Concrete Climate Change Commitment Challenge

Ullrich Silaba
4 min readNov 3, 2021

Was it really a failure? Or more a learning?

Just for the random reader, I’m not writing about what happened at the COP26 in Glasgow but what my experience was regarding a group experiment during the last House of Beautiful Business in Lisbon.
However, it might still be of interest to you, and I invite you to let me know what you think …

Because I can very much empathise with the disappointment, frustration, and even shame that was palpable in the room directly after the experiment and expressed in countless conversations during the rest of the conference (and in a Linked-in article by Karel Golta), this is as well the attempt to add a perspective coming from a different, more positive angle.

So, eight-year-old Maya from South Africa gave us by video message the challenge to come up with a commitment to one action countering climate change.
Within 45 minutes.
About 300 people present in the room as one working group, and I don’t know how many participating in the virtual space as the other.
My observations relate to the “physical” working group only.

Immediately groups of 10–20 persons formed, a collective smart self-organising move to not have to discuss in the large assembly. I assume the process unfolding within the different groups was quite similar to the one I was part of: A short period of quiet ideation, then sharing ideas to the others, some discussion and documentation, even trying to integrate the various ideas into one narrative, so that everyone could identify with the result. All of this again in a very self-organising way, roles assumed by personal inclination, and with a lot of mutual respect.

Parallel to this, another smart move was visible. How to integrate all of these discussions, ideas and results? A small number of people started to organise the “meta-process” of collective decision-making, inviting all of the groups to share their idea in a short pitch, so everyone could tap into the collective creativity. And I assume, with the idea — or hope — that a common theme might emerge, to build upon and to make the “final” commitment to one action easier. Though it put even more time pressure on the groups’ ideation processes, this approach was widely accepted, and we all were ready well before time ran out.

Ullrich Silaba

chief dot connector | collaboration pilot | business romantic | on the quest to build beautiful organisations | sometimes quite German, sometimes not …