Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nauvoo Mapping Committee

In late August I was invited to participate in a committee tasked with mapping a plan for economic development in Nauvoo. I'm not sure if I was invited because they were seeking diversity, and had not yet filled their quota of eccentric people, or if they just needed seats filled.

A team of three people from Western Illinois University, who do this sort of thing for a living, led the group in brainstorming plans for development ideas. Some good concepts have come out of the process, but as the conversation becomes more granular, concrete ideas are more difficult.

Also, the process seems to be bring out buried hostilities. Whether this is by design, or if it is by error, I don't know. The consulting team asks the group, which has now grown to about 50 people, to identify things we like and don't like about Nauvoo life. It seems to follow the pattern that corporate brainstorming might follow, using SWOT analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses. But identifying weaknesses in a corporate environment is less risky, because people feel less emotional attachment. When you ask a person what they dislike about where they live, an emotional outpouring of all life's disappointments springs up. In a group environment, the intensity is multiplied.

I hope the process will not become bogged down in histrionics and anger. I wish it to succeed.

No comments: