Behind a “Boring” Headline

In the 40th year of ICA Canada, we’re taking a look back at where we’ve focused our energy and attention, and acknowledging the results of our efforts as we plan for our future.

ICA Canada has typically not sought the limelight for the many projects we’ve worked on, nor the social change to which we’ve contributed (in many cases, confidentiality was key to the success of those projects, ensuring trust and continued collaboration).

The value of our interventions didn’t always make for a catchy headline either, as Bill Staples explains in a 1993 issue of Edges: New Planetary Patterns magazine (an ICA publication):

“The following event has happened dozens of times. A town meeting is held to discuss what to do about a plant that will soon close in a small town. If ICA does not lead the meeting, the newspaper next day may run the headline “Mass Layoffs Anger Mayor.” Anger is genuine and sometimes such events just can’t be turned around. However, if the town meeting is facilitated by ICA, the residents will spend their time deciding what alternatives they have for the future. When ICA leads the town meeting, the result is often consensus and a new sense of direction in which everyone participates. The next day the city newspaper would have to write, “New Consensus Might Work.” You have probably never seen such a headline, because cub reporters and city editors know that such headlines don’t sell newspapers, and the unfortunate thing about ICA projects is that they read like a well-thought-through plan of action – definitely not headline or op-ed material. Once the vision is established and a plan built, it will take broad-based concerted effort to make it happen.”¹

Bill goes on to affirm a guiding principle for ICA, one that is still highly relevant today:

“Alive, historically alert, persons or organizations do not spend much time lamenting (or glorifying) the past. They learn from their own and others’ experiences and mistakes but their roots are in the future. We are interested in the past primarily to leverage the future. Thoughtfulness and sensitivity is our main guide, which also doesn’t make for galvanizing copy.”

To read the full article, click here (use zoom to view text).

¹Staples, B. (1993, June). Why Edges Keeps Mum. Edges: New Planetary Patterns 5 (3), 35.

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