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Ground Rules Deep Dive #2: Confront Internal Contradictions

By Milenko Matanovic

Together we are capable of extraordinary achievements. Over the years, Pomegranate Center has encouraged people to uphold a code of conduct that leads to creativity and collaboration. These ground rules are important in creating a positive atmosphere that focuses on how things can be improved, away from complaints. In this series of short pieces, I will look at different ground rules, why they are important, and share stories from the field.

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Ground Rules Deep Dive #1: Turn Opposition Into Proposition

By Milenko Matanovic

Together we are capable of extraordinary achievements. Over the years, Pomegranate Center has encouraged people to uphold a code of conduct that leads to creativity and collaboration. These ground rules are important in creating a positive atmosphere that focuses on how things can be improved, away from complaints. In this series of short pieces, I will look at different ground rules, why they are important, and share stories from the field.

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The Institute for Everyday Democracy: Strengthening Collaborative Intelligence

In November of 2016, Pomegranate Center and I became reflective about our country’s fractured state and how our work and mission should evolve to address it. What came out of our conversations and planning is a natural extension of the work we’ve already been doing for thirty years: determining the best ways people can work together to improve our communities.

Since retiring from the role of Executive Director, I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time engaging with the Pomegranate community through thoughtful conversations, which have in turn inspired me to focus more on thinking and writing. I’ve been fortunate to spend the last three decades doing the hands-on work of collaborative community building with Pomegranate Center, and now I plan to take that experience and focus on the invisible work that is so critical for our world now, what I call the work of “everyday democracy.”

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A Note From Our Executive Director: Looking Back on 2016

Pomegranate Center’s expertise is to link places with constructive engagement of their users. Our placemaking focus is on outdoor social spaces, parks designed around community ideas and realized in a “barn-raising” spirit with many hands. We’ve completed over 50 such gathering places, each a classroom where we learned new lessons. Now, these teaching have coalesced into our well-tested Pomegranate Method that we are offering to new partners.

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Post-election Reflection: How to do it Better Next Time

by Milenko Matanovic

I yearn for leaders who are collaborators.

In an election, I wait for one candidate to say to another, “That’s an interesting insight—I want to think about it.” Or “That is a different perspective—I never thought about that angle.” Or, “Maybe if we combine our ideas, we might do more good.”

Collaboration must become society’s norm. Why? Because we live in a complex world, yet we act as if someone’s individual expertise or ideology can provide all the answers. The present moment calls for “system leaders” who understand that we require each other’s insights to fully comprehend the needs of our society and its diverse peoples, as well as the entire planet we inhabit.

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