Critical Imagination: Diverse Strategies for Meaningful Change

Course Number
DYNM 6090 001
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Course Description
In her novel Parable of the Sower, MacArthur “Genius Grant” awardee Octavia E. Butler reminds us that "the only lasting truth is change." While this mantra comes from the pages of science fiction, it speaks to an important fact about the shifting social realties that affect organizations in our technological age. If we want to develop lasting strategies for leading through change, we must think carefully about the resources we turn to for guidance—including which perspectives are represented in those resources. Critical imagination can help us do this work by encouraging creative thinking that fosters substantive change. We’ll begin this project-based course by asking how work within organizations can better reflect the diversity of perspectives and research which have already transformed our world. This will involve looking closely at a range of case studies and scholarship across disciplines—as well as speculative texts that invite us to think about the future of work within agile teams. We'll discuss models for inclusive leadership, adaptive facilitation, and intercultural collaboration which highlight emergent strategies for change. This means turning to research on organizational dynamics in our digital era—where science fiction is closer to social and technological fact than ever before. This also means exploring questions like: • How can we leverage critical imagination as a practical tool within organizational dynamics? • How do we design for equity and justice that goes deeper than representation, toward systemic and structural change? • What meaningful outcomes can we articulate and build towards into our projects? • Which personal and professional communities do we hope to serve through our work? • What do we need to unlearn, and which methodologies will support this process? • Which strategies can we use to foster mission-oriented thinking that’s specific to our roles within organizations? Our culminating efforts will include projects that we will develop throughout the course via discussion posts, reflective activities, collaborative presentations, simulations, and reading groups. Much of this will entail using imaginative work to think critically about what’s possible, as we advocate for meaningful change within diverse organizations. Permission requests from Non-DYNM students: please include a brief job description.   This fully online course will have both synchronous and asynchronous sessions.
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