Multiple Dates

Changing the way we change #livingsystems19

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time

Event description



Register your interest for our 2019 (Residential) Open Workshops.

9th - 11th October 2019 - North of England

Living Systems, Living Organisations

Changing the way we change


We are in a time of significant change. The mechanistic philosophy of modern organisations can no longer deliver the social, economic and political outcomes that we desire. Across the world, across all sectors, the systems view of life that emerged in in the 20th Century is taking hold.

The need to work across the boundaries of professions, divisions, department and institutions has become essential. Yet, even as we shift our worldview from parts to wholes, we struggle to find a new way of working.

Our social and economic systems dance in the dynamics of life. Understanding these dynamics opens up a field of possibilities, of new ways of organising, new ways of working, new ways of creating the outcomes that serve us and the life we desire for each other.

We at The Phillips Kay Partnership believe that organisations are living systems, not machines. We have decades of experience in working with organisations in this way and we will share this with you through this purpose-developed three-day workshop.

What will we do?

Over the course of 3 days, we'll explore the exciting and surprising theory of living systems in depth, expanding our view of why organisations work the way they do, and what might be possible if we found a simpler way, more in tune with how life works.

Day one

We will begin by delving deeply into the underlying theories that support a living systems view of life. We will use the lens of the ‘Big Five’ (complexity, emergence, cognition, networks and self-organisation) to do this. We will explore a route through the work of Capra, Maturana, Varela, Camazine, Prigogine, Lorenz and others through inputs, experiments and dialogue to make our own sense of the basis of our work together.

Day two

We then follow how this takes us into the ‘Heart of the Art’ by seeing how the ‘dynamics of organising’ lead to a capacity for change and organisation. We will work in depth with a number of living system design tools that help us bring the theoretical models from day one into practical application. These will include ‘Myron’s Maxims’, ’design cafe’, and ‘communities of practice’ alongside ‘self as instrument’.

Day three

On the final day we move to the practical application of this to your challenges. Working in co-consulting groups we develop approaches for you test and apply in your own environment based on the new understanding we have developed together. You will leave with a deeper knowledge of living systems theory and a very practical set of actions that you can immediately apply.

Who is this for?

The session will be valuable for individuals, but also for teams, who are invited to bring their complex challenges. We are open to applicants from public, private and not-for-profit sectors. You will ideally be already curious about how human systems work and facing complex challenges in your work environment. You will be willing to share these with others in the confidential environment of the workshop and willing to do some work in preparation before you join us. We'll work through a variety of modes, from presentation of theory, to deep dialogue exploring the implications of the ideas, to specific applications in a laboratory environment.


This is a paid event.

Group Discounts available, contact us for further information

A limited number of further discounted places may be available on application, for those otherwise unable to attend.

Share with friends

Save This Event

Event Saved