How do we learn to thrive in complexity, discover our unique contribution and together step into the emerging future?
ART OF PARTICIPATORY LEADERSHIP TRAINING organized by SenseTribe on 27 September – 7 October 2021
As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.
New types of leadership are required for these times. The pandemic, fake news and our rising awareness of complex issues like the climate crisis require us to step into different ways of seeing and organizing. How can we prepare ourselves and our organizations for a future that is yet to be revealed?
We are being called to actively participate and contribute to our challenging and complex times so we become stronger, wiser and more interconnected. We as individuals, and the organizations we are part of, need to find new ways to practice being in and with complexity as an ongoing reality. Ways of leading that can navigate the unknown, embrace plurality, and be present to what no longer serves us. The way we step into relationships, build and nurture trust within ourselves and between us directly impacts our ability to collectively face the challenges of the future. Our work is both interior, within ourselves, and exterior, with and for our organizations, communities and networks.
Complexity invites us to be learning and unlearning – both individually and collectively – as a core capacity for these times. In the spirit of learning as leadership, we are inviting the SenseTribe community to deepen our collective capacity to be leaderful learners in these times and step into the ‘Art of Participatory Leadership’.
Combining Communications, Creativity and ParticipatoryProcesses for Maximum Collaborator and Customer Engagement
Have you or your team ever experienced tensions when designing a project? This can happen when you and your partners or colleagues are creating a concept or brand, or developing a new idea or initiative. In this article we will address how to combine participatory processes, communications strategies and creative industries to maximise impact.
There are different methodologies and practices that support the collaborative creation (Co-creation) process. These practices can be applied in any type of project involving more than one team, department and/or stakeholder. But what is co-creation about?
Co-Creation: A two-way, open and dialectical process of interaction, collaboration and knowledge sharing between a firm and its stakeholders, whereby the participating parties engage in a dialogue to jointly define and solve problems in a shared distributive environment. IGI Global
Adding a co-creation process in the design of a communications campaign strategy will make a difference in the commitment, deliverables and assertivity to achieve the desired goals. It is important to keep in mind that this process requires an innovative way of thinking that benefits everyone involved.
This means that some of the initial assumptions may be confirmed and others may be redefined. In order to add co-creation to our communications services, at SenseTribe we created a 3-phase process: 1. Strategy Co-creation; 2. Media content production and 3. Promotional activation.
Phase 1: Strategy Co-creation
During this participatory process, we team up with your team to address the collective needs and explore the potential of the team’s collectiveintelligence. In this phase we will identify the real needs of the project and define its goals, target audience, key messages, required media content as well as how we will communicate about it. The co-creation process will ensure all voices are heard and taken into consideration, enriching the quality of your communication strategy.
Phase 2: Media Content Production
At this stage we apply our expertise in creative industries. Based on the outcomes of phase 1, we co-create the creative concept together with your team and clarify what the best ways to present the project are. We start producing content bearing in mind what your team has defined as priorities. The media content for the campaign may include websites, videos, animations, magazines, guides, infographics etc. It is important to have a clear understanding of the audience of your initiative, this way we can optimise resources by creating high-quality communications products that will ensure the message is true to the project and ideal to engage the target audience.
Phase 3: Promotional Activation
Now it is time to reach out to your audience, communicate about your project across different channels as defined in phase 1 of the process. These channels can include newsletters, Webpages, organic and paid activation on social media and offline actions focusing on marketing and relationships. Usually this phase may take place alongside the previous one. For example, while we are working on developing the media content we can already start social media or email communications around the project.
We at SenseTribe are a dedicated team working to help you achieve your goals. Check here for more content about collaborative creation and familiarise yourself with the way we work. Feel free to contact us, we are happy to join you on your next journey.
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 January 2020 SenseTribe supported Dafne and AEF in facilitating a wonderful 2-day conference in Madrid with 120 participants from philanthropy infrastructure organizations from all over Europe and from abroad. PEX 2020 was a place for individuals and organizations active in the philanthropy sector to meet and build an active community of support, and made it possible to kick-start a number of concrete projects and initiatives.
The plan was to meet again in Istanbul this year for PEX 2021, but with COVID the ‘road to Istanbul’ suddenly became longer than expected. Together with the Dafne team we were wrestling with the following question:
How can we bring the conference online and create something meaningful?
Although we had the advantage of people having met the previous year, we still had to solve the challenge of including newcomers and creating a similar magic online at a moment of significant screen tiredness. Despite the challenge, we somehow made it possible!
Over 160 participants enjoyed a 2-day conference that made them discover not only how to meet, but how to co-create and fully enjoy an online experience. We literally forgot at some moments that we were sitting in front of a screen.
So, how did this magic happen?
We are happy to share our reflections with you, hoping they will help you co-create your magical online events as well… Let us know what you think about these tips!
1. Trust is a key ingredient of any work relationship.
Between SenseTribe, Dafne and Ariadne there is a special bond. We deeply appreciate each other as teams, are comfortable being ourselves and make decisions together. The team delegated a big part of the decision making regarding technology and the process facilitation to us as professionals in the field. Without this trust, none of this would have been possible. Thank you team!
2. We involved a council of stakeholders in the co-creation process
The council included participants from last year as well as newcomers. This wonderful group helped us identify the real needs, desired outcomes, agenda items and strategic decisions.
3. We put a lot of care in the selection of the right tools
Both teams did their research and shared outcomes. We wanted to make things simple and bring some innovation into the space. We finally chose to combine a well-elaborated Miro board for harvesting the event journey with participants, Spatial Chat for informal spaces and Zoom for the formal and co-creation spaces. You can find a practical guide on how to choose the right tools for your event here.
4. A visual metaphor as a common thread
Quite early on we identified a metaphor together that represented the event journey and our Illustrator Marina Roa turned it into a wonderful illustration that served as a continuous reminder of the purpose along each clearly signalled step in the process.
5. We sent a physical welcome package to participants
Sending a little physical welcome package to all participants made the event real. The little letter-shaped gift with summer flower seeds, your piece of the ‘larger puzzle’ and the tree image brought a sense of connection and belonging to participants and to us hosts and facilitators.
6. Informal spaces
Informal spaces are key and we need to make room for them online as, without them, we are missing out on an essential part of any event. We enabled free mingling and networking with an intuitive platform during the breaks and before the event.
7. A mindful opening
A strong opening was the opportunity for participants to connect with others and with themselves. That’s why we invited our dear friend Vasco Gaspar, a skilled facilitator with vast experience in mindfulness, integral meditation and many meaningful practices, to join our team and facilitate a moment of self and group connection. This warm and welcoming start made a difference for newcomers as well as veterans.
8. We purposefully intended to hit the learning zone
When we design participatory events, we foresee an overall flow that allows us to intentionally hit the learning (or groan/growth) zone. We need disruptive moments in an event so participants leave their comfort zones and open up to the emergence of new discoveries. This moment is not necessarily enjoyable, but it is key for openness, new perspectives and truly collaborative creation to take place.
9. Music and sounds to bring in emotions and a sense of connection
When we are all muted we do not hear each other’s laughter or cheering. So we used a few sound effects to bring a pleasant atmosphere during breaks and self-exercises and even a few sound effects to make the experience even more real and enjoyable.
10. An artful closing
We felt it was important for this particular event to create space for art and poetry, to convey deeper meaning and activate the participants’ creative juices. We invited Marina Roa to capture key moments with visual harvesting, great poetry from Stien Michiels and a final closing song for participants. Participants could contribute by sharing insights with our harvesters throughout the event and by whispering a chorus and holding up a light during the final song. The outcome was meaningful art and a magical closing moment that helped us to forget that this all happened on a screen.
11. Wellbeing is key, especially when you are involved in offering meaningful experiences to others
You can only offer truly enjoyable experiences when you are yourself balanced and when the purpose of the event is truly meaningful to you as well. We tried our best to take care of our own wellbeing so we could offer a great experience to participants, and we had the mental and physical capacity to improvise, adjust along the way and work with what was alive in the space at the moment. Good preparation and the capacity to skillfully improvise are key.
12. Our role as hosts and facilitators
We as hosts and facilitators offer room for co-creation, the participants are the ones that fill it with life and make it all happen. So THANK YOU to all 160 participants who made this event a truly unforgettable experience!
Here are some articles written about the event by participants and contributors of PEX 2021:
The Flow Game is a powerful tool for companies, teams and leaders who decide to take advantage of these moments of uncertainty to connect with what is most essential, spend time around significant questions, deeply explore blockages and difficulties, generate clarity about decisions to be made. In short, turn difficulties into opportunities.
Although it’s called Flow Game, it is not a game like chess, with winners and losers, it is more like the kind of play we find in Lego, where something new is made.
The Flow Game is based on a set of methods and processes, around the North American Aboriginal Medicine Wheel. Use powerful questions and images through the cards, reflection and interaction between the participants. Serendipity or chance also intervene, through the use of the dice, and the facilitation of the Flow Game Host with their coaching and hosting skills.
This moment of COVID pandemic is a challenge to the whole of society, as well as to leaders of teams and companies. Old ways of responding are not appropriate, what is needed is another way of leading supported by trust in the Emerging Strategy, (a strategy which emerges from a situation rather than being imposed on it).
The Game allows you to target specific issues you have, like:
How can we innovate in products and services, how can we take advantage of the situation, how can we reinvent our best version, etc.
In summary, the Flow Game can be useful to:
Align the team around meaningful questions and set priorities
Deeply explore blockages and difficulties
Generate clarity and set in motion what needs to be promoted, a project, a decision about the future of work.
But in addition, individuals can feel empowered through sharing experiences and ideas and participating in creating new strategies. As a tool of Participatory leadership, based on the premise that each person contains an entire universe. Each member of our teams is more than a piece with a specific role in the organization, he or she can offer much more. The Flow Game can harness collective experience and intelligence.
How does a Flow Game session work and what does it consist of?
You can play as a team or as an individual.
Each game can be adapted to the needs of the team and also to the number of participants (it can vary from 4 to 50). It can be online or face-to-face.
The structure of the game for a team is as follows:
Preparation phase: The Flow Game Host explores the need for the equipment and works until it finds the driving question.
Game phase: Between 2.5 to 4 hours long. The facilitator creates the proper framework and context to flow with the principles of deep listening, respect, non-judgment, and confidentiality.
First round with a deck of team cards, everyone who participates contributes to the common question. This round can end with a small “harvest.”
Second round with a deck of personal cards in which each person in relation to the common purpose asks what their best contribution can be.
Final phase or check-out: What do you take with you? And what has happened to you since the beginning of the game?
Harvest Phase: Throughout the process, a graphic facilitator will record the main questions, findings, discoveries and conclusions that emerge during the game visually. All the information will be collected in a document that will be shared with the team after the session to reinforce the learning.
SenseTribe regularly organizes Flow Game sessions with facilitators with extensive experience in the area. If you are interested in organizing a session or have more information, do not hesitate to contact us.
History of the Flow Game:
More than 20 years ago, a group of professionals, people committed to the environment, participation and peace, began to wonder about the need to create useful tools to train leaders in a type of leadership according to the future that they would like to achieve. This is a true story, these people were meeting in Denmark for almost a year, exchanging ideas, tools, reflecting on new paradigms, and when they believed that they were approaching the design of the best training for Leadership, they discovered that what was emerging was something else: It was a game! A game that had to be taken very seriously, as it concentrated powerful ingredients to bring clarity and be able to make important decisions, activating individual and collective wisdom and awareness. Flow Game had just been born!
In 1998 they had the first Flow Game prototype ready and it was played for the first time in San Francisco in 1999. From the beginning the game was designed to be facilitated by a “Flow Game Host”, it could be played individually or for a group. Since then it has been played in many different contexts and on all continents of the planet, for individuals, small groups, large groups, for leaders of large companies, with employees, in personal development sessions.
SenseTribe regularly organizes Flow Game sessions with facilitators with extensive experience in the area. If you are interested in organizing a session or have more information, do not hesitate to contact us.
More info and inscriptions:
Next session dates: The next sessions will take place::
If you want to organize a group on a specific date, contact us:
Contact: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is this workshop for?
Flow Game sessions are intended for both individuals and teams.
Mariana Ruiz Lobera:Sociologist and facilitator of participatory processes.
Extensive experience in training and facilitation in large companies (Iberdrola, Atresmedia), NGOs (Greenpeace, Doctors of the World, Action against Hunger). He teaches at the Autonomous University of Madrid on Participatory Leadership, Collective Intelligence and Conflict Resolution.
Marina Roa: Visual thinking and facilitator of creative processes
Marina has extensive experience designing processes that bring us closer to collaborative, innovative and sustainable solutions. Graduated in Psychology and Superior Technician in Design, certified in creative thinking and passionate about non-violent communication.
How can Art of Hosting help us navigate uncertainty and evolve in times of isolation and global crisis?
Our world is in flux. COVID19 has surfaced the drawbacks of our current way of life, leading us into uncharted waters. The pandemic has created global unrest by illuminating economic and social inequalities even more. It is clearer than ever before, that the world is changing rapidly and all of us, inevitably, are part of this process. What if this is the opportunity that we have been longing for, the beginning of a new era? What if this is the right time to change the current status quo and imagine a future of living within our Planet’s limits, for the good of all?
Based on the assumption that our world needs fundamental change, the Art of Hosting and Harvesting Meaningful Conversations practice has been supporting organisations, communities and groups to “be the change” for the past 25 years. It is a practice that prioritises diversity and collaboration where people can discover and cultivate new collective intelligence together. By learning and applying participatory methods, models and theories, we become more skillful in navigating chaos and complexity individually and collectively. Being a global community of practitioners expands the potential and impact of learning, increasing our ability to respond in times of crisis.
We would like to invite you on a quest. We invite teachers, parents, managers, community organisers, politicians, all who are seeking a way to meet this new future which is emerging to join us. We are creating a digital space, where we would like to share and explore together with you the essence of our practice. Together, we invite you into a learning space where we can exchange knowledge, experience participatory methods, explore mental models and theories of complexity, change and systems thinking. We will explore new forms of leadership, based on Living Systems – where interconnection, collaboration and self-organising around purpose lead to results for the good of all.
We invite you to bring your questions, ideas, hopes and dreams and dive into a collective inquiry together. Let’s navigate into these unknown times with an open heart and mind to discover new possibilities.
Who is this for?
Anyone who wants to develop collaboration and participation skills – public service professionals, entrepreneurs, social innovators, NGOs, leaders in business, educators, and anyone who see themselves stepping into new ways of leading.
We will learn, explore and practice
Participatory methods of engaging small and large groups in conversation.
Forms and strategies to build conditions for co-operation and collaboration.
Worldviews and models that will help you to work with complexity.
New perspectives, tools and practical ways of engaging a diverse group of people to discover new ideas and solutions by working generatively with complexity, conflict and emergence.
Process Design, designing and planning the process before implementation, as a structure for new potential and possibilities to emerge.
Be prepared to:
Generate new and collective knowledge that you can apply to your context
Listen to stories from different people, places and perspectives
Contribute to other people’s learning by sharing your insights, questions, projects
Deepen, develop and design your ideas, projects, goals, initiative, questions in a collective learning space
Join an international network and community of practice and connect with a diverse group of people of all ages and backgrounds
Maria Scordialos with Dimitris Stratakos, Maya Rimer, Mira Bangel and Julia Hoffmann (Visual Recording) decided to collaborate and cocreate this online learning journey, as a response to the current global health and economic crisis.
As stewards and/or seasoned practitioners of the Art of Hosting and Harvesting Meaningful Conversations global community of practice, they offer trainings and immersive learning on participatory leadership, living systems, and design practices for living and working in complexity, particularly in contexts of chaos, crisis and collapse.