Amsterdam - Art of Purposefully Playing with SystemsThis two-day workshop is ’a serious play’ on the art of meaning making and creativity in systems and organizations. We search for new ways to encourage transformative collaboration and meaning making within communities and networks. By combining art and science we aim to shed new light on how collective wisdom can emerge from collaboration.

The art of playing with systems supports us to see, understand and interact with invisible architectures, such as those social patterns (language, social norms, cultural beliefs) that connect us at work and in our communities. Specifically, we look for ways of doing performative inquiry that calls attention to the significance of aesthetics in meaning making and collaboration.

Generative ideas emerge from joint thinking, from significant conversations, and from sustained, shared struggles to achieve new insights by partners in thought.


Location: Amsterdam
Date: Friday 16th & Saterday 17th September 2016
Costs: 290/pp (exclusive of VAT and lodging)


Playing with purpose (Kenneth Gergen)

Kenneth Gergen has been exploring collaborative and participatory relationships as a way of playing with purpose and transforming social life. By connecting science and art he will be exploring the potential of performative inquiry to meaning-making and collaboration. He will also address a necessary shift in our thinking from charting ”what is” to envisioning ”what could be”. What world do we wish to create with our work? What is worth doing? By asking “what is worth doing” instead of ’what is true’, we will be better equipped to see how our professional work can help us collaboratively build valuable futures. Gergen will focus on performative ways of inquiring, understanding and acting in collaboration.

Dancing with complexity (Diana Rus)

Understanding complexity means giving up the notion of simple cause-effect relationships. It also means letting go of the mistaken belief that what we see is necessarily true. In order to live and work purposefully within complex systems we need to learn to view them through multiple lenses and give up trying to control, predict and manage them. Instead, we need to try to experience them fully and become comfortable with ambiguity. In this part of the workshop we will focus on taking a step back from being locked in our own subjective view of reality and explore how to ‘dance’ with complexity, that is, to play with it in productive and deliberative ways.

Partnering with mistakes and creativity (Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä)

The art of playing invites us to love unpredictability and to stay creative and curious. Ways of playing with mistakes and the challenge of unpredictability can be joyful and dangerous. In this workshop we experience with movies and stories how Trickster figures help us to understand the creative possibilities and risks that characterise working with ever changing organisational situations. How to become more resilient during turbulent times by allowing spontaneity and trickster energy to unfold new practices and rules for working.

Art of showing up wholly – Painting with purpose (Jouke Kruijer)

Showing up wholly, at work or at school is an art. It doesn’t come naturally anymore. As we grow up we lose that freedom, that carelessness that is so crucial for development. By the time we are adults we are fully schooled at holding back. During the workshop, we will go back to the original joy of making something unexpected happen. And we will be surprised and surprise others by creating effortlessly. And experience the joy of appearing wholly in collaboration.


Kenneth Gergen is a major figure in the development of social constructionist theory and its applications to practices of social change. He also lectures widely on contemporary issues in cultural life, including the self, technology, postmodernism, the civil society, organizational change, developments in psychotherapy, educational practices, aging, and political conflict. Gergen has published over 300 articles in journals, magazines and books, and his major books include Toward Transformation in Social Knowledge, The Saturated Self, Realities and Relationships, and An Invitation to Social Construction.

Diana Rus helps organizations create work environments that drive innovative performance and engagement. She specializes in innovation management, open innovation, leadership and team effectiveness. Read more 

Jouke Kruijer is a hybrid professional. Working in Holland and abroad as a consultant and painter. He studied complexity and is researching wholeness and creativity in learning environments.

Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä works as a consultant and a researcher.He is studying Social Constructionist theory as it shows up in organizational change processes.

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