Dandelions and Elephants, Illustrated

Over the holiday break, I made a thing for you to enjoy. It’s an illustrated deck, similar to the one I’d done for Adult Development Theory. It’s about Dandelions and Elephants:


Unlike other framings and lenses that I had come up with along my path through 2022, this one was by far the most resonant and interesting. I still get new insights from studying it. This deck is an invitation for you to do the same. I tried to write it as concisely as possible, yet leave enough room for nuance – and of course, a lot of room for further exploration.

The deck is meant to be consumed at your own pace, and some slides are denser than others. I think of it as a kind of holiday treat tin: some items are rich truffles and some are one-bite wafers.  Give it a try.

The deck consists of four chapters. The first chapter introduces the dandelions and elephants framing, roughly following my exploration from earlier in 2022.

The second chapter zooms out our perspective, asking a larger question: what makes up environments that lead to dandelions or elephant idea formation?

The third chapter expands on the idea of tensions that I mentioned in my writing, and tries to make a more cogent argument about the forces that tend to batter us when we engage in persistent idea generation.

The final fourth chapter ties the framing to pace layers. This one probably has the most new ideas that I haven’t expressed elsewhere, or ideas that I’ve talked about but haven’t connected to the original framing.

Throughout, I tried to use concrete examples to ground the ideas. I recognize that the concepts might still feel somewhat abstract, especially outside of the software and organizational development situations that I’ve described. So here’s another invitation: if you’re curious about the concepts, but are struggling to apply them in your particular environment, please drop me a note. My email is at the end of the deck. I’d love to hear from you.

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