A Finnish experience

A Finnish experience

Bringing TIHR methodology, complexity theory, art and aesthetics to intervention design.

Bringing TIHR methodology, complexity theory, art and aesthetics to intervention design.

Professional competence, skills in consultation and organisational dynamics have been the focus of the Metanoia Institute’s Advanced Training Programme (ATP) since it begun in 1998. Harri Hyypp, the founder of Metanoia Institute, Finland and a pioneer participant in the Tavistock Institute’s Advanced Organisational Consultancy Programme (AOC) took this approach to Finland, where this spring Eliat Aram and Juliet Scott were invited by Harri to contribute to the ATP with a two day workshop on designing organisational interventions.

The workshop was rooted in the TIHR methodologies of the socio-technical systems design and principles, the socio-ecological approach to working in hyper-turbulent environment, group relations methodology and action research. The focus of the workshop was in drawing on complexity theories, perspectives on creativity and the arts in order to draw out understanding about the relevance of space and location to designing organisational interventions in small and large scale systems.

Eliat and Juliet contributed by demonstrating how video-practices can be connected to wider understanding of organisational dynamics‘, says Hyypp’, who still leads the ATP programme.

The workshop unfolding
The design moved from the individual to the whole system and participants began by considering themselves within the context of their environment (a church centre situated by a lake 40 km north of Helsinki) by visiting the grounds and collecting objects. They then began to engage with their objects in small groups and then to consider the stories of their objects in relation to the others in the groups. This prepared them for the work that followed which was the use of technology to capture their stories or outputs. In the final session the groups came together to present, analyse and reflect upon the diversity, complexity and creativity of the films.

This experiential work was followed on the second day with two theoretical sessions Eliat Aram spoke on The art of strategic leadership and participative design talking to the linear versus emergent/ participant design from her background in complexity theory and how this can inform an aesthetic approach to organisational development and intervention design. Juliet Scott talked about form in The role of objects in organisational life moving from the psychoanalytical tradition mainly drawing on Klein and Winnicott to the role of the artist in relation to organisational development, intervention and transformation being central to both practices. Juliet also showed a short film used as part of a previous OD intervention.

In keeping with the overall structure of the programme each day began and ended with an insight session which provided opportunities for both participants and consultants to reflect upon their work in order to make sense of their learning. We reflected on the impact of working with heightened awareness to space and location, on the relationship between space and human action and the nature of interaction between human agents working together, paying attention to their physical environment and the use of technology. Working with this model of emerging design and simultaneously surfacing issues of leadership, group dynamics and the relationship with technology represented a challenging task for all involved and was well conveyed in the film outputs of the workshop which spontaneously surfaced some of the unconscious as well as the conscious experiences of participants and consultants- chaotic, symbolic, paradoxical and nostalgic.

Some of our thoughts post the workshop included questions such as: what is the role of the consultant when working with emerging and participative design? What is the impact of a consultant taking up a more active role in a group on the film production? How to relate the outputs of the workshop to the specifics of organisational life?

About The Metanoia Institute
In addition to the ATP the Metanoia Institute offers training courses for supervisors, consultants and leaders. The Institute organises Group Relation seminars and social dreaming events and runs a listening posts together with the OPUS network. More recently, the Institute has created a four-year learning path for senior consultants, leading to the status of Organisational Analyst of The Finnish Society for Organisational Dynamics (FINOD). This new programme is a promising start for creating long-lasting learning as well as a platform to develop new practices for organisational work. In carrying out this new programme, ‘we wish to further co-operate with the TIHR‘ states Risto Puutio, the current CEO of the Metanoia Institute.

The TIHR is looking forward to hosting those involved in developing this new programme in January 2012.

For further information concerning this article, please contact Juliet Scott j.scott@tavinstitute.org

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