Before embarking on the journey of providing others with guidance for a process of transformation, we need to prepare ourselves in order to make sure we are stable enough to stay standing and not be eradicated when the “winds of change” will come.
This simple but crucial idea is one of the key concepts of Art of Hosting and one of my favourite practices to transmit when giving training or capacity-building sessions to teams preparing to host participatory processes at SenseTribe.
This practice is called “The Fourfold practice”. However evident it might seem in its essence, it takes a slow and deep process of introspection to really understand it. In order to really embrace this practice one needs to go beyond traditional paradigms of learning and approach it in a non-linear way that leaves room for intuition. The intuition will lead the way through the fractality of all living beings (and structures) and will enable the magic of the hosting process to happen.
“I love to see the fourfold practices like a kaleidoscope, with four different lenses which are brought together to create a whole, and what we discovered is that even though there are four lenses it’s a fractal so every lens has the other lenses in it. That’s the pattern of it, when we share it with people it can sound linear. It is not linear and when you’re learning you might need to dissect it and play with it so that you can learn it. But the real power comes from the interconnectivity of the lenses”.
If you want to host conversations that really matter, you first need to dive into the depths of your being and connect with your inner truth, and this can sometimes involve a painful and drawn-out process.
Be clear about what you need and what your personal contribution to the circle can be. Take a quiet moment to breathe in order to focus on the present. Make space to dedicate time for listening and speaking. Invite all the participants in the meeting to be present.
2. Participate and practice conversation
Listen with attention and speak with intention
Conversation is an art. It demands that we listen carefully to one another and that we offer our contributions to serve the whole. Join the conversation with curiosity and without judgment. Curiosity and judgement cannot live together in the same space. The art of conversation is the art of slowing down in order to speed up.
3. Host conversations
Be courageous, inviting and willing to initiate conversations that matter, and then make sure you harvest the answers, insights, learnings and wise actions…
Hosting conversations is not quite the same as facilitating. It means creating and holding the container in which a group of people can do their best work together. Prepare a question and know what you will do with the harvest. Hosting conversations takes courage and a bit of certainty and faith in your people.
…be willing to co-create and co-host with others.
The value of conversations arises when we listen to what is in the middle, what is emerging from the centre of our collaboration.
So contribute what you know to the mix so that patterns may become clear and the collaborative field can produce unexpected and surprising results.
The four fold practice was the first pattern that gave rise to the Art of Hosting. It is simply an observation that great conversations happen when people are present, when they participate, when they are well hosted and when they co-create something.
This practice helped me really get to the core of the hosting process and understand that one can be an expert in tools and formats. But this will not necessarily make this person a good host nor open the way to deep, enlightening conversations. The key is the fractal!
A poem by Toke Moller, one of the initiators of Art of Hosting, summarizes its essence in few words:
There are four practices that can become one.
It is about being awake
caring for each moment
It is about hosting by being conscious now.
It is about being a student listening and learning.
It about stepping up with courage
when it is my turn to lead.
It is to co create with others
for the benefit of All.
These can be practiced as one whole
In the past years, we’ve heard a lot about the SDGs. Some companies, NGOs and public institutions are using this acronym in their projects and communications, but what are the SDGs?
The Sustainable Development Goals, developed by the United Nations, are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. There are 17 Goals, all interconnected, and the intention is to achieve them all by 2030. The goals address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.
At SenseTribe we believe the SDGs are a useful framework to guide companies, governments and civil organizations towards the creation of a more sustainable, inclusive and healthy society.
The SDGs will only be achieved if we work together, and at SenseTribe, we have experience to share. That is why our communications team invites anyone who is willing to embark on this journey with us in each and every work area.
There are many different ways to engage people in a conversation about the SDGs. That will depend on which segment each institution works on. Here are some tips about how to run a powerful communication campaign on the SDGs and some reflections on the impact that making this UN commitment more visible can have at both a local and a global scale.
Why is it important to communicate about SDG-related actions?
Nowadays, the sensible choice is to create or adapt products and services that will minimize negative environmental and social impact. Instead of this, the goal should be to develop a process that can generate positive impact.
A strategic communication approach on the SDGs is key to strengthening the reputation of an organisation because it connects your audience with your will to transform the way products and services have been designed for decades. It creates engagement in international discussions and will increase the reach of the information you’re sending out.
Several great initiatives have been changing their strategies regarding the achievement of the sustainable development goals and communicating about this has many benefits:
An open-minded approach can lead your communications planning to address issues on a political level, increasing dialogue with stakeholders and a wider audience;
Having communications partners focused on the SDGs can help your team during the implementation of changes in your company, and can help involve the main stakeholders in the transformation process;
Communicating openly about internal changes will help your audience identify with your brand. It makes easier for your customers to understand some of the impacts of the services or products generated during the transformation process;
Co-creating a strategic communications plan with an external communications team will allow your initiative to explore different points that can help your team to reorient not only their communications but their actions more strategically toward achieving the SDGs;
It is the role of institutions to help the wider audience to understand what the SDGs are and why it is important to act on them. If your initiative communicates about SDG-related actions, your brand is engaging with people at the same time as they are supporting the business community in raising awareness of the topic, which will lead consumers/clients to make better choices in the near future.
At SenseTribe we believe communication has a key role to play in improving the way we do business: it can help drive, guide or simply inspire new perspectives. Our collaborative approach allows our team, together with our clients and partners, to create strategies that add value to their initiatives, stakeholders and customers.
If you want to know more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Meaningful Communications’. Our team will be glad to talk to you and help with your communication strategy.
Last year in May we participated in the NESI Global Forum where we had the chance to face a big challenge that helped us improve our co-creation and facilitation skills while enjoying a great time in a diverse and inspiring setting, deeply rooted in the values that really move us to action.
What was the challenge?
Marina Roa met Diego Moneda, director of the NESI Forum of New Economy and Social Innovation at the #EUideaslab at La Casa Encendida in Madrid.
We decided to collaborate together for the next Forum in April 2019 and that collaboration was sponsored by UNITAR and CIFAL.
What was our contribution?
We produced a live magazine with the input of more than 1000 participants (graphic facilitation, content, design).
Co-creation and facilitation of the track ‘Future of Work’ in English and Spanish
How was the process?
We supported the process of co-creation of the design of the event, which involved 6 areas with 3 work sessions each. The idea was to work following the model of 3 horizons representing three dimensions: present, future and steps to be taken (to get to that future).
In collaboration with Daniel Truran, General Director at EBBF & ambassador of B Corp, Mira Bangel and a group of content experts facilitated the three co-creation spaces focused on the future of work.
In each session, about 100 people gathered at 9 tables and generated questions to explore a more general topic. In each room there was a group of “subject matter experts” and some “correspondents” from the magazine that at the end of the session met with some more participants to collect the ideas and lessons together in a prepared template.
At the end of each day, the results were collected and reviewed together with the team responsible for the design and content of the magazine.
Marina Roa formed a team with two other collaborators, graphic designers, to facilitate the harvest process.
Once all the contents were obtained, they were visualized showing the main concepts through texts and illustrations and with a layout of contents and design.
After a very intense work and an excellent collaboration of our team together with participants and organizers of the event, we had an amazing result: The magazine was presented in the auditorium in digital format as the final conclusion of the event.
Some final adjustments were needed to integrate the feedback of the participants and to be aligned with the results. From then on, the magazine was shared with the public through social networks.
For us it was a challenge that involved the input of 1000 people, the collaboration in a team of more than 45 people and a very tight deadline. Thanks to the live launch and the active involvement of so many people, the magazine was shared and celebrated by the entire audience, also by our sponsor UNITAR-CIFAL and our area on the future of work was the most visited. We were also interviewed by the confidential in an article about the event.
Really great things can be done among many people if we organize ourselves well and work towards a common purpose.