A European Collaborative

The picture is the invitation I received for a 2-day gathering with friends and colleagues around our work for Europe, Europe as our “land” and more specific the European Institutions as our clients.

A weekend of inquiry and co-creation, but most of all of reconnecting, since we all live all over the place.

I entered the house on Friday evening and it was as if I came home for a family gathering. People were scattered around the house, eating & drinking, talking & laughing, fires & candles were lit… Some new faces, some I had met only days ago, others it had been several years since we last saw eachother. But everything felt so familiar, we belonged to “a” same family, The Collaborative.

What brought us together, several years ago, was the Art of Hosting, or in European Institution-language “the Art of Participatory leadership”. We were a group of entrepreneurs, working together in different combinations, depending on question, needs, context. But there was a need to become more “structured”, and the Collaborative was born.

2 days of conversation, trying to balance 2 dynamics:

On the hand hand, on a very concrete level: creating an organising pattern for ourselves: minimum but optimal structure, different roles & tasks, … to support our work for the European UNION.

On the other hand, sensing into the emerging potential for the future, into how we could contribute to the need for UNITY in Europa. Sensing into the new story of Europe, beyond the institutions and geographical borders.


There were several Greek colleagues into our circle and their stories about their day-to-day reality awakened us from our Western illusion of welfare. They know how it feels to live on the other side of “the” economy, to live permanently on the edge. Survival. A raw reality.

We need new ways of entrepreneuring, new ways of living in community.

“Necessity is the mother of invention”, and they shared some beautiful (but painful) stories about the self-organised ways to survive, that many Greeks are prototyping, for all of us.


Some intriguing questions:

  • how would we invest our money, if the future of the planet were our only pension fund?
  • what is the work we want/need to be doing if we learn from what is really happening right now in Europe?
  • how would we do our work if we integrate the principle that relationships are the currency of the future?
  • are we ready to step over the edge into the “other side of the economy”, where the economy is not an institutionalised financial system, but a day-to-day reality of interactions between people, ideas, goods?


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