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Organizational Development English Library


O.D. Institute Newsletter

 July 2005


Comments on OD by Participants at the 35th Annual Information Exchange in Chicago

Terry Armstrong, RODC

During the 35th Annual Information Exchange meeting in Chicago there was a great deal of discussion about the future of OD.  At one level this is nothing new.  ODers have been discussing the future of OD and whether it is dead or not for about as long as I can remember.  In fact a lot of people including me are getting tired of discussing the issue, but obviously many more feel it is vital.  Some believe that the field has become so fragmented that there is little hope of resolving the differences while others dream of a strong future community filled with diversity and recognition of the role that the OD Institute has played.  Some want certification requirements with an enforceable code of ethics while others prefer a lose association of practitioners that is driven by creativity and exploration rather than standards of performance and certification.

Michael Simpson, along with others, believes that OD as a field has lost its brand and urged us as a field to begin re-developing the O.D. brand. 

A few testimonials provide a sense of what participants were hoping for and desire.  They also demonstrate the diversity of thought presented at the conference.

  • It's still refreshing to hear what is new in O.D.
  • I am glad this organization is still struggling with turning O.D. into a profession.
  • The conference was a meaningful way to connect with people as a community.
  • It was great discussing the future identity of O.D. so that as practitioners we can not only enjoy satisfying careers but can also live our O.D. values.
  • It is most encouraging to know that O.D. professionals have the integrity and confidence to ask fundamental questions regarding practice.
  • After 20 years I still find the Information Exchange the most interesting conference I attend.
  • An opportunity to gather and support fellow colleagues in community building.
  • An excellent opportunity to share experiences and learn about the O.D. field.  For a person new to the field it was a good jumpstart.
  • The diversity of the topics is one of the things that drew me to my third O.D. Information Exchange.  I appreciate the informal tone and opportunity to interact with colleagues in the excellent give and take of the discussions following each presentation.
  • Everyone in O.D. and H.R. should attend at least one Information Exchange or a World Congress and compare it to other conferences they attend.  It's a learning and growth experience.  It presents a novel format that lends itself to creativity.
  • The conference expanded and updated my knowledge of Organization Development.

Participants had personal wants as well.  These also included a diversity of topics.  To the question: “As an O.D. Professional I want:” they provide further insights.

  • A place to learn, grow, share and meet others was commented on by 5 people
  • Hope for the future of the O.D. Community
  • Recognition of that the O.D. Institute has done
  • A place to exchange ideas
  • Want a certification program and a code of ethics
  • An O.D. family to belong to
  • A clear focus
  • Improve my own organization
  • To obtain more tools
  • A Clarity of mission

Then they spoke to the O.D. Profession as a whole.  To the question “As an O.D. Professional We want:” reinforced yet boarded participants concerns:

  • A place to center ourselves as an educational, collegial association
  • Recognition as a profession by consumers and society
  • Community
  • Collective sharing
  • Helping others
  • A strong voice, a united front to define our identity
  • A vision for the future
  • To b e a real profession
  • To engage in deep dialogue, to understand who we are
  • Relevance outside our community
  • A sense of interdependence
  • A common starting ground for the O.D. profession
  • Identify common goals and support network
  • Submit articles to mainstream media
  • A professional society
  • Work with the popular press and get information out about O.D.
  • Determine best practices

In conclusion it was a very good conference.  If you weren't there these participant comments may strike a strong cord for you.  Though we may not have agreement on where we are going as a field or even on what role the O.D. Institute should play we certainly have our opinions, hopes and dreams both individually and collectively

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