What do we DO when we don’t know what to do?

18 – 22 October 2017, Conference hotel de Baak Seaside, Noordwijk, Netherlands

We are living in rapidly and radically changing times, in many places of the world – times hard to make sense of, when it’s difficult to figure out what to do. So………. What do we DO when we don’t know what to do? Each one of us has some relevant experience and we, as humans, have all created some valid knowledge.

Seventy four people, curious and passionate about this topic, or with deep experience and wisdom in working with uncertainty, looking for fellow travellers to share, create and disseminate this type of wisdom joined us to a 4-day learning expedition. Twenty participants worked during an optional 5th day on projects for writing and creating products.

The title ‘What do you do when you don’t know what to do’ was inspired by the PhD dissertation by Shelly Gordon.

What we did

  • Explore, share and create our collective wisdom
  • Build capacity for navigating unmapped territories
  • Form guidelines for wise action in times of uncertainty
  • Weave a network of networks
  • Have lots of fun

Read all about it in COS Conference 2017 Experience Report

What we initiated and produced

  • Draft a story book with personal experiences on collective issues, with wisdom for what to do when you don’t know what to do; editors Tova Averbuch and Tonnie van der Zouwen
  • Initiate a special Issue of COS Journal on Wise Action and Uncertainty, with articles connecting practice to theory, and connecting organising to issues in society; to be published October 2018, editors Nancy Wallis and Andrea Schueller
  • Draft an experience report to share the design and flow of the conference and to present the harvest in the form of ‘golden nuggets’; design and coordination Jacqueline Janssen
  • A one day workshop for what to do when you don’t know what to do, allowing different content/task groups to explore and gather wisdom; contact Dana Liberman,
  • Translate experiences of the six students of Avans COS team to a learning community around the innovative HR program at Avans University of Applied Sciences in Breda, Netherlands.
  • Initiate the transfer of experiences and wisdom to learning elements in programs for higher education; contact Cees Hoogendijk
  • Invitation for a follow up conference in Kenya; contact Lucy Wairimu Mukuria
  • Videos of ted-like talks of Sandra Janoff, Michel van Dartel, Doris Gottlieb, Peggy Holman, Monika Lindner; See all Videos of Talk

Who were there?

More than 70 participants/co-creators, with a wide diversity of experience and knowledge, of all ages, from 14 different countries. Leaders, scholars, students, artists, consultants, journalists, entrepreneurs, people who are deeply interested.

Design, program and facilitation

The design and preparation process of this conference were an emerging work. We used a structure with a wealth of ted-like talks, workshops, space for emerging contributions by all participants/co-creators who wanted to. See overview of talks and workshops and the program schedule. Every evening the design group met, to evaluate how we are doing and for adjusting the design for the next day, if needed. Participants were welcome in these meetings to contribute to the fine tuning of the program. We see the conference as part of a larger process. We started weaving our web of relations long before we met in October 2017, and we will continue with a network of networks to create wisdom for what to do when you don’t know what to do.