This series of workshops on the basis of the FAUC (Framework for Acting under Uncertainty and Complexity) consists of the following workshops of 2-3 hours each. This series is set up on a modular basis, i.e. each workshop stands on its own. That also means they can be followed in any order. Each session will start with a brief general introduction to the FAUC, followed by discussion of a more specific aspect or application of FAUC. The sessions will be interactive, the first seven also including a case study. Workshop 9 and 10 can also be given in Dutch, if preferred.
Workshop 1: Alertness, including a case study on the sinking of the Titanic
Workshop 2: Resilience, including a case study on a race to the South Pole
Workshop 3: Creativity/Innovative power, including a case study on Filippo Brunelleschi
Workshop 4: Knowledge and Wisdom, including a case study on I pencil
Workshop 5: Entrepreneurial mindset, including a case study on Jan Koum
Workshop 6: Adaptability, including a case study on the development of Blackberry
Workshop 7: Antifragility, including a case study on the power of vulnerability
Workshop 8: Just Culture, in two modules (General principles and perspectives (1) and
Historical development and applications (2))
Workshop 9: Operational resilience
Workshop 10: Dealing with complex (“wicked”) problems and uncertainty
The minimum number of participants per workshop is 10 and the maximum number of participants 20.
The workshops are preferably given on location, but can also be given in a virtual format.
Attendants of the workshop will receive a signed certificate confirming their participation.
FAUC is the framework for Acting under Uncertainty and Complexity. It is based on the insight that there may always be surprises, both positive and negative, which will prompt us to review our current course of action and take decisions. Many persons and institutions around the world are seeking better ways to prepare for and deal with the unexpected, to deal with the inevitable surprises in life and the unpredictability of the future. The FAUC provides the approach for doing this effectively, being able to thrive in our unpredictable world, both at an individual personal development- and a country, company, team level.
The first seven workshops have their main focus on the personal level, whereas the final three focus on the level of a company, organisation, department or group.
The FAUC has a strong theoretical basis in Austrian economics, an ethical foundation and embraces a strengths based approach to life and personal development.
Practicing alertness is a vital capacity. It is acting to discover surprises, both positive and negative ones. It means having our eyes open and spotting changes, potential problems and opportunities that can lead us to (not) achieving our goals. In other words, we will discuss (better) means to reach our ends. Some people may spot opportunities or threats within society that others do not see, small gaps, small solutions to problems or inefficiencies, small possibilities for improvement or alteration. This usually starts as a small thought, a tiny idea, but may also impress itself upon you as something amazing and you wonder why you did not see it before. Alertness is one of the most important qualities in an entrepreneurial mindset.
The crucially important quality of alertness is vital not only in the economy, but also for individuals in the workplace. Clearly if a keen and watchful eye is good for the entrepreneur it is good for all of us. In this workshop, we will explore this much sought after quality in an interactive way, including a case study on the sinking of the Titanic (few pages to be read in preparation for the workshop).
Resilience is acting to be able to avoid or reduce the impact of negative surprises and to be able to recover from negative surprises. This workshop mainly deals with resilience on a personal level. On that level it is a quality or strength that has much to do with one’s attitude. Clearly and logically, if and when confronted with setbacks one needs to have the strengths of character to keep going when life gets tough. The strength of resilience will be explored in an interactive way, including a case study of the race to the South Pole of Scott and Amundsen (few pages to be read in preparation for the workshop).
Our lives can challenge us to such an extent that a person can easily become disillusioned and give up. Resilience is the attitude that says: “Get up and try again”. Even a genius without resilience and endurance is unlikely to succeed in his life’s goals. Whether your goals are big or small in your personal and professional life, resilience is an indispensable quality.
Resilience is not about suppressing or hiding stressful difficulties, but rather acknowledging and reflecting on them and redirecting freshly discovered insights towards your goals. It is also about differentiating between what is under our control and what is not and focusing our efforts and energy on the former. This is aligned with the pragmatic approach of the classical Greek and Roman Stoics.
Creativity is the capacity to create surprises for others and for oneself; to create responses to problems and to grasp perceived opportunities. Creativity plays a crucial role in personal and professional development. Once an opportunity or problem is spotted, one needs to do something about it through being creative. A creative mindset tries to tinker with possible solutions to problems and with ways to seize perceived opportunities.
It goes without saying that creativity is not only used by those who discover opportunities that no else sees, it is crucially important for each person wanting to achieve their goals, whatever these goals may be. This innovative behaviour of these creative invididuals catches on, as their ideas, products and services (via their organisations and companies), extend to the rest of society.
Through exercises, examples and an interactive case study discussion, creativity will be explored. Participants will gain insights and practical applications for themselves and their organisations. In preparation for the workshop a few pages about the case study about Filippo Brunelleschi have to be read.
Knowledge underlies all human action. In the context of the FAUC it is the set of perceived causal (“if A than B”) relations that are the basis of an individual’s actions. In that sense it is an overarching strength. An individual will however always lack sufficient knowledge to be able to predict the future in any detail. As emphasised throughout all FAUC -workshops: there is always potential surprise, positive and negative. These provide opportunities to gain new knowledge. Without surprises there would be no change, no learning and no (personal) development.
This workshop focuses on how new knowledge is generated in a discovery process and the central role of knowledge in development, change, and learning. We will explore how important knowledge is, what different types of knowledge can be distinguished, but also how little we (can) know and how dispersed knowledge is among individuals. The workshop includes a case study on the role of knowledge and the functioning of markets. In preparation for this workshop a few pages about the case study have to be read.
The entrepreneurial mindset is the name for a specific set of qualities that focuses on continually seeking improvements, driving human action. The person who employs these qualities is a doer who is not afraid to dive into the unknown, the person that gets beaten down and gets back up, the person who is alerted to new opportunities and adapts as the situation requires. It is the mindset required to be able to act in our unpredictable world, full of potential surprises, positive and negative. It is a mindset of “can do”. The entrepreunerial mindset faces and embraces a problem and pursues to discover a solution.
This strength will be further explored through a fascinating case study on entrepreneur Jan Koum. How can you become more alert to opportunities and act on them? How can you become more entrepreneurial within your job role? How can you adopt an entrepreneurial mindset? In preparation for this workshop a few pages about the case study need to be read.
Adaptability, the capacity to respond to surprises, is a quality found in almost every single job requirement, is an important and logically needed strength when one accepts the fact that life unfolds facing an unpredictable future, full of surprises. With each twist and turn in life, one needs to adapt to the surprises that constantly present themselves.
FAUC Personal Development asserts that although the future is impossible to predict, it can be imagined. So how can we hone the capacity to respond to surprises? Participants will further their understanding of the mindset of adaptability and how to respond to the unknowable by using imagination to think ahead. One of the tools for imagining possible futures is scenario thinking. This views the future as constructed by the imagination of individuals. Acting upon these imaginings, individuals co-create the future and get ready to adapt to the surprises that it holds. Adaptability is a guiding quality in this whole process, and what is more, you can learn to make it one of the strenghts in your toolkit. A case study on Blackberry’s failure to adapt will be explored and discussed. In preparation for this workshop two brief articles in the context of the case study need to be read.
Within the FAUC antifragility is defined as the strength to be able to benefit from negative surprises and to thrive under stress. Antifragility, the opposite of being fragile, is an extension of resilience, but also much more than that. It is an evolutionary robustness that has developed over time which takes into account that the pruning of the tree produces thicker and stronger branches that eventually bear more fruit. It is the attitude, mixed with the knowledge that says: “embracing the pruning is the best way forward”. It relates to some of the qualities described by the Greek/Roman Stoics who argued that “the obstacle is the way”. Being antifragile has attributes of a skill but it is also a type of attitude, a mix of both, learned over time, imbued with evolutionary knowledge. Being antifragile entails knowing on a deeper level that embracing the obstacles is the best way to discover the knowledge required to solve the problems or respond to opportunities that lie ahead. An antifragile person internalizes sets of best practices, institutions, customs and beliefs that have proven over time to be effective in action. You will be fascinated being introduced to the ideas of the man who coined the term: Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The case study will deal with the power of vulnerability. In preparation for this workshop a brief article related to the case study needs to be read.
It has long been understood that the workplace requires focused attention on safety issues to be resilient. Consequently “safety culture” became part of organizational culture. Honest reporting of mistakes and accidents (negative surprises in the language of the FAUC) was a crucial pillar within this approach to facilitate “Learning From Incidents (LFI)”. This led to specific reporting requirements. However, human nature is such that people are inclined to pass the blame for incidents (negative surprises in the FAUC language) to others rather than acknowledging them. The term “Just Culture” was coined to articulate this complexity of interactions in the workplace and the need for openness in order to facilitate learning based on correct operational assessments. It is imperative that both management and the workfloor develop a more compassionate relationship with failure.
The rationale for a “Just Culture” is simple. If we hope to respond to the challenges of fundamental uncertainty, whether a fragile monetary/financial system or a fragile health or pension system, then unethical decisions, unfair policies, harmful behaviors and dishonest reporting are not going to result in making these systems more resilient. Importantly as much as these principles play on the macro and meso level, they do so equally on the micro level for personal development.
This workshop explores the intricacies of this balancing act with lectures, interactions and practical examples. The course contains two modules.
General Principles & Perspectives-Module 1
The development of a “Just Culture” has been extensively implemented in both the airline industry as well as the healthcare and nursing professions. At the same time, it continues to present an ongoing challenge, finding a balance between unintentional mistakes and wilful negligence as well as balancing opportunities for learning with repercussions for wrongdoing. Embracing these challenges and further developing their implementation requires an ethical component in order for the needed honesty and openness to become pervasive throughout the organization. The FAUC “Just Culture” conveys that message and finds that balance. The development of a “Just Culture” is in part the complex result of a multitude of human interactions, but not exactly the result of something meticulously planned and designed, rather, emergence of a new operational resilience within organizations.
The FAUC recognizes and builds on these crucial insights for its own application of “Just Culture”. This module explores the foundations for the thinking behind “Just Culture” and the often required attitudinal shift required for its implementation.
Historical Developments & Applications- Module 2
Looking at history it is clear that there have been countless efforts to discover, articulate and pursue an ever more “Just Culture” in the broadest sense of the term, i.e. just laws and just government to lead better lives that are fair and just. There are endless wise sayings and proverbs scattered throughout classical literature and religious texts. The ancients and the wise have intuitively understood that the foundations for effective and harmonious living must include some set of principles ensuring continuity and prosperity for the tribe, the village or township. From the Code of Hammurabi to Moses to Jesus and today, mankind has tried to come up with some all-encompassing golden rule or set of rules to accomplish this purpose. The medical profession is credited to have coined the “First, Do-No-Harm” principle. Christians have come up with the famous “Do unto Others as You wish Them to do unto You”. From the tiniest business community to the largest cities, people have organically developed principles and rules to ensure their livelihoods and civilizations would evolve, survive and prosper. These guiding principles require people to act responsibly. However, in the absence of that personal responsibility and accountability there needs to be a “culture” in place that supports effective responses to those situations. It is precisely that type of “culture” we aim to dissect, study, adapt and adopt to make today’s workplace and society more resilient and sustainable.
Operational resilience is the capacity to avoid or mitigate the impact of negative surprises (i.e. shocks, mistakes, disruptions) on one’s business activities, to recover from such surprises and remain viable. The neglect of operational resilience leads to high costs. There are many examples to demonstrate this in the context of the Covid 19 outbreak, Brexit, the development of the Boeing 737 max, cyber attacks, financial crises, money laundering issues and climate change. An approach that helps to conduct (business) activities in a resilient way, is highly needed. Operational resilience is a precondition for sustainability and long term value creation.
This workshop provides an introduction to such an approach to operational resilience. The workshop is conducted on an interactive basis and does not require any preparation.
Since the 1970s we know that there is a difference between “wicked” and “tame” problems. “Tame” problems can be solved in a linear process of defining the problem, collecting data, estimation of a model, determining instruments, executing an analysis, finding a solution and implementing the solution. Finding and implementing the solution can be separated.
This process does not work for dealing with “wicked” problems. Based on the FAUC in this workshop the difference between “wicked” and “tame” problems will be explained. It will be demonstrated that social problems are almost always “wicked” and why the linear way of solving problems does not work for social problems. We show an approach to dealing with “wicked” problems and touch upon some tools that can be used.
The recent Covid-19 outbreak is a typical “wicked” problem. It has made clear that a linear approach to this problem, also not well taking into account the inevitable lack of knowledge with one has to act in dealing with this problem, is likely to cause avoidable damage to the health, well being of the population and the economy.
The world is full with “wicked” issues; an arbitrary collection: poverty, obesity, traffic congestion, climate change, terrrorism, inequality, ageing, food security, energy security, crime, cyber security, homelessness, pollution, etc.
Every person and company is at any moment probably involved in one or more “wicked” issues. Knowledge of “wicked” problems and how to deal with them is therefore important for everybody. Participation in this workshop does not require any preparation.
Bio of Speakers
Lex Hoogduin is professor of complexity and uncertainty at the University of Groningen. He holds a PhD in economics from the same university, where he also has completed his masters (cum laude). Lex is a very experienced teacher; he has been teaching since the middle of the 1980s.
He is co-owner and CEO of the Global Complexity Network, a company which helps individuals, companies, groups, countries, etc. to thrive in our unpredictable world. He has developed the Framework for Acting under Uncertainty and Complexity (FAUC). This framework constitutes the basis for the above series of workshops.
He also holds a number of board positions in the financial and healthcare sector. In the past he has worked in different roles at the Dutch central bank (DNB), the last time as executive director. Lex has among others also been chief economist of Robeco, advisor to the president of the European Central Bank and member of the board of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) and has been chairing LCH Group, Ltd. and SA, clearing houses majority owned by LSEG.
Sujatha de Poel
Sujatha de Poel is a coach, trainer and personal development expert who has extensive experience within academia and the coaching world.
Sujatha’s career has taken her to Asia, the Middle East and Europe. She has operated in diverse cultural environments and has taken on various senior rules in education and development. Sujatha is passionate about helping others recognize and achieve their highest potential. She applies the science of positive psychology and a strengths-based coaching approach to fuel personal transformation and organizational performance.
As a mother, Sujatha has been active in the worldwide movement of alternative education and has home-schooled her five children and helped them develop their creativity and independent thinking through study and travels. Currently, they are all professionals in various fields.
From 2006-2011, in Damascus, Syria, Sujatha led training programs for staff, and taught Business Skills and Career Development courses at the U.S. State Department Education Program. From 2012-2017 at the University of Groningen, Sujatha designed and delivered a wide range of careers and employability trainings to Bachelor, Master, PhD and Doctoral candidates, while also supporting them with individualized coaching. She has also been a lecturer of Academic English Writing Skills, and Presentation & Debating Skills at the University of Groningen.
Since 2017, Sujatha has partnered with Lex Hoogduin and GloComNet in developing and designing the FAUC Personal Development and other FAUC applications. She is a board member of GloComNet and runs her own coaching practice.
Sujatha holds an MSc degree in Coaching and Career Management from Birkbeck’s Organizational Psychology department at the University of London. She is certified in Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and holds a Bachelor degree in English and History from the University of Bombay. Sujatha is a polyglot and speaks six languages.
Riekus de Poel
Riekus has spent three decades in international development projects in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Having lived and worked in India, Sri-Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey, Greece and Italy for 30+ years has allowed for the absorption of their respective cultures. With a focus on personal development and training for local and regional NGOs, he has a keen sense of cultural developments and their nuances and how these play out between management and the workfloor. This rich international and intercultural experience serves as a backdrop for his lively lectures.
He graduated in Politics and International Relations from the London School of Economics (University of London). He achieved autodidact mastery of the Austrian School of Economics, which lies at the heart of the FAUC developed by professor Lex Hoogduin. He has helped to further develop FAUC applications.
Riekus speaks five languages, loves his wife and is proud of his kids. Most importantly, he regrets not finding enough time to read all the books that need reading. Nevertheless, he is always ready to share his knowledge and help others connect the dots of our fascinating and complex world.
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