Unleashing organisational resilience

20 Participants, 5 Facilitators, 8 days of workshop

May 30, 2023
3 min read
people working together in a workshop

This article was first published in our Cocooners N° 13

If you want to know more, or engage your organization with this approach, please get in touch, here: https://cocoon-pro.com/get-in-touch/

How can a European consortium effectively organize the work of multiple actors around the long-term challenge of empowering an interdisciplinary knowledge infrastructure, across cultures, the world over?

Here is the story of thirteen academic institutions which realized that building a research infrastructure is not only about plans and deliverables, but also shared sense-making and direction, and how we worked together to kick-start their journey into adaptive organising.

A first step

When the consortium was born, the perceived challenge was how to foster agility at work, leveraging the richness of the multicultural environment while at the same time navigating as a unique body towards the same direction. In 2022 the leadership team reached out to us and we agreed to start by engaging a selected group through dedicated editions of the “Making the most out of Agile” and “Adaptive Org Design” X-Courses: a few days experiential training to explore and co-learn around what being agile really means, how to organize for complexity and variability, and how to design for adaptiveness.

Deep Dive

The X-Courses proved to be key to create a shared language and generate momentum towards the application of the new learnings to the Consortium itself. The next natural step was therefore to organize an “Iteration 0”, a two-day remote workshop we held in January 2023, in which 19 participants from eight countries met for an online deep dive on the current moment in their trajectory together. They could explore and align on their identity as a team, the elements that activate their value generation and resonance in the broader ecosystem, as well as their aspirations for the shared future.

Evolutionary Tension

Making sense of the interrelationships between all these elements constituted the vital root for then moving toward a healthy evolution. Following this first iteration, two things emerged strongly: the eagerness of the people involved to contribute in having an impact, and the need to find a clear direction and improve their delivery accordingly, within the constraints and rules of their context. The time was ripe for the co-creation of a shared organisational compass.

Playing Seriously

The second iteration happened a few weeks later, in Leuven, in two intense experiential days where both the social aspects of the system and the technical ones were discussed and merged. Armed with tons of Lego bricks, Rory Storycubes and Dixit cards, three facilitators supported the group in leveraging their intuitive, emotional and rational intelligences, while deciding upon the key values and guiding principles that should inform their organisational choices.

Systemic coherence

The main output of this step was distilled using two complementary frameworks: the organisation design Compass and the Human Evolution System canvas, to identify both the guidance system and the socio-technical aspects that needed to be changed to practically move towards the desired future. More deeply, the key outcome resulted in deep alignment and systemic coherence. In the end, they left having built the key stepping stone for a far-reaching journey of strategic and organizational evolution.

Final Thoughts

In pursuing ambitious aims, it’s common to put a lot of energy on the what at the expense of the how. Then the context shifts and the capacity for adaptiveness gets lost along the way. This customer chose a different way.

Here participants dared to ask bold questions around how to work as a team and came out with a shared compass to keep actualizing their vision without losing their way. Together with the awareness of what an enabling force human connection can be, if deliberately nurtured.

This article was first published in our Cocooners N° 13

If you want to know more, or engage your organization with this approach, please get in touch, here: https://cocoon-pro.com/get-in-touch/

This is the account of our staff at Cocoon Pro. Wish to know who are the people in Cocoon curating our content production?Have a look at the people page on our website here. For any question or feedback we would be happy to hear from you! Reach out here: hello@cocoon-pro.com