“Let’s talk about methodology” – this rhetorical flourish could be the sub-title of the ALARA conference I’m designing with Susie Goff of CultureShift.
Let’s talk about methodology. As we dive into the exciting business of designing responses to social problems, let’s talk about methodology, so that we can dive deeper and wider and with more curiosity. Before we commit to the hard slog of actually implementing what we design, with its burden of project management , let’s talk about methodology.
The conversation about methodology is high value at the innovating edges of any domain. In the loose network of policy makers, and in the milling market place of policy developers, talking about methodology is gold. Create the space for critical reflection on methodology, and hold it, and you generate designs that actually get into implementation, and that work.
Talk methodology at the start of projects and you have a good chance of sidestepping knee-jerk responses. You’ll get into much more interesting territory. And you’ll meet a lot of interesting people, on their own terms (here, kudos to Kate Auty).
This will all play out in our timetable for the conference, of which more soon. In the meantime, the invitation to the ALARA conference, August 2014, is an invitation to consider methodology for three days. This invitation goes out to policy developers, to those who design and facilitate participatory inquiry – action reseachers, facilitators of action learning, and on and on out to our qualitative research cousins – and to those peoples taking charge of their collective life.
We lean toward policy research and development, and program design, as collective self-determination, not just inquiry or rational fitting of means to ends. We are for agency, and recovery of agency is a recovery of community: the two intertwine.