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What is Stoos?

08.07.2012 von Mark Poppenborg (Kommentare: 2)

Does rationalising mean reducing?

Stoos Stampede's mission is to fundamentally reinvent organisations so that people can find true happiness in what they live for. And since yesterday we know that we are not alone. I just returned from an inspiring two day unconference that might facilitate a tipping point in our pursuit towards a common vision.

In January 2012, 21 visionaries met in Stoos, Switzerland. They were driven by the idea of finding the common denominator in Beyond Budgeting, agile, SCRUM and Lean in order to unite the world-wide forces that are pushing towards a reinvention of work (that is long overdue).

From Stoos in Switzerland the idea for a larger, open gathering was born and half a year on 130 change agents met in Amsterdam for "Stoos Stampede" this very weekend.

The last two days felt like returning home to me. What I found at Stoos was a safe haven for extremely diverse people who are unified by a common set of beliefs. But what exactly are these beliefs? One of yesterday's last sessions was about this very question, asking 'Do we need a manifesto?' We came to the conclusion that the answer was "no" and I believe that was for good reason.

But why? Isn't that a bit blurry? Personally, I believe in system thinking and for that reason I am glad we didn't phrase a manifesto. Instead we are leaving it to the individual change agent to find his own words that might resonate far stronger in a specific situation than a predefined statement. I believe the outcome of a manifesto is always subject to randomness. It is depended on the participants, the available time, the location and many other factors. Yes, phrasing a manifesto has some advantages but many disadvantages come along with it. It rationalises the unrationalisable. Beliefs are naturally intangible and unobservable. They can be captured, or rather sensed, only by our limbic system not by our intellect. Whenever we attempt to put beliefs or values into words we lose something on the way. 

However, despite this necessary blurriness I believe it is worth preserving some of the ubiquitous phrases that were repeatedly articulated throughout the Stoos gathering. They give a good impression of what Stoos stands for:

Today's Organisations need to

  • be about stewardship of the living rather than management of the machine
  • believe in people
  • organise for complexity not for efficiency
  • understand that work is not a place

Towards the end of the "manifesto-session" we came to the conclusion that what we really need is to provide containers in which people can converse safely and where learning can occur. Most of us can remember an epiphany of some sort, a moment of enlightenment which led us to understand that there has to be an alternative to today's operating system within organisations. Experiencing this epiphany and learning about alternative operating systems is the kind of learning we want to facilitate with Stoos.

As all of the above is my personal limited view on Stoos and Stoos Stampede, I interviewed some of my fellow stoosians after the "manifesto-session". Watching the following short video will give you a chance to see some further perspectives.



Thank you to all the organisers of Stoos Stampede. Thanks Jurgen, Erwin, Astrid, Peter and the others I didn't get to speak to.


Einen Kommentar schreiben

Kommentar von Astrid Claessen | 08.07.2012

Hi Mark, it was an honor to have you with us. Thanks soo much for the blog, I've added your tweet with the link to this blog to our event story

Let's keep on learning!

Kommentar von Ardalan Ibrahim | 13.07.2012

Hi Mark,

thank you for your inspiring insigths of the stoos stampede! As you probably know I highly appreciate the decicion to do it all without a manifesto - for exactly the reasons you described in your article above. I am sure we will "manage it" to get cohesion of all the different change agents just by the way... ;-)

Thank you so much for all the work you're doing!