Wednesday, January 10, 2018

only 14 hours to save the earth.

"I love you Flash, but we only have 14 hours to save the earth."
Dale Arden's words to Flash Gordon in the Queen soundtrack of the film of the same name were triggered in my head when i was asked to put words to this cause.

Flietermolen needs new millstones, and this is being funded through a crowdfunding initiative on

Its a very worthy cause which absolutely deserves your support. Please give something, small starts at 10€s, and do it quickly - we only have 11 days left to save the project, otherwise everybody gets their money back, (and we have no funds for stones).

Flietermolen cvba is a start up based on an old windmill from 1788, its a multi-stakeholder co-operative and a registered organic mill. We work in a 30km radius with locally grown organic grain. We mill white flour in our authentically restored 1950 Midget roller mill, and everybody in the local organic world loves our white flour, and there's the pinch. The stones left behind in the mill weren't suitable for grinding wholemeal flour, only coarse animal feed, so they have to be replaced. Here they are being removed.

We need new stones to make traditional, healthy, wholemeal flour. Please help us.

There are various goodies available on the crowd funding for smaller amounts, if you're feeling particularly inspired then join us and become a member of Flietermolen.
This type of full value chain approach needs all sorts of skills, from volunteers, part time and full time people.
Thanks for your time and support
click here now please! We only have 11 days to save the stones.....

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The point of embodiment.

Reflections from the Leeds complexity workshop.

 The point of embodiment: where a person crosses from linear to non linear space, from Identity produced by the surrounding systems to Inner identity, from outer conflict to inner peace, from button pushing space to non-button space, from static relationships to dynamic relationships.
In the space where determinism is not appropriate, where complexity is the equilibrium state, where ones inner state is consciously reflected in the outer world, this video might be something to consider.

New life in an old mill

Introducing the Flietermolen, built in 1788, now one of the oldest buildings in the village of Tollembeek, 25 mins SW of Brussels, Belgium.

Flietermolen cvba, is a multi-stakeholder co-operative, where Farmers, Millers, Bakers, Retailers, Customers, Neighbours and Friends jointly own, organise and share the profits of locally grown cereals, ground into fresh flour, to make delicious bread and bakery. Fresh because we keep the wheat germ, and thereby have a 'fresh' product shelf life of 10 weeks. see

Put the 30th April in your diary and come and meet us all, at our official opening and sale of fresh flour.

We need your help and support, both moral and financial. If you share our convictions and want to see encourage co-operatives, the local economy, short food chains or just healthy Bio food, then please become a member - one share costs 100€, with a maximum of 100 shares per person.
For this you get 45% back from the Belgian tax man, 2% interest, and a share of the annual profit. You also get one vote and an insiders viewpoint on the workings of a multi-stakeholder co-operative, regular invitations to info moments in our transparent financial affairs, to healthy food sessions, to multiple perspective mornings, the annual general party (meeting), and involvement in work groups around new projects, products and social initiatives.

The operational side of the mill is self organizing without a hierarchic boss; along the lines of the best of teal, sociocracy, and holacracy.

You will also get free access to complexity workshops, and complex human system days.
Our starting capital was 30,000€s, this has enabled us to restart the Midget Maxima Roller Mill (from 1950), to produce bio flour. Next we need to buy new grind stones to make whole meal flour, this project is about 25,000€.

Please help to achieve this quickly so that we can reach breakeven.
For more details, pictures, videos etc see our website

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Reaching out through the mycellium of life.

thank you for reaching out across the Mycelium of life, its always great to meet fellow travelers whatever colour their clothes…

I agree about Cog edge, for me its rather old fashioned these days, i trained on Dave's first course in 2003, and i’m surprised that people still ask for it. It probably forms a simple gateway into the nature of different systems, and i do it all with story, my cyenfin is called the farmers tale, which i then turn into a diagnostic constellation with people standing in the parts of the farm, i think they enjoy the physicality of feeling the chaos of the hippies, or the analysis of the ministry of agriculture.

my work really comes in three shapes today, the physical renovation of an old (1788) grain wind mill, now with electric motors, building a local short chain Bio flour and bread business based on the mill. Back to my roots as a farmers son, and real work!

Then the re-introduction of multistakeholder co-operatives to Belgium, via the Flietermolen co-operative.This is re-pioneering the way to optimising value in a value chain, (as opposed to maximising one sub system and what boils down to non agreed extraction at the point of maximisation) by having all stakeholders( farmers, millers, bakers, shops, customers, neighbours) as co-owners and navigating the complex field of apparently conflicting or paradoxical needs. I’ve been warned not to try - too difficult - so that's my cue, and i've been around complex humans systems for so long now that i forget most people don't even have the book on their shelf to help them with non-linear thinking or multiple attractors and all the other fun stuff we mavericks get up to.

finally getting non linear thinking into schools in the next thirty years. I’m writing a book called harvesting complexity with a old student of Prigogine, still at the ULB in brussels, Vasileios Basios brings the theoretical physics and i the stories of an ex crisis manager with practical heuristics around working in complex domains. Stef's work shop fits into this bit, Teal is on the rise, great destination but lacking a guide to the collective and personal journey required to reach it. I try to help with my toolbox of practical heuristics, these days pretty well populated. The AoH people have  had Cyneifn in their back pack since i put it there 12 years ago when they started, it seems only now do they get how complex stuff might really be different. Any seedling has to be given a chance to grow into a mighty redwood.

I suppose there is a fourth unspoken path too, this conversation for me is the natural spread of a mycelium of people who reach out through the sub soil and find each other, so that when conditions on the surface are ripe/right the mushroom ring can magically appear, and do its work.

It would be fun to meet and drink tea one day.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

the boundary between trust and love in complex human systems

Iceland is a country the size of Leicester in the UK. The similarity doesn't end there, both places have football teams that achieved remarkable - nay 'impossible' results. Leicester won the Premier league and Iceland not only won through to the finals of the European championship but also qualified from the group stage and then knocked England out of the last 16 to meet France in the quarterfinals.

O=∑Rt (a system is the sum of its relationships to the power of the trust in the relationships)
is an equation that shows how a team with strong relationships can beat a group of Individuals - a well know phenomenon in sport. The equation enables us to see inside a system and watch how the relationships grow and build, or not, and how the trust of the equation becomes love. Love is the strongest most efficient form of trust. With love, often little spoken communication is required, you know and feel the other so well, that a look or even a thought is enough to take the agreed action.

This magic called love is complex, unpredictable, uncontrollable and powerful. The Iceland team has been together since they were youngsters, the environment of few professional footballers didn't allow for anything else. Slowly they have learned to make the best of the skills they have, individually often less than their opponents, and the strength of their teamwork has grown with them. They also have two coaches, giving more perspectives than one, and in their environment they have been able to learn and grow.

The workshop on 5th July at Foam, Brussels will explore how to create the conditions for this growth of relationships and trust and how trust becomes its more powerful efficient form called love.

The Leicester team only came together at the start of last season, yet they too were able to reach a level of 'impossible' results, perhaps with a little more luck, but the stability of their core and the environment  and boundaries created by the manager and his staff team enabled players to reach their full potential.

This is a new form of leadership, not based on ego but on unleashing the collective brain and spirit of a group to take individuals to places they never dreamed of. Understanding the nature of complex human systems is the foundation of this approach.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit- Its a perfect example of not understanding how to think and make decisions in complex systems; the relationship(s) the UK has with EU is for more involved than even a hundred heads could hold, and it's suffered a linear intervention reduced to two options of In or Out.

 Linear interventions into complex systems explode in your face, QED.

Come to the workshop on 5th July at Foam in Brussels and we'll see together how to avoid these unintended consequences, by using our felt sense to navigate and map the systems and relationships involved and design appropriate interventions that don't throw the future to the wind of fortune.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Passionate about complexity science, I accompany people and organizations along the paths of their most difficult challenges.

Complex human systems arrive with a whole new way of thinking and making decisions. Simple right and wrong often ceases to have meaning, instead the art of navigating, harvesting and surfing become relevant, as we deal with contexts that contain too much information and too many uncontrollable variables for one head to think about and keep under control.

Unlocking the collective intelligence of an organization is one of the important interventions in situations like this.

The inclusive nature of complexity means that we map and remap the various topographies involved, so that the full extent of the relationships involved interventions and decisions can be thought through before pressing the button. 

This sounds like its getting there.....

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

My news is that i just bought a Windmill, with my half of the old house in Grez Doiceau, and my half of the flat in Schaerbeek, where Jane is going to live - having got a job in a school in Brussels.
It's just 400m from Hilde's house, and it comes with a 5 bedroomed house on a plot with a garden. In need of some renovation, both Mill & house, i'm going to restart the mill, millstones and flour mill is all still there although unused for nearly 10 years. (the sails were removed after war damage in 1950, replaced by a big diesel engine, also now gone i will run with electric motors. I’ll be starting up as an organic mill, there are not many in Belgium so it should have a good market. 

The business will run as a multi-stakeholder cooperative, optimising and sharing the value created across the whole value chain - my thing you know, to demonstrate that complex systems that include customers, suppliers, investors, co-workers and friends can be run successfully, if you understand the nature of complexity and how to navigate and harvest complex conditions.

And that's the third part, together with a friend who’s at from the Prigogine school of complexity at the ULB, a Physicist about our age called Vasilios Basios - greek of course - we're writing a book on harvesting complexity. A non-linear book, based around complexity lunches and workshops we’ve been holding over the past year, we hope in writing to capture a bit of the experience of navigating complex contexts, which means honing your ‘felt sense’ - a combination of Intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, intuition and musical senses. The combination of my operational use of complexity and the theory of complexity science has been fascinating, and inspiring and thats what we’re trying to get first into a book form, although etc,there are obvious multimedia forms too, from games to videos via workshops that we hope to develop over time.

Using the Mill which has great space for meetings and hosting people.

Come and see it when you’re next in Brussels, stay too, lots of space.