Bridges are a nice metaphor for place-based organization development because they are designed for a specific location and are built to support people in moving from one place to another. Maybe I find the bridge metaphor appealing because I am an engineer (i.e., a Sociotechnical Systems engineer who studies the health and productivity of people at work), and many of us think of bridges when we think of engineers.
But the metaphor works for me on a few levels. Bridges can be pleasant or unpleasant, sturdy and well-designed, or shaky and poorly maintained. They can be beautiful and downright inviting. They can be marked well, with signs that let folks know where they’re going. Or they can be part of the confusion of a complex traffic pattern, like the one flowing through Philly – where you might take a bridge unintentionally and end up in New Jersey by accident!
I design place-based programs and initiatives – customized educational conversations – to help people make informed choices.