Behind the Scenes

Rosemary Cairns

   Photo by Markus Pittmann.

Welcome to this issue’s peek at the team which produces Winds and Waves magazine three times a year.

I am new to Winds and Waves but not to producing a magazine. Between 2008 and 2013, I was a member of the European team of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) and edited the IAF Europe Newsletter monthly. Our aim was to explore how facilitation was used in Europe to create social change. Authors wrote, for example, about Technology of Participation (ToP), Future Search, Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry, and Art of Hosting. Facilitators shared techniques, tools and tips.

I became interested in ToP while I lived and worked in Yellowknife, in northern Canada, in the mid-1990s. I remember my first ToP workshop. It seemed magical, and still does, that a diverse group could share ideas on a question so quickly, discuss, and then organize them into a clear and multi-faceted answer. I used ToP in my work with a women’s organization in Yellowknife, and then internationally - in Serbia, and then in a range of locally led peacebuilding projects in Africa and Asia.

In recent years, I have become interested in what some Dutch thinkers call “Society 3.0” and others the “sharing economy”. It is the next phase after Society 1.0 - our agricultural era - and Society 2.0 - the industrial era. They call it Society 3.0 because it involves much greater change than just how we manage information. Social media, collaboration through open source thinking, and collective self-organization is reshaping how we organize ourselves. A more interdependent economy is evolving, in which access is as important as ownership, and value is created as much through reciprocity as through money. Networked self-connection is outpacing multi-million-dollar companies and creating challenges for how governments manage societal infrastructure.
In this Society 3.0, those who understand and use facilitative strategies are key players in helping us redesign our communities. Facilitators have been ahead of the curve in doing this. In multi-lingual Europe, environmentalists long ago developed signs that conveyed meanings in large groups; Occupy showed us how large groups could share ideas in non-technical ways.

As people organize locally, leadership is becoming distributed widely in ways that are self-sustaining - the starfish, which regrows arms that are cut off, vs the spider, which dies when it loses even one leg. Knowing how to help others hold a conversation, even on difficult topics, is crucial to a society which works for all of us. We hope many of you will share some of your explorations with us in future issues.

Facilitation, the theme of this issue, emerged serendipitously in a self-organized way based on the articles that were submitted. Thank you to all the authors who have shared their thinking.

Thanks also to those who took part in our 10-question survey earlier this year. As Winds and Waves enters its sixth year, we wanted to know what you - our readers - thought about some key issues. We appreciate your comments and offers of support. If you didn’t have a chance to complete the readership survey, it is still open, at

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