great. And I think, too, that the idea of the hypothesis is then that you’re going to go out there and be testing it. And that’s part of, again, that emphasis you have on doing. It’s not just talking. Ultimately, you’re going to move beyond the conversation.
Ed Morrison: [00:13:46] You have to because, again, if you think about what you’re trying to do with a collaboration—by definition, collaboration is an environment in which really nobody can tell anybody what to do—you’re working toward shared outcomes, shared value, and you frankly don’t know how that’s going to actually unfold. You can’t predict the future, but you think it’s there. You think you can create value together that neither one of you or your partners can create by themselves, and you’ve got to start then running experiments. As you run these experiments, as you start doing things together in what we like to call micro commitments, just small commitments, then you start building trust across the network, and that’s what really starts to move the network forward.
Using the Big Easy to Identify for What’s Easy to Do and What’s Important to Do
Celisa Steele: [00:14:35] We touched just briefly there on one of those skills around that framing question and making sure that you give good, important thinking to what that question should be. Another skill that you talk about is making decisions, that choices have to be made. Ultimately, you have to sort through options and then pick one to move forward with, to test, as we were just talking about with the hypothesis. One of the things that I found really interesting in the book is that you have a tool for doing that. And so I’m hoping you would talk about the 2×2 matrix and the Big Easy flavor of that.
Ed Morrison: [00:15:15] Yes, we design Strategic Doing to think about networks, how do we build networks, and how do we do things together in a linked, leveraged, and aligned way, all of us taking small steps and growing our network and moving it toward an outcome, as I said, that we can’t see yet. And so the whole notion of this is linking and leveraging across your networks and engaging people in your networks to work with you on projects that they would find valuable as well. The challenge, of course, is we can come up with all sorts of great ideas, and we’ve all been in those brainstorming sessions where we fill the wall with butcher block paper with ideas on it. But, again, we have to figure out what to do next. We have to narrow things down. We can’t do everything. So we came up with this idea of the Big Easy. And the reason we want to evaluate our ideas along two dimensions is because we want to engage other people in this work. The big idea is one that creates a sense of transformation. It’s something that people can get excited about. So we ask people to rank, on a one-to-five scale, how big an idea is this?
Ed Morrison: [00:16:35] If we’re wildly successful, is this going to get us closer to answering our framing question? If it’s big, then it’s a five. If it’s small, then it’s a one. We also, however, on the second dimension, need to be developing small wins. We all know that, again, people won’t hang around if we’re just talking. We’ve got to actually do things. And so developing some small wins involves pragmatism. It involves coming up with practical ideas. And so we ask, “How easy will this idea be to start to implement? How easy will it be to generate small wins?” And so we ask people to evaluate each one of these according to how easy it is, again, on a simple five-point scale. By doing that, you’re evaluating, you’re figuring out the balance point between a big idea and an easy idea. And so, again, it’s a balance point. By asking your participants to do this in an open session, you’re creating a transparent way to do a fairly sophisticated analysis of these opportunities to rank them. And so the Big Easy is the idea that comes out with the highest score. Now, what we’re tapping into here is what we call “strategic intuition.”
Ed Morrison: [00:18:00] Now, in strategic planning, intuition has no role. Planning is all analytic. It’s all based on numbers and facts. But, if we’re dealing with complex environments with open networks, we can’t analyze these things. We can’t predict them. But we can use the intuition—the collective, shared intuition—at the table. The Big Easy creates a very fast way for you to evaluate a range of ideas, to evaluate them and start to put them into an order. Let me give you an example. We were down in Washington about two, three years ago, working on a big question about what the federal government could do to improve federal research at universities. How could we accelerate commercialization of federal research dollars across our research universities? And, of course, a lot of people have a lot of different ideas about what we could do. We had three tables. You can imagine the room. Three tables, about eight people at a table, and each table was generating about 10 to 15 different ideas. Well, you can’t start with that many ideas. But, by ranking them according to a Big Easy, in developing a score for each idea, we could then visually see which ones were more likely to be successful based on our collective intuition, and then we could quickly pick one to start with.
Ed Morrison: [00:19:33] We did the same thing out in Arizona with Arizona State University when they were doing a solar energy summit. We did the Big Easy. This was kind of cool. We had about 80 to 100 people in the room, and we did the Big Easy voting with text voting on our phones. It’s a way that you can quickly capture the intuition of the group, and you can do it in a transparent, open, and fair way. And that’s very, very important because, again, if you reflect a little bit back on some of your experiences, oftentimes people come up with ideas, and then somebody has decided, “Well, of the 15 different ideas, we’re going to do number seven.” And you say, “Well, how did that decision get made?” And nobody quite knows, of course. It doesn’t generate very much trust within the organization when people don’t know how these decisions are made. But, if you can make it transparent—we actually do finger voting—if you can make it transparent, and people can see what people are voting, then it becomes a lot more fair. A sense of trust begins to build.
Ed Morrison: [00:20:46] Another interesting insight is that if, for example, you and I were at a table, and we were voting on something, and you, Celisa, said, “I’m going to vote this one. I think this is going to be very hard to do.” And I look at it, and I vote five, and I say, “Well, this is going to be very easy to do.” We’re looking at the same opportunity, but what’s happening there? Well, we’re looking at the same opportunity, but we’re looking at it from different perspectives. And so, if we drive our conversation a little bit deeper and think a little bit more about why is it that you voted it one, and why is it that I voted at five, then you can see that there’s a deeper conversation to be had. It can be pretty short, can be only 30 seconds or a minute, but you start to recognize that we’re all looking at the world through our own straw. We’re looking at the same thing, but we’re seeing different things. When we listen to one another, again, we’re building trust, building awareness, and learning about the different points of view across the table.
Celisa Steele: [00:21:53] I think that’s an excellent point. This can be a tool not only for decision-making but, as you were just pointing out, for further conversation and to help build that deeper alignment among the team members who are part of the collaboration.
Ed Morrison: [00:22:09] This is one thing that’s really interesting to me. I don’t know because I’m not a social scientist, so I can’t really evaluate it. But one of the things we learn is that, by driving our conversations deeper, we actually bring people together. This is different from what we’ve learned with strategic planning. We’ve all been through the vision statement routine. In a vision statement, we think, well, we’re going to bring people together. We get higher and higher levels of abstraction. We play word games and, like refrigerator magnets, come up with our vision statement. The truth of the matter is you can exhaust people doing that. The conversation becomes more and more superficial, and, at the end of the day, people don’t care. But, if you learn to drive your conversations to a deeper level and to listen to one another respectfully, then you’re building trust, and you’re learning about the fact that your view of the world is only one view of the world and that we’re designing a future that actually involves a whole lot of different dimensions and a lot of complexity. It’s actually quite inspiring when you start to think, “Oh, we could actually put these three, four, or five ideas together and make it work.” But that does require you to sit and listen to what other people are seeing.
Using the Skills for Agile Leadership
Celisa Steele: [00:23:45] One of the other points you make in the book is that none of the skills are rocket science. They’re pretty simple. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re easy, but they are simple skills. Of course, they take time and effort to get better at them, to practice them, to learn how to frame those questions or to learn how to have these discussions around a Big Easy, for example. But one of the other things that you also make the point about is that the skills can be used independently, but there’s a great benefit in bringing them all together, using them in concert. So I’m hoping you can talk a little bit about that, how the skills can fit together. And then, as part of that, just the role of teams or groups in agile leadership.
Ed Morrison: [00:24:37] Right. Let me address the second part of that first, the role of teams. One of the things you learn—and again, I’ve been at this for over 20 years or so—there are 10 skills, but no one is good at all 10 skills. If you think of an S curve—you’re familiar with an S curve probably, the whole notion that living systems go through a period of birth, rapid growth, maturity, and then decline—teams or people can be situated along an S curve. In other words, you’ve got the entrepreneurs at the early stage of the S curve who are very horizontal thinkers. They connect all over the place. They think in new and different ways. You get people in the middle of the curve who are thinking more about systems: “How do I grow this thing? How do I make it work?” And you have people at the top of the S curve who are focused on efficiency or focused on the idea that “We’ve really got to get down to brass tacks here, folks. We’ve got to figure out who’s going to do what by when.” This is all part of the notion of cognitive diversity, and our 10 skills actually map pretty closely to an S curve.
Ed Morrison: [00:25:54] One of the things we have learned is that, when we’re facing these really complex challenges, a transformation of any sort is complex. We’re dealing with hidden networks we can’t see. We’re trying to align assets within those networks, find out what they are, link and leverage them, move them in a new direction. This is all very complex work. You need a cognitively diverse team. You need people that are good at all of these different skills. So, in the 10 skills, I’m particularly good at the first one, two, three, four, five, six. I’m not really good at seven, eight, nine, ten. Ten is about nudging. As I tell my colleagues, “I’m a great nudgee. I’m not a great nudger.” So you recognize that you’re not good at all of these and that you need complements. You need people who are good, and you need to recognize when their leadership matters and when that leadership can move. A good team starts to move leadership across the team as circumstances change. We learned this by studying what the folks up in Flint were doing, the core team up in Flint that really took on these challenges. But way before the water crisis, they were working on teenage homicides. The core team there was just an amazing group of people. And you watched leadership move from one to the next as they leveraged off of each other’s strengths.
Ed Morrison: [00:27:27] Now, the 10 rules. Let me give you a little background on how we came to the 10 rules. Remember back in the ‘90s, I was trying to figure out, “How do we develop a strategy process for open networks? Because our whole way of doing this strategic planning doesn’t work.” And so I started with the idea of, “Okay, well, what is a strategy?” Now, I’m a lawyer by training, so definitions matter a lot to me. When I was looking for a definition of strategy, I came across one that really made a lot of sense. And this is Kathleen Eisenhardt, out of Stanford, working in really complex environments, studying how teams and companies operate in these dynamic environments. And her point was that strategy answers two questions: Where are we going, and how will we get there? And so, by definition, we have to have an answer to those two questions. The next design challenge I faced was, “Okay, how do we design a conversation that answers those two questions?”
Ed Morrison: [00:28:40] And we came up with four questions. The first question was what could we do? What could we do to address the strategic challenge, the framing question that we’re talking about? And then, of all the things we could do, what should we do? Which is the question of the Big Easy, identifying the Big Easy. Then the third question is what will we do? And the fourth question is one we call what’s our 30-30, which is, when are we getting back together again in roughly 30 days to figure out what we learned and what we’re going to do for the next 30 days? The first two questions of that four-question series give us an outcome, and the second two questions give us a pathway. So we can structure a conversation around four questions and come up with a strategic action plan. Now, one level down deeper behind those four questions are the 10 skills. And so the 10 skills enable you to design and manage that entire process of building a strategic action plan or a collaboration going forward. The 10 skills are where the practice meets the research. And, if you really want to learn Strategic Doing beyond what you can read in the book, you’ll probably want to learn why does this work? Why do these 10 skills work? And that’s really where the practice meets the research.
Ed Morrison: [00:30:12] So, when we decided to write a book, we actually decided not to start out historically how this all evolved. But we said what really matters is people needing to be aware of these 10 skills. And so we wrote the book around the 10 skills. The 10 skills, as I said, are simple in the sense that they are common sense. I don’t think you read anything in that book that you said, “Well, geez, I don’t quite understand that.” But they require practice. They require practice to master these skills. Just like any discipline—just like playing tennis, playing the piano, or learning to swim—you have to practice them to master them. And that’s what’s so critical. So the 10 skills enable us to teach this discipline. And when I say I came to Purdue to learn how to teach this, it’s when we came across and designed the 10 skills that I realized that we had a discipline that we could teach people. About four and a half years ago, an incident happened in a week that I realized, “Oh, my gosh, I think we have it.”
Ed Morrison: [00:31:32] And that was I was talking to a community organizer in Flint, and I was talking to a weapons architect at a big defense contractor in New Jersey. We were talking about the same conversations, the same questions. I realized both of these people are dealing with really complex challenges. One of them is dealing on a neighborhood level. One of them is dealing with putting repair systems on big destroyers—also a very complex problem. And they’re structuring their conversation in the same way. I realized that, if we can teach these skills to people so that they can actually practice them themselves, then we can teach these skills so that people can actually use them. Now we wrote the book because we realized, “Okay, we now can teach these skills, and we can make this an open-source discipline. We can share these skills across our universities.” And so that’s really what we’re doing right now.
Celisa Steele: [00:32:50] Great. That’s wonderful. Thank you for sharing all of that. I really do think that the framework that you have out there, with these 10 skills underpinning it, makes a tremendous amount of sense, like you’re saying, across all types of different situations. And I do love the focus on application and on meaningful, useful tools.
Ed Morrison: [00:33:13] Yes. If people read the book, what we recommend you do is, when you get really good at this, you end up applying these skills not in a big process, which you can do, but you can also just pull them out, as my friend Philip did. He just pulled out the appreciative question, and, when people came at him in the hallway with a problem, he just flipped it around into an opportunity and had a different conversation. So that’s a great example of how you can use these skills one by one.
A Powerful Learning Experience Driven by Peers
Celisa Steele: [00:33:49] What is one of the most powerful learning experiences that you’ve been involved in, as an adult, since finishing your formal education?
Ed Morrison: [00:33:56] I’ve been studying this challenge of how do humans collaborate? I’ve been fascinated by this. How do we do complex work together when nobody can tell anybody what to do? As I said, I’ve been thinking about this and working on it since 1993. It’s when I started really. I’ll tell you the most powerful learning experience happened when we had our first practitioner conference, which was four years ago, and we had Strategic Doing practitioners come to the University of North Alabama, which has been one of our hot spots for developing Strategic Doing. I spent two days in this conference, and I walked away with about three or four really cool ideas. I was just amazed that here it was—I’ve been thinking about this for 25 years, and I never thought of those things. And I thought, “Wow, isn’t that cool?” And so our practitioner conference, which we now hold every year, is amazing because we have these incredible people doing really hard problems. They’re working on hard problems, whether it’s opioids, K-12 student dropouts, or challenges of how do I take a strategic plan and make it work? All of these kinds of complex challenges. And they share what they are learning. As I said, I walked away amazed.
Ed Morrison: [00:35:28] We have one fellow, André Le Duc, who’s the head of emergency services at the University of Oregon. He’s been using Strategic Doing to teach people how to deal with emergencies on campus. And I said, “Well, why are you using Strategic Doing? Why are you doing that?” And he said, “Well, this is the way we think, and we need everybody in an emergency to think this way. We need to strategically do stuff, and we can’t sit around pointing fingers, getting into arguments. We actually have to just try stuff.” Building that discipline in groups is critical for dealing with emergencies. And so we’ve actually also had FEMA come to our workshops. Part of the exciting aspect of this is that this is like—I don’t know—a prayer practice or a meditation practice. I’m sure an artist…I’m not a pianist or a musician at all, but I’m sure that someone like Yo-Yo Ma, whom I was fortunate to meet, sees in their work, in the discipline, deeper and deeper levels. And that’s what I see in this, and I’m just amazed by it. It’s quite inspiring, and it keeps me going.
Celisa Steele: [00:36:49] Wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. I think I also hear, in that example, just a shout-out to the benefit of peer learning, that you’re hearing from others who are applying this. And there’s a huge benefit in that social learning aspect.
Ed Morrison: [00:37:05] Yes, that’s exactly right. It’s all learning from your peers really. You see that they’re looking at the world slightly differently than you are, but you have a common language about these complex challenges, you have a common framework about how collaborations can be designed and guided, and so you’re working not on the rigamarole of strategy. We don’t talk anything about strategy. We talk about these really complex challenges of what are we learning when we apply this to, for example, opioids? How can we build healthy networks in these rural communities? How is that going to work? Where are the leverage points, and what are we learning by doing that? These are the kinds of questions and insights that we get at that conference. And so it’s just a wonderful experience.
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