on becoming who you are



in times of turmoil – which recently seem to be accurate every day more, than the day before – in our private lives, with our families, in our neighbourhoods, communities, in our organisations, in our leadership roles in the world – what stories we choose to put on stage matters a great deal.
working in the field of social innovation, often i deal with realities just emerging, realities that have a breath ago been not more but a dream, realities fragile, incomplete, not consequent. yet – they want to become, they are becoming, they prototype well and they inspire hearts with hope.

a story does not need to be big, or perfect, or ready. what is sufficient is that YOU decide it is time.

take our LEADERSHIP FESTIVAL. there are sufficient people who say:
“it will not work”
“you do not really know, what you are talking about”
“this is all a fantasy, a phase, it will pass. business reality are hard facts and results”

well, i have the freedom to choose and believe whatever the heck i want to. and i choose to believe, that we ARE actually designing a NEW way of relating to each other from our leadership positions. and all them, who say it is just a fairy-tale for the naÏve ones i say “it is called visionary”.

now more than ever it is important, which stories you listen to and which you voice. which you repeat to yourself. which you share with others. and which stories you put to sleep, leave in the storage, tell them it is not their time.

so no matter how challenging it is to hold your dearest story out there, for the world to see, in all the beauty of its imperfection – i stand here with you. shoulder to shoulder. i ain’t going nowhere. whenever you feel, like the world is too much or the challenges too many, remember: you curate your own story. decide what you focus on and what you kick out. pick the story you want to live. pick the story that is YOU in your best version. get ready. go out there. and dance with the world.

frederic laloux – reinventing organisations

frederic laloux framework for creating healthy, dynamic organisations.

this following visuals are based on the lecture below.



enjoy the sketch-note WHILE listening, or INSTEAD of.




the part i find riches is the one on decision making.

here my take on it, with audio + visual.




TRADITION – inspirational quote

i sometimes stumble upon those great quotes, which instantly spark images in my head. they want to be visualised and shared. but then i try and it never is as great as i would wish it to be, so it lands on the “i will do it better one day” pile. that’s it. from today on i will visualise and post instead of postponing. this is the only way to actually get better. insecurity, you are uninvited here. 

enjoy the quote by gustaw mahler.  or georg lichtenberg as some claim. 



theory U

theory u copy


it’s been a couple of inspirational years now that i’ve worked based on theory U. preparing a sample workshop for an IT customer i discovered yet a new aspect of it.

the very core of the theory is the trinity of open: mind-heart-will. it is only based on them all that true innovation can be born. each of them is guided by dragon: open mind has the voice of judgement protecting the access, open heart is shielded by the voice of cynicism and open will is safe with voice of fear at the gates. working with project managers we were wondering how can one support your team members if you loose them to one of the beasts. as you can see in the very centre of the visual, it is with listening, love and courage. honestly i have to admit, that this bit never resonated with me that much. it seemed too…what shall i say? i mean “love”? in business context? seriously? but then. in the evening of the sample day i had a situation with one of my relatives. they were unhappy, felt under-appreciated and were very annoyed with everyone and everything. i gave it a shot. i thought: which is the voice speaking now? what does it block? what does it need? and you know what, this very simple equation was actually helpful. cynicism needs love and it blocks open heart. no rocket science, but sometimes emotions have this internal gravity which makes me loose the ground under my feet. this one gave it back.


curious to talk to the project managers next time and check if they had a chance of prototyping in their corner.

illustrating a book

the first book i illustrated is out. printed on real paper, available in real book-stores. a whole new chapter starts with this step.i am being called an “illustrator” now as well.

here you can read me writing about the process.

i am very pleased with the result. the drawings look neat and simple. those two are my favourite ones:


III copy



XIII copy

but you know me, i am a results person, definitely, but with a great passion for process. and how did the process look like? honestly – many more nights at the desk than i assumed. drafting, prototyping, drawing, redrawing, correcting, changing, consulting. the cycle of creative processes of:

this is great! –> something’s fishy –> this sucks! –> i suck! –> this is not so bad –> this is great!

i went through oh so many times. the toughest one was simon. i just couldn’t get his story. it seemed like the text said, he fell into a crevasse, while climbing a glacier, because his line broke. me myself, a glacier climber, thought i was on the safe side, so i drew:

simon 1


turned out i was almost right.




i have been almost right probably 10 more times.the people at the publishing house i though are gonna come after me at night with their dogs :) but they didn’t. they were nice and supportive.





noname copy

finally i got it and we were all satisfied.


II copy


i have always been a person who though of herself “i cannot draw”. school & co. definitely supported my conviction. but then surprisingly in my mid-thirties with visual thinking i have found a way around me not knowing how to draw. still if you ask me to draw a cow or a shoe you might see me running away. but with a lot of practice and a lot of passion i have found my style. i became a very curious observer – copying, searching, appreciating shapes and their representations. i always carry a sketch book on me. i draw whenever i wait, i travel, i have nothing to do. i draw all that is around me. i learn how to draw if you hold the belief you cannot really draw. this is what visual thinking opens up for me. and you know what – there are people who enjoy my style.

i guess what i am saying to myself and all of you reading this – do not let yourself be discouraged. this notion of “no matter what you want you can become it” is getting bigger and bigger in the world. i believe you can become (almost) all you choose to. so choose bravely. and choose wisely.


5th recording: a facilitators’ school in poland doing itself, high tatra, poland



this is a loaded one. what you will find here is:
– what is a stammtisch?
– about self-organised meetings a trainers’ network, held in an open space spirit, with the whole group being the facilitators
– a bit about my community work with fellow facilitators for a collective growth in poland
– generally it is all about a somewhat curious birth of a curious facilitation school in poland
– it also includes a declaration of love and a declaration of purpose to and by Progressive Partners
– and lisa heft inviting herself as a pre-conf for the WOSonOS15.

yes. it is a bit of a box-in-a-box story on how big dreams materialise when you let them.



fourth recording: 16.-21. september 2014, WOSonOS14 – world open space on open space, belgrade, serbia


building 1

building 3

– entering, the city feels heavy…

why am i here

– why am i really here?



– sometimes one sentence can make all the difference / an ode to whatever happens is the only thing that could have – and making it so!





access queen 1

silent auction

– on access queen and what a difference it makes to be invited to hold a role.




– a word or two about the frame / invitation





ps. what happened at the end of the event was bigger than our fantasies could ever get. our (sylwia myszka + mine) invitation to organise the next european learning exchange on open space (LEXOS) in 2015, which we expressed a year ago in utrecht on the last european LEXOS got elevated to poland hosting the next WOSONOS. thank you agnieszka wawrzyniak for not becoming realistic about your dream :) and a big “thank you” for the community for sensing and responding to the OST energy in poland.


below you can see me trying to talk some sense to aga (“c’mon, the WOSonOS is in europe now, next year it will be on another continent”, “others have expressed their invitation way earlier”, “it sometimes takes years for the community to accept an invitation”, “we have been inviting for a year now to the next LEXOS”). luckily – unsuccessfully.

aga&i on teh roof.



and a documentation of the work in progress & the astonishing result.





10-13 september 2015,

place: poland, most probably krakow.



visual facilitation

visual facilitation is not about only drawing. it is not a modern name for making a comic based on a situation. it is way more. it means working with a powerful combination of words, shapes and colours for recording and organising the communication and creation flows in conversations inside an organisation, a group or even in one’s own note-making for a deeper understanding and a more participatory access.



i use visual facilitation for example when developing a concept with our customers and planning an event together. visual notes take good care that all details are transparent and we are all on the same page of what needs to be done during which of the steps of large group events.




i also find visual facilitation helpful for preparing instructions for people in a large group, in small groups or even individually. this gives them something to check with, whether they understood the instructions and what the consecutive steps should be and allows participants to relax deeper into the participation in an actual dialogue.



visual facilitation allows you to put many things that belong together on one piece of paper, in a neat and clean way. below the example of a training schedule for a five-day event, including the every-day structure, topics addressed during each day, the two major focus forces and a symbol, explaining the dynamics of what the training refers to, in this case: increasing creativity in teams.




second example is a schedule of a one day event on mindfulness, including the WHAT, the HOW and the WHY of the session.


turbo koncentracja przy totalnym luzie


sharing my practice: what i use to organise my notes is a frame with two boxes: the lower, outer edge box includes the date, the upper inside box the setting (customer / event / theme). this helps me find in my notes what i am looking for easily.





if you want to see more examples of really diverse visual facilitation styles and some works of truly great visual practitioners, join me on a sentimental journey back to this july in berlin, on EUVIZ – european conference for visual thinkers, practitioners and facilitators. a rich HARVESTING archive you can find here.

now it’s your turn. just grab a pen and paper, listen to someone talk about a matter that intrigues you and – go visualise!





collective learning with a large group

in july 2013 the city of leipzig was organising a 10 day residential for 100 young artists from 10 countries. i was invited to design the scenarios and implement collective sense-making sessions of their shared experiences as well as to facilitate the intercultural learning in the group.

we used world-cafe to have people start engaging and connecting based on topics that matter for them.


world cafe flip


world cafe 2


i introduced the claes janssen’s “four rooms of change” model at the very beginning of the gathering, hoping it would support people in going through rough times keeping a learner’s attitude and curiousity. i have been approached a number of times during the residential by the participants saying how helpful it was.


four rooms


at the end of the event we used it to evaluate where the group was in their forming stages during the time they co-created.





later in the project we run (for me by now the largest) BARANGA session with 100 participants playing cards on 25 tables. BARANGA is a cultural role-playing game which gives you a first-hand experience of the confusion we are a subject of when not understanding that we do not understand the rules and believing we are communicating clearly and following a common sense. the participants did get upset and even close to mad during the experience. this provided a great basis for rich learning in the debriefing phase…




this was the longest continuous intervention i ever facilitated with a large group. i have to admit it felt great and right in so many ways. i would enjoy the chance to facilitate more large-group events supporting collective learning, deep dialogue and creativity.