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International OD Conference Feedback

Reflections on IODA India 2016
In Mysore, India

There is something magical that happens when people meet with open hearts, around shared values and passions. I feel truly blessed to have spent the past week in the presence of a group of OD practitioners who are compassionate, brilliant and devoted to being conduits for the complementary forces of change and preservation in the world. As I travel back to South Africa from India, I do so with renewed hope, wonderful learning and new ideas. More importantly I am travelling home with new friends in my heart and the spring of inspiration in my step (as well as a promise to Bhaskar, our conference Yoga teacher to practise my pranayama breathing and pull my shoulders back).I am renewed in my valuation of community, of being with my people, my fellow-OD explorers. I want to share this awareness in the form of an invitation: Join me in community by attending our local Flourish conference from 19-20 September at Intundla North of Pretoria. Put the dates 6-8 September 2017 in your diary right now too – as this is when we will be hosting our friends from around the world in Cape Town for the IODA Flourish conference. The ways in which we serve our work by making time to connect, renew and learn cannot be quantified and we owe it to ourselves and our clients to make time to be in community – it is the heart of our work.

What I realised during this past week is that IODA is not an organisation for OD professionals. It is a meeting place, or as Rumi puts it, a guest house where every morning and every person represents an aspect of what it means to be truly human and available as an instrument to the world. I would love to invite this spirit into the SAODN too.


As a fellow OD traveller who teaches calligraphy in Japan to support restoration and personal insight put it: “In calligraphy, as in life, you are able to do your inner work if you remember that you are writing with a soft brush. If you are able to do the subtle work of being present without explicitly chasing insight or restoration, that is what will open and become available within you.” He does not pursue restoration, he simply teaches the joy of calligraphy and yet so much follows in its wake. And this is the hope that is rekindled within me.

The hope that OD can continue to loosen itself from the inferiority complexes and accompanying need to “professionalise” and allow our work to simply and subtly happen through us. As we devote ourselves to sustainability, humanity and connection in our organisations and in society, we remember that we work through the self as an instrument of both change and preservation.


Maybe OD is a practise more than a profession, a way of working and being that fuels the beauty of the human spirit and therefore so much of it can be subtle. OD is about bring the soft brush stroke of being into organisations and into society.

In some way I am putting a stake in the ground to say that I am relinquishing my own need for validation through deliberately not taking up the cudgel of an Effectiveness Agenda in my work any longer. That work is critical and mission-central, but as a “work” it belongs to some other people in the world around me. It is not mine and I am not sure that harping on about effectiveness serves OD. I am a process worker and I love offering that. It is in direct dialogue with Effectiveness, but there are enough people, processes and practices upholding that part of the conversation for me to not feel the need to also uphold that step in the dance.

Ed Schein opened our conference by saying that, as the world continues to connect across continents, borders and cultures, more so than ever before, OD practitioners need to learn how to work interculturally. The IODA conference helped me to build relationships and understanding in precisely this way and I know my work and my clients will benefit directly from this experience.

Some of the staler aspects of how I relate to my work and myself as an instrument of change has been thoroughly swept clean this week. The room of my being has been emptied of furniture and the space this creates is being redecorated from within as well as in the new friendships formed. I honour each person who played a part in this weaving – practitioners fromIndia, Australia, Ghana, Hungary, Myanmar, The Netherlands, Thailand, Chile, Japan, Germany, USA, UK, Turkey, Slovenia, Canada and so many other places around the world.

My cup is overflowing, and on top of all of the gifts of this year, I come home with the joyous responsibility of co-hosting this event with Michelle de Bruyn in 2017. As both of us come from the IODA lineage, the privilege to invite this community to our own backyard for the first time since 1993, feels destined.

A special note of gratitude goes to Dr Mohanakrishnan and his host team at IODA India. We have big shoes to fill as the South African hosting team but we step into this responsibility inspired by the way the Indian OD community welcomed us. Michelle and I hosted a small auction at the gala dinner on Friday to raise funds for scholarships to the 2017 conference. Thanks to the generosity of the IODA community, we already have sufficient funds for two OD students to attend 2017. We also signed up our “first bird” for next year’s conference and look forward to welcoming Ye Myanmar Aung, the Managing Director of the August Myanmar Media Group to our shores next year.

I look forward to welcoming you, as a fellow traveller in OD, to Flourish 2016 and IODA Flourish 2017.

Lucille Greeff


First Online OD Corner Session: International OD Conference Feedback

25 November 2015 marked our first ever SAODNonline event. Kyra Wainstein recently attended the Global Organisation Development Summit hosted by ODN and IODA in Portland, Oregon in October 2015. The conference theme was Our field, Our World, Our Impact. Highlights included a panel discussion with Edgar Schein and others on lessons from the past of OD for the future of OD…

Watch the recording of Kyras feedback session, moderated by Lucille Greeff. Access the recorded session here…

Given that not all of us are able to travel to these global events, this is an excellent opportunity to catch up with where OD is at from an international perspective. As we will be hosting IODA in a joint conference for Flourish 2017, we are very keen to share what is happening in the international network at this point in time.

Download Kyra’s slides in PDF format: 20151125 SAODN Online – Global OD Summit Feedback

As our first online event, this was an experiment – and a sucessful one, allowing people to join the session from anywhere in the world and from the comfort of their own desk. Look out for more online events in 2016, allowing us to connect our SAODN community across geographies!