The richness of the process we followed, through the vision of Adam Kahane, his excellent team, and rigorous methodology, gave us the opportunity to work in a space of trust and co-creation.
—Gabriela Hernández, City Councilor for Mexico City and Yale World Fellow
A National Crisis
In September 2014, 43 students in the Mexican state of Guerrero disappeared. Two months later, the president’s wife was linked to a scandal involving the purchase of a multi-million-dollar home from a government contractor. Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans protested these two events in the streets. In response, a group of concerned citizens – businesspeople, academics, and civil society leaders – invited Reos Partners to work with them to address what they saw as a national crisis.
Illegality, Inequality, and Insecurity
In February 2015, Reos Partners interviewed 180 people, including Indigenous leaders, businesspeople, union leaders, politicians, government employees, artists, and military leaders. The conclusion was that Mexico was facing a growing nexus of illegality, inequality,and insecurity.Participants said that a lack of trust between and within sectors, as well as few or no plural spacesfor engaging in constructive dialogue and working together, were major contributing factors to this reality.
A Plural Space to Build Trust and Move Forward
Over the course of three years, Reos Partners created a space for 90 leaders from different and complementary backgrounds to converse with and learn from each other. Known as the Méxicos Posibles team, participants met in a series of focused workshops, three days each time, interspersed with shorter meetings and a confidential online work space. We used dialogue stretch collaboration as a basis for supporting participants to connect with one another.
Now a network of more than 100 leaders from across the political, geographic, and socio-economic spectrum in the country, the Méxicos Posibles participants co-constructed scenarios about possible futures for the country. From there, they began experimenting with ways to address the three Is of illegality, inequality, and insecurity.
Through the four scenarios – A Hostile Mexico, A Paralyzed Mexico, A Responsible Mexico, and A Failed Mexico – participants build their systemic understanding of the current reality and articulated future possibilities if the country continues to head in the same direction.
In the first workshop, one member of the team commented, “I am afraid to be here, as there is someone here whose organization has threatened my family with death.”This participant made the choice to stay and continues to be an active member three years later.
Another participant — a former member of an organized crime group— had dinner at the third workshop with an admiral in the Mexican Navy. The next day, the young leader, who for 20 years has been running an NGO to support youth to make less-violent choices, said, “Admiral, I used to think you were the enemy. Last night, I learned that we have both lost people in the fight for a better Mexico. You are not the enemy; we want the same thing.”
The Méxicos Posibles team brainstormed a variety of experimentsdesigned to reduce illegality, inequality, and insecurity, including:
- The democratic appointment of the country’s attorney general
- Equitable contracting between household workers and their employers
- Coordinated responses to the September 2017 earthquakes
- A living example of positive peace in México