News | Development Cooperation 15.11.2017

epWorkshop in Amsterdam: Organizational Development Expert meet Social Entrepreneurs

epWorkshop Amsterdam
Social entrepreneurs from all over the world met in Amsterdam to learn more about new organizational development tools.

“Roles or functions?”, “Control or trust?”, “Concious decision-making or coincidence?” The participants of the empowering people. Workshop in Amsterdam asked themselves these and other questions last week. On four instructive days almost 50 social entrepreneurs, all of them empowering people. Network members from Argentina, China, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Uganda, the UK, Uruguay and the US discussed organizational development tools and got the rare opportunity to network and connect with like-minded people from all over the world in one of the most charming cities in Europe.

From storytelling to decision-making

In the beginning, the empowering people. Network members were taught the art of storytelling by Jona Liebl, Senior Project Manager at adelphi and Barbara Börner, Managing Director at “Lust auf besser Leben gGmbH”. Participants learnt the benefits that good narratives can have on explaining the value proposition of an enterprise, in addition to overcoming communication gaps, and for marketing and advertisment purposes. They also had to tell their own stories, which made it easier for them to get to know each other and their innovations.

Within the following days, Magdalena Kloibhofer from SEED and Nicolas Chevrollier, Managing Director of AnLuMa, showed the participants how to assess their organizational structure, to apply future-oriented leadership approaches and to use different decision-making models. The whole workshop was based on Tools on Organizational Development, created by SEED/adelphi and Siemens Stiftung.

But the participants were not only fed information. In an open space session, the entrepreneurs had the chance to merge in small groups and work on their personal, most pressing organizational development topics like funding opportunities and international cooperations. They could also decide between different tool track sessions to get deeper knowledge in specific organizational development approaches like Agile Development and Giving Feedback, as well as HR Management and Succession Planning.

Holacracy – benefits of clearly defined roles

As a guest speaker, Ewout Meijer from Springest Netherlands explained to the participants how “Holacracy” works. "People often ask ‘What if we let people make decisions and they’re wrong?’ But the real question is ‘What if we don’t and they are right?’. Holacracy enables and empowers employees to reach their full potential and be self-reliant. It is about working with roles instead of functions and making decisions based on data and distributed authority.” Especially for small enterprises and small teams, holacracy is a new and auspicious management system that was well received by the participants.

Networking between social entrepreneurs and investors

As a final highlight the participants had the great chance to meet potential investors: Together with BiD Network, Siemens Stiftung organized a so called “Investors and Entrepreneurs Drink” at Impact Hub Amsterdam. First of all, during a kind of "speed panel", the social entrepreneurs were able to ask four investors all the questions they had always wanted to ask. Afterwards, in a casual atmosphere, social entrepreneurs presented and discussed their solutions with interested funders and enjoyed a constructive weekend together.