ODN-IODA World Summit Conference Recap -

ODN-IODA World Summit Conference Recap

ODN Board
Organization Development Board

By Kris Lea

The Organization Development Network-International Organization Development Association (ODN-IODA) World Summit recently took place in Portland, Oregon. As KAI Partners’ Organization Development (OD) expert, I attended the summit and want to report back on the highlights from the conference, as well as my thoughts on the future of OD.

This was the second year the two organizations—Organization Development Network (ODN) and International Organization Development Association (IODA)—partnered together to plan and execute this world-class conference. Taking place over four days, the conference was attended by over 500 people from around the globe and included many outstanding speakers and fascinating topics. The conference was an inspiration for both experienced and new practitioners alike.

A central theme of the conference was the focus on the work OD practitioners do to advance social change. Given my education, training, and experience, I typically spend my day-to-day work helping a single organization with fairly straightforward problems. However, at this conference, I listened to practitioners who were working directly on social issues, which was inspiring.

One conference speaker in particular, Adam Kahane, was especially inspiring. In the 1990s, Adam Kahane had the opportunity to work with all parties who were involved in the reconciliation period in South Africa. During this time, Nelson Mandela was released from incarceration and a new government was being formed with the African National Congress in place.

Hearing about Adam’s work in South Africa made me realize that OD practitioners can and should work to help their communities, regions, nations, and the world solve problems. Democracy, respect, inclusion, justice, and empowerment are just a few of the values that represent the OD field. These values are needed to help not only individual organizations, but our communities and the world.

Historically, while the OD field has been filled with brilliant scholar-practitioners, in recent years, some have begun to question whether the field is still relevant. Looking at the OD work being used to affect social change, however, it’s clear to see OD work is needed now more than ever.

In order to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for social justice on both personal and professional levels, OD practitioners must be well-equipped to handle complex and rapid change. Effective OD practitioners are armed with the education and training to work on teams of all shapes and sizes and are skilled at fostering partnerships to help solve complex problems. These skills and values will be even more integral as OD work continues to shift and change in the future.

In closing, the 2015 ODN-IODA World Summit was a global experience. I encourage all my fellow practitioners to stay informed with news, new technology, and opportunities to help facilitate positive change at all levels of our collective lives.

For more information, please visit the ODN website: http://www.odnetwork.org/

About the Author: Kris Lea, PsyD OD (ABD), is a professional Organization Development Consultant and Curriculum Developer/Trainer. She received her MS in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco, CA and is finishing her doctoral studies with Alliant University in Fresno, CA. Her dissertation research focuses on the “measurable attributes of a Healthy Organization.”

Kris has worked in many industries: Hospitality, high tech, healthcare, and state and local government. Currently, Kris works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc. as a contractor working a variety of California State Departments. She also works part time as adjunct faculty for California State University Sacramento (CSUS)’s, College of Continuing Education (CCE) in their Human Resources (HR), Master Analysis Program (MAP) and their State Supervisor Basics Program. 

 She is the Executive Director of a start-up non-profit, the American River Parkway Conservancy (ARPC), which intends to focus on a partnership with the City and County of Sacramento in the day-to-day operations of the parkway. Kris has lived in Sacramento for the past 15 years and is a fan of Old Sacramento, valuing both the history and present social capital of Sacramento.

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