Note: The number of confirmed teachers/sessions will depend on the registration fees we collect before the registration deadline (see our financial model for more details)
Thought Leadership for Systems Transformation
An evolving space for co-learning with prominent thinkers and practitioners of our time
Bayo Akomolafe | Nora Bateson | Chong Kee Tan | Phoebe Tickell | Mich Levy | Arturo Escobar | Levy Odera | Mansi Kakkar | Cleofash Alinaitwe & Ignatius Ahumiza | Christiana Gardikioti | Rani Langer-Croager | Antony Upward | Michelle Holliday | Tamsin Woolley-Barker | Gil Friend | Jacqueline McGlade | Ben Roberts | Bert-Ola Bergstrand | David Hodgson | Alyona Yuzefovich | Kathy Jourdain & Jerry Nagel | Mary Alice Arthur | Dave Snowden | Graham Leicester | Chris Corrigan & Kelly Poirier | Ria Baeck
Note: The number of confirmed teachers/sessions will depend on the registration fees we will collect before the registration deadline (see our financial model for more details)
WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
Systems transformation practitioners across all domains and levels of experience.
Broaden awareness of available approaches, tools, and practices that can support systems transformation.
Pay What You Wish (it shouldn't be a stretch for you, but the more you pay, the more money we'll have in the budget to confirm more sessions with guest teachers).
January 25, 2022
February 16, 2022
4-54 weeks depending on the number of confirmed sessions (see our financial model for details).
Wednesday, February 16 from 9 am to 12 pm Pacific Time.
Peer learning sessions:
Every second Wednesday from 9 am to 11 am or 12 pm (depending on group size) Pacific Time.
Group calls with guest teachers:
Every second Friday from 9 am to 10 am Pacific Time unless schedule adjustment is requested by the teacher.
TBD depending on the number of guest teachers/sessions we will confirm.
Minimum time commitment:
5-7h of self-study + 6-7h of calls (if you only attend the opening session and engage with one guest teacher).
General time commitment:
3h opening session + 8-12h every 2 weeks (5-7h of self-study, 2-3h of peer learning, and a 1h group call with a guest teacher).
Participants will be required to attend the opening session (3h) on February 16 to be able to attend other sessions.
Participants will be able to choose which group calls with guest teachers (1h each) and related peer learning sessions (2-3h each) they want to attend.
Attending related peer learning sessions will be required to join group calls with guest teachers.
Registrations for Spring '22 are no longer accepted.
HIGHLIGHTED RECORDINGS OF PAST SESSIONS
Whether you are working on place-based systemic change, prototyping new paradigm organizations, taking action to reshape global narratives, or engaging in some other aspect of systems transformation, you are contributing to a conscious social evolution that encompasses many interconnected contexts that evolve over time.
In spring 2021 we ran an experimental program inviting thought leaders across some of these contexts so that participants could broaden their awareness of various approaches, tools, and practices they can use to advance and evolve their work. This experiment worked really well as it generated some valuable trans-contextual learning and sparked new generative relationships. An overwhelming majority of participants enthusiastically encouraged us to continue this experiment, so we are offering it again with some new design features shaped by participants' feedback and our reflections. We are excited to work on the second iteration of the program with our expanded Hosting Team that now includes a few past participants and we hope that you will join us in this journey!
SELECTING GUEST TEACHERS
We will pay our guest teachers for their time according to their requests. The number of guest teachers we are able to confirm will depend on the total amount of financial contributions made by the participants. When registration closes on January 25, 2022, we will confirm guest teachers starting with the most popular ones and going down the list for as long as we have funds to confirm more teachers.
To use the potential of this selection process to the fullest, we invite you to have a look at the available guest teachers before you register. You can see a brief description of each teacher's background below. If you click on the "Learn more" button, you will usually see a list of highlighted materials that you can explore. You will be able to let us know about your preferences when you register for the program.
This time we used a multilayer process to select potential guest teachers for our pool. Members of the Evolutionary Leadership Community selected teachers for 10 of the 26 slots by voting for 92 candidates that included all guest teachers from the first iteration of the program and candidates suggested by our past participants. Then each member of the Hosting Team had an opportunity to use 1 personal invitation to add a candidate of their choice. Finally, the rest of the slots were filled by the Evolutionary Futures Lab with the intention to balance the pool with complementary perspectives. All teachers listed on this page have agreed to engage with our participants if their session is confirmed.
The Poetry of Change
Nora is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and educator, as well as President of the International Bateson Institute. Her work asks the question “How we can improve our perception of the complexity we live within, so we may improve our interaction with the world?”
Bayo Akomolafe is globally recognized for his poetic, unconventional, counterintuitive, and indigenous take on global crisis, civic action, activism, and social change. He is an international speaker, poet, and activist for a radical paradigm shift in consciousness and current ways of living.
Solar Punk or Systemic Collapse?
Dr. Chong Kee Tan
Chong Kee's works and interests lie at the intersection of the environment, cultural transformation, and re-imagining social organization. How can an individual survive the worst-case scenario climate and social collapse and build a non-self-terminating culture that can thrive in a post-collapse world?
Phoebe is a biologist and systems thinker developing methodologies and approaches suited for a better world. She is driven by a fierce passion for Life and the possibility of a brighter future, and gets excited about creative and systemic solutions to problems.
Ontological Design & Political Transformation
Dr. Arturo Escobar
Arturo Escobar is an activist-researcher from Cali, Colombia, working on territorial struggles against extractivism, postdevelopmentalist and post-capitalist transitions, and ontological design. Over the past thirty years, he has worked closely with Afro-descendant, environmental and feminist organizations in Colombia.
Mich has been active in movements to overcome exclusion and violence—from domestic violence and violence against women to racism, colonialism, imperialism and war—since the first U.S. invasion of Iraq. We Tip the Balance is Mich’s way to continue learning with others how to build the world we want to live in together.
Community Empowerment & Regenerative Design
Dr. Levy Odera
As Founder & President of the Systems Acumen for Youth-Led Development Solutions, a Kenya-based non-profit, Levy Odera brings young people to the forefront of bottom-up social change by equipping them with systems thinking skills required to tackle complex problems in their communities.
Mansi is a regenerative designer and ecosystem catalyst who synthesized her deep inquiry around regenerative systems, emergence, and systems change into Regenerative Innovation (RI): an approach to designing in uncertainty with human, ecological and economic equity.
Place-Based Systems Change
Christiana Gardikioti has been creating “the Meraki people” to pilot systemic design in her village(s) in Southern Greece. She is dedicated to making Mount Parnonas the world’s first Natural Factory while preserving and enhancing its bio and cultural diversity.
Cleo & Ignatius are using permaculture to transform Agricultural practices in Africa through Agri Planet Uganda, an organization they co-founded. Working with youth, women, and smallholder farmers, they are transforming practices in the community-at-large.
Rani is Co-Founder & CEO of Uptima Entrepreneur Cooperative, a member-owned organization that provides holistic and culturally relevant education, advising, and community to support diverse entrepreneurs in creating thriving businesses in service to their communities.
Antony is the originator of several management innovations, including a business model design tool, the Flourishing Business Canvas. His Flourishing Enterprise Innovation Toolkit is currently being brought to market by a community of over 240 ‘first explorers’ around the world.
Biomimicry & Living Systems
Tamsin is an evolutionary biologist, population geneticist, bioanthropologist, and naturalist dedicated to understanding the nature of living things, particularly humans. She works to transform the way people fundamentally perceive the world and therefore design and behave.
Michelle is a consultant, facilitator, author, and researcher. Her work centers around “thrivability” — a set of perspectives and practices based on a view of organizations and communities as dynamic, self-organizing living systems.
Climate Action & Climate Resilience
Gil is a lifelong social entrepreneur, widely considered one of the founders of the sustainable business movement. Business strategist and systems ecologist with nearly 50 years experience in business & policy innovation; combines broad experience in strategy, economic development, management cybernetics, and public policy.
Prof. Jacqueline Myriam McGlade
Jacqueline Myriam McGlade is a British-born Canadian marine biologist and environmental informatics professor. Her research concerns the spatial and nonlinear dynamics of ecosystems, climate change, and scenario development.
Social Capital & Network Weaving
Bert-Ola is the initiator, founder and co-founder of a number of international platforms and networks that involve millions of people across the globe. These platforms are focusing on amplifying human potential to address global challenges.
Over the past ten years, Ben has been among the pioneers in adapting large group conversational processes such as World Cafe, Open Space Technology, and Appreciative Inquiry to the virtual realm, as well as integrating in-person and virtual formats within a single conversation, gathering or engagement.
Acceleration & Trans-Contextual Learning
& Anastasia Laukkanen
Alyona and Anastasia are currently developing the Living Lab agency that specializes in creating interactive spaces for sustainability both in business and academic contexts in Russia and beyond.
David is a network strategist, hyper-connector, visionary and social entrepreneur. David has spent the last decade working to fast-track the world-changing initiatives necessary to address the profound challenges of our time.
Worldview Intelligence & the Power of Story
Mary Alice Arthur
Mary Alice is a Story Activist. She sees her art as creating and hosting spaces for wise action, where people can step in, step up and step out powerfully together, clear about their common foundation, committed to their highest aspirations, and taking back the power of their stories.
& Dr. Jerry Nagel
Kathy and Jerry are recognized as thought leaders on worldview, having steeped themselves in understanding worldviews and translating theory into practical application and action. They are skilled consultants, collaborators to change outcomes, and the founders of Worldview Intelligence LLC.
Sensemaking & Transformative Innovation
Dave applies natural sciences to social systems through the development of a range of methods and the SenseMaker® software suite. He is particularly known in the social change community for the Cynefin Framework that has been widely used in systems transformation work.
Graham Leicester is Director of International Futures Forum, established in 2001 with a mission to enable people and organisations to flourish in powerful times. Its work focuses on ‘21st century competencies’ and the practice of transformative innovation, shifting systems towards new patterns of viability in tune with our aspirations for the future.
Collective Presencing & Complexity
Ria is a transformational change professional, a co-founder of the Percolab Belgium Coop, and the founder of Vitis. She combines deep compassion, bodily awareness, and a lust for life to foster deep transformation in individuals, organizations, and larger systems.
Kelly has accrued over a decade of experience bringing not-for-profit organizations, First Nations governments, and arts and culture organizations. Chris is a process artist, a teacher, and a facilitator of social technologies.
We live in a time of content abundance: it is possible to access valuable information in virtually any field through books, articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts, and other easily accessible sources. With the democratization of content production and distribution, inviting guest teachers to simply repeat the same message that can be found on the Internet feels like a waste of opportunity. In this learning space, we want to maximize the value of the precious real-time conversation with guest teachers by doing quality pre-work to get the dialogue grounded in the groups' specific context from the start.
This pre-work consists of self-study and peer learning. Before one of our guest teachers spends time with the group, we ask the participants to review related publicly available materials and dive deeper into the content they feel the most attracted to in the context of their own work.
Then we facilitate a 2-3h virtual World Café session to discuss individual reflections, enrich these reflections through generative dialogue, look for patterns, and articulate feedback and questions that the group wants to share with the teacher before meeting with them in real-time.
The teacher then reviews the collective narrative from the peer learning session to prepare for a 1h call with the group. That call starts with the teacher sharing their response to the collective narrative and ends with a Q&A (questions and answers) section. Unlike in our first iteration, this time we will schedule calls with guest teachers for every second week rather than every week. This will provide more time for self-study, peer learning, and optional participant-led activities.
So with each guest teacher, participants would be going through these 3 key stages:
Self-Study: Navigate publicly available content to identify and study the most valuable material in the context of your own work.
Peer Learning: Bring your reflections and questions to a 2-hour virtual World Café to enrich your learning through generative dialogue and shape the group's interaction with the teacher.
Meeting the Thought Leader: Attend a 1-hour Zoom call to hear a tailored message from the guest teacher and ask more questions along with your fellow participants.
Based on participants' feedback and suggestions, we are starting this iteration of the program with an opening session scheduled for Wednesday, February 16 from 9 am to 12 pm Pacific Time. This will be an opportunity to meet other participants, experience the World Café process together, set the intention for the coming weeks, and coordinate various forms of engagement and peer support that participants might want to put in place in addition to the official structure of the program.
Optional Participant-Led Activities:
This space is designed for systems transformation practitioners with a wide range of backgrounds, learning styles, and preferences, so while some participants might appreciate the flexibility of the program that allows them to only attend just one peer learning session out of the entire series, others might want to organize a coaching circle, a study group, or even a working group to apply their collective learning to a specific initiative or project. While these activities will not be curated by the Hosting Team, this time we will be offering an online space where such initiatives can be easily discussed, started, and announced so that others can join if they want.
At the end of the program, we will host an optional closing session to celebrate our collective learning journey, reflect on our experiences, and plan for the future.
At the Evolutionary Futures Lab, we keep experimenting with creative ways of using the institution of money in a way that allows for nourishment and agency as opposed to extraction and exploitation. It is important for us to make our programs affordable while paying our teachers well.
In order to align this learning space with our core design principles, we asked potential guest teachers to let us know how much they would like to be paid for reviewing a collective narrative and spending 1 hour online with the group. We asked teachers to make sure that they request compensation that they feel 100% comfortable about. We know that contexts are very different and so are the factors that each teacher needs to consider, so we completely trust the teachers to set their own fees considering the scope of the commitment, the design and purpose of the program, and their own personal and professional contexts.
For participants, registration is based on the Pay What You Wish pricing model. This means that you can pay whatever you feel is right. We want you to feel 100% comfortable with what you pay considering your expected level of engagement (whether you plan to only attend sessions with a couple of teachers or you want to interact with as many teachers as possible), the impact of your financial contribution on the number of confirmed teachers (the more everyone contributes, the more sessions we can confirm!), your financial situation, your excitement about the program, and any other factors that make a difference for you. Registration fees are non-refundable but completely flexible. For technical reasons, the registration form includes a number of pre-set options but you can always contact us if you prefer to name a different amount.
In addition to the work done by our guest teachers, we will also be facilitating and documenting World Café gatherings. Given the time it takes to produce a high-quality collective narrative, it will require a full day of work by our Hosting Team members to prepare for, facilitate, and follow-up on each World Café. It also takes a considerable amount of time and effort to coordinate and market the program. In line with our core design principles, we asked our Hosting Team members how much they would like to be paid to make it 100% comfortable for them. Based on these conversations, administrative, marketing, facilitation, moderation, and narrative production along with transaction costs will be factored in our calculations when confirming sessions in February 2022.
When participants fill out the registration form, they are able to indicate (on a scale from 1 to 10) how eager they are to engage with each guest teacher. Participants will also pay flexible registration fees before submitting the form.
After we confirm the total amount of participants' contributions, we will rank all potential guest teachers based on participants' preferences.
We will then start from the top of the guest teacher list and invite as many guest teachers as the budget allows considering each teacher's financial request and our hosting costs.
As we go down the list, if the remaining budget is not enough to invite the next teacher, we will skip that candidate and move to the next guest teacher we can confirm given the remaining budget.
If there is a leftover budget that is too small to hire any of the remaining teachers, we will save the balance for the next iteration of the program.
If you have any questions about this model, you are welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some of the questions we were asked about the first iteration of the program. We kept answers that are still relevant, and we are going to update this section to include new questions we hear from prospective participants. If your question isn't covered, just email us at email@example.com and we'll be happy to answer it.
1) I'm not sure I can make the time commitment required to participate. What if all 26 sessions are confirmed? It's 48 weeks of learning plus opening and closing sessions which adds up to 110 hours of just Zoom calls!
This is not a certificate program so we don't have a strict attendance policy. This is a learning space for you and you should be able to navigate it in a way that serves your inquiry. You won't have to attend sessions you are not interested in or cannot make due to other commitments (Update: for the second iteration of the program we do expect all participants to attend the opening session on February 16 but all other sessions are optional; also, to join a particular group call with a guest teacher, you would need to attend the related peer learning session).
All collective narratives from all confirmed sessions will be shared with the public. All calls with teachers will be recorded. These recordings will be shared with registered participants and some of them might be shared with the public. That said, we will encourage all registered participants to attend as many confirmed sessions as they can in order to get the most out of the unique peer learning experience that cannot be substituted by watching recordings or reading collective narratives.
2) I'm only interested in certain teachers or in some topics from the list (i.e. "The Poetry of Change", Cultural & Political Transformation, etc.). What if confirmed sessions happen to be with teachers I'm not as interested to engage with?
This might happen. If that is a significant problem for you, we encourage you to find a different way to learn from the teachers you are interested in. If you look at the teacher's page, you'll find links to their own website and you can explore their offers there. This program is an experimental, evolving learning space and it implies some uncertainty. Participants are expected to meet this uncertainly with curiosity and an intention to use it as a learning opportunity. We've seen a lot of great things happening when people cross the boundaries of their own area of concern. All potential guest teachers have a lot to offer to anyone who is engaged or at least interested in systems transformation work and we invite you to embrace the collective choices whether they allow you to go deeper into a familiar subject or explore a new area or approach.
3) What is the minimum number of people for a successful session? What is the maximum number of participants that you can host?
Our learning format is very flexible in that sense. If we have 9-30 participants in a particular session we'll run 3 rounds of World Café conversations. For larger groups (the technology and the process allow to host up to 200 participants), we would add another round to do synthesis before we hear final reports. For smaller groups, we will have a modified version of the process to facilitate peer learning while generating an optimal amount of information for the collective narrative. The larger the group is, the more participants can benefit from multiple perspectives. The smaller the group is, the more opportunities are there for bringing the teacher's attention to specific questions and comments of each participant.
4) You say that participants can pay what they wish but I tried to register and I cannot choose less than $10 in the registration form. Does this mean that I have to pay at least $10 to participate?
No. The $10 limit is there to justify the transaction cost when you pay with your credit card. If you wish to contribute less than $10, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll discuss alternative ways to make a payment. Of course, the more everyone contributes, the more sessions we'll be able to confirm, so your contribution does make a difference. That said, we want you to feel 100% comfortable with your contribution, it shouldn't be a stretch of any kind. Once you've made your contribution, it cannot be refunded unless we cancel the program. As long as we host at least one session, contributions are non-refundable as we will rely on the budget to pay our teachers.
5) What happens if there is not enough money for even one session?
We would cancel the program and refund you the money. However, given that last time, we had 11 sessions and most participants wanted to do the program again, it is very unlikely that we'll have to cancel the program. That said, one thing to consider is that we now include hosting expenses in the budget along with guest teacher fees which would make each session more expensive than before (which allows us to cover costs and pay our Hosting Team members) but we also expect more participants to sign up for the program given that we have some great things to show from our first iteration. We aim at confirming 4-6 guest teacher sessions but that's up to you and other participants: the more you contribute, the more sessions we'll have!
6) This program includes a participatory process which implies that participants will be co-creating content. How will this content be used? Who will benefit from it? Will the participants be credited?
This program consists of self-study, peer learning, and group calls with teachers. Our Hosting Team members, teachers, and participants all participate in the co-creation of value: co-hosts manage the program, facilitate World Café sessions, moderate group calls with teachers, and produce collective narratives; teachers read collective narratives and engage with the group; participants generate knowledge by engaging with teachers' materials and contributing to group-level reflection.
Group-level reflection from each peer learning session will be presented as a collective narrative. All participants who show up for the session will be credited in the preamble of the collective narrative unless they wish to remain anonymous. All narratives will be available to the public and anyone would be welcome to use them (explicit attribution to the group will be expected). We expect these narratives to be useful for the participants, the teachers, the organizers, and the public.