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Explore the Breadth of OD

Organization Development is a field with amazingly vast applications. In fact, the art and science of OD can be applied in any human endeavor. Put two or more people together for any length of time and, voila, a culture will form. In that culture, the OD practitioner has room to work.

With such a wide open playing field, it is glaringly obvious that none of us have the full breadth of experience across all the possible applications. Internals have built up years, even decades, of practice inside a unique culture, but may have little experience practicing their craft in nonprofits or community groups. External consultants have the opposite experience, working in many settings, but never practicing inside a large stable culture. Academics, students, part-time practitioners equally can say that they have not worked in every possible expression of the magic that is OD.

Given the breadth of our field, the question becomes, how can an OD professional experience it all? Or, at least, widen and deepen it?

OD professionals have at least one opportunity each year to broaden their own limited experience. The Annual Conference of the Organization Development Network offers a peak into a wide variety of OD applications. Each year the Conference Planning Task force seeks out presenters who offer attendees an informed look down professional roads not traveled. Last year in Atlanta attendees experienced what the practice of OD looks like inside the huge multinational corporation of Coca-Cola, saw how OD is being applied to the reform of health care in South Africa, and we were inspired by internal, externals, professors and students in more than 30 concurrent sessions. Poster sessions broadened attendees thinking by sharing cutting edge research being conducted in the nation's best OD graduate programs. During four days attendees could travel from one end of our art to the other.

The 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago, to be held October 14-17, offers yet another chance to experience the richest of our field and to learn from colleagues in other venues. Now is the time to begin planning your yearly foray of expanding your experience and connections as we explore our calling as OD professionals.

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