We understand that high performing individuals and organisations balance efficient and clear business systems with a culture of emotionally intelligent behaviour and adaptive, distributed leadership.

Our approach is founded on a solid basis in sociology and psychology integrated with a thorough understanding of the face-67430_1280contemporary literature on complex adaptive systems.  This means we focus on:

  • Collective, not just individual, factors

… networks of communication and influence, the synergic benefits of collegiality, etc.

  • Non-rational, not just rational, elements

… emotion, intuitions and biases, habits etc. In doing so, we avoid an over-concentration on logical argument and empirical data that rarely motivate people or leverage change.

  • Non-linear, not just linear, features

…(non)scalability, tipping points, feedback loops etc.  Extrapolations on straight line graphs do NOT properly model most human phenomena and are poor guides to action, while viable systems more often emerge ‘bottom up’ than ‘top down’.

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We aim to find the sweet spot between ‘KPIs’ and ‘Kumbaya’

Using well-developed methods with a sound intellectual and conceptual basis, a track record of practical applicability and an approach that is wholehearted and real, we aim to avoid the traps of firms that specialise in either technical solutions OR socio-psychological dynamics.

We work closely with you and your workplace—in the ‘sweet spot’ between technical, ‘just-fix-it’ solutions and ‘warm-fuzzy’ experiences—to get the best out of, but knowing the limits of, each model.  In doing so, we help you to develop and embed lasting changes to daily work practices that really DO survive contact with reality.


The ‘just-fix-it’ trap… promises to improve performance with complicated, technicalKPIs models and solutions for business operations. But we know that old habits and loyalties die hard and resistance can be strong without ways to persuade the ‘horse to drink’ at the water-trough of a new system.

The ‘guitarwarm fuzzy’ trap… promises to improve workplace dynamics and team bonding through heartfelt experiences full of adventurous activities and soul-baring revelations. But we know that without ways to capture and embed the insights gained, they rarely survive the return to a demanding workplace.

We deploy innovative approaches to engage with complexity


In all aspects of our work we use a range of techniques and methods designed to engage with the reality of complex social and organisational systems.

Because we understand the adaptive challenges associated with ambiguity, uncertainty and rapid change, the bedrock of our approach is ‘method as model’. That is, every method we use and recommend to others should ‘model’ the desired outcomes. (For example, active responsibility for one’s work and ‘buy in’ to new ways is never achieved by ‘talking at’ people while they sit passively listening: those methods ‘model’ the opposite of what is allegedly sought!).

‘Open Space’ ideas

We use innovative, participatory and democraOSMtic engagement techniques, consistent with ‘Open Space’ technologies and methods, to get people involved in what we do.  They encourage open communication, allow all voices to be heard, and focus on the issues that are most pressing for the group. We use these methods in our capacity building work, our facilitated meetings and workshops and also as a way of enhancing research and policy enquiries and discussions.

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Appreciative inquiry

WTHUMBS UPhile we know that individuals and groups have a ‘dark side’, we find the objectives of the technique known as ‘Appreciative Inquiry’– which focuses on generating positive emotion, hope and energy—is the better route towards growth and real change.

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Experiential and ‘andragogic’ learning

We emphil-3phasise andragogic (based on principles of self-directed, adult learning) rather than pedagogic (based on techniques of teacher-directed, information transfer) learning styles to communicate and build ideas. These focus on enhancing ‘adaptive’ skills, habits and perspectives (SHPs), including enhanced emotional intelligence, metacognition and macro-cognition skills and capacities.

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