March 15, 2009
Noticed this thread from the AoH listserve recently. It is a helpful piece on interior and exterior harvests by Chris Corrigan.
I wrote earlier on four levels of harvest (look at the bottom half). Content and process, which fit in with Chris' exterior. And then relationships and field, which fit in with the interior.
"Just a thought in the harvest piece...For me there are many ways to harvest, but they all come down to either being interior harvests or exterior harvests. Exterior harvests are the ones we see and use to communicate with others, what we sometimes call artifacts. These can be notes, graphics, films, photos and other things that are portable and objective. They may be designed for a broad audience or only for those who were there, as a reminder of the experience, for example. I use all kinds of artifacts, and with most events I do now there is usually more than one.
The interior harvest - the learning and the collective story - needs special support to be useful. For me I use the shorthand of "feedback loops" to think about the ways in which we might create ongoing containers for these interior harvests to be revisited and refined. For example, setting up reflective practices to revisit learning, or setting a future schedule of storytelling sessions to continually work with the meaning arising from an event. These things use strategies of conversation and social technology as well as personal reflective practice to continue to work the interior harvest.
A holistic harvest scheme is an important part of the design of any event - it needs to meet needs, and sometimes that means a reductive accounting of time spent along side the establishment of a presencing practice to revisit personal learning.
It has helped a lot with clients when I say that we are planning a harvest and not a meeting. The meeting simply helps us arrive at the harvest that is needed for the group I am working with. Sometimes the need is just learning, and no external harvest document is necessary. Sometimes the need is a plan."