If you look carefully, you can see it happening...



Those moments when the world shifts in front of us?

We do it to each other.

As we connect and create together. 

I've always thought we can see creativity happening;  a shift of focus, a glance, a smile of recognition, the flickering instant an expression belies deeper process. Here are a few images made at Ashridge when @Stevexoh and @CarynVanstone took to the floor and facilitated the kind of encounters that help our minds 'see' differently.  

These are moments that can't be taught, it's not about adding information or data.  It's all about finding the courage to step into a place of 'not-knowing', to support and care for each other as we change together. 

As the group closed, one of the participants acknowledged their work:   "I will remember each one of you for the different moments of learning you gave me."

And that's the best kind of parting gift.



See more of Steve Chapman's work at Can Scorpions Smoke.

Caryn Vanstone is a partner at Lacerta Consulting.

With thanks to the faculty and participants in the Ashridge Masters in Organisational Change for giving the world 20 years of insight and creativity.

Steve MarshallComment
Holding Focus


"Ignore everybody" - Hugh McLeod


A flurry of conversation popped up on Twitter this week picking up from my '#VUCA People' blog of a few weeks ago. Simon Heath chipped with his own excellent piece, written three years back, on VUCA. (In fact, while you're there, check out the rest of Simon's blog... His views cut a swathe through Business BS; 'The Lexicon of Bullshittery' is a masterpiece.)

The business change world has recently seized upon 'digital transformation' as the latest 'go to' mantra and, for change folk like myself, it feels like there a growing anxiety about we can stay relevant and helpfully facilitate change in a digital world.  It's a growing conversation and I can feel the nervousness building...

And then... Paul Stanley dropped into a tangential convo; "You remember what happened when photography went digital?"

"Erm... yeah.  Everything and nothing."

The visual world shifted. Photography became ubiquitous, participative, democratic even. Cameras are everywhere and everyone is a publisher.  

But the real stuff of photography, fundamental questions of composition, narrative, representation, aesthetics, ethics, communication what we see, how we see and the way we reflect the world, stayed the same.

So, as change or 'organisational development' practitioners, whether we tread with trepidation or enthusiasm towards the promises and threats of digital, our 'core curriculum' remains.  

Digital will change the world but we will serve it well if we continue to work with the enduring questions of voice, participation, ethics, care, identity, inclusion, democracy and connection.

That's our stuff.

In a noisy, chaotic, busy, distracting digital world, let's find the courage to hold focus.



Thanks to @nickparker, @stevexoh, @SimonHeath1, @alteredattitude, @MayvinLtd, @chrisnicholsT2i (all worth a follow) and other Twitter friends for the inspiration.

Hugh McLeod's 'Ignore Everbody' list will keep you on track and his book is great.

Also, from my Kindle, take a look at Cal Newport's 'Deep Work: Rules for focused success in a distracted world.'

For photographers, I stole the 'core curriculum' label from Tod Papageorge - well worth a read.

Image from a (digitally) edited participative photography project with Global Generation.


Steve MarshallComment
(How) Can I be different?


Following our passion, making a stand for something, or bringing a difference means that we have to be different.


I was saddened this week, when Jack Monroe (@bootstrapcook) gave up Twitter.  Despite a massive and supportive following, continual abuse and trolling led her to leave the platform to ensure her mental health.

It's a common story.

Whether we aim to make small personal changes or promote change on a grand scale, we always face pressure to fit in, make a compromise and collude with the circumstances that we seek to shift. 

As I look out across a world approaching environmental collapse, increasing social fragmentation and deep injustice, I wonder what would be the most intelligent thing that I could do. And in that headspace, I calculate, bargain, do deals and take the easy option.

Meanwhile, my heart is quietly making wishes: "Please, will everyone.... just wake up to what is happening...please..."

Even more gently, I feel sick in my stomach.  There I can locate despair, confusion and sorrow for the state of the planet and our troubled social structures. 

We can train ourselves to be to be smart, cocky, intellectual; there is safety and strength in that. We can learn to tolerate conflict, on social media or elsewhere.

But connecting to our fragile, intuitive, gut feel helps us to define a resilient vision for who we choose to be and brings resourcefulness to how we offer our difference to the world.



Take a look at "Big Magic: creative living beyond fear" by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Or "Hope in the Dark" by Rebecca Solnit.

Thanks to Amanda at for a catalytic conversation.

Photo from the Bold Explorations.

Find Jack Monroe at


Steve MarshallComment