Category Archives: Collaboration

Our own learning journey

Our Rusty Brown partnership is thriving and the 3 of us have never been more engaged in our work. We have been doing a range work together and, at time, individually. The work that really excites us are the multi-stakeholder journeys that go beyond the usual, one-off workshop. These groups contain a diverse mix of people and groups who have ‘skin-in-the-game’, in relation to some complex, intractable challenge(s) that they face together. These groups (representing a slice of a system or field) are often stuck and know that a collective effort is needed to make progress. Along these learning journeys, part of the task is to build stronger relationships and develop the courage to be creative, take risks, let-go of safety and be willing to “get comfortable being uncomfortable”.


Over the past 18 months we have been on a giant learning curve. We find ourselves reading and applying stuff from a wide range of disciplines including Systems Theory, Complexity, Improvisation, Facilitation, Mindfulness, Brain Science, Psychology and human systems based on ecological models.

As we draw on and bring together knowledge, new thinking and practices, we look forward to sharing the methods and approaches that we are co-evolving. I’ll write about some of here, and together we will post some of it over at the Rusty Brown blog.

Thanks to the following people and networks for the inspiration …

The Beyond the Basics team at Art of Hosting – for their globe trotting events and willingness to share everything!

The dynamic Creative Facilitation duo of Johnnie & Viv – for their capacity to see through the bullshit and find the ‘essence’ through publications like Nothing is Written.

Reos Partners – for their training and the collaboration & guidance from Steve Atkinson.

Circus Oz – for their amazingly creative group spaces, people and partnership with us.

Healthy Together Victoria – a client and partner that have provided opportunities to learn, experiment and put everything into ‘real-world’ practice!

Cognitive Edge – 4 days training recently with Dave Snowden and Michael Cheveldave helped us to crack open some new thinking and approaches to our group work.

Global Learning – Steve Coleman and Mark Spain for their friendship and collaboration

Clear Horizon – We keep dipping into their Evaluation bag-of-tricks and cross paths on work from time to time

As Viv would say … “onwards!


Collaboration with Gary Hirsch

About 3 years ago I received a beautiful gift from Gary Hirsch of On Your Feet. It was (and still is) a Bot … a hand painted monster on the back of a domino. Gary creates thousands of these things and his obsession for sharing (and letting go) of his BotJoy art has gone places.


Back in 2010, I had a the pleasure of spending 3 days with Gary and a couple of hundred other improvisors in Portland, Oregon at the Applied Improvisation Network (AIN) annual conference. Viv McWaters introduced me to joy of Improvisation some years before and it was at Portland that my love for all things Improvisation was born.

4 years on, I stumble upon a Tedx-Portland talk by Gary Hirsch on the topic of collaboration. Given I know Gary and I have a Bot I had to watch him teach and perform. Enjoy!