What I’m loving.

Just some random notes before I head out today.

It is remarkable having so much time with a group of people spread throughout Vancity. It is a treat to not just be in a meeting or have a lunch, but spend so many days, have so many meals and really get to understand each other. So much of what we need to do involves building networks, and the network we are building should prove totally useful back home.

We are here with labour leaders, the head of a not for profit focusing on integrating those with addictions into productive roles in our society and a Vancouver city councillor. Hearing their reactions and getting to discuss our experiences with them is truly a treat and keeps us from getting too in the weeds about Vancity stuff. If we are to be inclusive we gotta keep it high level.

In other news: I bought a nice Italian suit. It’s being altered, so I hope I can find the little shop again when the time comes to pick it up.

The food is truly excellent, and is a critical part of our experience.

The city is really lovely. Over the weekend I plan to go to Florence, and perhaps someplace else. We’ll see what the trains have in store for me.

My brain is working overtime with thoughts about what this all means and what I can do differently once I’m back home. I feel a tremendous obligation to the rest of the Vancity employeees to find something useful, not a new money making opportunity, not a short term fix, but something meaningful to help Vancity along its mission. I also owe it to future years to discover something tangibly useful about this trip, so others can go too. Any thoughts? How do you prove this isn’t a junket, but is relevant to our organization at large?

9 thoughts on “What I’m loving.

  1. Jeremy Osborn

    Sounds like an amazing trip. I'd take a few ideas from home and start mashing them together in counterintuitive ways with the ideas you are picking up there.

    If you're going to Florence, maybe you can think of about the labors of love that went into building some of the major architectural works, like the Duomo. I think the great Cathedrals are excellent metaphors for sustainability.

    I am jealous of the food!

  2. Thanks Jeremy! I keep thinking of you, my cooperative friend. What makes the cathedrals sustainable?

  3. I think most obviously is the fact that they are built to last. The Duomo in Florence was in built in the 1400s and is magnificent to look upon to this day.

    But these great works are also a testament to something greater than one's self.

    Imagine building something that you knew wouldn't be finished in yours or possibly even your children's lifetime? That's long term thinking.

    The values that went into building these great works are so counter to our fast food, instant gratification lifestyles. Maybe to build something amazing we need to slow down, and move more mindfully. Maybe we need to subjugate our egos to a greater long term vision?

    The other thing, conversely, which was an interesting thing about the Italian Renaissance was that so much happened so quickly. The western mind turned inside out in a matter of decades. The arts and philosophy and a new curiosity sprung out of a deeply entrenched medieval christian worldview, and rocked the old system to its eventual foundations. I guess that was a good thing? I don't know for sure.

    Both of those concepts hold appeal for me, but seem oppositional.

    Can we have rapid change and transformational philosophical change coupled with a physical slowing down and a new kind of mindfulness, a commitment to a longer view?

    Can we have that in a modern business?

  4. Andrea Harris

    Hi William – so glad to hear you are having such a lovely and inspiring time in Bologna. You're looking for ideas on how to take this experience and translate it into something meaningful for the rest of us made me think about Co-op Week. It happens every October and Vancity has participated to varying degrees over the years, but it's always felt like a missed opportunity to me. I wonder if some of your colleagues from the Bologna cohort would consider turning Co-op Week into something extrodinary — for Vancity employees and, possibly, members. I think it could be powerful to leverage the group's experiences with so many different types of co-ops in Bologna to bring to life the fact that Vancity is part of an incredibly diverse global movement.
    cheers, Andrea
    p.s., please enjoy a chocolate gelato for me 🙂

  5. it's great to be able to follow along with your experience – looks like you are all really busy. i love Andrea's idea of greater participation in Co-op week. Enjoy the wine!

  6. Andrea and Sue, thanks so much for your comments!

    I love this idea, and will bring it to the entire group for us to discuss. What we need is links to existing programs so we can leverage this experience in new ways. Thanks Andrea!

  7. I'm really enjoying your prolific blog posts from Bologna! Keep it coming.

  8. Tanya Morrison

    Hi William, Thank you for all the fantastic photos and information! It's like we are there experiencing it with you 🙂
    Enjoy the rest of you trip.

  9. Thanks Tanya!

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