9. April 2018

Holacracy at Hypoport AG – a Case Study

I am happy to present about this topic at the 3rd IEC www.integraleuropeanconference.com

The Hypoport AG (https://www.hypoport.com/ ) is a so-called “unicorn” type company in the German fin-tech world. It offers finance- and insurance-related services to private customers, helping them to find the product that is right for them, drawing on the portfolio of products from various banks and insurance companies. Hypoport as a holding consist of a family of 14 technology-based financial service providers and in total employs about a 1.000 people. As such it is the largest Holacracy implementation case in Germany that I am currently aware of.

About 2 years ago, the Hypoport leaders decided that self-organization was the path to embark upon for the future. When it came to the concrete “how” they finally settled on Holacracy as the framework that is best described and most elaborated. That’s where I was invited as a certified Holacracy coach to support the process in September 2017.

In my contribution I will share my experiences of the Holacracy adaptation process, the methodology of the roll-out and discuss the obstacles.

From experience it became clear that Holacracy covers the part of organizing the work, but not necessarily covers all the people-, finance- or social questions. I will highlight the importance of creating spaces for negotiating the boundaries and relationships between the organization and the people, as well as between individuals themselves. This distinction is informed by the concept of the For-Purpose Enterprise, pioneered by encode.org, as well as by the concept of “Language of Spaces”, pioneered by Evolution at Work.

In this understanding it is key to create additional forums for processing tensions that are not directly related to the work or purpose of the organization – something that Holacracy in its pure form doesn’t cover per se, but can be used to organize, too.

My contribution will consist of the input above and a round of Q&A or discussion of your questions and remarks related to the topic.

I am very much looking forward to meeting you at IEC 2018!


Dennis Wittrock, M.A. in philosophy, certified Holacracy® Coach, partner at encode.org, founder of Integral Europe,  founder and former co-director of the IEC 2014 and 2016, served 5 years as CEO and board member of Integrales Forum and the Integral Academy in Germany. His purpose is to create spaces for the emergence of integral consciousness. www.integral-con-text.de

20. September 2016

Creating a Work Environment I’d Actually Like to Work In

I have recently been interviewed by Bill Fox of Container 13 in the interview series about Exploring Forward Thinking Workplaces. The following is a brief excerpt from the interview. You find the full interview by clicking on the link below.

Bill: What does it take to get an employee’s full attention and best performance?

Dennis: It requires an ability for employees to co-create and get an inner alignment with their purpose. If employees are able to co-shape the journey of the organization to fulfill the purpose they signed up for because it resonates with their own personal purpose, then there’s no big friction. There’s a natural joy, and a natural resonance with what needs to be done. The question doesn’t come up in the first place.

This question arises out of the unnatural condition that we find ourselves in this corporate world where it’s highly arbitrary and feels like “what does it have to do with me?” And if it actually doesn’t have anything to do with me, I need to be incentivised and motivated, but I think the inherent need in the universe is to express your full potential. If you look at a flower or anything in the natural world, it’s striving to express its purpose, its beauty, its natural potential. A tree grows as high as it can and as beautiful and magnificent as it can.

I think human beings just want to express their full self in work and so it’s not so much a question of how can we make them do that, but how can we help to remove the barriers of them doing so out out of their own accord. I think a big part of it is that you have to have the opportunity to work self-directed and within a larger context that aligns your personal purpose with an over arching purpose you consciously sign up for.

Read the full interview here: 

PDF Version: Exploring Forward-Thinking Workplaces™

27. August 2016

Artikel: How to Work, Earn, Live on Purpose

Ich arbeite seit kurzem für encode.org. Meine Partner sind Tom Thomison, auch co-Founder von HolacracyOne, und eine Gruppe von Kollegen mit tiefer Erfahrung in Holacracy und dem gesamten Feld von Teal und Selbstorganisation. Wir legen die rechtlichen, finanziellen und sozialen Grundlagen für "Self-Organizing Enterprises" (SOE), die mit Holacracy oder anderen Ansätzen arbeiten. Ich habe einen Artikel geschrieben, in dem ich unser woher und wohin zusammenfasse und einen Überblick gebe über das Konzept des SOE differenziert in "Organization", "Company" und "Association". Ich würde mich sehr über eure Kommentare, Fragen und Anmerkungen freuen. Teilen erwünscht!
Hier geht's zum Artikel (auf Medium.com):

WORKSHOP: Encoding Self-Organization Beyond the Work

Presented by: Tom Thomison & Christiane Seuhs-Schoeller
October 25th, 2016, Impact Hub Amsterdam, 10am-6pm
Experience what needs to shift to take self-organization to the next level: build pathways not only to work on purpose, but to earn and live on purpose as well.

19. Mai 2016

IEC 2016 Opening Address by Dennis Wittrock

Dear friends, 

I feel blessed to be able to welcome you to this second Integral European Conference. My own history with integral reaches back 16 years now when I first picked up a book by Ken Wilber and got introduced to Integral. Finally, there was something I wanted to share and amplify in the world, something that reflected my own values and way of thinking. Something true, good and beautiful. Something I could truly stand for. But it has not been an easy journey with integral through all these years. I started out with an innocent and naïve hope, that the Integral Revolution is just around the corner, a big explosion of deeper understanding, compassion and saner ways of treating each other and the planet - similar to my own individual “Heureka”-moment when I first ran into this stuff. Boy, was I wrong about that.

But, as Ken Wilber says, “nobody is smart enough to be wrong all the time”. I erred, but only about 20 years, or so. I felt like I’ve had a sneak preview of the future – with the little problem that only everybody else around me would have to catch up to make it a reality. But I was ready to become a source of that, to teach to others what I wanted to learn about integral myself, to lay down the railway-tracks while riding that train to this brighter, smarter, more humane place. Luckily, I found that was not alone in that. We’re never alone if we follow our hearts. We get introduced to people, things fall into place, we’re being lovingly guided, enveloped by a higher intelligence.

The first IEC was envisioned 2012 in Berlin, where I had invited two dozen integral leaders from Europe to come together and create visibility about what is going on in the national integral movements and associations. The goal was to connect and share and reinforce each other. This culminated in the first IEC 2014 in Budapest with the title of “The Emergence of Integral Consciousness in Europe”. 

Of course, Integral consciousness did not emerge in 2014 – it has been around well before that, described by various pioneers of psychology and consciousness research like James Mark Baldwin or Prof. Clare Graves, cultural anthropologists like Jean Gebser, or spiritual philosophers like Sri Aurobindo. The work of Ken Wilber is simply the most recent and most compelling evidence of a phenomenon to which the mainstream is blind, but that is definitely out there and in here: a new complexity of consciousness is being born in our midst, creatively expressing itself in a multitude of ways.

Professor Clare Graves, a pioneer in describing the levels of human existence and “grandfather” of the Spiral Dynamics model, always reminded us to view the emergence of a new consciousness in relationship with the exterior life conditions that humans are facing. New life-conditions give rise to new consciousness, which in turn produces new and more complex life conditions, and so on – but there is no guarantee that the process will at all times spiral upwards towards sweetness and light. Regression is very possible.

This year’s title is “Reinventing Europe – Integral Reflections in a Rapidly Changing World”. Europe is clearly at a point of crisis. The influx of refugees, economical difficulties, war in the Ukraine, the rise of nationalism, and the questioning of the basic values of the European Union create new life-conditions and complexities that need to be dealt with. Who has all the answers to all these challenges? We’re not supposing that we as integral movement do, but what we offer is to bring to bear an integral perspective on these issues. Because a little more wholeness and integrality is so much better than increasing our efforts to solve things with a fragmented view of reality, a disembodied stance, ignorant with regard to the evolution of consciousness and culture. Or in short: with a crappy map of reality. I do believe, that we can do better than that. I do believe we can truly stop being part of the problem and become a part of the solution instead.

As you may have noticed, this year in our program we’re putting an emphasis on the contributions from the emerging Teal-movement. Frederic Laloux’s book “Reinventing Organizations” has not only inspired a dynamic and rapidly growing community of organizational pioneers, but also our conference title “Reinventing Europe”. The message of the book is: it is already happening, folks! Organizations are changing and demonstrate that they are able to operate from a completely new level - “teal”, “yellow”, “integrated”, “integral” - whatever you want to call it. People and organizations that have never heard about integral, Ken Wilber, Laloux or Spiral Dynamics are already expressing integral in action: self-organization, evolutionary purpose and wholeness - for years. This is really hopeful and truly inspiring for me to see.

One example: in 2006 I ran into Brian Robertson and Tom Thomison with their teal organizational practice “Holacracy”. Back then I sensed the huge potential and brought them to Germany for their first European tour in 2007. Now, nine years later, they are really going through the roof with major companies implementing their method and the practice spreading like wildfire. Clearly, change is happening and there is a great longing for a new way of working together and expressing our shared purpose through that.

We are happy to join forces this year with George Pór, Alia Aurami and Chris Clark from Enlivening Edge. We wish to marry the Reinventing Organizations movement with the international integral movement. Welcome to our honeymoon. Organizations are a powerful force on the planet and transforming them is necessary - but is it sufficient? I like how George reframed the challenge of scaling the Reinventing Organizations work to a bigger context. He spoke of “Reinventing Social Systems”. This falls completely in line with the theme of “Reinventing Europe”. To reinvent Europe, we need to do the nitty-gritty work in all areas of society: in education, in science, in business, in economics, in politics, in community building, spirituality, etc, etc. We are lucky be able to feature and highlight the work of so many of you who have contributed to make IEC such a rich integral tapestry.

We will hear awesome keynote speakers. But the real star of the show is the integral community itself. This is why we designed the conference format to maximize engagement among participants during thematic sections, transformative workshop sessions and community events. Make use of this unique opportunity to meet, mingle, share and inspire each other!

Let me offer some critical reflections about larger patterns in the integral scene. All of us who have followed the integral movement over the last decade have witnessed the rise and fall of self-proclaimed integral spiritual teachers who apparently did not live up to what I view as one of the cornerstones of integralism: basic ethics and integrity. Nobody among is without failures and shadows - and in fact at IEC we are actually offering forums and feedback for anybody willing to work on their personal stuff.

These figures, among them Marc Gafni, Andrew Cohen, and Genpo Roshi, have done damage to the public reputation of integral itself – so much so, that there was a major debate at the last Integral Theory Conference, whether or not Integral Theory should distance itself from spirituality altogether. I don’t think so, but I get the point. My hope and my experience in being with the integral community is that there is an ability to sense and to differentiate between what’s right and what’s wrong when it comes to spirituality or any other topic. I encourage you to exercise your ability to make your own critical discernments and draw clear boundaries, thereby making sure the community self-corrects and does not devolve into groupthink, hubris or the tempting idea of one’s own superiority.

These so-called teachers are not infallible, Integral is not going to save the world, Ken Wilber is not our guru, the Integral community is not a cult, you are not “superior” to your fellow human brothers or sisters, a late stage of development is no guarantee for happiness or fulfillment in life – it depends on what you do with it. 

But all of that is no excuse whatsoever to withhold or hide all our gifts from the world, all the brilliant theories and distinctions, your passions and talents, your hopes and your dreams. And integral has a lot of them. So bring them to the table and let your light shine. As always it is both- and: humility and divine pride, total surrender and completely going for what you believe in.

I would also like to offer some thoughts about the cohesion and level of integration of the integral scene itself. Integral is diverse. We have a lot of brilliant individualists, expressing their self authentically and doing integral work in the world. You could call that a healthy “yellow” autonomous self-sense. Many Integralists are like cats – ironically, it is hard to get them together and join forces. The Integral scene is not very integrated in itself. Everybody’s got their own little integral hub, their little integral business, their little turf, but a concerted, coordinated global action seems extremely rare or hard to achieve among integralists. I speak from experience. There is too much infighting going on, too many ego-games, too little working together towards a shared global purpose – despite the fact that we agree on so much more things than on what we disagree on. Now I would like to ask you all to raise you right hand and gently slap your forehead with your palm like this. Speak after me “THIS IS STUPID.”

I find it a bit of an irony and maybe there is truth to the concept that early integral is very individualistic, whereas more mature integral swings back to the collectivistic pole of the polarity. I think we sorely need this higher collective integration of integral tribes and initiative, a true conspiracy of sanity on this planet, where finally some smart and caring grown-ups get together and have a serious conversation about the future of our planet and what we as Integral Movement are willing to give and - dare I say - sacrifice for that. Don’t ask what integral can do for youinstead ask what you can do for integral!

The ultimate act of heroic leadership – its paradoxical fulfillment - is the moment, when our integral leaders give up their self-concerned power games, when we give up our need to be front and center, when we give up our need to run the show, to be at the top of the hill , the need to control our peers, but instead trust their intelligence and good will and collaborate.

I am standing here on this stage and speaking to you as what some might see as an “integral leader”. Let me tell you this: I never aspired to be in this position. Rather, I ended up here because I was never really satisfied with the degree of implementation of integral ideas in the world. I am still not. I would have loved to join a mature integral organization in my area. There was none. I was ahead of my time, lonely, craving for connection, longing for a community of the adequate, for true integral fellowship.

But you can only complain for so long. In the end I rolled up my sleeves and joined various loose networks and worked to improve the structures, organizations and connections that I found. I ended up leading Integral Europe, but I am not particularly keen on leading. Leading is difficult - people project all kinds of stuff onto you – good or bad - and then rather stand back, watch and criticize what you do from afar. I would rather like to co-create with grown-ups on a grown-up level and work together towards a shared higher purpose.

Look at worldwide politics for example. It’s a mess. The truth is that we let immature children run our countries and fuck up our planet. I have a 8-year-old boy at home, so I know what childish behavior looks like. Would the true grown-ups please stand up? Do it with me. Please stand up now for a moment.

Thank you.

That’s what we need to Reinvent Europe!

I wish you a great conference!

7. September 2015

Holacracy Events in Hamburg (Sep/ Okt)

Ich möchte Euch ganz herzlich einladen zu meinen zwei Veranstaltungen zum Thema "Holacracy" im September und Oktober:

Kostenloser Vortrag im September:

15. September 2015, 19:30 - 21:00 Uhr,
Integralis Hamburg, Stückenstr. 74, 22081 Hamburg

Alle Infos und Details findet Ihr auf der Event-Page:

Begleitende Event-Seiten in sozialen Netzwerken:
Als Event auf Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1658357101048586/
Als Event auf XING: https://www.xing.com/events/vortrag-holacracy-soziale-technologie-organisationen-1594792

INTRO-WORKSHOP: "The Holacracy Experience"

vom 15.-16. Oktober 2015 in Hamburg

Holacracy® ist ein komplettes, skalierbares System zur Strukturierung eines Unternehmens ohne eine traditionelle  Management-Hierarchie, jedoch mit mehr Klarheit, Verantwortung und Agilität. Holacracys Governance Prozess erlaubt einer Firma ihre Strukturen und Regeln kontinuierlich weiter zu entwickeln angesichts einer sich ständig verändernden Welt – mithilfe der Weisheit ihrer Mitarbeiter. Und Holacracys dezentralisierte Struktur ermächtigt jeden einen Teil des Unternehmens zu führen, mit klarer Autonomie aber auch mit klaren Verantwortlichkeiten.

Alle Infos und Details findet Ihr auf der Event-Page:

Begleitende Event-Seiten in sozialen Netzwerken:
Als Event auf Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/883049241785031/
Als Event auf XING: https://www.xing.com/events/the-holacracy-experience-1592659

Achtung: die ersten 5 Anmeldungen sind zwischen 100-180€ vergünstigt.

Ich würde mich über reges Interesse und fleißiges Teilen der Einladung in Euren Netzwerken freuen!

18. August 2015

Crowdfunding Kampagne für IEC 2016

Liebe Freunde,

wir haben gerade unsere Crowdfunding Kampagne für IEC 2016 gestartet. Details und Videobotschaft findet ihr hier:

Ich bitte euch um eure Unterstützung um diese wichtige Konferenz zu finanzieren. Spenden aus Deutschland sind steuerlich absetzbar.

Teilen und liken auf Facebook hilft ebenfalls. Danke!

ITC 2015 — Notes From the Field

ITC, I am coming!
The Integral Theory Conference 2015 (ITC) was the fourth of its kind (after 2008, 2010, and 2013) and was held in California, like its predecessors. This time, it took place in Rohnert Park at the Sonoma State University (SSU), surrounded by a beautiful campus setting with plenty of recreational opportunities.

Participants were able to cluster together in vacant student houses, which amounted to a bit of a village feel and infused the evenings with student party appeal — altogether a rejuvenating experience for the global integral family. In the evenings, people would browse different house parties, have a beer or two (or more), and engage in conversations that you can only have in integral circles (including topics like Integral Methodological Pluralism, Reinventing Organizations, climate change, meditation, post-capitalist society, NFL gossip, and plenty of silly jokes).
Welcome to Integral Village!
I was even able to detect the source of that ecstatic blues-jazz improvisation noise coming from one of the participant’s village houses: it emanated from the Integral Recovery Institute folks John Dupuy (blues guitar) and Dr. Bob Weathers (percussion), supported by jazz legend and professor of music Ed Sarath on trumpet. John later told me he wants to make a recording with these guys and call the combo “Integral Fusion.” Nice.
John Dupuy, Bob Weathers and Ed Sarath

Self-Disclosure and Disclaimer

As you can tell by now, I don’t hide the fact that my article is a pretty subjective snapshot of this event. Nevertheless, I hope to be able to provide some serious 3rd person reporting as well. I took some more or less comprehensive notes of the sessions I participated in and tried to reconstruct their meaning in hindsight as best as I could to unfold them here for you. I missed out on some program slots, because I was busy preparing my own presentation though. I also write from the perspective of being one of the co-directors of the Integral European Conference, with specific attention on the conference design principles that were applied here. Please also note that I come from Germany where the words “How are you?” represent a genuine question, not a mere greeting formula — a constant source of intercultural irritation, despite knowing better. So much for cultural conditioning… I provide this info to help you locate the “Kosmic address” and various background contexts from which I offer my observations and experiences. Feel free to give me feedback on misunderstandings or share diverging opinions.

8. Juni 2015

"Wir. Mitten im Leben" - IF Konferenz 2015

"Wir. Mitten im Leben", die diesjährige Konferenz des Integrales Forum e.V. vom 19.-21.06. im Ruhrgebiet verspricht großartig zu werden.

Das Line-up ist beeindruckend: der Top-Autor und integrale Shooting-Star der Organisationsentwicklungsszene, Frederic Laloux / Reinventing Organizations (der sonst nur selten reist) kommt, um mit Vertretern von zwei der in seinem Buch erwähnten Beispiele, Joachim Galuska (Klink und Akademie Heiligenfeld ), sowie Margret Rasfeld, Rektorin einer der innovativsten Schulen Deutschlands, über integrale Organisationen zu sprechen.

 Ich freue mich besonders, dass die Innovationen des Konferenzdesigns der ersten Integral European Conference mit all der Erfahrung der vergangenen deutschsprachigen Konferenzen zusammenfließen, dank Hanna Huendorf, die hier mit Ihren Kollegen diese inhaltliche und konzeptionelle Brücke baut. So wird dann auch mein IEC Kollege Bence Ganti wieder einen Großgruppenprozess leiten, zusammen mit Holger Fuchs. 

Eine Mixtur von bewährten und neuen Referenten bietet ein reiches Workshopbüffet, gepaart mit Lagerfeuerromantik. Als deutschsprachiger 'Integralist' sollte man sich das auf keinen Fall entgehen lassen. Bucht, solange es noch freie Plätze gibt. Ich hoffe euch dort zu treffen!

Hier gibt's mehr Informationen und die Möglichkeit zur Anmeldung

17. Februar 2015


Mein neues Projekt: Zusammen mit meinem Kollegen Hartmut Paul biete ich jetzt Dienstleistungen zur Verbesserung der Meetingqualität an: www.meetingdoctor.de

Symptome der Meeting-Krankheit:

  • Zu häufige und Zeit fressende Meetings
  • Ineffiziente Entscheidungsfindung
  • Unklarheit über aktuelle Projekte und nächste Schritte
  • Blindflug: fehlendes oder veraltetes Bild der Lage
  • Zufällige Abarbeitung von Themen - je nach dem wer am lautesten schreit
  • Schlechte oder fehlende Moderation
  • Vermischung von operationalen, Struktur- und Strategie-Fragen
  • Permanentes Smartphone-Checken unter dem Tisch
  • Langeweile, Frustration und mangelndes Engagement

Lassen Sie sich helfen

Wenn Sie drei oder mehr Symptome bei sich entdecken konnten, und eine effektive Therapie suchen, raten wir Ihnen sich vertrauensvoll an die Spezialisten von Meeting-Doctor zu wenden. Noch ist es nicht zu spät! Wir kurieren Sie kurzfristig und geben Ihnen die Tools für eine nachhaltige Gesundung an die Hand. www.meetingdoctor.de

20. Januar 2015

The IEC Material Collection

Wir haben eine Menge Arbeit reingesteckt und nun ist sie endlich da - die IEC Material Collection. Wer die Konferenz verpasst hat, der kann sich hier noch mal das Best-of aller Beiträge anschauen, anhören und nachlesen. Check it out! www.integraleuropeanconference.com 

Get the IEC Material Collection

Schaut euch dazu auch den folgenden Trailer-Clip (2 Min) an:

Den kompletten Konferenz-Dokumentarfilm (60 Min) findet ihr unter www.integraleuropeanconference.com


Join us for the 2nd Integral European Conference!
18-22 May 2016, Budapest