Dave Pollard's chronicle of civilization's collapse, creative works and essays on our culture.
A trail of crumbs, runes and exclamations along my path in search of a better way to live and make a living, and a better understanding of how the world really works.

April 10, 2005


Filed under: Working Smarter — Dave Pollard @ 21:58
The Idea: Following is the most recent edition of AHA!: my proposal for a virtual ‘Discovery and Learning Centre’ that would use state-of-the-art tools and techniques to tackle business problems Monday to Friday, for a fee, and then on weekends tackle larger international social and environmental problems, on a volunteer basis.

I‘m still refining this, but I’m at the stage where I’m looking for more comments. What I would especially appreciate your thoughts on::

  • Is  the enormous difference between what AHA! offers and what other ‘solution centres’, educational institutions and large consulting organizations offer clear enough?
  • I’ve thought of incorporating the entrepreneurial skills training that I advocated recently, in the AHA! offerings (it’s not at all inconsistent, and is also ‘virtual’), but I suspect this might be too much, and change people’s conception of what AHA! is all about. What do you think?
  • What should I include in the ‘elevator pitch’ for AHA!?
  • I recognize that we’ll probably have to start small, and not try to run before we walk. What do you think we should do first?


Our Vision
Imagine if there was a place where the worldís brightest and most creative minds from widely diverse fields ñ scientists, artists, businesspeople, engineers, philosophers, social and technological and political thought leaders — got together physically and virtually to collaboratively help each other.

Imagine if this place taught the critical skills and techniques needed to envision and realize better ways to do things, quickly and effectively.

Imagine if visitors to this place were surrounded by artefacts of the worldís most astonishing human accomplishments: the eradication of smallpox, the moon landing, the abolition of slavery, the unravelling of the human genome ñ and inspired and charged in their tasks by the words from the greatest speeches and most moving calls to action in our history.

This is the vision of AHA! , the means to get things done, a catalyst for change, a vehicle for applying human ingenuity and collaboration and passion to bring about extraordinary results: The right people, the right skills and techniques, the right intensity, an environment of creativity and learning, and a spirit of exuberant, reciprocal collaboration.


aha2ìYou never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsoleteÖI look for what needs to be done. After all, that’s how the universe designs itself.”

     (Buckminster Fuller)

ìNever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

     (Margaret Mead)

ìWe can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.ì

     (Albert Einstein)


Better decisions and more creative ideas and alternatives

Improved work productivity, processes and results

Better understanding of needs, challenges, opportunities

Improved life-long competencies and learning

Improved collaboration, networking and innovation

Better morale and deeper commitment

Stronger relationships, greater trust and empowerment


AHA! provides:

~ A focused curriculum to impart the critical skills you must have to get things done (Learning Sessions);

~ A flexible, creative approach to discover, explore and achieve a deep understanding of your needs, challenges and opportunities, and surface powerful insights about them (Discovery Sessions)

Unlike consultants and training centres, we offer:

~ A dynamic environment that inspires, facilitates and teaches you to understand and address insightfully your own challenges, needs and vulnerabilities, rather than depending on outside ëexpertsí

~ A process you can use whenever and wherever you need it to become more innovative, more collaborative, more able to discover and tap the wisdom of others: customers, employees, citizens

~ Access to some of the brightest and most creative thinkers on the planet on a reciprocal (you help them, they help you) basis


Critical Skills and Enablers:

The Discovery Session Framework (diagrammed above)

The Environmental Scan

The Accelerated Discovery and Learning Processes

Insight Portfolios and Idea Markets

Cultural Anthropology

Open Space Technology and Appreciative Inquiry

The Four Practices

Creative Thinking, Imagining and Visioning

Critical Thinking, Systems Thinking and the Thinking Hats

Effective Collaboration

Attention Skills: Listening, Observation

Entrepreneurship / Natural Enterprise Skills

Tapping the Wisdom of Crowds

Building Communities & Networks

Story-Telling & Narrative

Self-Organizing in a Complex, Chaotic World

Effective Research and Analysis

Project Facilitation and Improvisation

Getting Things Done: Personal Productivity Improvement

Natural Design, Rapid Prototyping


AHA! Assets

Director, Research Staff, Technical Staff

AHA! Certified Advisor Network

ëReciprocal volunteersí: Global thought leaders who contribute their time and energy to othersí sessions in return for reciprocal time and energy of others on their sessions

Intellectual & Technological Assets:

The Critical Skills and Enablers of the staff and certified advisors, and the online Critical Skills and Enablers Bank and software toolkit

Knowledge Bank of global trends and opportunities across all social and economic segments of our world

Needs Bank of identified social, environmental, business, economic, technological and educational challenges, needs and opportunities

The Network Bank: A global directory of AHA! Certified advisors, session participants from customers, and ëreciprocal volunteersí


Physical Assets:

AHA! is a completely portable and virtual environment; Since Discovery and Learning sessions can be more effective if at least the first meeting (and, for participants uncomfortable with current conferencing technologies, subsequent meetings) are face-to-face, the AHA! Team can operate effectively in any meeting or conference facility

AHA! is considering certifying qualifying meeting and conference facilities as Preferred AHA! facilities which will be able to advertise themselves as AHA! Discovery and Learning Centres


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