Dynamic Collaboration Foundation Metathinking Program

Discover how you can start thinking about what you are not yet thinking about and increase the quality of team dialogue

The Dynamic Collaboration approach focuses on several fundamental dimensions in a collaboration that remain ‘hidden’ in classical approaches to cooperation. These classical approaches build on efficiency and effectiveness ideas developed at the beginning of the first industrial revolution. Managers focused on predictability, control, and standardization. The modern variant is ‘engineered determinism’ that characterizes many of the models we currently work with. The algorithms used for data analysis and all kinds of digital applications are also an exponent of this. However, people do not function according to the models we have developed. The models are, at best, ‘retrospective’ explanations for observations.

Otto Laske has made it his life’s work to point out how people give meaning to their reality. He was one of the first to point out the required fluidity in strategy formulation, development of agility, design of organizations, continuous improvement, creation of individual well-being, conflict resolution, and decision-making. Every perspective we take is colored by the diversity of thought structures we use. If we use more thought structures, we build a richer picture of reality and create better decision-making options.

In the Foundation Meta thinking Program, based on Otto Laske’s Dialectical Thinking Framework, we go deeper into developing the quality of dialogue from recognizing and broadening the existing thought structures, both at the individual, team, and organizational level. The Foundation program is intended for anyone who wants to expand his/her thinking and, as a critical facilitator, intends to increase the reflection process quality in teams. It results in a constructive and critical view on many organizational issues and helps you assess the future differently, namely in a way that gives you a competitive edge.

The Foundation Metathinking Program runs over six half days of four hours, spread over three months. In between each session, a home assignment is given to deepening further what you have learned.

Session 1, March 5 – The more profound, meta-thinking framework

In this session, the basics of the deeper, meta-frame of thought are given. This thought framework is a practical instrument to start thinking about what you are not yet thinking about, which is absent in your thinking. The framework distinguishes four classes of thought structures, namely how you can think about context, ongoing changes, relations, and transformation. Using practical exercises, you learn to get acquainted with these thought structures, the mind-opening questions connected to them, how they in their turn enrich your logical interpretation of facts, and which thinking errors you avoid with them.

Session 2, March 19 – Estimating how something is part of a broader context and how the more comprehensive context determines the perspective on the component.

Thinking about context is characterized by looking for these elements that are important in building a perspective on a subject. Context thinking is, in the first instance, an investigation of the structure and coherence of the elements in a larger whole, how the perspective on the larger whole influences the interpretation of the parts and vice versa how the pieces are coherent and determine the larger whole. Many frameworks, such as a business model canvas, lean and agile methodologies, customer care approaches start from subproblems and often overlook the broader context and preconditions in which provided methods have been successfully applied in other contexts. Still, these could be missing in the new context. As a result, many best practice frameworks lose their power and are used too instrumentally. In other words, the method is implemented separately from the context, with many unintended side effects.

In this session, you will discover how to start interpreting each concept contextually, which will help you to understand better what is relevant to build new coherent and stable systems.

Session 3, April 2 – Estimating how something is changing and how these colors and can redefine your perspective on the past, present, and future.

Everything flows and is subject to change. This basic idea is very much present in Eastern thinking, while in Western thinking, the idea of change and transformation is narrowed down to linear, step-by-step plans. As a result, many silent transformations are overlooked and lead to the failing execution of plans.

In this session, you will become acquainted with the thought structures that shape your perspective on the past, present, and future. We will reflect on how you can conceptualize ongoing changes, how you can deepen the development-oriented dimensions in change processes, and how you can integrate different developmental dynamics.  In doing so, you transcend the shortcomings of scenario thinking and build a richer perspective on emerging change.

Session 4, April 23 – Assessing the networked nature of reality and how this colors your vision of important relationships and connections.

Relational thinking relates to how you conceive the coherence within a totality. They focus your attention on what you cannot see separate from each other, recognizing interdependencies, deepening the structure of relationships, and bringing possible implicit connections to the surface. The result is that you get a better picture of the common in a diversity of the ins and outs.

In this session, we start from practical challenges and exercises that stimulate you to develop relational thinking in yourself and others. It strengthens your systemic perspective on things and helps you take a meta-perspective when dealing with conflicts and challenges.

Session 5, May 7 – Estimating the transformational potential and how this affects the quality of the options and possibilities generated.

Transformational thinking helps you see the elements that create tension and imbalance in a systemic setup, what potential is associated with it, and how you can integrate them to make a transition to a new system. These thought-forms are absent from most change management approaches and will help you shape your change management interventions more effectively.

We practice the transformational forms of thought by critically reviewing some of the ‘transformational’ texts and dialogues together and recognize the difference between dealing with change and dealing with transformation.

Session 6, May 21 – Synthesis session: How to thinking better together, and how this leads to a better balance between autonomy and cohesion, between exploitation and exploration, and between diversity and stability.

In the synthesis session, we will discuss how common interpretations develop and pay attention to dealing with differences in perspectives. We will focus on developing fluidity in team thinking, emphasizing how context, process, relational and transformational forms of thought can deepen the potential of agile and lean initiatives.

The main challenge is to find new balances in the paradoxes we are confronted with. We focus on three critical balances: those between autonomy and cohesion, those between exploitation and exploration, and those between diversity and stability. We mainly explore how we can broaden the gap, for example, how autonomy can lead to more cohesion, and vice versa. The result is a different perspective on organizational functioning that allows us to handle complexity without lapsing into inserts that oversimplify reality.

The Foundation program takes place on Fridays, is organized virtually from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. CET (Brussels time).

The participation fee for the six sessions is 750 Euro (incl. VAT). You register by transferring this amount via Paypal.

After registration, you will receive the participation link. The sessions will be recorded. If you miss one session, you will receive the recording the next day.

The sessions will be facilitated by Jan De Visch.

The sessions will be recorded. If you miss one session, you will receive the recording the next day.

You can register by using the PayPal button below.