• Bookstore
  • Profile
  • Cart
  • Search

Community Dialogue

Community Dialogue

Living Out the BK Mission

Event Overview

In conjunction the BK 20th Anniversary celebration, a BK Community Dialogue will be held on Friday, July 20, 2012 in San Francisco. BK authors and other thought leaders, readers, service providers, and invited guests will come together to explore such questions as:
  • How can we, as BK Community members, increase our capacity, individually and collectively, to create a world that works for all?
  • What insights and inspiration can we share, what connections can we form, and what actions can we take?
The purpose of the event is to enrich and inspire one another, deepen relationships, and discover new ways to move towards a world that works for all.

The format will be highly participative and will utilize methods such as Open Space and dialogue that invite us to engage in the conversations that matter most to us. This gathering will be a unique opportunity to form new connections and initiate new collaborations that will support our individual and collective efforts in our communities and the world.

When: Friday, July 20th 8:30am-5:00pm
Where: Commonwealth Club, 595 Market Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco

Special request: A participant attending the Community Dialogue has MCS -- Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. It is a serious and progressive condition that is classified as a disability. Go to http://www.multiplechemicalsensitivity.org/ to learn more about MCS. We request that you refrain from wearing perfume, and that all body lotion and hair products you use be labeled "fragrance-free." In addition, if possible, please wear clothing that has been laundered with fragrance-free products only as well. Thank you.

  • David Marshall

    Technological Optimism - Open Space Technology Breakout Session

    Created by David Marshall

    Technological Optimism  - Open Space led by Gerald Harris 
    (participants: Ira Chaleff, Eileen Zar, Karen Phelan)

    It was a wide-ranging conversation.  Here are just a few highlights: 


    Gerald - There are more scientists and researchers living today and communicating over the internet than existed in the history of the world before 1950.  For example, remember how quickly the H1N1 virus got around the world, how quickly vaccines were developed and safety measures were put in, saving millions.

    Karen - I’m kind of fascinated about crowdsourcing.  There’s nothing preventing a company from sourcing its investment from anybody.  Look at Etsy, people who are starting small businesses.  We’re going back to the age of cottage crafts but now you have a global customer base.

    Ira - That’s wonderful, in fact when you were saying that I was thinking it’s also a way back to the earth.  One can now live in a rural setting and have a cottage industry, provided one has connectivity.  


    Gerald - One of the issues I’m concerned about right now is, the FDA just approved a home HIV testing kit.  Is this good or bad?  Now someone could test themselves and not disclose it to the health authorities.

    Eileen - One issue that concerns me is the acceleration.  Sometimes I think it’s too fast for a human organism to engage all of our different pieces that bring wisdom to something, and we don’t give ourselves that time because the technology can go faster.  So, we keep trying to speed up.  I think we often don’t respect ourselves enough and our responsibility to bring wisdom to the tools.  When do we give ourselves the time to consider how we’re using the acceleration?  When the paradigms change so quickly there are a lot of people who don’t feel they can jump into that new dialog and we need them.  That’s my biggest concern.

    Finding a balance:

    Gerald - I work in the energy industry.  There is a lot of technological innovation: Solar, wind, storage systems, and even lighting systems.  For example, probably in the next decade we’ll get digital lighting that could shave off 10-15% of the total electrical demand of the country just by putting in these bulbs.  Now if you’re a power company and your margin is 10% and you just lost 10% of your sales.  That means you’re in trouble.  No one is saying don’t do it.  We’re just trying to figure out how to do it. 

    Ira - I was drawn to the topic because of the juxtaposition of technology and optimism.  Lots of people are pessimistic, even my daughter.  Instead of focusing on the potential of creating a new order.  She is concerned about how technology is disassociating us from each other.  She’s not wrong.  But, it is the period we live in.  So, what do we do to contain the downsides of anything and maximize the upsides? 

    Karen - To me, there’s always an upside and a downside.  Every benefit has a cost. 

    Eileen - I think we need to trust our humanness.  We need to have a human optimism as well.  A human cynicism and a technological optimism that would be a scary combination I think.  Developing the two things together.  Making sure that we don’t over trust the machine and abdicate our piece.

    Ira - The scientific community sets up ethics panels.  They are very aware that any of these things can have serious ethical consequences.  Yet, despite our consciousness the technology rushes way ahead of the capacity to keep up with it…. How can I maintain my optimism?  I’m struggling as I’m thinking.  I guess it has to do with, that throughout history we always create new capacity to harm ourselves, whether we build cities and they harbor the black plague, or gun powder.  The list goes on, and on and on.  So, I guess that trusting the humanness to keep alert, keep raising our voices, keep putting counter-balancing processes and even lobbies to try to keep things balanced, knowing that we won’t always succeed.  We are going to make some technology mistakes.  We don’t have to be pessimistic.  We just have to choose to be realistic.

    Open in a new window

  • David Marshall

    Co-Powering Communication - Open Space Technology Breakout Session

    Created by David Marshall

    Co-Powering Communication

    Roberto Vargas Notes: July 20, 2012

    Our challenging context

    • We are too quick to give negative feedback rather than positive.  Mostly the norm is 80% negative comments and 20% positive.
    • We live in an ocean of negativity.  The ocean of our culture is to put each other down.  The messages are also you have to buy this or else you are not good enough.  What is perpetuated is negativity, fear, anxiety. 
    • Look at damage being done by the computer games based on power, violence, and intimidation.
    • It takes 6-7 positive statements to neutralize the harm of a negative comment (research).

    About Empowerment

    • The root definition is the granting of power by decree. It connotes one-up-manship and being in control.  “I’m in control and authority and I am empowering you.”

    About co-powerment

    • I’m seeking to lift you and myself up.  It’s a mutual lift.  It’s about connecting at the same vibrational level. 

    Begins with a “companionship attitude”

    • You are interested in knowing the other person.
    • You show your interest from a receptive plane.
    • Your desire is to become one with the other person.
    • It’s about seeking a good relationship.


    • Find out people’s stories.  Everyone is interesting.
    • Ask questions and listen attentively
    • Be non-judgmental
    • Connect with others wherever they are at.  Ask, “Tell me more.” 
    • If they are in despair, encourage them to know and feel their experience.   You could say, “You are paying attention to what is going on inside of you, tell me more.”
    • Remember the power of non-verbal communication.  7% is logos, 82% is ethos/character/your presence. (research) * Ask Ellen.
    • Avoid saying “but”.  Often we hear “Yes, but…”  This invalidates the positive. Better to say “Yes, and …”
    • Remember to listen. Too often we do too much talking.
    • Get into the vibration of being with the other, be supportive and listen.
    • Ask, “How do you feel about it?”
    • Help people remember who they are—intelligent, caring beings.
    • Seek to co-create and develop context for co-creation
    • Be present, absolutely present.
    • It requires courage.
    • Ask can we work together?
    • Invite children to express their knowledge.  Children can be invited to speak to almost anything.  They have a perspective and wisdom. (e.g., they spoke about identity.”

    How to co-power using technology

    Use “Google.” And put up an idea to which everyone is able to comment to.

    Open in a new window

  • David Marshall

    Bringing Young People into BK Community - Open Space Technology Breakout Session

    Created by David Marshall

    Notes from Open Space session on how can we bring young people – teens – into the process of creating a world that works for all?

    Attendees: (Many left after the celebration and I didn’t get their last names. Maybe someone can figure this out.)

    Larry Ackerman
    Marjorie Adler
    Juan Carlos ??
    Jillian ??
    Vicki Halsey
    Alex ??
    Barbara M
    Donna ??
    Joel ??

    BK hasn’t focused on young people – why not? There are always adults at the table. Where are the young people?

    To make things attractive to teens, we need to create technological solutions – an app? – digital learning, not just book(s)

    We can learn from young people. They are not seen as peers or equals.

    When we say ‘young people,’ who are we talking about? Teens? 20-somethings? 5-10 year olds?

    We need to allow them to speak in their own voice.

    Kids have ‘soul wisdom.’ Their spirits and emotions are connected. How can they hold onto that as they get older…for life? How can we help?

    BK has a role to play in getting kids early – even younger than teens – by helping them see what their gifts are. But it can’t be via books alone…conferences? Podcasts?

    How about a day like this (i.e., the open space activity) for young people?

    I’m concerned that BK itself has closed itself off from kids. It’s all adults!

    Make young people a BK stakeholder group – BK Youth?

    The arrogance of adulthood – we think we know everything.

    Have kids publish their own book(s). pull together w OBE and digital media. This would be more fluid and flexible than BKPub.

    Have a BK youth conference that invites youth to help create BK Youth.

    Open in a new window

    4 Replies

Show More
Contact Information


Agenda Prelude Reading: The Blizzard of the World - This reading will be used to catalyze conversation early in the dialogue. Guiding Principles for the Day What to wear: This is a casual event and we invite you to wear what is comfortable. What to bring: An image or quote that for you, represents or inspires the ideal of a “world that works for all.” These images will be collected together to create of collage of inspiration. Please print your image or quote on paper no larger than 8.5x11in and no smaller than 4x6in.