President’s Corner

Firstly, I would like to express deep gratitude for the life and contribution of Suzanne Zaldivar, and for the heart-felt and thoughtful leadership she provided to IODA.  I hope we are able to honour her memory by continuing to build an IODA that connects a global community of OD professionals and makes a difference in the world.  

In this spirit, IODA recently had a webinar discussion on OD, political change and democracy, with contributors from Pakistan, Nigeria, Myanmar, India and the US, as well as lively discussion between all those that joined. IODA is uniquely placed to bring together such a diversity of perspectives and practices.   

The webinar highlighted numerous examples where OD practitioners are already contributing to building institutions that support positive political change and citizen participation, shifting systems, promoting accountability, strengthening civil society, and countering radicalisation.  The session also showed how much more we could do, with a range of provoking questions raised:

  • How can we learn from each other’s experiences across differently political systems such as new democracies, militarised governments, established democracies, and democracies experiencing crisis? 
  • How can we enhance how our OD education system prepares practitioners to work the political and democracy-building space? 
  • In addition to our paid work, another how we leverage our personal power for change in our society, being informed by systems/ OD theory and practice (for example in grassroots process or movement for change as a member or serving in volunteer positions)? 
  • What kind of organizational change to you think the private sector need to undergo, when the country overall is democratizing or otherwise transitioning? 

One of the ideas raised by participants during the webinar is a project to work more in-depth in this area of OD together.  The EC is currently exploring this idea, as an opportunity to collaborate globally as part of IODA’s long-term strategy of launching and supporting mission driven projects, facilitating cooperation between our members and supporters to increase and enhance our local and global presence. If you are interested in exploring or contributing to this idea, including process design, please get in touch. 

I am personally looking forward to the Chile conference in November.  The topic of inclusion, diversity, and trust is so relevant to most of us in the world today. The host team is hard at work to design a conference that addresses these themes through both content and process. The experience will be greatly enriched by a diversity of IODA members from around the world bringing your perspectives and contributions, so I encourage you to join us.  See other articles in the newsletter for further information.  

Michelle de Bruyn