Video from the Art of Hosting Social Transformation in Egypt

Check out this video from the Art of Hosting Social Transformation workshop that took place in Egypt in June 2011.

In January 2012 (11th-15th) we are co-hosting the second edition of the Art of Hosting Social Transformation in Egypt. Stay tuned, the invitation will be out soon.

Lego Serious Play at FoAM

Originally posted by Dave Griffiths on Thu 3rd Nov 2011 at FoAM’s Blog

Last weekend it was the annual FoAM gathering to discuss long term ideas, some self reflection and consideration of external perceptions. We were guided on this mission by Simone Poutnik and Hendrik Tiesinga, members of FoAM and founders of Natural Innovation. They decided to trial a new method on us all, Lego Serious Play. Now, I’m a bit battle hardened when it comes to alternative business management strategies as I’ve been exposed to quite a few in various places over the years, but despite Lego’s high scoring buzzword bingo website, I can independently verify this approach as very much a success.

lego bricks

You start by building personal models that represent different aspects of the organisation in various states, and then work as a group to bring them together in different ways. This is done in a structured way, leading to certain questions at different stages of the process.

The core idea was to “think with your hands” and indeed the normal problem you get in these situations, a tricky question leading to an utterly blank mind, was removed as soon as you started searching for plastic bricks. Things seemed to build themselves somehow, while the indirect method of having to explain your odd constructions (usually in quite an abstract way) said a lot more than I would have managed in a more traditional situation.

The Finance Innovation Lab – Escape to the Country

Originally posted by Brett Scott on his blog SuitPossum

A few weeks ago a group of wayward individuals met at Waterloo station. We hitched a ride on a train going north into the English wilderness. Bertrand was forward-thinking enough to have brought beers for the journey, a skill he learnt in his 10 years working for Deutsche Bank as a structured equity derivatives trader. Next to him was Ingo. Ingo does things that make my mind hurt, which involves channelling and managing innovation and systems design, in Sweden. Behind me was Neil. He works for the Young Foundation, helping to design things called Social Impact Bonds, ways of allowing private investors to get involved in financing early interventions that might reduce social malladies. He was chatting to David, who specialises in design, and in particular, new means of mapping and visualising the financial sector. Bertrand started talking about social CDOs, and that’s when people on the train started to look at us funny. A girl sitting next to me asked me who we were. Um, how do you explain that? We kind of work in finance, but at the same time are trying to disrupt it, alter it, play with it. I gave her my card. “Come to the dark side”, I said, “there are cool things going on”. Enter the Finance Innovation Lab….

Continue reading this great report on Brett Scott’s Blog SuitPossum

The Art of Collaborative Leadership: Cultivating our Capacity for Hosting Systemic Transformation

originally posted by Vanessa Reid on the Finance Lab website

Over the weekend of June 9-12, 2011 a group of twenty-six social innovators and change agents from the UK, Europe, Middle East, Canada – and from the Finance Innovation Lab itself – came together to explore the Art of Collaborative Leadership. We stayed at West Lexham, itself an ambitious, innovative model for rural social enterprise, a hub for community renewal and the homeplace of the founder and his family. And together we asked, What is the leadership needed to envision and host the fundamental systemic changes we seek for a sustainable future? Continue reading The Art of Collaborative Leadership: Cultivating our Capacity for Hosting Systemic Transformation

The Art of Hosting Social Transformation in Egypt

When? June 23, 2011 to June 26, 2011
Where? Anafora village- Egypt

Since the beginning of this year we have witnessed the powerful impact of people standing up for a new way of living. With uprisings come the breaking open of old structures, but how do we actually transition to the new? How do we access our collective intelligence to help us live and work in ways that sustain both people and planet? The edge here is that learning itself is an essential individual and collective practice for our times.

As young Egyptians and as Art of Hosting practitioners, we have been inspired by Egypt’s non-violent revolution to help build a new Egypt. Through civil disobedience, the authoritarian rule of the former regime has been dismantled. We believe that in order to build in its place a new society that is just, thriving and diverse, we must nurture creative, agile and authentic forms of civic engagement.

With the Art of Hosting Social Transformation workshop we wish to create a safe space for collective learning for those, who have been similarly inspired and who are keen on shaping civic engagement in Egypt.

This workshop is mainly for egyptian young leaders and there a few places for people who want to come as fellow learners and be in inquiry together. You can download the invitation here.

Another way to participate is to offer sponsorship by making a donation – please read our Sponsorship Invitation and participate with your generosity.

This is not intended to be a stand-alone event, but the start of continuous learning and sharing between people and initiatives that are contributing to creating the fertile soil for democracy in Egypt, other Arab and African countries and around the world. Your contribution can play an important part in making this happen.

If you wish to participate and/or make a financial contribution please feel free to get in touch with us by email – simone (at)

Become a facilitator in the The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method

Brussels, 13-16 June


LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is an amazing and very powerful way for co-creation, proto-typing and unlocking the full potential of any organisation. It helps diverse groups of people engage in creative way with and develop innovative solutions to complex issues.

In collaboration with Per Kristiansen, one of the original developers of LEGO SERIOUS PLAY, we are offering a facilitator training in Brussels in two open programs, both lasting two days: Stage 1 and Stage 2.

What is the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method?

In short, it is a method is based in robust set of theories, predominantly from these domains: Strategy, organisational behaviour, systems thinking and importantly learning and development. It is deeply anchored in the beliefs that:

• The solution is in the system

• Everyone goes to work to do well and CAN do well

• We live in a dynamic and unpredictable world

Finally, it is a facilitated process which is truly participant-centred, experiential, embodied, and in our experience works across all cultures.

Who is this for?

The facilitator training is aimed at people with experience in design, creativity, facilitation and/or coaching. It could be, in-house learning and development specialists, HR staff, team leaders, innovation experts as well as for professional facilitators and consultants who want to use it in their own practice.

Continue reading Become a facilitator in the The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method

The Art of Collaborative Leadership ~ cultivating our capacity for hosting systemic transformation

Norfolk, United Kingdom, 9th June 6pm  - 12th June 4pm 2011.

For those hosting emerging movements, networks, or systems change and asking how to deepen them or scale up. For those holding projects and visions beyond our own local reality who want to connect up the dots and see the bigger whole. For those of us interested in taking our lives and work to the next level and seeking to seed or scale up our initiatives.  For people who are already practicing art of hosting and want to go to their next level.

Change is on! It’s time to come together!

This participatory learning and practice space offers a training in hosting and harvesting conversations that matter; noticing and shifting individual, team and systemic ‘patterns’;  learning principles and practices for taking social innovation to scale; experiencing working with complexity and emergence – and connecting with others leading change, innovation and systemic transformation in Europe and worldwide.

Transformation is essential, how do we live it wisely and fully?

Hosting Team:  The Hara Practice Collaborative is a group of international practitioners who are themselves experimenting with working as a “field” in two systemic transformation projects in the UK:  The Finance Innovation Lab and Tasting the Future.  This event is a collaboration between all three

Click here for the full invitation and  here for the registration form

To register, please send the registration form to

(R)evolution 2.0

Like many people Hendrik and I were following the Egyptian revolution through the media and were very touched by the stories and pictures. Hendrik got inspired to write an article about the EU and the mediterranean democratic awakening. The uprisings in the Arab world stimulated a wave of thoughts and conversations about what this could mean to the world and especially to relations between the ‘Middle East’ and the ‘West’.
A friend from Iran said to me: “There are wounds in this region. Some of them are rooted in the way people and the land are seen. Unfortunately many people who step from the West into this part of the world embody an attitude of ‘knowing’, ‘expert’, ‘professional’, ‘fixer’, ‘solver’… How would it be to make it more visible for everyone, from the Arab world and also the West that it’s possible to simply witness and be witnessed by the other,  and respect the borders of identity? That by itself would be a huge source of healing for all of us.”

This is the story of our learning journey that wasn’t planned. It just happened. It is also a story about witnessing as a way of showing up differently in the world, not as the one who knows, but as the one who listens deeply, reflects and respects. My dear friend Helen wrote in a blog post ‘In essence, witnessing is the simple act of resting one’s naked attention on an object – be it a person, a scene, a thing of any kind. Without judgement, but with a simple intention to bear witness.’

Here to download the full story (R)evolution_2.0

U-Process & Sustainable Innovation Training

The Netherlands, 31 March – 1 April 2011.

Sustainable Innovation in Complex Systems.

As a follow-up to our highly successful training last year, Natural Innovation will offer a second U-process training together with Create2Connect in The Netherlands.  The course will be offered in Dutch.

For more information please see the full invitation (pdf).

If you are interested in joining an English language U-process training  let us know and drop us an email ([email protected]).

Collaborative Entrepreneurship Workshop in Dublin

A Weekend Workshop for Change Makers

Saturday & Sunday 22nd – 23rd January 2011 | 09.30 – 17.00 | €175 / Early Bird €150 ends 14th Jan | Book Online Here | The Greenhouse, 17 St Andrew St, Dublin 2 | Map | PDF Invite

In these challenging times how can we use collaborative forms of leadership, innovation, fundraising and community building to strengthen our entrepreneurial and change projects?

This workshop introduces:

  • The U-process, offering a set of principles and practices for collectively creating the future that wants to emerge; a breakthrough methodology for collaborative innovation and accessing deeper wisdom
  • How to best use social networking to create business possibilities and to stimulate inspired actions
  • Crowd Funding: Rethinking the way we finance our projects and initiatives, beyond bank loans, through collaborative efforts that make full use of the internet and new social media tools
  • Community Enterprise models that are more than just individuals pursuing their own interests
  • Green Entrepreneurship with a focus on upskilling the workforce for the growing opportunities within Ireland’s Green Economy

This workshop is highly interactive and features short presentations from leading practitioners. Our learning will grow out of everyone’s contributions and presence. We will
support each other as co-learners. We will learn by observation, through stories from experienced practitioners, through reflecting on our own experience and practice, using interactive processes to build a safe and inspiring learning environment. We invite you to a collective inquiry.