Working in Living Systems

We facilitate innovation and transformation processes that are driven by participants’ curiosity and motivation as well as their ingenuity, wisdom and resourcefulness. The methodologies we apply originate from understanding the complexity of living systems (also often referred to as complex adaptive systems) and social processes, and enable synchronous learning amongst participants.

Our approach relies strongly on facilitation and learning. The techniques that we apply aim at creating and sustaining strategic dialogue platforms geared towards development/ collaboration/ innovation/ transformation. We understand groups, communities and organizations (as well as the society at large) as learning and living – ie. complex adaptive – systems and place emphasis on linking knowledge and action to achieve transformation (3rd generation of Knowledge Management). Knowledge, contrary to information (which has the character of “objects/ things”), is the matter and result of human interaction i.e. a process between individuals. Our events therefore: ensure broad stakeholder involvement (whole system approach/ learning and co-creation of change); focus on what is possible rather than what is problematic (resource orientation and common vision building); and consist of simultaneous/ iterative planning and action (address complex and rapidly changing development challenges).

Transformative processes must be inclusive – and participatory on the level of co-creation, not just consultation – if they are to generate individual commitment towards a collective action plan. Sustainable strategies that do justice to the complexity of social systems can only emerge from interrelation between a maximum of different perspectives. The knowledge required to drive innovation/ transformation is inherent in each organization/ living system. Only ongoing collective and simultaneous learning, planning and implementation processes can leverage and co-create knowledge for transformation. We need to initiate and nourish platforms for knowledge sharing leading to collective and sustained action – we need to increase the frequency and quality of strategic dialogue processes to address rapidly changing circumstances and subsequent challenges effectively.

Lastly but importantly, our approach allows integrating Knowledge Management with a Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) and vice-versa. The HRBA approach implies the application of the core values of participation, accountability, non-discrimination, empowerment and linkage to rights, which are central to our way of working – no matter whether with partners, in a workshop, a group, a community, or with any kind of institution. In rights-based environments (and we support that eventually every society and group should rely on the respect of fundamental rights), such an approach allows to a) gain the necessary credibility by walking the talk in every moment and aspect of work, b) leading and imparting by example and c) taking empowerment to a higher level – beyond the often purely rhetoric and declaratory one.