Thought Leadership
for Systems Transformation
EXPERIMENTAL ONLINE PROGRAM
  • WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
    Systems transformation practitioners across all domains and levels of experience

  • KEY OBJECTIVE:
    Broaden awareness of available approaches, tools, and practices that can support systems transformation

  • STARTING DATE:
    April 14, 2021

  • REGISTRATION DEADLINE:
    March 19, 2021

  • REGISTRATION FEES:
    Pay What You Wish

  • CERTIFICATE:
    We do not offer certificates of completion for this program but participants will be publicly credited for contributing to group reflections.

  • DURATION: ​
    1 week per confirmed guest teacher (up to 24 guest teachers depending on the total amount of participants' contributions)

  • TIME COMMITMENT:
    8-10h/week (5-7 hours of self-study, 2 hours of peer learning, and a 1-hour group call with the teacher); attending only some of the sessions will be allowed.

  • SCHEDULE:

    • Peer learning sessions: Wednesdays from 9 am to 11 am Pacific Time.

    • Calls with guest teachers: Fridays from 9 am to 10 am Pacific Time unless schedule adjustment is requested by the teacher.

  • ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS:
    Open registration​

Note: Registrations for April 2021 are no longer accepted; you are welcome to sign up for our newsletter to learn about future opportunities (see the sign-up form at the bottom of the page).

OVERVIEW

 

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. For this experimental program, we invited 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.

Initially, we planned to offer this format as an optional addition to the Articulating Your Evolutionary Work (AYEW) program hosted by the Evolutionary Leadership Community but eventually decided that it would be equally valuable for change-makers with different levels of experience. As a result, anyone can register just for this part though we still expect that a significant number of participants will come from the AYEW program.

FORMAT

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 experiment, we want to maximize the value of the precious real-time conversation with thought leaders 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 will ask the participants to review related publicly available materials and dive deeper into the content that would add the most value in the context of their own work. Then we will facilitate a 2-hour virtual World Café gathering 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 beforehand.

 

The teacher will review the collective narrative from the World Café conversations to prepare for a 1-hour call with the group. That call will start with the teacher sharing their response to the collective narrative which will be followed by Q&A (questions and answers). So with each guest teacher, participants would be going through these 3 stages:

  1. Self-Study: Navigate publicly available content to identify and study the most valuable material in the context of your own work.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

SELECTING THOUGHT LEADERS

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 March 19, 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 see a list of highlighted materials that you can explore.

 

When you fill out the registration form, please select as many guest teachers as you can realistically engage with.

 

Please note that your preferences will contribute to the final line up but other participants will have an equal say in shaping this collective experience which means that it is possible that only some or even none of the teachers you select might be confirmed at the end. Therefore it is important that you don't rely on this program to make a specific connection: if what you want is to learn from a certain individual, we encourage you to check out their own offers instead or to use publicly available materials. By submitting your preferences in the registration form, you are trusting the "collective intelligence" to determine key choices that will enable the most productive peer learning experience for this group of people at this moment in time.

With this, we are very excited to present some of our most inspiring teachers and colleagues who agreed to participate in this learning experiment:

Regenerative Design
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Dr. Daniel Wahl

Daniel is a renowned thought leader, consultant, and the author of the internationally acclaimed book "Designing Regenerative Cultures". His Blog on Medium is followed by over 22,000 people and his social media advocacy has a combined global audience of over 450,000 people.

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Mansi Kakkar

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 equit​y.

Dr. Tamsin

Woolley-Barker

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. 

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Graham Leicester

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.

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Systems & Complexity
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Dave Snowden

 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. 

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Nora Bateson

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?”

Place-Based Systems Transformation

Cleofash Alinaitwe

Cleo is using permaculture to transform Agricultural practices in Africa through Agri Planet Uganda, an organization he co-founded with Prince Ahumuza Ignatius. Working with youth, children, women, and smallholder farmers, they are transforming practices in the community-at-large.

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Deborah Frieze

Deborah is an author, entrepreneur, and social activist. Her award-winning book (co-authored with Meg Wheatley), Walk Out Walk On, profiles pioneering leaders who walked out of organizations failing to contribute to the common good—and walked on to build resilient communities.

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Dr. Krzysztof
Dembek

Chris (Krzysztof) is a world-class scholar of reorganizing business models and patterns that contribute to effective intentional systemic change. Together with his colleagues, Chris is applying grounded theory to learn from cases of place-based systems transformation and share this knowledge with others.

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Phionah Musumba

Phionah Musumba is the Founder & Executive Director of Malkia Foundation, a Kenyan NGO that empowers underprivileged girls and women through activities ranging from menstrual hygiene and management to microfinance and leadership development.

Process Art

Ria Baeck

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.

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Chris Corrigan

Chris is a process artist, a teacher, and a facilitator of social technologies for face to face conversation in the service of emergence. His business is supporting invitation: the invitation to collaborate, to organize, to find one another, and make a difference in our communities, organizations, and lives.

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New Paradigm Organizations
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Travis Marsh

Travis works with purpose-driven founders and organizational leaders who believe in the power of the people on their team and are genuinely trying to make the world a better place. His consulting practice has informed the two books on new paradigm organizations that he co-authored. 

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Rani
Langer-Croager

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.

Michelle Holliday

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. 

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Antony Upward

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.  

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Evolutionary Visions
Creativity, Worldviews & Narratives
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Dr. Peter
Stonefield

Peter is President and Founder of Stonefield Learning Group, consultant, speaker, and psychologist. He taught graduate-level courses throughout the world on Cognitive and Creative Process, Leadership, Integrating the Personality and Organizational Process.

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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.

Kathy Jourdain

& 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.

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Bruce Honig

Bruce brings ways to boost and cultivate creativity through his books, games, coaching, and workshops.  He has an M.A. (Psychology of Creativity) and is the Founder and Owner of  IdeaGuides.  He has over 40 years of experience as a specialist in creative thinking and team collaboration.

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Social Capital & Global Weaving
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Bert-Ola

Bergstrand

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.

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Rehan Allahwala

Rehan has been running multiple experiments on social media inspiring thousands of unlikely connections and nourishing cross-cultural collaboration. His social courage, love for human beings, and tireless work produced valuable knowledge for connectors & community weavers

Evolutionary Visions

Dr. Robert Gilman

Surprising, practical, empowering. See yourself, the world, and our times with fresh eyes – beyond our culture’s blindspots – with the help of astrophysicist Robert Gilman’s 40 years as an ahead-of-the-times thought leader and cultural-change catalyst.

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Dr. John Ehrenfeld

John has had a long career in the environmental field for which he received a lifetime achievement award from the World Resources Institute. He is author or co-author of over 200 papers, books, reports, and other publications.

FINANCIAL MODEL

 

At the Institute for Evolutionary Leadership, 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.

For this experimental program, 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, 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 one of our core team members to prepare for, facilitate, and follow-up on each World Café. In the future, we plan to include this time in the budget, but with this pilot run of the program, we decided to use 100% of registration fees to pay our amazing guest teachers (this includes any applicable taxes and transaction fees). Here is how this works:

  1. When participants fill out the registration form, they are able to indicate which guest teachers they would like to engage with. Participants will also pay flexible registration fees before submitting the form.

  2. After we confirm the total amount of participants' contributions, we will rank all potential guest teachers based on how many participants expressed interest in learning from them.

  3. We will then invite as many guest teachers as the budget allows according to each teacher's financial request and starting with teachers that were selected by the greatest number of participants. 

  4. 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.

  5. If there is a leftover budget that is too small to hire any of the remaining teachers, we will add an equal share of this leftover money to each paycheck we send to our guest teachers for contributing to this iteration of the program.

If you have any questions about this model, you are welcome to contact us at info@evoleadnstitute.com

Note: Registrations for April 2021 are no longer accepted; you are welcome to sign up for our newsletter to learn about future opportunities (see the sign-up form at the bottom of the page).

 

FAQ

 

During our Q&A sessions and other interactions with prospective participants, we've received a number of questions. Here are some highlighted questions and our responses. If your question isn't covered, just email us at info@evoleadinstitute.com and we'll be happy to answer it.  

1) Who is managing the program? Who will be facilitating the World Cafe sessions, calls with guest teachers, etc.?

Fyodor Ovchinnikov, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of the Institute for Evolutionary Leadership, has designed this learning experiment. Fyodor is personally responsible for the experience and he will be facilitating most if not all of the World Café sessions. Fyodor has been designing learning experiences since 2009 including courses, programs, and/or workshops for Lomonosov Moscow State University, University of San Francisco School of Management, UN Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy, Volunteers in Asia, and United Nations Association of the USA among other organizations. He was trained in Wold Café facilitation in 2012 and he developed the Collective Narrative Methodology in 2013.  

Tatiana Vekovishcheva will be producing collective narratives. Tatiana is a network weaver, community builder, trainer, and facilitator in the field of social innovation. She was trained in the Collective Narrative Methodology and has been producing collective narratives since 2017. You can see examples of narratives she produced here and here. Tatiana is a founding member of the Evolutionary Leadership Community. In addition to producing collective narratives, she might also facilitate some of the World Café sessions.

Michael Sillion will be moderating calls with guest teachers (sometimes Fyodor might do that as well). Michael is Co-Founder of Future Navigators and the host of the Captain Future Show. You can find an example of Michael's show here where he talks with Otto Scharmer about the future. Michael is a member of the Evolutionary Leadership Community and of the 2019 cohort of the Evolutionary Leadership Fellows.

2) I'm not sure I can make the time commitment required to participate. What if all 24 sessions are confirmed? It's 24 weeks, up to 10 hours/week, and up to 240 hours total!

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. However, if you join us for a World Café session to discuss the work of a particular teacher, we will expect you to come prepared to talk about your reflections on that work. 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.

3) I'm only interested in certain teachers or in some topics from the list (i.e. "Systems & Complexity, Place-Based Systems Change, 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 a learning experiment 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.

4) 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. 

5) 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 info@evoleadinstitute.com 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.

6) What happens if there is not enough money for even one session?

In theory, when we designed this program, we knew it was possible. If that happened to be the case, we would have had to cancel the program and refund participants' contributions. Based on the current budget and the number of registrations, we can be confident that the program is happening. If we closed the registrations today (March 12), we would have five sessions confirmed.

 

Considering our confirmation process, this does not mean that we will be able to confirm five or more sessions: if some teachers who made larger financial requests move up the list based on the preferences of the newly registered participants, we might have fewer sessions even with a bigger budget. However, this does mean that we will have enough participants and financial resources to run the program.

 

Of course, each new registration creates value for the entire group by adding another perspective to group reflections and increasing the budget, so if you feel compelled to share this opportunity with your contacts, this would serve the whole group.

7) 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. Organizers, teachers, and participants all participate in the co-creation of value: organizers manage the program, facilitate World Café sessions and group calls with teachers, and process World Café harvest into collective narratives; teachers read collective narratives and engage with the group; participants generate knowledge by engaging with teachers' materials, contextualizing their learning in their own work, exchanging their insights and perspectives, and contributing to group-level reflection.

Group-level reflection from each World Café 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.

8) How many of your teachers are women? How do you approach diversity?

We currently have 10 women teachers (40%). We realize that we can do much better to intentionally provide a welcoming space for diverse teachers and we are currently in conversations with several teachers and advisors to make further steps in this direction for the next iteration of the program. At this moment, you can influence the diversity of the final lineup by registering for the program and selecting teachers you'd like to see confirmed. If you have any feedback or advice on this, we'd love to hear from you

9) I see that I can also register for another program when I fill out the registration form. What is that program about? Should I register for both?

Articulating Your Evolutionary Work (AYEW) is an 8-week program for those who are trying to find or redefine their role in systems transformation work. If that's you, you are welcome to register for that program. If you have the time, taking both programs would generate valuable synergies. If you have to choose, sense into your priorities: if you want to engage in playful exploration, take the Thought Leadership for Systems Transformation (TLST). If you'd rather be more outcome-oriented and prefer to be guided towards more clarity about your work in a structured learning environment, then the AYEW is a natural choice. Please note that while TLST is offered on the Pay What you Wish basis, AYEW costs $450 unless you are an Evolutionary Leadership Community member in good standing.

10) I cannot participate in April but I'd be interested in doing it in the future. Are you going to offer this program again?

We hope so. This will depend on a few factors including the feedback shared by teachers and participants. So far the comments we are receiving from both groups are very promising and we think that it's highly likely that we'll offer this program in the future. An important point to consider is that the risks of participating in the pilot version of the program are balanced by our commitment to cover all administrative hosts, facilitation, and collective narrative production: 100% of participants' contributions will be used to pay teachers and cover transaction costs such as processing fees. If we offer this program in the future, we plan to cover all related costs from the program budget so registering now is a great way to maximize the value that the group will get for the funds it has raised.