How can we build the capacity and the skills to thrive in a rapidly changing world?

How can we use the power of collaboration to create a better society? Change needs leaders who can collaborate effectively across sectors and ‘host‘ groups and spaces in an authentic way. Here’s why process artist and social technologies facilitator Chris Corrigan believes you should join him at our Art of Hosting training between 23 and 25 November at Impact Hub Amsterdam.


There is no escaping the fact that societal innovation is unpredictable, unknowable and emergent. It’s complex, and our efforts to wrestle it into some kind of easy to work with plan almost alway fail. Leading in these kinds of contexts requires a developed practice of patience, the ability to work with others well and the ability to hold space for trail and error, and success and failure, while all the while deepening relationships for sustainable resilience. It’s a tall order.

For me, the pursuit of mastery in the practice of hosting conversations is the primary way I respond to the complexity that we are facing in the world. When faced with uncertainty and emergent problems, it is imperative that we engage in collective intelligence and create the conditions for good sense making and decision making. Working with complexity is a high art, and is in rare supply these days. Over the past year I have been in many situations where the fear of an uncertain future has caused people to reduce their work to the simplest and easiest problems to solve. Money gets spent, resources get deployed and another year passes, and at best we shift the needle on something in a way that we can never understand and at worst, we erode the collective capacity we have to act resourcefully in complex environments. And that, I am certain, will be what is written on the gravestone of humanity, should it come to that. I have no doubt that the statement will be accompanied by a pie chart analysing the downfall.

That is my biggest frame of understanding why these practices are important: complexity matters and we need more complexity workers if we are to continually innovate in our societies.

Now, there are many different skills required to work in complex environments. Some of these skills are covered in an Art of Hosting training. These skills include personal capacities such as being aware of your own limiting beliefs, biases and shadows. They include leadership practices such as hosting and participating in truly creative and emergent conversational and social processes. It includes understanding the nature of complex systems and complex environments and to design effective interventions and make good decisionsin those environments.

So that is what is under the hood. We use the word “art” very deliberately. What we are teaching is a practice that cannot be fully mastered in a three-day event. So, as a team we have a strong commitment to launch people as practitioners. Practitioners of what? That depends on who you are and what your learning edge is.

Over the years we have had people attend Art of Hosting trainings for many reasons: to develop their facilitation practice, to become better participants in dialogue, to work with their limiting beliefs, to figure out how to lead their organizations differently, to design better engagement processes, to work more deeply with complexity, to learn new methods. Some folks even come because what we are offering is in line with their own personal growth. When we say that we are trying to launch people as practitioners, what we means is that we want people to see their lives and work differently and to begin a practice of shifting, learning and mastering their skills. I like to say to to people that the real results of their time at an Art of Hosting will show up 9-12 months later. You will become aware of a shift in your practice, or new ways of working with people and of new ways of seeing the world. It can sometimes be very transformative, it is often challenging and always engaging.

The Art of Hosting as a learning event is highly experiential. You will have an opportunity to get your hands on methods and to host parts of the workshop yourself, with supportive coaching from the core team. You will also be deeply engaged in conversations with 35 other people who are as curious, interested and challenged as you are. And you will get a chance to bring real life work and problems into our practices to further develop your initiatives. There is no role playing. Everything we do is real.

So if you’d like to come, we’d love to have you. The more diverse the group, the better. We have had folks come from every walk of life, from almost every economic sector imaginable, from many many different kinds of community and history. All of us who train have worked in literally hundreds of unique environments and I can almost guarantee that one of the four of us on the team will be able to translate what you are learning to your context.


Join us our Art of Hosting Societal Innovation training

Our Art of Hosting training, described by a senior manager in the EU Commission as “the best training I have had in the 20 years”, is open for applications. Want to learn practical methods such as World Café and Appreciative Inquiry to stimulate participatory leadership and develop clear action plans for your work and organisation? Then join us between 23 and 25 November in Amsterdam. We will be sharing a decade of of Art of Hosting practice and Impact Hub expertise in facilitating an ecosystem of pioneering entrepreneurs, corporates, policy makers and nonprofits.