Recap of Dots 1 - Unseen Web of Connections

Apr 12, 2019

Dialogues on Societal Transformation off to a vibrant start

On Wednesday 10 April, we kicked off the monthly series Dialogues on Societal Transformation, for which over 175 people from across the world joined. The session addressed three important areas in which major shifts are happening: politics, economy and education. For a video recap of the session, see below.


The very first episode of Dialogues on Societal Transformation created a real sense of excitement, connection and buzz among the participants as they each dialled in from across countries, sectors and networks.

Otto sparked the conversation in the room by elaborating on the three narratives that drive the axial shifts happening in the world today, in the areas of politics, economics and education.

With people tuning in from all over the world – from interested change-makers to presencing practitioners, to online and offline learners from the different cohorts of our various programs, and everything in between – the diverse attendees at the Dialogue session were a great reflection of our wider ecosystem.

The word cloud below reflects the various places and nationalities represented during the session.

Countries DoST

After Otto’s introduction, the participants were divided into virtual breakout rooms to hold a dialogue in groups of four to five. The questions they were given were:

  • Introduce yourself and share a story: where you have seen symptoms of an axial shift in the economy, in politics, or in learning systems?
  • Do you feel being part of a movement around this?
  • If so, how important is it for you going forward?

The participants then had some time to discuss these questions and topics among themselves. After the breakout sessions, everyone returned to the main room to hold a plenary harvest of insights, inspirations and reflections.

A shared observation was that many activities and initiatives participants were involved in actually touch on all three areas of politics, economy and education in some way. They are clearly not separate. There was also a collective sense of being part of a bigger movement and network, and the excitement that comes with the discovery of not being alone in the quest for transformation.

As one particpant said:

"It came to my heart that (...) if we are here, we are part of a movement - we are the movement. (...) We just need to be reminded of the intention that we hold for ourselves. (...) And be reminded that maybe it's little things that we need to make this action come to reality, and share it with the world."

The word cloud below gives an impression of what participants shared in the chat during this plenary session. It is clear that words like movement, connection, community, people and feeling were important in what came up for those attending the session. 

word cloud DoST

Otto closed off the session, referring to the "unseen web of connections" across initiatives and sectors worldwide that became tangible during the session. He also touched on the question of "When and where can we bring in these systems and tools for change?" as many systems might seem solid and unchangeable, but do show cracks in certain places.

As Otto said in closing: "The cracks in the old system are opening up. It's an art form that we need to develop to not waste our time on stuff that isn't changeable, but really find those openings, the cracks where they are open, and to begin to work with them."


Join Episode 2 -- “Reinventing the 21st-Century University: the new learning coordinates”


After this vibrant start to the Dialogues on Societal Transformation, we are excited to see what future sessions might spark. The second session in May will zoom in on education and the "new learning coordinates" of our time.

If you would like to attend, sign up now on Eventbrite for Wednesday 8 May at 12pm EDT / 6pm CEST. The last session filled up very quickly, so be sure to sign up soon to secure your seat!

Otto’s most recent article Vertical Literacy: Reimagining the 21st Century University serves as valuable pre-reading for episode 2.


Below is a nutshell video-recap of Episode 1:  


Some responses from participants to the session:

“Wow! That was deep!”

“It's powerful, the feeling of being part of a network!”

“I’ve heard so many different stories, from different places, about different sectors and on different scales and I feel very connected to people I spoke with!”

“The collective intention and movement are really inspiring! Let’s keep connected.”