There are 3sides to every story

I have often asked people why they want to write, and then why they want other people to read what they’ve written as they are often two very different motives. Usually the latter is the principle motivation. In truth, it is here too. Whilst I hope this helps to solidify and formalise random ponderings, I also hope that it is helpful. Having studied a bit of Organisational Development, I’ve seen how the smattering of leadership books etc. are like most UK Garage compilation albums – the same information presented in a different order. This blog may well be the same – that’s for you to judge. What I hope it is, is effectively a sadly hipster take on M&E and related questions of humanitarian programme quality. Put simply, it’s an unstructured and informal gathering of insights from various disciplines, roughly stitched together and presented with a sense of clarity that disguises its messy composition.

Let’s go back to aspirations. I hope it’s useful, yes. I hope it provides accessible, usable information that gives people something to work from and on. These posts and models aren’t the final answers to anything. They are hypotheses, only roughly tested if at all. Therefore please break them down and put them back together as you like. Test and adapt them even. Do as you wish. And when you come up with iterations and improvements, please let me know in the comments. Feedback’s a gift. Even if it isn’t wrapped nicely.

To the name, why 3sides? Well, 3 is the magic number. Yes it is. It’s the magic number. And yes, the title is a bastardisation of the phrase: there are two sides to every story. Saying that there are 3 sides is only a mild progression, but hopefully it orchestrates the point. Everything is complex, dynamic, pluralistic and relational. I’ll go into that more in a bit. The inference is complexity. A very banded-about word that is often used to provide fuzz and buzz. But the idea is not to paralyse with complexity, but to explore it in order to provide pragmatic ways forward. I have described my role as embracing complexity so others don’t have to. So, despite my linguistic failings, it seems that I like to be a translator. To take the disperse and abstract and to make it accessible.

A number of my heroes became so entitled as a result of their genius in doing so. Through people who took reality and made it fiction to make it more accessible such as Georgie Orwell. Or those that use the abstract to define the real – often poets of different denominations, from Wordsworth to the Streets. Or those who manage to find a way to take years of insight and communicate it in such a powerfully accessible way that it removes – for a moment – the privilege of certain levels of insight. I don’t need to look much further than Akala to find that. He seems to know full well that intelligence and formal education are often mutually exclusive. He finds a way to translate the language of the latter to reach those of us that still lack insight and perspective. In doing so, he is inclusive in his message and his method. And that brings me to those who have delivered me a large slap of perspective with regards to gender. Cynthia Enloe and Raewyn Connell stand out as those keen to engage, encourage and involve in order to share the incredible perspectives that they have garnered. So this is my real motivation, to be a mickey mouse version, in my own way, without any naive aspirations to be said in the same breath, but at least you know my motivations here.

And now that we’ve gotten fully tangential – that’s ultimately what this is all about. Perspective. For me, it is a synonym for wisdom. Seeing things from multiple angles. Seeking to understand complexity despite how challenging it is and how wrong we can be. Trying to get closer to insight by acknowledging our ignorance. Trying to remove ourselves to find some objectivity, yet not forgetting our role in the intricate and interconnected webs of influence. In doing so, it’s also about encouraging inclusion and accessibility. Trying to save people time and effort, but not in providing solutions or destinations, but hopefully fast-forwarding to stages perhaps. Providing platforms to critique or leap from. That bit’s up to you.

And the symbol at the top? Well, triangles are good. 3 lines where 2 points meet. A symbol of inter-connection. Of direction. A structure of strength. Circles are pretty good too, to be fair. A symbol of loops, repetition…sure, but also a cyclical form of connection and grouping. A flow and a reflow. Of perpetual motion. So in combination, I guess it reflects aspirations of progress, reflection and inclusion…largely through perspective. And pretentiousness. Above all else, pretentiousness. But don’t worry, the real posts wont be anything like as long as this. Thanks for sticking with it so far.

There are 3sides to every story

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