I joined the lab of Kommunikationslotsen, based in Cologne area, yesterday. It was supposed to be a special meeting with most of the members of Kommunikationslotsen and the special guests Gisela and David from San Francisco, USA. The announcement was like this:
„Gisela Wendling, Ph.D., and David Sibbet are inviting you to join a collaborative dialogue and visual, embodied exploration of questions they are encountering at the edge of their fields of process consulting and visual facilitation. They would like to catalyze a series of jazz-like “sets” during which participants will talk, draw, move, and listen from our deepest capacity, holding the possibility that surprising insights and new relationships will emerge.“
All in all it was a meeting of the masters of visual communications. It was not about the methodology itself. The topic was connectivity and how to bring this forward. It was not a workshop, but a lab, where everybody did new steps and tried to go to the edges. „What is possible, how can we bridge and hold the energy that is needed to support communities and groups that are out of harmony, in conflict and who do not like to talk to each other?“ Was a big question. We need to hold them and stimulate the workshops in our jobs as facilitators, so that the goal becomes so important to reach it, even if everybody has to give up his/her position. Our group was a mix of professional facilitators, internal consultants and even a christian priest.
Gisela Wendling talked about her experience of community topics in San Francisco where she „facilitates the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply, a statewide and multi-year long and multi-sector stakeholder initiative focused on applying whole systems approaches to developing sustainable water management solutions for California“. She said the most she had learned this circle work, as she called it, with the indigenous people in Australia and South Africa, where circle work is an old tradition. She brought a big picture with her, showing a painting she has done in Australia years ago, the circle from above, seeing the men and women sitting together. A very interesting part in the 1,5 day session was that
David Sibbet facilitated the history of the Kommunikationslotsen as a group event and not only did I learn a lot about the upcoming of this company in 1995 and who came in at which time and why. But also I was part of the experience as I observed the „what is happening here?„, whereas others observed „What are the feelings right now?“ to the difficult job to „remember all the symbolic languages used (metahers etc.)„. The fourth observation in the fish-bowl was about body movement and behavior. David facilitated by questioning the different members in the process and at the same time visualized the topics at the wall-paper. The chaotic picture though is a composition of all the members – not the story of the boss. It is a document to be used to work on. So when you know about your past, what is about the future? This was the start into a process of change and development. Observing this process was fantastic, so we got a deep insight into the how to do it and also why.
David has developed this methodology in the US and is doing it for the last 40 years. It was a meeting of experts, coming together to learn from each other. Gisela Wending (she is German :-)) facilitated about the sense, the purpose and the connectivity of the group, which was excellent in combination. The basic understanding of all of us was the „System Thinking“. This was clearly creating a flow with a lot of energy. I hope this flow will continue for further Jazz-Sessions of visualization. Learn some more about David and his company „The Grove“, get an impression from a client talking about the process which is on his grove-web-page.