A simple and practical introduction to shifting to roles

Photo by Alejandro Barba on Unsplash

If your team or organization is on a journey to be more democratic, participatory or inclusive, you will at some point likely bump up against this notion of roles. It’s a notion that is both simple and elusive at the same time. I have multiple roles in my life from entrepreneur to mother and I show up in each differently. But what exactly does this mean in the workplace where we tend to rely on job descriptions?

My intention here is to demystify this concept of roles so that you might…


Energy, creativity and initiatives to address our territorial challenges are in abundance. The real challenge is how do we get beyond fabulous initiatives that are disconnected towards actions that have impact and system change at their forefront? I recently took up the challenge to offer a 60 minute participatory conference on this question at the European university of public sector territorial innovation. By no means do I have the answer, but I do want to share our process and some key resources.

Cluny Abby in France, site of European university of public sector territorial innovation, location of my system change conference

I) Theory of change in a nut shell

Sometimes we get caught up in being in action. As long as we are in movement, we are…


Photo by Ilyuza Mingazova on Unsplash

4 techniques to become a better listener to create a better world

“It’s hard for me to let go.” The words were spilling from my mouth. “I invested so much in this — my time, my heart, my money.” I wasn’t talking to a friend about a relationship, but to my colleagues about our move to a new office space. It was during our weekly team meeting when we efficiently dealt with both my emotions and a group decision to take on a studio space.

It is an example of how we can both be caring AND take care of business. This is the challenge of our future, how do we add…


Our beginning as an Inc.

How can the tough necessities of succeeding in the rough and tumble world of business be combined with a passion to build a more equitable and more sustainable world? How to build a business that has common good embedded in its legal framework?

This was the challenge I faced when I embarked on a voyage to build a successful and progressive consulting business.

Like many women, I came into entrepreneurship late. In 2007 at the age of 40, I left my cushy government job, and started Percolab. My vision was to build a purpose-driven firm growing healthy and courageous collaborations…


Retreats are a period of time away from normal activities and duties. An “off-site” is a work meeting away from the usual place of work. For years, I have attended and organized many off-sites and retreats, and I want to share three ingredients that shift an off-site, which we are more familiar with, into something that has much more value for organizations: a retreat.

But first, let’s remember where the concept of retreat comes from. It’s about stepping away from the daily hustle and bustle into a different kind of space. A space where we slow down, become more reflective…


A social innovator’s journey into ecosystem science

Sampling in the stream not far from Montreal (Canada)

I am like a child again, sitting with all I don’t know. I am part of a group that has followed a scientific researcher to his research site, a stream tucked away in a mountain, accessible via a bumpy rugged drive. To say he comes to this spot often is an understatement. In fact he spends days on end, painstakingly sampling the stream in hopes of capturing little bits of stream life that he can haul back to the lab for analysis, offering a single data entry into a multi-year study.

With enough data, over time, years even, conclusions can…


Cities for People strategy workshop, Photo Ezra Bridgman

These are Percolab’s principles of ways of working that we apply at Percolab right here, right now. We think everyone should work like this.

Principle #1 — OPEN

Keeping secrets slows things down, being open speeds things up.
Opaque and secretive ways invite in scheming, homogeneity and insular thinking. Openness invites inclusion, co-learning and integrity.

Principle #2 — ENLIVENING

Forget systems that are mechanistic, everything we do is alive.
Directive, plan and control work can drag on and produce flat results. When work integrates our autonomy, spirit and creativity it can be full of ease with kick ass results.

Principle…


In Paris, designing for a self-organizing event for 60 people that starts the following day

It’s easier than it sounds. If you organize events, this is for you.

The international Art of Hosting community has developed a different way to design gatherings. There is an underlying pattern that has been fine-tuned and experimented around the world for over 20 years. No matter what the convening topic, from collaboration methods to water management, to financial matters, it is possible to design, organize and meet with the flavour and feel of life, because they are the result of an underlying pattern.

Participants and conveners do not necessarily get to see this backstage, (how the hosting team works together through the design/preparation day and onwards) though everyone is sensing its existence…


I met Bernd Reichert at a training I offered in Brussels on Self-management. During introductions everyone was surprised that we had amongst us a Head of Unit from a European Union Agency that supports small and medium enterprises to bring disruptive innovations to market. Even more surprising was that he was already implementing self-management since 2014 and was there to fine tune his practices and reflect on how he was doing it! It’s not evident how to implement self-management within a larger hierarchical organization; the story of Bernd is helpful if that is your situation and to learn that it…


Semi-structured co-learning across projects, domains, territories

Collective sense making is not evaluation nor debate. Very simply it requires some common themes which serve as common language or filters through which to think together about work that is very different. The common filters honor what is specific of what is happening in each place or domain and invite in a common language and thinking angle.

Cluny Abby in France, site of the European university of public sector territorial innovation

Recently I joined the European university of public sector territorial innovation for a 3 day adventure with over 200 people structured around 16 real projects from multiple countries. I was invited as an external witness (a healthy innovation practice) and was invited…

Samantha Slade

Co-creation | Social innovation | Going Horizontal (teal). Collaborating to face the socio-ecological transition. http://percolab.com http://goinghorizontal.co/

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