Archive for the ‘collective intelligence’ Category

Nuggets of learning

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

We had a most wonderful day – the third – in our learning gathering Art of Humans Being. It was juicy, it had song, it had a lot of embodied stuff… I think you can say it had a wholeness and fullness to it and I saw a lot of twinkling eyes and many, many conversations going on.

I want to share the nuggets we shared at the end of the day in the ceremony firecircle, here on the land. There was no fire, but there was the music of the flute that welcomed us; as it had done in the morning. And we all wrote down one specific learning of the day about repatterning and the new story. Here we go: (again read out slowly to let it all sink in!)

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Trust source operating through ourselves – we already have it.
Body and Nature; Simple and Elegant.
Going with the flow, relaxed about outcome.
What are the questions that lead us to feel most alive?
It is not the new story being better than the old on; it is the next story building on the previous one.
The system works. Relax. Let go. Trust.
With trust, love deeply in the old and new story.
Form a new relationship with souls purpose and step into our fullness, naked and courageous.
Separate acting, community acting; it is all the same act.
Living in a new way, a new story.
Let our collective music arise from source.
Strengthening and listening to body wisdom.
Build a nest, let it rest. The rest will build the rest.
Lovingly held and gently hosted spaces; heartfelt wisdom flowing freely.
Magic of the flute.
Deep, deep, deep listening to higher self and purpose.
Experience. Wait. Ask. Listen.
My highest self is participatory.
Dear universe, What do I want to tell you that you don’t already know? You tell me. I’ll try to listen. Hey, thanks.
A little can be a lot.
The new stories are infinite and alluring, filling up with awe, curiosity and exitement. Gratitude for friendship.
I am here now.


Friday, July 30th, 2010

First morning here in the Art of Humans Being in the Essex Conference center. Not yet 7 am and I see already some people around writing in their notebooks; I hear a conversation going on in the background… I’m sitting here on my bed; the sun is sending its rays through the trees’ branches. My little room being under the roof, I see branches all around, as if sitting in a tree hut.

What to tell about our half day together yesterday? I’m not sure. There is nothing that really stands out for me, nothing that I could capture easily. The weaving of 26 stories and perspectives didn’t show a clear pattern; at least not to me. Or does it?


This is a gathering, a learning event that uses the Art of Hosting pattern, but its main pupose is not to provide a training in this art, but to use the art to dive into the main theme and question: How will we, as humans being, repattern ourselves, to create and activate the new story? Tenneson said: I want to loose myself in that question!

I have two feelings right now. On the one hand there is a tension – actually I think it is a longing – that we talk about and engage with the real stuff: Why are we doing this? What’s the real point here? If we don’t repattern ourselves the end will come, sooner or later. That’s a fact. Did we do that yesterday? Where we blunt and bold enough to be at this point where we don’t have a clue how to move forward? On the other hand there is this calm feeling – a deep inner knowing – this kind of coming together is the repatterning! At least part of it. Being in a collective inquiry works on many levels: energeticc – intangible – subtle – conscious and also: individual – group – collective – systemic.


What sure is different here is the presence of other ways of knowing – other than mental – the poems, the silence, the collages, the artful workbook, the invitation from Judy to come from a soul-aligned space.

Let’s be bold and nothing than my unique self.
No forcing and no holding back (Rilke).
From hosting conversations that matter to hosting collective learning that matters to the planet.

What’s going on in the world out there that makes repatterning and restorying important? That was the question for our World Café and a way to ge to know each other. Some nuggets for me where:
It is us – you and me – normal people – civic society that will do the repatterning, not the leaders in politics or economy.
We have a choice – we can make a choice.


The collages, made as a way of harvest, showed in many different ways the bridge from the known and old story to pictures and images that spoke of nature, community, being creative and the like: a story of wholeness and wellness and being fully alive!

We ended our first afternoon with a circle. What calls you to be here now – as you are aware in this moment?

Highlights and threads:
It is time to live big.
All is not as it seems.
Home – where is my place? Where do I engage in transitioning with a local community? Commitment to find community where I am.
This land – here – Cape Ann.


Leadership – How to create collaborative leadership? How to listen to the voice of the collective, of the system?
Deep grief – what is it that is being griefed?
Living between stories, between the old and the new – literally, energetically.
Finding my own voice – finding home in myself – owning my wisdom.
The nourishment of circles engaging with big questions – the gathering of the people – the collective inquiry.

Are these the elements of our repatterning, of living wholeness?

Participatory Leadership

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Via the Art of Hosting emaillist Toke send us a harvest document that talks about Participatory Leadership. This is in other language the worldview that we train people in, in The Art of Hosting Meaningful Conversations. Here it is for you to enjoy!

How do you explain participatory leadership in one sentence?

o Imagine… a meeting of 60 people, where in an hour you would have heard everyone and at the end you would have precisely identified the 5 most important points that people are willing to act on together.

o When appropriate, deeper engagement of all in service of our purpose.

o Hierarchy is good for maintenance, participatory leadership is good for innovation and adapting to change.

o Complements the organigramme units with task force work groups on projects.

o Look at how well they did it in ….. – We could be the ones everybody looks at.

o Using all knowledge, expertise, conflicts, etc. available to achieve the common good on any issue.

o It allows to deal with complex issues by using the collective intelligence of all people concerned & getting their buy-in.

o Participatory Leadership is methods, techniques, tips, tricks, tools to evolve, to lead, to create synergy, to share experience, to lead a team, to create a transversal network, to manage a project, an away day, brainstorming, change processes, strategic visions.

o Consult first, write the legislation after.

From Traditional ways of working -> To Participatory leadership complementing

Harvesting after the check-in circle

Individuals responsible for decisions -> Using collective intelligence to inform decision-making

No single person has the right answer, but somebody has to decide ->Together we can reach greater clarity – intelligence through diversity

Hierarchical lines of management ->Communities of practice

Wants to create a FAIL-SAFE environment ->Creates a SAFE-FAIL environment that promotes learning

Top-down agenda setting ->Set agenda together

I must speak to be noticed in meetings ->Harvesting what matters, from all sources

Communication in writing only ->Asking questions

Organisation chart determines work ->Task forces/purpose-oriented work in projects

People represent their services ->People are invited as human beings, attracted by the quality of the invitation

One-to-many information meetings ->A participatory process can inform the information!

Great for maintenance, implementation (doing what we know) ->When innovation is needed – learning what we don’t know, to move on – engaging with constantly moving targets

Information sharing ->When engagement is needed from all, including those who usually don’t contribute much.

Dealing with complaints by forwarding them to the hierarchy for action ->Dealing with complaints directly, with hierarchy trusting that solutions can come from the staff

Consultation through surveys, questionnaires, etc. ->Co-creating solutions together in real time, in presence of the whole system

Top-down ->Bottom-up

Management by control ->Management by trust

Questionnaires (contribution wanted from …) ->Engagement processes – collective inquiry with stakeholders

Mechanistic ->Organic – if you treat the system like a machine, it responds like a living system

Top down orders – often without full information ->Top-down orders informed by consultation

Resistance to decisions from on high ->Better acceptance of decisions because of involvement

Silos/hierarchical structures ->More networks

Tasks dropped on people ->Follow your passion

Rigid organisation ->Flexible self-organisation

Policy design officer disconnected from stakeholders ->Direct consultation instead of via lobby organisations

People feel unheard/not listened to ->People feel heard

Working without a clear purpose and jumping to solutions ->Collective clarity of purpose is the invisible leader

Motivation via carrot & stick ->Motivation through engagement and ownership

Managing projects, not pre-jects ->Better preparation – going through chaos, open mind, taking account of other ideas

Focused on deliverables ->Focused on purpose – the rest falls into place

Result-oriented ->Purpose-oriented

Seeking answers ->Seeking questions

Pretending/acting ->Showing up as who you are

Broadcasting, boring, painful meetings ->Meetings where every voice is heard, participants leave energised

Chairing, reporting ->Hosting, harvesting, follow-up

Event & time-focused ->Good timing, ongoing conversation & adjustment

What is the classroom of the future?

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

This article is a good example of new kind of collaborations that are popping up all over the place these days…
Architecture for Humanity, principal partner Orient Global and a consortium of more than 20 organizations officially launched a competition at the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos. This initiative invited the architecture, design and engineering community to collaborate directly with students and teachers to rethink the classroom of the future. Designers entering the competition were given a simple mandate: collaborate with real students in real schools in their community to develop real solutions.

I love these kind of projects! This is where we need to go more!

A leader with no followers

Friday, June 20th, 2008

The first leg of my journey ‘at this side of the pond’, as George would say, has ended. It was an amazing journey.
Arriving here in Canada, in the province of Nova Scotia, with a size bigger than Belgium but only 1 million citizens, the first thing that catched my eyes was: space! Kilometers and kilometers you only see threes, threes, a lake, and threes again. Only now and then a few houses!

too late to clean up...

We gathered here at The Shire, a learning centre near Yarmouth, with some stewards of the Art of Hosting network. Purpose was to see how a next level, or a next step in governing/stewarding this self-organising web of practitioners could look like, could take form. It is a worldwide question how a self-organising web of people can be guided to the next step of its evolution, that is also in alignment with values as openness, open source, courage, leadership, constant learning etc. We can’t govern ‘old style’, not even ‘new style’. It needs to be ’emergent style’. It needs to be supportive of the growth, the evolution, the brilliance of the web and all the people in it! This style needs to be an expression of and add to the unfolding of being a learning-full and leader-full network. As someone said in the gathering: I want to be a leader with no followers.

Wouldn’t it be great when everyone was a leader in this way?

This theme is exactly the focus of the workshop I will participate in at the Shambhala Summer Institute in a few days.

I love this learning with others, this collective inquiry that leads us to emergent learning.

A walk on the edge

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

It is difficult to remember what were all the things that happened on our third day together. It was again so rich, inspiring and beautiful.


Some of us decided to greet and honor the sunrise, and they ended up doing it in the hot tub. This was a luxury I enjoyed the evening before, with a splendid view lit by the almost full moon; when all the others were already gone to bed or to their rooms.

“It was a beautiful morning, the sun coming up over the distant ridge of mountains, and the moon behind, up the hill through the trees.” (Judy)

Later in the day Wendy would recall that it was not possible to see them both at once, but if you turn inwards then it is possible to have a sense or an experience of both. Did you ever think of that?

I can’t remember what exactly is the chronology of that day, but I do know that we decided to do an Appreciative Inquiry Walk after lunch, around a situation of ‘moving the edge’. The question was: What did you do that made it happen? The harvest of these conversations in pairs was again something that brought us deeper into our joint inquiry. Moving the edge happens when:

– there is a compulsion; when your integrity doesn’t allow to act in another way. In this way it holds the paradox of being conscious of ‘some’ consequences of your choice and the feeling of not having any choice.
– there is no point of reference that you can rely on

Sunday afternoon

– it ‘had’ to be expressed
– we leave our separateness and join others, without questions or judgments
– there is an energy of “Let’s do it!” (in alignment with Source) instead of “Do it!”
– the outcome could not be anticipated beforehand
– there is a letting go, a giving up of control
– a not holding back: it asks for courage and honesty
– you have a sense of something ‘from somewhere else’ coming through you
– you live the energy of the Fool (tarot cards): it looks like stepping forward will lead to death, but not doing it will lead to another form of death

It wasn’t the first time we talked about it but the experience of giving birth was exactly this! Women’s way of being alive, every month ‘forced’ by nature to go along with Life, with no control over it, seems to make us more connected with Life, earth and matter; and the inherent ‘push’ of Life energy. Being on the edge in this way seems quite familiar… I think this experience makes women – on average – more open to a kind of subtle energies which are different than the mental knowing, but are needed to a get full ‘understanding’.

Judy’s reflections: “In recalling my own story, I remembered the ‘letting go’ that had to happen in my moving the edge experience. I remembered how hard that was, but when I did, then there was an openeing, and the ‘letting come’ flowed so naturally, so effortlessly. I also recalled on one occassion the buildup of tension that preceded the ‘lettting go’. Like something going to explode inside me, about to erupt, not going to wait any longer. Really like Life coming through me, there was no holding back. I also recall related and less explosive times where discernement, and the subtle knowing that is required, came into play. The knowing when to speak and when to remain silent, discerning when to lead or step forward, and when to just be with another.”

Art of Hosting as Operating System

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Regular users know that I am involved with The Art of Hosting, be it the art in itself or its community. It is the art of designing and facilitating meaningful conversations in whatever community – school – organisation they ask for it or are willing to engage with each other in ‘a road less travelled’.

Recently Ravi Tangri posted an interesting conversation on YouTube (in three parts) in which Phil Cass and Toke Møller tell the story of how these meaningful conversations came into being in the health care system in Columbus Ohio. It is really an amazing story and a very good example for other places and other areas of life.

In Columbus, Ohio, the question started around how to build an affordable and sustainable health care system in their region. Some time later they were asking themselves: What is a health care system for? and recently they had conversations about What is Health? I am in awe for Phill and all the others who are breaking new ground with something as simple as deep conversations…

Please take a look here. As I mentioned before, the whole story is in three episodes.

And Ravi did more! He looked around all over YouTube and gathered all video’s related to meaningful conversations. If you are interested, here is more!

Fascinating tool

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

This came to me via-via, and I didn’t check it out yet, but this seems fascinating and wonderful to play with…

“Just in case you haven’t seen this:
Collaborative, online mindmapping

Their blurb:
MindMeister brings the concept of mind mapping to the web, using its facilities for real-time collaboration to allow truly global brainstorming sessions.

Users can create, manage and share mind maps online and access them anytime, from anywhere. In brainstorming mode, fellow MindMeisters from around the world (or just in different rooms) can simultaneously work on the same mind map – and see each other’s changes as they happen. Using integrated Skype calls, they can throw around new ideas and put them down on “paper” at the same time.”

Thanks to Gabor Por for the link!

A Jedi Council

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Last weekend I was part of a most remarkable gathering at De Heerlijckyt in Belgium. This specific constellation of people emerged from an Art of Hosting training, which happened at the same venue early October ’06. Before this gathering there were a lot of friendships build over the last years and months. Somehow we sensed we all hold a piece of work and competence that will be necessary for the future of Europe.

We don’t hold any official autority, not at all, but we feel called to how we can put ourselves into service for the best of the world to come. We called ourselves a Jedi Council or Circle.
A little harvest:
“We are all holding some kind of pain, struggle or conflict. We often carry it away to the side to be with it on our own. It builds a sense of isolation, and we creep into it – it becomes bigger than we are.

We have here, together, a container that transcends and embraces our struggles and our hopes and joys, our present and our future. It is made up of the consciousness that we all partake of and participate in. What we individually bring is our unique personal perspectives. That struggle between what we aspire to and what we perceive as present and real is arising inside that vast field of consciousness. We are big enough to hold it ALL and still have room to seed the future with what emerges from the centre of our circle.”

One of us wrote: “I’m still digesting what happened. I would not hesitate to call it a peak experience.”

The Art of Hosting expanded

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

This is not an academic writing, just sharing notes and trying to get my arms around the field of: hosting – collective intelligence – evolution of consciousness – Spiral Dynamics Integral …

If we want to talk about Hosting Evolution of Consciousness it is needed that we try to integrate The Art of Hosting with the maps we have available for us: the 4 quadrants from Wilber and SDi.

Hosting the four quadrants

The Art of Hosting as we know it up to now is related to hosting meaningful conversations.

What I experienced and learned in Hazelwood is that hosting physical places (houses, gardens, environments) is at least as important.

Now we are more and more confronted with the challenge of hosting meaningful and ongoing communities.

And isn’t a great part of our ongoing work to host our sacred, inner space too?

As I see it, hosting this inner space is UL in Wilber’s terms.

Hosting the house, gardens and surroundings as the Hazelwood ladies do, is LR. Providing us with organic food, made and served with love is taking care for our UR.

Hosting communities should be the LL.

What about the conversations we host? One could argue to put it in LL, but I see conversations as a tool, a technology to go from UL to LL; from individuality to community.

But what I am struggling with (and maybe you too), is to see and to be conscious about the differences in the ‘I’ and the ‘We’ when people are in different vMemes.

Hosting Green, Yellow and Turquoise

I will not go into the details that are provided by Ken Wilber, Don Beck and Andrew Cohen and many others – as I don’t know them – but I try to make something clear about the relationship between the I and the We and about how we worked and will work together.

I and We in Green

The We in green is about sharing, about seeing the other and be seen by them; about hearing the other(s) and be heard by them.

From a psychological, individual viewpoint it is the adult who is able to empathize with others; to be able to see through each other’s eyes. We can see each other as equal.

That’s why cooperations are a good form of organizations for this Meme.

I and We in Yellow

In Yellow different people gather for different projects related to their core qualities, competences and skills to change the systems. The individual has some kind of meditation practice; knows how to be present, at least when he is on his own, on the meditation cushion or in the dojo.

I and We in Turquoise

Here the individual sense of separation dissolves. Not only in exceptional moments, but throughout working, eating, learning while being together with others. Individuals have a ‘felt sense’ that the other is myself and vice versa. The individual is centered in this We instead of in the individual, separate Self.

These enlightened individuals form little communities who will find their own collective core qualities, competences and skills (CircleBeings). It will be these little We’s that will connect, not just for projects, but for the building of the new society – changing the global systems.

Coherence in Green, Yellow and Turquiose

In a ‘normal’ community it is the shared purpose that makes the coherence. Mostly a lot of time and effort is spent to come to a purpose that is truly shared. It is mission-oriented. I think this is still the Orange value system.

Form the Communities of Practice we know that their coherence comes from the need to become better practitioners. These communities are discipline-oriented and are from their nature peer-to-peer: the Green meme.

My guess is that the coherence in Yellow comes from the shared project for the world. Every individual is based in her self, doesn’t need others to be happy, but seeks connections with others to accomplish this particular endeavor, to make a better world.

What about Turquoise, where communities become Communities of Co-creation? There is a purpose, it is peer-to-peer and we do something together for the good of the Whole and still, something is new. The shared purpose could be named here as the individual and collective felt sense of the CircleTask; the task that is unique for this connected group of individuals: the CircleTask as related to the CircleBeing. For me it is a translation of: “Not my, but thy Will.” shared by all members of this group.

Collective Intelligence in Green, Yellow and Turquoise

George wrote in his draft document on CI: “In order to ensure our survival and success as a species, we will need to integrate and apply what we have all learned about collective intelligence to improve our capacity to create sustainable social, political, and economic systems that work well for everyone involved, and to creatively meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

To me “integrate and apply” is not enough. It is good to do – and we still need a lot more of it in the world of today – but it seems to me too small as the collective intelligence needed for the future. I see it as making the best soup that is possible with all the ingredients that are available.

Evolution of humanity gives us a perspective that definitely calls for a “higher order complexity, integration and wisdom”. It asks for an upshift/upgrade in our capacity of collective intelligence. What could the “magic in the middle” be when we take all the knowledge and experience we have and “lean together into the not-knowing” looking and listening for what evolution wants us to do? Can we create together – as we go, with no plan or recipe – a total new meal that has never ever existed?