When I talked with some fellow dreamers and a few “can do” pragmatists about my vision for a more fluid way of networking and organizing, the most common reaction was:
“It sounds kind of like a think tank.”
But trying to be “sort of a think tank” was uninspiring. A TANK was the wrong metaphor for what I imagined.
Tanks concentrate resources in one place for specific uses. They achieve balance and stability through control of contents and conditions. “Tank” suggests a closed system that delivers via specific channels to specific communities.
Most think tanks consist of experts in particular disciplines. They advance positions or address problems requiring expertise.
They emphasize accepted methodologies and analytical approaches.
The environment, processes, and relationships I imagine for myself and others who want to do fulfilling, socially valuable, creative work bring to mind a POND.
Imagine a diverse ecosystem with a natural flow. Like a pond, it’s teeming with visible and invisible life—life of all kinds. Conversations are the tiny drops of water holding the first links in a chain of nourishment. Shelter and protection for emerging dreams and budding ideas waits under the surface and along the edges of ever-evolving bonds.
A Think Pond grows organically through interrelationships.The slightest breeze of an idea can create a ripple of self-confidence that changes the course of a career. Sometimes something beautiful or life-sustaining can grow from a little cross-pollination between two areas of expertise or two seemingly divergent needs, questions, or ideas.
A Think Pond has fluid boundaries. It changes and reconfigures as learning unfolds, growth occurs, and new ventures take shape. It’s organized—but just enough.
A Think Pond offers endless possibilities for play. Just like the ponds of childhood, it’s a place to go and scatter ideas like dandelion seeds in the wind, catch tadpoles of possibility, and slip into back pockets the interesting stones of inspiration that will be examined for days to come.
A Think Pond is free of pressure. It’s a place to float and swim—slow down and reflect while aimlessly skipping stones across the water. Its a place to go fishing, to ask naive questions, to wonder.
Copyright 2016, Deborah Vrabel. All rights reserved.