European Organisation Design Forum, Budapest

Energising, experimental and thought-provoking, the EODF annual conference was a first-time visit for me and I definitely aim to go again. Given that the focus was about designing for business ecosystems, the event attracted a mixed – and very international – group of organisational design and development consultants, HR professionals, and corporate trainers and facilitators. The atmosphere was unusually welcoming, open and relaxed. In fact, it seemed that every participant I met was curious and forthcoming, and above all, not trying to compete, pose, hide behind a grand title, or promote their services.

We kicked off with an interactive, fun and daring activity (given the large group), that had us finding commonalities that connect us. All three keynote speakers were well-chosen: Dr Aron Fischer talked about Colony and his project for developing platforms in open organisations; Karel Foltyn of Amazon Europe (unfortunately hampered by technology) focused on capacity, capability and culture; and lastly Nora Bateson, brilliant and vibrant, introduced Warm Data, or transcontextual information – new terms for me – that is, data about the interrelationships that integrate a complex living system.

An idea that worked very well was that we were asked to discuss the speeches immediately afterwards in small groups to share our views. Further participation was encouraged in the Open Space sessions – a methodology that should be spread wider in professional circles as much as in education. Additional highlights included the Playback Theatre ensemble, 4 Hungarian men who mimed participants’ stories with wit and sensitivity, and an artist who spontaneously collated our words, ideas and thoughts in graphics.

This was a dynamic and creative event, with the only (obvious) challenge being the integration of technology so that it was well received and used by everyone. A big thanks to the organisers and see you again!

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