Who we are:
We are a group of experienced facilitators and coaches who have operated in the fields of VUCA and complexity for many years. Many of us have been working virtually for the last 5 or so years, and have extensive experience of running online interactive meetings. We are familiar with the online tools that work for this, with processes and etiquette which encourage complete engagement and good communication. From our experience not many people can facilitate genuine conversations that matter, putting participants at the centre, interactively, and do so online.
While there are many tools out there for “communicating” virtually, most are one-way (e.g. webinars). Even if they allow responses, those responses rarely influence the minds of the presenters, in a way that genuine conversation can. What we specialise in are not simply running effective communications (we can do that too) but in enabling rich peer to peer interactivity in the exchanges, and we do that online “face to face” with a combination of video technology and other online collaborative tools.
Open 2 Flow was founded by François Knuchel in 2001 with a view of opening the flow of communication and of interactions in organisations while elimiting waste and toxicity. François has 40+ years as a facilitator and trainer with specialities in lean business design, intercultural management and new leadership paradigms. He enjoys working in a hands-on, pragmatic and intuitive way with people on the ground doing the work. He is one of Europe’s leading experts on sociocracy, a participatory governance approach that is being increasingly adopted in advanced organisations. His favourite complexity participatory social technology, however, is Open Space. François learned his trade working in Japan for the auto industry, gaining experience of self-managing teams and quality circles.
Our Philosophy of Dialogue
There is a huge difference between debate and dialogue, between discussion and conversation and between argument and persective. Debate, discussion, criticism and argument are part of an old paradigm, which is anchored in individualism and competition, where winning the argument and beating adversaries are valued, where it is thought listening to all the pros and cons then focussing on the best (normally the loudest!) argument works best – the problem with this being that it is based on Either-Or thinking, which easily excludes other perspectives, is divisive and thus makes it very difficult to work with in complexity. Our government (opposition), our legal system (adversarial) and most of corporate life is based on good arguments and debating, with a focus on the best argument, competitively (and often not without backstabbing), winning the day. Unfortunately our education system is still largely predicated on this type of thinking, so it appears to be the natural thing to do as adults.
We believe the 21st century will require a different kind of interaction between people, based on Dialogue or Conversation. Our VUCA world and especially complex systems, require that we become able to absorb different, sometimes opposing or contrary perspectives and integrate them into a more holistic view, one that incorporates these various perspectives and reconciles or transcends them into a new entity. This is the paradigm of ‘fuzzy’ Both-And Collaboration. For this to be possible requires that the diversity of perspectives be present in the dialogue, and be fully heard at face value, without prejudice in a contextualised and embodied fashion, and then for all the different perspectives to be coordinated and integrated into an emergent whole. Inclusivity is hence key, as well as rich interactivity, and this is the domain of dialogue and conversation, the new paradigm. Our approach, whether online or offline, is to teach, encourage and enable this kind of collaborative dialogue to happen and thrive.
Our work focusses, among other things, on VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity): we bring our experience of working with complexity into our online working style. One core principle is working with Both-And thinking and the contextualised integration of multiple perspectives holistically in reconciliatory decision-making and collaborative problem-solving. We were teaching this even before going online. In our online processes we not only use video conferencing tools more effectively in order to engage people, but also introduce people to better collaboration and VUCA skills in the process at the same time.
The Online Tools we use
Technically, depending on the requirement, we use a combination of collaboration tools like:
- Zoom Conferencing
- Google Docs suite
- Google Drive
- and many more
Our expertise lies in how we combine those tools, using self-organising principles, to enable genuine participant-led conversations. Our experience is with running liberating meetings and conferences that do not suck, but are highly engaging, and we now do that now online.
The methodologies we draw from are predominantly from:
- Open Space Technology
- Agile Principles
- Beyond Budgeting / Vanguard
- Lean-flow Systems thinking
- Imago Connectivity
- Reinvention skills
- U-Theory / Bohm Dialogue
Cost during Corona Crisis:
Due to the financial hardship people and organisations may be facing as a result of Corona we are running this service on a pay-what-you-think-is-right basis. This means, fundamentally, the service is offered at no cost, but as we also have bills to pay (including for the platforms we use) we appreciate all contributions, in accordance what is right for you and for the value you feel you get.
While we are based in the UK, the service being online we can run it internationally. We are connected to many networks and facilitators around the world who can facilitate and teach online interactive meetings and conversations, so where appropriate we also refer clients to one of our associates, possibly closer to where you are. Please therefore give a description of what specifically your needs are in the form so we can make a judgement whether to pursue this ourselves or refer onwards.