Nora Wilhelm speaking at Biovision's 20th anniversary

On the occasion of their 20th anniversary, Biovision Foundation offered our Catalyst Nora Wilhelm the challenge of holding a Laudatio, expressing her vision for the next 20 years. Amongst her conclusions were:

  • the need for taking responsibility for our actions and starting with ourselves (e.g sustainable and socially just consumption in CH)

  • the importance of working together

  • how we can either challenge the system within and without or reproduce old patterns.

Merci for the warm welcome in your Biovision Family and all the positive feedback! Here’s to you🥂

Gender equity – did I actually care?

I used to think that I care about gender equity. That’s why I decided to join the first cohort of the collaboratio helvetica GenderLab. Well… I also thought I would look pretty good if I did “this thing” as a white, straight cis-male.

During the first retreat, I listened to some very powerful stories from women and queer men, which changed my interactions with humans forever. I went on a dialogue walk with a mechanical engineer who works in a leadership position at an international tech company. She shared how as a woman, she always factors in the gender aspect – in every significant professional interaction. For example, when sending an important email, she asks herself, “Should I send it, or have a male colleague send it? Will I be perceived as ‘bitchy’ if I give this feedback?”, etc. Wow. In addition to a highly complex job (in terms of content), to always have that additional layer on top…

During a very powerful council circle, I had the chance to listen to a veteran humanitarian worker, who walked us through many phases in her life. At the beginning of her career, she quickly got to the first road-blocks as a woman. She realized that her beauty helped at times, but got strongly criticized for leveraging that. Working hard while having kids, and getting criticized. Not working hard while having kids, and of course getting criticized for that too. “I NEVER GOT IT RIGHT”. Wow. Why do we so often pick women apart? I suddenly started to realize that it was not only my wife’s “problem”. It was omnipresent.

At some point we were writing post-its to put together a wish list for the future of gender equity. I had written down “fathers 2.0”. At the same time one of the queer participants placed a post-it with “e.g. 5 queer humans can get married together”. I looked at my post-it and his, and realized there was an entire universe of possibilities still to be discovered. I crossed out “fathers 2.0” and wrote instead “parents 2.0 – it can be 5 queer humans”. In reality, so-called “patchwork families” with beloved children and all different kinds (and numbers) of parent relationships already exist. It is our legal framework that is outdated and so one-dimensional in terms of gender!

When I got back to my job, I had quite a hard landing. I started to pay attention to my thoughts, and my biases towards women. I sat in business meetings and realized that I had thoughts like “wow, she is super quick and intelligent, wow”. Why would I think such a thing…? Do I have a basic assumption that a woman is inferior due to her gender – at least in a business setting? Do I hold her to a second standard? Really? Me? The son of gender conscious parents, the brother of two sisters, the husband of a strong, professionally active woman, the father of soon 2 daughters?! YEP. The gender-career test of the Harvard Implicit Project gave me surprisingly bad results: I now had a scientific proof that I had strong gender biases. What a shock! I invite you to do the test for yourself!

Constantly paying attention to my thoughts and biases has been very tiring. After all, one has to be aware of the current reality (e.g. a meeting or conversation), but also of gender biases on meta-level. The mechanical engineer would probably say, “welcome to my world”…

What has happened since? I am much more attentive to the language I use and the way I communicate, especially with young children. I proactively work on compensating for my gender biases. I proactively seek female representation on the boards I serve and panels I speak on. Within my organization, I pay attention to gender issues, speak-up if something inappropriate is said or done, stop mansplaining, manterrupting... And I am considering becoming an ombudsperson for gender issues.

Switzerland is really behind the curve on gender equity. Paternity leave, equal pay, female representation in top positions (business and politics) are all societal issues and not women’s issues. It is for us straight cis-males AND every other human being to step up, do our part and bring gender equity to Switzerland and the world.

The Autor:

 Leo Caprez

Leo Caprez

Before joining WWF and its Corporate Relations team, Leo was co-founder of Viaduct Ventures. Previously he served as CFO of Impact Hub Zürich. Earlier in his 10+ years in sustainability, Leo served as Director at the Impact Pledge Foundation; as Associate Director at Impact Economy Ltd; as an Analyst in the Family Office Services & Advisory team of a Swiss private bank and as Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at the Mammut Sports Group Ltd. He hold a Masters in Law and Economics from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Dialogue Walks (for Gender Equality)

What is this method?

During our first cycle of the Social Lab on SDG 5 (Gender Equality) we learned that this method can be an impactful way to increase understanding and engagement for this topic. The purpose of a dialogue walk is to engage in deep dialogue, that means authentic listening and sharing.

The Intention of this Method

A dialogue walk is, from a process and method perspective, pretty straight forward. It’s two individuals taking the time for a walk where they commit to the intention to share and listen deeply for a longer-than-usual amount of time. In our journey of applying the Theory U to the challenges of Gender Equality in Switzerland it turned out that the dialogue walk was a simple yet powerful tool that the Labs Explorers used successfully in their work. Hence, the suggested process below is about giving you an idea of how you might initiate such a conversation in general but also specifically targeted to the challenges of Gender Equality.

The Process

Think of a situation, person or happening that you feel would benefit from a space of sharing and listening authentically that, in whatever way feels relevant to you, had to do with Gender Equality. It might have been something that made you feel insecure, uncomfortable or in other ways inadequate.

  1. Define a Question that you would like to genuinely explore with the respective person. Take some time to go through that situation again with a perspective that is slightly stepped back and observant, this will help you to formulate a question that will also feel open enough for the other party (to not already now have a question that puts the other person in a defensive attitude). Depending on what the situation was about, this may take a some effort from your side - stick to it as you will have the chance to share your frustrations later on. Some aspects you can take into consideration when thinking about a question:

    • Open question: Is the question really open or does it already have implicit assumptions in it? Will it invite the other party to become curious?

    • Genuine interest: Are you genuinely interested in the other parties point of view? This process is not a debate of right or wrong, it’s an exercise in relating to each other, hence it requires your genuine interest. What aspects of the other person's experience make you curious?

  2. Invite for a dialogue walk and explain the purpose and principles. This can happen through whatever means feel adequate to you (email, phone-call, SMS, …). Our invitation is for you to see if you can choose to communicate in a way that feels a little bit more out-of-your-comfort-zone than usual. This is about taking responsibility to create the atmosphere you want.

    • Genuine invitation: People are more sensitive than we think and can be suspicious about other people's intentions. Be proactive about this by being genuine in your invitation. Genuine doesn’t necessarily mean soft; genuine means you communicate in coherence with your feelings, thoughts and intentions.

  3. Create the atmosphere you would like to be in. For instance you may want to think about where and when to meet. And if you want to, where you could have a (re)generative conversation after the walk. Also you may want to think about how to frame again the conversation and be clear about your intention of sharing authentically and listening with an open heart.

  4. Enjoy!

    • Repeat the question you are wanting to explore. Mention again the purpose of listening and sharing for uninterrupted 7-12min each person. Set a timer and enjoy listening and being listened to!

  5. Follow-up

    • Either agree on the spot to follow up on your conversation within one or two weeks. Alternatively, you can first let it sink in and reach out for a follow-up later on. The follow-up can be anything simply from a thank you to an ongoing conversation and exploration where both support the other’s learning journey in this complex world to become the people we know in our hearts that we can be.

About Listening and the Experiences from the Gender Lab

Listening is probably the most underrated leadership capacity today, but listening is really at the source of all great leadership. When we see leadership failures, and today we see have many opportunities to see that, very often at the source of these failures is a lack of listening. A lack of connecting to what is really going on in reality right now.
— Otto Scharmer, Theory U

As with all of the fundamentals of human existence, there are different approaches and theories out there that have meaningful teachings about listening and speaking (think, for instance of Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent-Communication). Here, we want to use the 4 Levels of Listening from Otto Scharmer’s Theory U for reasons of consistency. Theory U is an encompassing framework, approach and practice to systems change that we, at collaboratio helvetica, use to inspire our Dialogue Evenings and Social Labs as well as our overall theory of change. The purpose of this section is for you to have some background about listening that might support your experience.

 For your convenience you may also watch Otto Scharmer explaining the four levels of listening  here .

For your convenience you may also watch Otto Scharmer explaining the four levels of listening here.

1. Level of Listening: Downloading

This first level of listening is characterized by listening from your habits, from what you already know. So basically you “download” your assumptions into the present situation, hence you also listen to what you already know. The result of this kind of listening is that you reconfirm your existing opinions and judgements. Now in general this can be a very helpful way of attending to the world outside. If you think for instance of an apple, you know from experience that it is a healthy and tasty item to eat, so it saves you time if you can use your previous assumptions about apples so that you don’t need to reevaluate every single time if an apple is healthy or potentially poisonous.

On gender equality

But now take the case of Gender. If you haven’t in your life had the opportunities or reasons to investigate more about gender, you may have a less nuanced understanding of it. If from you now download your existing habits of thought (e.g. there are only two genders: man and woman) into a conversation, you are going to miss out on much of the information that is more nuanced. This on the other hand will increase the chances for your conversation partner to not feel heard. Now you may start to see how quickly - and in many ways unintentionally - a situation is created that isn’t supportive of a meaningful conversation on a topic as sensitive and important as gender equality.

Similarly, you may think of the gender expert, who has invested lots of thought in gender biases and inequalities. That expert has, through training, formed an opinion about “how things are and why they are the way they are”. Now to a large degree these assumptions may be, generally speaking, very true and important. If you however, meet a person downloading these knowings onto the way you listen and therefore curate the conversation. You similarly can see that the person is not going to feel heard for their perception of truth and a defensive behavior is likely to happen. Therefore the main take-away of listening from our habits is the realisations that we have a worldview, opinions, judgments and thoughts and that if we don’t pay attention the only data that we will collect in our listening will result in re-confirming our existing habit of relating to the world.

Our lab experience

These kind of ways of listening, including their unintended negative outputs were quite present at the beginning of our collective journey. When gender,something so close to the core of our identity, is being conversed about, it wasn’t easy to figure out how to be detached from our habits of truth in order to open ourselves up to a different way of listening and learning from each other. The key ingredient was to build trust between people and safety in the space so we could feel more comfortable in letting our walls come down and embrace our vulnerability.

2. Level of Listening: Factual

When listening from level two we are starting to open our mind. That is, we start to pay attention to what is different from how we thought it is. We start to pay attention and collect disconfirming data. This level of listening is embedded in our scientific paradigm, all good sciences teaches to pay attention to disconfirming data as it is the source of innovation. The main driver of this kind of listening is curiosity.

On gender equality

In regards to gender equality you may think of factual listening this way: You are not asked to let go of your assumptions of what is happening, but you are invited to “suspend” them. To loosen the grip of what you think and to attend to what is different to what you would expect. The challenge with this kind of listening in regards to gender equality is the complexity of the topic as well as the subjectivity of perceptions. As an expert in the field you are used to a specific kind of language and analysis that allows you to interact with people that have the same background in an meaningful way. Often though, even when both are experts, our theoretical, conceptual and other backgrounds differentiate and as in any given situation there are a multitude of “truths” happening, some more interesting than others, it is likely for the conversation to turn into a debate. Now if both conversation partners are not highly attached to “being right” that debate can be fruitful. The more likely outcome however in the dynamics of debate is that we don’t end up feeling understood.

From a perspective of a non-expert in the field of gender equality being part of a debate may turn out in ways where you hold on to the facts you know and start creating “theory” around the knowledge that is available. Now imagine the classic white-male-manager who has learned in his life to defend his point of view in a culture where debate is the most present level of listening and speaking. What is the most likely pattern of behavior this person will turn towards in a topic where feelings of insecurity are very likely? The suggestion here is that while there are multiple reasons why people behave the way they do, there are some reasons you can actually do something about to achieve your purpose of having an impactful conversation. Simply put, for highly complex social issues like gender equality this source of listening is simply not good enough.

Our lab experience

It is safe to say, there was a lot of debate during the Lab. We were confronted with the way debate is hardwired in our culture. Also, it is not that easy to move to a different way of listening when there are perceptions in the space that the content of the conversation is lacking information. From the perspective of us facilitators we learned that a shared basis of data is crucial to facilitate the process of moving from factual listening to a more empathic listening. Additionally, through the intense process and given frame of four retreats of multiple days the social field started to naturally flow towards a different kind of relating to each other, partly because not doing so would have kept the group stuck. It was a very intense yet beautiful phase in which the uncertainty, ambiguity and complexity of the U-process could be experienced in a very palpable way. I think everyone involved had somewhere the question: “should I really stay or would it be better to leave?”. It speaks to the group, to the cause and to the power of our collective intention that we somehow steered through this phase. This wouldn’t have been possible without a significant shift of our quality of listening.

3. Level of Listening: Empathic

Empathic listening is where we start to see the world through another persons eyes. It is only from this level of listening where our center of attention starts to move “outside of us”. When I engage in downloading, my center of attention is within me, not noticing what is going on outside. Level two is still centered within me, but I am starting to pay attention to what is going on outside and I notice the differences to what I assumed to be true from my own experience. When practicing empathic listening the center of attention is from the experience of the other person. In fact, this allows you to gather much more information about the situation than what we might think. When seeing a situation from another persons perspective and experience I may experience feelings and thoughts I would otherwise not have connected with. It is through experiencing those feelings and perspectives that a deeper connection can unfold as the other person will start to feel heard, understood and seen as who he/she is. These levels of listening are so far well known, which doesn’t mean that we always truly practice it, but many theories and practices teach these three different ways of listening.

On gender equality

Now in the context of gender equality empathic listening isn’t always very easy for a number of reasons. One of them is that gender is very close to the heart of our identity. As such, paradoxically, we are rather blind in understanding how our own gender identity shapes our perception of reality (which is also, why gender studies are so important!). So because it is so close to our own identity it is not that easy to “detach” ourselves from it in order to see the world from another persons perspective. Another reason might also be the emotional depth that might come. Here the suggestion is that there is no meaning in comparing pain, sadness or other emotions. Rather it is part of the beauty that in connection to our own humanity we can experience difficult emotions  together.

Again, connecting emotionally and understanding how things are perceived from another person's experience does never mean that we are letting go of our own truth, though we are always invited to expand our own notion of it.So summarised, empathic listening is about opening our hearts to the profundity of human experience and through that connect with our own humanity.

Our lab experience

Since the beginning there were moments of emotional connection. Every morning, after a reading, short meditation and journaling we would do a check-in. A check-in is a circle-practice where each person would have 2-3 minutes to speak to the question “what’s on your heart & mind right now”. At the beginning this space, as it invites us to share openly about our frustrations, learnings, thoughts and other emotions, was quite challenging. With time however it started to become evident for everyone that this space as an opportunity to connect more deeply to the way each of us experiences the lab was the “kit” holding us as a peer-learning-group together when opinions and preferences differed. As a facilitator I had the chance to observe many moments that, from my perspective, were very authentic moments of sharing and relating to each other. Similarly, I could also see many cases in which we failed individually to overcome our differences, but the beauty was that as a collective we always somehow found our way to integrate each others perspectives, experiences, difficulties and frustrations. At some point, while observing the group facilitate itself, I wondered: “Might this, as an expression of inclusivity and belonging, not be what the longing beyond the issues on gender is about? Might it be that the issues of gender equality are inviting us to discover how to practice inclusivity and respect exactly when faced with what is to me “the other?”

4. Level of Listening: Generative

This fourth level of listening is something you don’t usually find in theories and practices of listening. The key difference here is that there is something happening with the center of attention. It is no longer  located in one specific person, rather the center, or source, from where the listening happens has no specific perspective anymore. It is somewhat “between” people. Otto Scharmer says in the u.Lab course on edX that the source of listening starts to happen from the field. It is in these moments when something really new can happen, as we let go of our own sense of Self and together engage in a conversation where we let come what we don’t yet know. Here we open our will to be changed by the conversation. We are really starting to see reality with fresh eyes. In generative listening we connect to an emerging future possibility.

On gender equality

In terms of gender equality there are many things that such a generative space can consist of. For the expert it may feel as if a mix of different knowings start to “fall in place” as we see what we know in abstract unfolding right in front of our eyes in real time. The mix here is crucial as it is a not a one-perspective kind of thing, but the interconnectedness of different layers of truth.

Another way to look at it is that after listening empathically to another person’s story we may ask what now? And that there is a sense of potential, a threshold, that seems just lingering below the surface. Often, when starting to connect to these kind of “raw” knowings our language isn’t as accurate as we would like it to be. We can’t really express (yet) what we mean. In a generative space people start to help each other in surfacing and concretizing a new sense of possibility. These kind of generative listening is one where after that conversation something in us feels different. The only gender equality specific suggestion that can be made here is to be gentle, forthcoming and inviting so that together you can create a space where it’s safe to express oneself in ways that are not (yet) exactly what you are meaning.

Our lab experience

In all honesty, I am not sure we actually got there. There might have been moments where we were, from my perspective, close to entering such a space. In the books I’ve read so far there is this notion that this generative space cannot be created and happens when the space and people participating in it are ready. This leads necessarily to the questions: “were we ready?”, “was I ready?”.
I can only speak about myself, and my impression was that I had learned so much in this process through which a certain kind of threshold became more and more tangible to me, but I wasn’t yet ready to meet it or cross it. I’m still inquiring into what this threshold is all about and ever since we started the Lab I am experiencing moments of insight, where I feel that a little bit more light is coming through the walls I have (and didn’t know about). If you find this language too abstract, I just now, as I was writing these lines wondered: how beautiful is the word “insight” actually? How profoundly accurate does it, as in “sight within” describe this level 4 listening kind of mystery? In the moments that I felt we were close to such a powerful conversation there was an intensity in the space, a very distinctive feeling that something can or would happen if the conversation was to be continued authentically. What this something could be felt loaded with deep beliefs, emotions and experiences. It didn’t feel like there was “something” after that. Rather it felt as if when that conversation would happen, something would be destroyed or gone. I know that for a reader who has not been part of this experience this must be very hard to relate to and I apologize for that. However, maybe, you find in your own memory and experience moments that in a weird way may have felt similar. These experiences however have teached me a lot about the strength a truly safe container must have for such a generative conversation to happen. This container is built, in my view, by the inner state of being of the intervenors, as this, in a subtle way, defines the quality of interaction between all other individuals that then can move to co-create that safe space together with the intervenors and peers.

Sources and Further Literature on the Topic

Active Listening & Personal Connection

An entry point to a new kind of discussion on Gender Equality

Today there is no shortage of research, tools and analysis on the importance and implications of gender (in-)equality in our society and workplaces. However, as we all know, progress is difficult and slow. Why?

When we engage with gender equality only at an intellectual level, analyzing facts, figures and reports, we take the position of neutral scientists who observe an external problem, an issue that is “out there”, only relevant to a few (women or minorities).  But this positioning could well be the main problem, because I can’t think of a more personal and emotional issue than gender.  There is a big gap between our intellectual understanding of the “problem”, and the personal connection we all have to gender as it shapes our identity and life experience.

I believe that bridging this gap is an essential entry point for real change to happen. The motivation and will to do something about a situation comes from realizing that we have an active part to play in it.

My biggest aha-moment from my experience in collaboratio helvetica’s Social Lab on Gender Equality is captured in the drawing on the left: I realized that by not speaking up when I felt or saw gender inequality, I was part of sustaining the system I wanted to change. The “gender inequality situation” of our society was no longer just an observable reality around me. I was an integral part of it and had to start working from within, by challenging my own assumptions and behavior.

Otto Scharmer, the founder of Theory U states that, “You cannot change a system (in this case: gender inequality) unless you transform consciousness”. And, “You cannot transform consciousness unless you make the system sense and see itself.” Which, in this case, means allowing people to experience how they are an active part of shaping the current gender (in-)equality situation, whether they want to or not.

So how did we become a system that would “sense and see itself”? And what led me to this aha-moment? The fact that with the 20 participants of the GenderLab, from all over Switzerland, we consciously shared our personal experiences, hopes and fears related to the topic and engaged in deep listening and dialogue with each other and with the stakeholders we interacted with.

To do so, we used many methods and tools, and I want to share one of them with you called the Dialogue Walk. It is a very simple yet powerful exercise of active listening that we used in the lab and that I have used since in several gender equality workshops. You can use in your own change initiative, be it with gender equality or something else.

Dialogue Walk: what is it?

The dialogue walk allows people to connect with a topic on a more personal level and to form deeper connections with each other. This can be a powerful entry point to start bridging the gap between the intellectual understanding of an issue “out there”, and the personal connection to the topic that is “right here”, or we could say “in here”.

The best way to understand this is to experience it. So here are the instructions:

  1. Find someone you want to explore this topic with and plan a 20 minute walk together. If you are facilitating this exercise, ask people to form pairs.

  2. Formulate a powerful question on the topic you are dealing with and write it down for both of you. For example, a question I have used in a workshop on gender equality is:

    —> How did my own relationship with gender equality evolve? What were some of the key experiences of this topic on my own journey and how do I relate to gender equality right now?

  3. Go on a walk together. Each person will have 7 min. to answer and reflect upon the question and share as much or little as they want. The listener’s task is to simply listen, without making any comments or asking any questions. Decide who will be the first to share. Make sure you keep the time and when the 7 minutes are over, reset the timer and switch roles.

  4. Spend a few more minutes to debrief, by sharing what you learned or what surprised you about this exercise.

Learnings & observations from this exercise

Here are a few quotes from participants who have practiced this dialogue walk within a gender equality workshop:

  • “These 7 minutes enabled me to get to know my colleague in more depth than ever before in the 2 years that we have been working together.”

  • “The fact that I was listened to for the entire 7 minutes was powerful and unusual.”

  • “It was hard but also relieving to just listen.”

  • “I didn’t realize that gender equality was an issue, until I listened to my partner.”

I hope this exercise will help you to discover a deeper and more personal connection with your colleagues as well as the topic you are dealing with. I’d be curious to hear about your experience with it!


The author:


Anna Krebs works in facilitation, organizational development and gender equality. Through her work she wants to help create ripples of positive and sustainable change. Her aim as a facilitator is to enable equal participation, co-creation and learning. She was a participant of the first cycle of the collaboratio helvetica Gender Lab

Nächster Halt: Denkpause

Nora Wilhelm unter den 80 Schweizer Macherinnen in der Spezialausgabe zum 80 Jährigen Geburtstag der Annabelle! Mit nächster Halt: Denkpause fragt sie sich «Wohin rennen wir eigentlich?»

 Nora Wilhelm in der Annabelle

Nora Wilhelm in der Annabelle

In raschen Schritten durchquere ich die Halle des überfüllten Berner Bahnhofs. Ich muss mehreren Passanten ausweichen, rufe «Entschuldigung», eile den Gang entlang, die Treppe hoch, springe gerade noch in den Zug, als das Pfeifen ertönt. Uff, knapp geschafft! Mit Schweizer Pünktlichkeit ist nicht zu spassen. Sprinte ich für einmal nicht auf den Zug, sondern gehe gemächlich bis zum Gleis, so rennen andere an mir vorbei. Da fragt man sich doch irgendwann: Wohin rennen wir eigentlich?

Kollektiv rennen wir auf das Ende unserer Zivilisation zu. Die Welt, so wie wir sie kennen und in den letzten Jahrhunderten gestaltet haben, zerbröckelt an allen Ecken. An unserem ökonomischen System zweifeln mittlerweile auch diejenigen, die es erdacht haben. Weltweit steigt die soziale Ungleichheit und damit auch die politische Unruhe. Mehr als die Hälfte der Biodiversität haben wir schon verloren. Und mittendrin: die Schweiz. Unser Land, unsere Demokratie gilt als Vorbild, das Bildungsniveau ist hoch, das Wirtschaftswachstum stabil, in unseren Seen kann man baden, die Berglandschaft ist wunderbar. Wir haben es gut auf unserer kleinen Insel des Fortschritts.

Doch besinnen wir uns darauf, was es braucht, um diesen scheinbar heilen Flecken aufrechtzuerhalten, fällt die Bilanz weniger vorbildlich aus. Im Mai hatten wir Schweizerinnen und Schweizer bereits alle Ressourcen verbraucht, die uns für das Jahr 2018 zustehen, wollten wir dem Planeten erlauben, sich zu regenerieren. Unser CO2-Fussabdruck ist erschreckend hoch, beim Fliegen sind wir Weltmeister.

Auch wir stecken in einer grossen Geschichte fest, in einem Narrativ des steten Wachstums, wo sich Glück und Zufriedenheit auf den nächsten Einkauf stützen, die nächste Beförderung. Es braucht immer mehr, überall, obwohl auch Laien erkennen können, dass das Konzept des exponentiellen Wachstums auf einem endlichen Planeten keinen Sinn ergibt. Wir werden zwar nicht die ersten sein, die aufgrund der Klimaerwärmung versinken oder vor der Dürre flüchten müssen, aber auch für uns persönlich hat das Konzept des «Immer-schneller-immer-weiter»

Konsequenzen: Der Leistungsdruck in der Gesellschaft ist hoch, die Anzahl der Burnouts steigend – auch ich bin keine Ausnahme, schreibe ich doch diese Zeilen in Eile und unter Zeitdruck. Anstatt die Notbremse zu ziehen, legen wir an Tempo zu, bis die Räder dereinst aus den Schienen springen. Die Schweiz ist ein Uhrenland. In dieser kulturellen Besonderheit möchte ich jedoch kein Diktat der Effizienz sehen, sondern eine Art Wertschätzung, eine Akzeptanz, dass Zeit unser wichtigstes Gut ist. Doch Innehalten geniesst heute keinen guten Ruf. Wir zelebrieren das Machen und identifizieren uns mit unserem Tun. Würden wir hingegen innehalten, könnten wir einen Blick auf das Ziel werfen und uns fragen, ob wir nicht eine Kursänderung einschlagen sollten.

Schliesslich müssen wir uns erst eine Alternative vorstellen, bevor wir danach handeln können. Und so wünsche ich mir, dass wir uns fragen: Was sind unsere Werte, und was geschähe, wenn wir konsequent danach lebten? Wenn wir uns nicht nur auf uns selber, sondern auf die Gemeinschaft besinnen würden? Ich bin überzeugt: Dann könnten wir die Schweiz so gestalten, wie wir sie uns wünschen. Wenn wir aufeinander zugehen und in einen offenen Dialog treten, können wir Lösungen schaffen, die für viele und nicht nur für wenige funktionieren.

Katalysatorin, collaboratio helvetica

Nora Wilhelm ist Mitgründerin und Katalysatorin von collaboratio helvetica. Sie setzt sich für die Aktivierung des vollen Potenzials von Menschen und Organisationen ein. Während ihres Studiums der Internationalen Beziehungen an der Universität St. Gallen übernahm Nora Wilhelm verschiedene Funktionen im Europäischen Jugendparlament. Sie wurde von der UNESCO für ihre Arbeit ausgezeichnet, von EDA für die Cohort 2030 nominiert und von Annabelle als eine von 80 Schweizermacherinnen anerkannt.


The PEMS model

What is this method?

PEMS is a tool/frame to help you design spaces, processes, services or other things in ways that enable a holistic and powerful experience.


How does the process look like?

We invite you first to read more about the PEMS model:

Simply put, this is a tool to use that helps you build your workshop. It stands for:

P - Practical (doing, taking action, testing, prototyping)

E - Emotional (relating, making friends, getting to know the people you work with)

M - Mental (thinking, discussing, using facts, creating models and systems)

S - Spiritual (being inspired and inspiring others, seeing the bigger picture, asking “why”)

These dimensions represent four different ways of relating to the world. Four different sets of needs that we all have, but each one of us has a personal preference (or two). The PEMS model has been developed by Master Trainer Daniel Sà Nogueira, based on Carl Gustav Jung’s work on psychological types. Following an excerpt of his book Trate A Vida Por Tuthat was translated by Magdalena Musiala:

In this model, we distinguish four dominant preferences (P-E-M-S) that correspond to the four elements of life:

Practical (the body: DOING, Activity, Action, related to the element of EARTH):

Corresponds to someone that is earthly, active, dynamic, practical, that does a lot. In excess, these are people who never stop to consider their actions.

(the heart: FEELING, Feelings, Love, related to the element of WATER):

Corresponds to someone who needs people, relations, who gives a lot to others and seeks affection. In excess, these are people who might be overly sensitive.

(the mind: THINKING, Analysis, Intellect, Logic, related to the element of AIR):

Corresponds to someone who values analysis, rationalisation and uses logic, and who always focuses on making the right decision. In excess, these are people who might become impersonal and cold.

Spiritual (the soul: BEING, Values, Existence, related to the element of FIRE):

Corresponds to someone who thinks that everything has meaning and a higher purpose. These are people who care very much about values. In excess, they can fluctuate too much and concretise too little.

These four logics of the mind that we have identified are also based on the four elements:

Practical - EARTH (firm, solid, stable, secure, strong, dense)

Emotional - WATER (flexible, always coming back to her-/himself)

Mental - AIR (transparent, lightweight, fast, facilitates communication)

Spiritual - FIRE (burning, fleeting, transforming, powerful)

Thus, in a very simplified manner, we can divide people into four categories:

Practical people (P) – Like to act and do!

These are the people who like action, movement. They are the ones who make the world move. As friends or clients they may want to go straight to the point, try things and learn about practical matters. The greatest fear of these practical persons is losing control! They like to feel that they are in control of the situation, of the pace of the conversation and of the surroundings.


Emotional people (E) – Like to feel and relate!

These are people who love people and sharing feelings. Everything is an emotion for them. And they feel things about everything and everyone. Let them talk about their family, friends, dogs, neighbours, etc… They will talk mostly about people and what they are feeling. Their greatest fear is losing empathy. They like to feel reliable and they want to relate.


Mental people (M) – Like to think and analyse!

These are people who like to analyse and who try to put everything into a box, into a certain perspective. They are precise and meticulous. They like detail, to study and analyse all possibilities. They don’t fear debating (quite the contrary) and discussing, they love the exchanging ideas and arguments, but they need to end up being right or get a very good explanation to why the other is right. A mental person is always striving to make the best decision. Their greatest fear is to be wrong; they like to feel that they are correct and that they are making decisions based on logic and rational thinking.


Spiritual people (S) – Like to be and shine!

They are looking for the greater purpose in things. They believe that everything has a reason, that there are no coincidences and it’s this quest that moves them. They give great meaning to every situation. The greater the significance of a task or project, the greater their motivation. Their biggest fear is to have no meaning! To not be significant or “shine” in any way. They need to feel conscious and whole.


Although we all have and use a portion of these four categories in the different contexts or times of our life, one of them is predominant in us. Identifying it is important for managing and interacting with life and with others, since it is the best and the fastest way of accessing the Map of the world of someone and speaking a language that that person recognises and accepts as her own.

How to apply this model practically

Notice the structure of this method blog. It starts with the Purpose, the Why (Spiritual), followed by a picture of people in a Workshop (Emotional) and continues with some further conceptual information (Mental). So this part is about how to practically translate this model in your work.

  1. The model isn’t reality, it’s a map. Because it’s simple it’s useful and because of its simplicity it will always just be an abstraction of reality. Don’t confuse the map with the territory.

  2. Understand that PEMS is contextual: e.g. you have different preferences when you’re with your family than at work.

  3. Understand how PEMS works in your own experience: What are your practical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs and preferences? How does this impact your perceptions of what is good, right, meaningful, worthwhile? With what kind of people do you usually have difficulties to “be on the same page?” and how might PEMS give you hints as to why this might be? How is PEMS represented in the Workshops, presentations, meetings you have been part of or are still part of? What are you learning out of this?

  4. Remind yourself of PEMS in your next piece of work and see if you get new ideas.

  5. PEMS is really useful to think about different ways of engaging people. Below are  questions that you may choose to ask yourself depending on the context:

    • Practical: Do you have breaks? Is there a clear structure? What are the goals?  Are the logistics clear for you and for the participants? Do you have snacks that give people the nutrition they need without sending them into a sugar-coma? What are the concrete actions that can be taken? Can people do something with their hands at some point? When can people move? Is there an opportunity to be outside? Is there an agenda?

    • Emotional: Do people know each other's names? Have people the opportunity to talk with each other? Is there an opportunity for people to exchange their thoughts and feelings? Is there an opportunity to share a story? Can include  real-life scenarios or examples?

    • Mental: What are the concepts, theories, facts and figures that you can share? Are there opportunities to analyse them? Can you include further readings? Is there an opportunity to meta-analyse the process?  

    • Spiritual: Why does it matter? How can you help people connect their actions with the bigger picture? Is there space for the “big conversations”? What is really essential? What are you/we trying to create? How does it relate to our values/vision/purpose?

Sources and Further Literature on the topic

  • ”Trate A Vida Por Tu” by Daniel Sá Nogueira, pp.77-80 (Excerpt translated by Magdalena Musiala, taken from euforias facilitation handbook)

Wise Crowds - Peer Consultations

What is this method?

This is a simple method to harvest the group intelligence: A space where a “client” can ask for help of “consultants”. Can also be seen as a quick and powerful tool for coaching each other around specific and individual challenges.

How does the process look like?

wise crowds.jpeg
  1. Form groups of 4 to max. 7 people (each person will get 15min time)

  2. Present the flow and structure of the exercise to the people. Introduce the principles:

    A) Flow:
    each person will get the chance to ask as a “client” a group of “consultants” for help

    B) Structure:

    2min client presents challenge

    3min consultants ask clarifying questions

    8min consultants work together (“client” turns around)

    2min feedback

    C) Principles:

    Everyone is included

    Everyone has an equal amount of time to ask for and get help

    Everyone has an equal opportunity to offer help

  3. One person starts by being the “client” and invites others to help him/her. As a facilitator you either indicate the time for the participants with a gong or you let them be in control of timing themselves. If people aren’t used to these kind of processes it’s highly recommended to facilitate the time for the participants.

    The first person goes through the different points (15min). As a facilitator you again point out, that the “client” turns around during the 8min where the consultants work together. The reason is that this helps the client listening and learning. Additionally you may want to point further out, that the 8min consultation may much rather be about the client gaining more personal clarity about the challenge than about “solving” the challenge for the client. In other words, you may want to restrict advice and invite open, honest questions instead.

  4. Repeat that process until everyone has had the opportunity to ask for help

When to use:

The Wise Crowds is a powerful tool to use in a Workshop to achieve different purposes:

  • Help people learn to ask for help and offer

  • Gain individual clarity about next steps

  • Help people collaborate

  • Learn about the potential of collective intelligence

  • Invite cross-sectoral (beyond “silos”) collaboration and insight

  • Practice listening & trust building

Needed tools, materials, people etc.

  • Time: 1h to max 1h45min

  • Material: 1 Flipchart with instructions, paper for the “client” to take notes

  • People: 4 to >100

Sources and further reading:

Our Experience with this Method

Wise Crowds is a method developed by liberating structures and that I got to know through Magdalena Musiala, a senior Facilitator, Trainer and mum based in Malmö that has since the very beginning in 2008 supported the program development of euforia.

At collaboratio helvetica we’ve used this method during the prototyping phase of the Gender Lab. As we were wanting to transition from the personal question of “what is it that life is calling you to do?” to collective action we used several brainstorming-methods and canvases to clarify individual and collective course of action. Once these general directions started to become more tangible it was important to use the intelligence of the diverse Gender Lab Cohort. There are many different methods that serve more or less a similar purpose, known as coaching circles or supervision processes. This process is quite powerful as it offers all the individuals a high-quality feedback round in a short amount of time. And despite that, it can be quite fun!

Flying Agenda

What is this method?

To create a meaningful agenda on the fly. Sometimes we meet without an agenda. A flying agenda can facilitate the groups process.

How does the process look like?

The flying agenda is basically about facilitating a team process. The following description is very detailed not to be rigid about it, but for you to understand the thinking behind it. What matters is the spirit and the general idea of it. So feel free to adapt this to your context and needs.

The flying agenda method can be used when you realise two things: 1) there’s a meeting you are being part of that has no agenda yet and ii) an agenda is actually needed.

  1. You propose to create an agenda “on the fly” and that you can take the lead on it, if nobody objects look for a flipchart and a pen. Event better it works with post-it’s that you can move around.

  2. You ask “what is most meaningful to discuss/decide now?” and collect the suggested items - it shouldn’t be more than five. One on each postit.

    • The more specific the items are the better, e.g. collect them as finalised actions “item XY decided/written/agreed...”

  3. Then you prioritize by one of the following options

    a) choosing a person to make a proposal that then can be adapted,

    b) “dotmocracy”; each person has 3 dots to vote,

    c) ask “how long will we need to decide on our priorities” first and then let them figure it out while you time-box,

    d) Everybody moves around the post-it’s until it feels right.

    e) or any other process you know that is rather quick and doesn’t end up in endless conversations

  4. When you have the prioritized agenda items in front of you, you calculate the remaining time for the meeting

  5. Then you go to the first item on the priority list and ask, “in consideration of the time left, how much time do you think we need for this?”

  6. You keep track of the conversation by helping the group stay focused on the agenda-item and by keeping a very active awareness of the time (almost to the point of being annoying). A good question to ask is: “what is the smallest/most little decision we can take now?” (Many times it makes more sense to agree on another meeting where a detail is to be discussed rather than discussing that now)

  7. When coming to a new item calculate again the remaining time and repeat the question: “considering the time we’ve left and the agenda items we wanted to cover, how much time do you think we need for this?”

  8. Repeat until done

  9. When the announced time for the end of the meeting is coming closer, make the people aware of it and ask if a new decision is needed and possible (e.g. prolong the meeting or shift to a next meeting)

Your goal in that sense is to cover all items. Many times that is not really possible, but that depends also a bit on the mindset you as a facilitator have.

Needed tools, materials, people etc.

  • Time: according to your needs, from 15min to a day

  • Tools: flipchart and pens, post-it’s

  • People: this method works better with smaller groups from 3 to 8 people. But it can also work with very large groups when it is facilitated well.

Our Experience with this Method

This method came “flying” to us, when Erica from Impact Hub Lausanne came to our collaboratio home for a meeting we had scheduled some time ago. And, I (Osi) don’t know if this sounds familiar to you, but because it had been a while ago and we had both been very busy no one had actually prepared a meaningful agenda for our meeting. On top of it, we felt that time was short and that there were so many things to talk about that had so much great potential! So I decided to facilitate the meeting using what I then came to call “the flying agenda”. Practitioners of Sociocracy and Holacracy will probably immediately recognise the similarities.

In only 1 hour we had covered everything that we could think of and had taken many decisions that just felt right in the moment. Or differently said, the decisions we had taken truly reflected the information and alignment that was present. Everybody was a bit tired but mostly just feeling happy about the accomplishments of the meeting.

25 Apples

What is this method?

This method helps you come up with new perspectives or ideas when you  have a feeling that the creative process (of yourself or a group) is stuck or could benefit from some more creativity.

How does the process look like?

 Getting into a creative mode with the help of apples

Getting into a creative mode with the help of apples

  1. On a flipchart draw a grit of 5x5, big enough to a post-it in each box (ca. size A5)

  2. Choose a facilitator (propose yourself if you took the initiative)

  3. Have a quick conversation or decision making process so that there is enough clarity on what you want to ideate on. A “how might we xyz”-question can help.

  4. Now, if you’ve never done it before, one option is to do this exercise first with an apple before going for your actual question:

    1. The goal is to have 25 apples that all look different to each other

    2. Only drawing is allowed

    3. No discussion is allowed, and it’s one person after the other. The sequence is kept and repeated until all 25 boxes have an apple in them.

  5. Learnings: After a few normal apples people start to think “outside the box”, by e.g. drawing apple-juice or apple-cake. That’s the mindset you want to have to solve your “how might we xyz” question.

  6. Repeat now the process with your actual “how-might-we ..” question. Now it is possible to write sentences and quickly explain what the keywords mean. You may also want to have a free-flow so one person can share multiple ideas.

Needed time/ materials/ people etc.

  • Time: 20min to 45min (depends on your flow of creativity and how many times you wish to repeat the process)

  • Material: Flipchart and pens

Our Experience with this Method

On the first days of our first coworkation in August 2017 at Frohheim, Toggenburg we were still exploring the vision and purpose of collaboratio helvetica. It is one thing to define a nice statement, goal and purpose. It is a completely different thing to start exploring all the tonalities, nuances, beliefs, attitudes and ways of relating to each other that embody in the now the aspirations of the future. We started our session on the vision with some storytelling where each one of us shared an experience that is for them an expression of the vision while everyone else listened to the principles, values and other relevant information in the story. Once we had distilled and abstracted one more time what to us makes collaboratio helveticas mission come alive we stood in front of the question and now what? How does this not just stay one more nice “Vision exercise?”

Faced with this challenge I (Osi) proposed to use the 25 apples method. We split up in two groups and each group followed the instructions until they came up with 25 different apples. After that we repeated the exercise only this time with the question:

What is an action that you could undertake right now to give expression to the vision? So that the vision is not only something in the future, but that this very moment, this very co-workation is already an expression, a seed of the future we are wanting to create?

When people were done with the 25 ideas all there was left to do was to say: Ready, Set, GO!

2people and 2experiences

What is this method?

This is a beautiful method to facilitate a more personal connection between participants. It is best used rather in the beginning and can be kept general or it can also be  modified to address the purpose of the workshop.

How does the process look like?

 Sharing about personal stories.

Sharing about personal stories.

Basically, the main question is “Which 2 people and/or 2 experiences that have shaped who you are today?”. However, that question can be adapted to e.g. “2 people and/or 2 experiences that have shaped your relationship to money and success” if you have a workshop on the topic of money for instance.

The first step is to make a choice about when in your program you want to use this method and for what purposes. Knowing that there is not one right way to do it, you may want to consider the following questions:

  1. How well do people know each other already?

  2. How comfortable are people with sharing more openly?

  3. How important is it for the people to feel connected with each other more personally?

  4. Is the theme of your workshop adequate to adapt the main question of this exercise?

These questions are meant to guide your thinking. In your mind imagine different scenarios until you get a feeling for what might work best.


Once you have an idea of when and how to use the exercise, you can run people through it:

  • 3min Intro:
    “We will now do an exercise that will enable us to share a bit more on a personal level with each other. It’s called 2 people 2 experiences. I will play some music and while the music is playing, think about “2 people and 2 experiences that have shaped who you are today”. Once the music stops find two other people so you form a group of three. After that, everyone will have the chance to share their stories to the extend you feel comfortable with for 5min. This will be an exercise in listening. The listeners are there to pay attention, so don’t ask questions or interrupt. If there’s silence, sit with it and enjoy :)”

  • 3-5min: play a nice song while people walk around

  • 3min: stop the music and facilitate the group building process (groups of 3, if needed one or two groups of 4, they then have 4min to share and will take 1min longer than the other groups: groups of 3 = 15min; groups of 4 = 16min)

  • 5min: Invite the first person to share. Announce that after 5min you will hit the gong. Hit the gong at 4:30 so people have enough time to end their sentence.

  • 5min: 2nd person’s turn to share

  • 5min: 3rd person’s turn to share

    —> For the Groups of 4 you either let them take care of the time themselves (easier for you as a facilitator, otherwise you have to run two timers simultaneously)

    • Optional 5min: let them share some words of appreciation in their small groups

    • Optional 5-15min: debrief in the big group, ask not to share the story again, but a meta-reflection about their experiences: “how was it to share and to listen to others?”, “what did you learn about your life or life in general?”

      Here, some people might be very moved as they got to realise the influence a certain moment or person made in their life. This is, in almost all cases, a beautiful emotion of deep gratitude.

Further info

This exercise is a powerful tool to help people open up. When you adapt the exercise to a specific theme it may change in depth. In most cases however, it helps you to connect abstract topics (like money and belief systems around it) with very tangible experiences and emotions. It is suggested that you use such an exercise when the flow and purpose of the workshop is in fact building on experiences and “embodied knowing”. If your workshop is a conceptual, abstract or theoretical discussion, such an exercise is not recommended.

Needed tools, materials, people etc.

  • Time: between 20min to 45min.

  • Material: Music, Flipchart, Gong (nice to have)

Our Experience with this Method

Originally, I have experienced this method for the first time during a training called “The Human Element”. Ever since I’ve used this method for the purpose of enabling people to connect deeply to themselves and others while practicing deep listening. At collaboratio helvetica we used it for the first time during our first coworkation in August 2017 at Frohheim, Toggenburg:

One of the mornings of the coworkation was dedicated to exploring “regenerative work”.

At that time the Impact Hub Zürich had experienced several cases of burn-out. And it was and is not alone. Wherever we look, people are reporting that they are close to a burn-out or beyond the threshold already. This felt especially disturbing given that most of us are working in the impact sector and want to contribute to a world that is truly sustainable, ourselves included. As we believed that it’s a systemic issue and not just individual cases, we felt that it was high time to take an honest look at the root causes that give rise to this phenomenon.

There are many places to look for root causes. The Integral Map of Ken Wilber with the four quadrants suggests that we can look at interior and exterior causes on both the individual and collective levels. To start our exploration we used a slightly adapted form of the 2people2experiences method:

After quickly introducing the purpose, context and aim of the session but before any real check-in in the circle we send people out to first reflect for 5min in silence and then sharing in groups of three the following question:

  • What are 2 people and 2 experiences that have shaped what work is to you?

After that we came back together in the big circle and checked-in with the questions:

  • What did you (re-) learn about yourself and about work?

Though, the workshop after this session went a bit sideways, up until then people were experiencing a meaningful way to “land” into the group and the theme of the workshop. People shared that by asking themselves where their most pertinent assumptions about work come from and by listening to others share their most impactful experiences and role-models, they already started to become more conscious about their own healthy and unhealthy thought-patterns.

In this case the adapted method of 2people2experiences had helped us as a group to connect with each other and to the topic in a grounded and yet holistic way.

4D Mapping

What is this method?

4D Mapping is an embodiment practice and is part of Theory U’s Social Presencing Theater. It is used when working with groups that want to explore their system, the embodied knowing of their bodies, to gain new insights.

How does the process look like?

Social Presencing Theater is a powerful method to gain new insights about a system that are often deeply, unconsciously or otherwise hidden. It is also a very effective way for a diverse group of stakeholders to have a shared reference point of what is happening (current reality) and what is wanting to emerge (highest future possibility). Therefore this method requires facilitators to be experienced in the Theory U and embodiment practice, hence some recommendations:

    1. Read about the Theory U

    2. Have a look at the Social Presencing Theater Page of the Presencing Institute

    3. Enroll in u.lab, a online course (MOOC) that has spread all over the world to be introduced actively in the Theory U framework and practice

    4. Ask for help, there’s a u.lab Switzerland Facebook Community where you may find support or reach out to collaboratio helvetica

In Social Presencing Theater, the word theater is used in connection to its root meaning – a place where something significant becomes visible, or where a community of people can see a shared experience. 4D Mapping makes visible the current reality in a social system, such as a school system, health care system, or government system.


  • 4D Mapping explores how the highest aspiration in a system might come forward. We assume there is an underlying wisdom – in spite of the diverse values or goals of stakeholders in a system – that could come to the surface and be visible as we move from Sculpture 1 to 2

  • Participants apply mindfulness of the body and awareness of the surrounding space.
    4D Mapping is not about acting out pre-conceived ideas or concepts we have about a system

  • 4D Mapping is about surfacing and noticing what shifts in a system, something that might be significant in going from a current reality to an emerging future reality

  • Movement is based on what is actually emerging, not based on manipulation or what we think something should be

 Illustration of a Social Presencing Theater. Image source:

Illustration of a Social Presencing Theater. Image source:


The process consists of three phases:

  1. Definitions of Roles & Introduction of method. Also depending on how familiar individuals of the group are with each other, you may include embodiment practices such as 20 Minutes Dance, Stuck Exercise or other embodied mindfulness practices

  2. Enacting the roles and moving from Sculpture 1 to Sculpture 2

  3. Generative Dialogue

If you want to learn more about this method it is essential to engage in further reading and practice. In case you feel confident to try this method, we recommend you to become familiar with the content linked at the bottom of this article and that you choose a context where you feel it is safe to try.

Needed tools, materials, people etc.

  • Time: plan at least 90min, preferably 2 hours or more

  • Tools: a notetaker, Flipchart, enough space, Paper for the roles

  • People: 12 or more people (typically 10-12 players enacting a role and the rest of the people sitting around in a circle as witnesses)

Sources and further literature:


What is this method?

Check-ins are a way for people to have a dedicated space to share on a more personal level what’s happening within them. When practiced regularly and authentically, a teams purpose, coherence and trust can increase.

How does the process look like?

The process is quite straightforward:

  1. You have either an open check-in where the people are co-responsible for the time and however long it takes is right. Or you have different options to define the timing: either per person (e.g. 5min per person) or for the total check-in (we have 30min time)

  2. Then one person starts and you either go around in a circle or you do “popcorn”, where whoever feels like going next can go

  3. What you may choose to share: thoughts, intentions, feelings, facts, needs, intuitions, tensions, wants and wishes

Now beyond the process what makes this method powerful is how people are present and making use of the space. Or in other words: The inner place from where we come from.

This inner place, is according to Otto Scharmers Theory U the “collective blindspot of our time”. You can think of this inner place as the difference between waking up either feeling stressed or relaxed and how this impacts your first interactions with the people around you. This inner state of being has great influence on the quality and content of our interactions. Below, using the three dimensions of the Theory U, are some suggestions on what you can pay attention to. There exist many theories, practices and approaches to create authentic spaces of relating to one another, oneself, and beyond, hence this is not an exclusive nor extensive list of suggestion

 The different levels of attention from the Theory U (Source:  Presencing Institute )

The different levels of attention from the Theory U (Source: Presencing Institute)

Open Mind - Suspending voice of judgement (VoJ)

  • The underlying dynamic of the VoJ is to reconfirm existing mental models and world-views. It closes down the mind and tries to protect you from new ideas or information.

  • Notice your own voice of judgement. What is “good” to share? What is “bad”? Right? Wrong?

  • Suspend the judgement. That is, it is not about contradicting it or suppressing it. Rather the suggestion is to suspend it, to loose the attachment towards it.

  • The driving attitude is curiosity: “Why might this person think, feel and experience life like this?”

Open Heart - Suspending voice of cynicism (VoC)

  • The underlying dynamic of the VoC is to close the heart by being cynical about other peoples intentions or potential outcomes. It’s trying to protect you from emotionally connecting.

  • Notice your voice of cynicism and/or your body language: where are you “ridiculing” the situation? Notice self-talk that, observed from taking one step back, sounds cynical to you. Again, try to suspend that “talk” in your inner self-dialogue.

  • Play in your mind with the idea of what would be, if it actually was different? If that output would actually be possible? If people did, in fact, have their best intentions at heart?

  • Move your attention beyond your own perspective. How might the situation be perceived through the experience of someone else?

  • The driving attitude is compassion, with yourself and others. Questions that might be helpful to ask yourself are: “What changes, if I believe that everyone is doing their best possible contribution they can make in this moment?” “How can I have compassion with the circumstances that are driving our behavior?”

Open Will - Suspending voice of fear (VoF)

  • The underlying dynamic of the VoF is to shut down action and move you away from “taking the leap”. You can think of this voice as your subconscious that is sensing that “something would change” if a certain action would be taken, an assumption and its implications really accepted. The voice of fear tries to protect you from the danger of the unknown. It can activate strong reactions as we are in little or larger ways asked to let go of an idea of who we are and who we might be.

  • Notice your thoughts and feelings. Notice in what ways these thoughts might be attached to your sense of self. Notice how your feelings are making certain assumptions feel very real that, looked from one step further away, may not seem as certain anymore.

  • Depending on the kind of transition at hand, suspending the VoF may be a longer process of weeks or even years or just a question of some instances. Breath into the possibility.

  • Create the adequate space for yourself to sit with the question at hand.

  • Smaller transitions may include questions like: “can I do this?”, “Do I understand enough?” or simply “do I have enough time?”

  • Bigger transitions may be around questions like: “Who am I, if in fact I don’t care as much about XYZ as I thought?”, “What if I actually don’t want to be a XYZ?” or “What am I here for, if I really take into consideration all the implications our way of living has on the planet?”

  • In one way or another, the VoF asks us to let go of something and to let come. We can not really know what might come without authentically letting go too.

  • The driving attitude here is courage. Courage to step into the unknown and embrace the potential to change and be changed by what is unfolding.

The purpose of these further explanations is to become aware that a check-in per se doesn’t deliver the results of trust, connection, purpose, emotional and psychological safety and courageous action. It is, rather, the way we intentionally use this space that makes the difference. This said, there’s only one way to start: be curious, compassionate and courageous as you start practicing :)

Needed tools, materials, people etc.

  • Time: from 10min up to one hour

  • Setting: a circle, without laptops or a table between if possible

  • Materials: you may choose to have a check-in question to guide

Sources and further reading:

Our Experience with this Method

Check-ins are a full-spectrum-technology

Check-ins have become by now a part of my life. When I (Osi) am meeting up with friends, colleagues and new work-relationships I offer to “check-in”. A check-in, at first, is nothing more than saying, “Hey, here’s a door that we can walk through, if we choose to do so, before we continue walking the corridor we already know well enough”. It’s an invitation and opportunity to share some of our humanity (our being) before engaging with everything we can, want and have to do. Because check-ins have become such an integrated part of my practice as a facilitator, social innovator, friend and human it’s difficult to pick one experience. Hence I want to talk in more general terms about checking-in.

I’ve experienced check-ins that after that required another check-in round and another and yet another round. This were quite unique moments that have deeply impacted me and the relationship I hold to the individuals I practiced this check-in with. It was in these kind of check-ins where I was confronted just by listening to another person sharing, unexpectedly but unmistakably, with beliefs I held about the world and myself that I didn’t know. And as I was listening I started suspending what normally would have been my automatic response. In that little moment I was experiencing, just for a little moment, what life would look like if I was free from the belief of let’s say, “not being enough”.

“Not being enough” is such an ubiquitous phenomenon in our society. There’s so much I can intellectually know, understand and talk about. But in this very moment of just witnessing another person sharing in all realness and openness what “not being enough” looks, feels, tastes like and how eventually, in that person's experience, the situation shifted, helped me lower my threshold that was blocking me from experiencing that same shift. And within an instance memories came flooding where I had experienced not the same but something similar. As the round continued and also my other colleagues started to share what was happening within them in the very moment a collective moment of transformation just occurred.

Now I know that transformation is a big word. And widely overused too. But one thing I can say, I am only using this term now in the retrospective. Back then, after several rounds of sharing I was just feeling overwhelmed, unable to really focus on what previously had seemed so important but after these rounds had become largely trivial. I had judgements as to “why should we do these rounds if they keep us from working?” and more. It was only with time that I could more and more see, feel and sense the incredible effect that moments had in terms of uncovering the underlying coherence of our group that enabled us to know each other in such intuitive ways that then had immediate effects on the long-term effectiveness of our work.

This experience is hard to convey if you haven’t experienced something similar as well. My personal belief is that we all know it, because it’s just part of being human. But that we often don’t recognize it as a unique state of being, an altered state of consciousness were other doors of possibility open. We are not used to that kind of “work”.

Now, all of this has very little to do with the “method” of checking-in. And that is exactly my point. What makes this method useful and effective aren’t the technicalities. It’s almost uniquely determined by the quality of presence that the people bring to the rounds. The willingness to suspend individual and collective judgements (e.g. “This is taking too much time” or “that’s not appropriate to say”) and shift to a state of suspension were we instead of reacting observe our own process to what is being said. It’s in this space where a first door for a deeper connection opens. That door, formulated as a question, can be called “How must it be like to be in the totality of that other person’s experience?” In moments that can never be planned another door might open, with the power to create powerful shifts in conversation and the perception of Self and Other.

All this said, it’s been the rarest of things to meet and experience that kind of quality of listening and sharing. Most of my experiences in doing check-ins are beautiful and stay at a level that isn’t transformative per se though it always makes me feel more connected with the people I am in a conversation with. Which I, as a people-loving person really enjoy and have come to realise as one of my core-needs I have to deliver ordinary and extraordinary work.

Sociocracy 3.0 Decision Making

What is this method?

Collaborating in a team and community where we want to respect and consider the contribution of everyone can be a difficult task, both in theory and even more so in practice. Often, agreements are made without considering all the important actors involved or when they are involved reaching an agreement can be a lengthy and often unsuccessful ordeal.

How is it possible to come to agreements without losing our time and energy in a lengthy process full of tensions? And how can we ensure that the agreed upon decisions are clear and binding to every actor involved?

When we look at the obstacles to a smooth and effective collaboration in a team and community it becomes evident, that it is crucial to share an alignment in how to take clear and binding decisions together. Sociocracy 3.0 (S3) offers a pattern on decision making that allows each participant to contribute to the proposal in a clearly guided process.


The S3 decision making process is applied in a situation where the team and community faces a proposal to resolve a tension. A tension can be any kind of situation that requires a common agreement to be resolved in a clear manner.
When the decision making process is applied a facilitator is chosen to guide the process. In order for the agreements to be effective it is important to have a place where all important agreements are logged and regularly revised. Therefore, a note keeper is chosen to write down the agreement and the comments made during the decision making process:

  1. The facilitator asks the person holding the proposal to present it to the participants in a short and concise manner. Depending on the complexity of the proposal it can be helpful to use charts to make the information more digestible or in case of a minor proposal just to present it orally.

  2. The facilitator asks the participants if there are any clarifying questions regarding the proposal. At this point no objections or suggestions on how to improve the proposal are voiced, but only specific questions are asked to understand the details of the proposal. The proposal presenter can answer the question posed by the participants, while the facilitator guides the question round.

  3. Once all the clarifying questions have been addressed the facilitator asks whether this proposal as it stands is good and safe enough to try or whether there are any objections. The participants then can choose one of three hand signs to voice their opinion: Thumbs up means “I agree on the proposal”, a shaking hand means “I agree on the proposal but would like to voice a concern” and a hand with the palm facing up means “I object to the proposal and have an idea to improve the proposal”.
    When no objections are voiced by any participant, a decision has been reached and the facilitator asks the participants with a concern to express it. The concerns are documented by the note keeper in the logbook where the agreement is kept.

  4. In case an objection is voiced the facilitator initiates another round to ask if any participant has an objection to the objection. In case there are objections to the objection the facilitator seeks to mediate in order to find a solution that includes all points of view. Once the participants have agreed on the objection to be relevant, the facilitator asks the person with the objection to suggest an amendment to improve the proposal. If the person with the objection does not have an immediate improvement the amendment suggestions can be opened to the rest of the participants. The facilitator guides the discussion to reach a new proposal that the participants then can vote on again with the three signs: Thumbs up, shaking hand and a hand with a palm up. In case another objection is voiced the process is repeated until an agreement can be reached.

Needed tools, materials, people etc.

-Each decision making round should be facilitated by one person who guides all the participants through the process. The facilitation can be passed on to another person, but should always be held clearly by only one person. A note keeper is needed to write down the agreements and the comments made during the decision making process
-There can be up to 20 people participating in a decision making round, although smaller circles up until 10 are preferred to ensure an artful participation of everyone.
-Each decision making round should be time-boxed in agreement with the whole team, while the facilitator keeps the time and steers the process accordingly.

Sources and further literature

Sociocracy 3.0 patterns

 The S3 decision making process.

The S3 decision making process.

How to take effective decisions

Taking a decision is a difficult thing to do by oneself, taking it together in a group can seem impossible. Creating an alchemy of all perspectives into a common agreement is a mastery and ensuring that the individuals then stick to the agreement is wizardry. Yet, collective decision making it is at the heart of a fruitful collaboration and we are confronted by it on a day by day basis. So how do we deal with this challenge?

At collaboratio helvetica we use Sociocracy 3.0 (S3) to guide our governance processes and organisational structures. Our team went to a training of S3 where we learned the pattern of effective decision making. Practicing the pattern in the training I was amazed on how quickly we came to agreements on difficult topics that were relevant and important to us in the situation. It was fascinating to see how a guided process everyone follows can allow for all perspectives to be voiced without ending up in a 2 hour long discussion without clear outcome. The decision making process seemed simple enough to me and I thought it would be evident to use even if we have some team members who haven’t been trained in this method.

 Practicing S3 decision making.

Practicing S3 decision making.

Reality kicked in and proved me differently. It is one thing to conceptually understand how the process works and another thing to apply it in everyday working life. And even following a process guided by a skilled facilitator, such as we did in the training is a long way from facilitating it oneself with a mixed set of team members who have a different level of understanding of the process. So my takeaways from this learning journey are the following:

  1. Be aware of when the decision making process makes sense to apply and when not. When you decide to apply it, follow through with it step by step, instead of creating morphed short cuts. This is super important to get a sound understanding and habit of using the process correctly.  

  2. When a decision needs to be taken immediately, define who is the facilitator of the decision making process. A person who clearly holds the process and time-boxes is essential to reach an agreement.

  3. In case of team members who aren’t experienced in this process, I think it can also be advisable to quickly explain the steps on a meta-level before applying them. This creates a safe space for everybody, as everyone knows what is going to happen and when they can bring in their concerns and objections.

  4. When you’ve reached an agreement make sure to immediately clarify with the team, whether this is an important agreement that needs to be logged and if that is the case decide when this agreement should be reviewed. The reviewing of agreements is as important as coming to an agreement, since it enables the team to check whether they have properly implemented what they decided on.

  5. Practice, practice, practice! The decision making process only really becomes effective when it becomes a clear habit of everyone and no extra effort has to be made to remember the steps.

In the end, we have managed to get better at implementing this S3 pattern, but we still are learning. The times we have been able to successfully facilitate decision makings were some of the most productive meetings we have had. People left the meeting with energy and aligned for the work to be done - an essential step for collaboration.

About the method

Read more about the S3 decision making in our method blog.


The author:


Michèle Ryatt was a summer intern at collaboratio helvetica. In her role she supported all of our domains in different tasks - mainly on the organisational level. She studied International Affairs in her Bachelors at the University of St.Gallen and obtained a Masters degree in Educational Research at the University of Fribourg. Her studies have successfully prepared her to work with socially engaged organizations dedicated to spreading educational and innovative ideas.

I thought it has nothing to do with me!

I was chosen as one of 26 participants to join the GenderLab 2017/2018 – a ride through an unknown journey of discovery and exploration about gender equality, to serve Switzerland in finding tools and ways of supporting transformative change.

To be honest, I thought I knew quite a lot about gender and diversity but what I found was that I actually still don’t know that much, which was a shock and a huge pill to swallow!

After living in an intentional community focusing on building a conscious communication and relationship culture, I thought I had already learned a lot about people’s different needs, understandings, opinions, pre-assumptions, stories and life plans.

Oh, I was so far from the truth... whatever that means. :-)

The Gender Lab journey brought me a new understanding of myself, and where I stand on my internal map of understanding humankind in its complexity. I was challenged to show myself to people I didn’t know, to break the ice, to open spaces where hearts meet instead of brains

  "My internal map of understanding humankind in its complexity"  (by Sketchy Solutions/ Filippo Buzzini)

"My internal map of understanding humankind in its complexity" (by Sketchy Solutions/ Filippo Buzzini)

But true listening with the heart changes everything. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, open up and show the reality alive inside of us - a reality that is usually well hidden, especially in the workplace - then change happens within us and between people.

I saw how participants changed their perspectives about change in general. Gender equality is not just a societal problem that needs to be addressed by society, but it is also a very personal and intimate journey of transformation and understanding.

 "The four "seasons" of the Gender Lab journey" (by Sketchy Solutions/ Filippo Buzzini)

"The four "seasons" of the Gender Lab journey" (by Sketchy Solutions/ Filippo Buzzini)

Through the 4 modules of the journey, I experienced different seasons in my outer world as well as inside of me. The first phase entailed being totally engaged in the process, wanting to contribute, thinking I already knew a lot and even knew better. Within a group process, we could call this phase "pseudo". Then it came to a phase of inner “chaos” where I realized "Dammit - I just have no idea!" I wondered what I was doing in this group, if I was in the right place. I had the tendency (internally) to fight against different opinions and stories. Oh, what a ride! And then the "emptiness" phase came. At that point, I felt I could speak out what was on my heart without the fear of being attacked. I – and others in the group – started taking the risk of speaking up. This was when the heart truth became visible, something happened in the group, a glue appeared between people. This is what we call "community".

These phases are present collectively, but also very much at the individual level, in each of us, even though we cannot always feel or see them. They happen when we are among people and very often, we just move through the first three phases and never reach the fourth phase of community.

My conclusion about the gender topic is that it is a very personal journey, which leads me back to my title. Through our prototyping at two companies, where we opened a space of sharing and listening about gender equality, there was always at least one person who said: "Gender equality has nothing to do with me. I’m fine with it." Or, "We have no gender equality problem!" But at the end of each workshop, all the participants had shifted their understanding to the fact that: "Hell yes, it is so personal!"

It is connected to our lives so deeply, that at first sight, we don’t even realise it.

So I would love to invite you to reflect on this topic for the next 5-10 minutes, with the following questions:

  • How would my life look like without stereotypes like pink for girls and blue for boys?

  • How do I feel and react personally, when I realize I have no idea about a topic?

  • As a father - would I choose to go on parental leave?

  • As a mother - how long would I stay at home with my child if there was no financial pressure of getting back to work?

I wish you a great reflection and keep in mind the following: the best questions in life are the ones that cannot be answered by yes or no, but need to cook slowly, again and again.


The author:

Bildschirmfoto 2018-09-07 um 15.20.27.png

Christine Dürschner, relationship coach, mentor and holistic companion at BeziehungsDesign. She was a participant of the first cycle of the collaboratio helvetica Gender Lab

Mission Impossible

What is this method?

The Mission Impossible is a fun way for a group to bond by solving a challenge together. At the same time the challenge can be tailored to the purpose and content of the workshop. Most frequently used at the beginning of a workshop after the check-in.

How does the process look like?

1. Intro “We will now do a challenge. Who knows the Mission Impossible movies?” - “so many? Cool! Now we will get to solve our very own Mission Impossible!”

2. Read the challenges on the flipchart (prepared in advance), have the time covered with a post-it so people don’t know how much time they have (yet). Don’t hesitate to make it really challenging (up to 7 challenges or more).

 Mission Impossible during one of our Community Forums.

Mission Impossible during one of our Community Forums.

Examples of challenges

  • How many stair-steps are in this building?

  • 30 reasons why it is better to be here than on holidays

  • 20 things we have in common

  • 1 drawing that summarizes your current situation as a landscape

  • 20 things you could start doing together now

  • Learn all names by heart

  • Come up with a slogan that represents your team-spirit and learn it by heart in the most exotic language present

  • Give everyone a high-five and make each other a compliment

  • Create a Love-story in 4 scenes (like in the journal Bravo). Take a picture and send them to - or show them at the end

3. Disclose the time they have directly (8-12min) or let them guess how long they’ll take for the challenge, and then disclose how much time you are willing to give them.

4. Play “Mission Impossible Theme Song (10 hours)” on Youtube and say: “Your time starts NOW!”

5. While people are solving the issue, you can observe the dynamics:

  • How are they making choices?

  • Who (if anyone at all) is in the lead?

  • What are the coordinating mechanisms?

  • How are they as a team building on each others strengths (e.g. some challenges require more of an extrovert attitude?

6. When the time is running out, make people aware of how much time they have left. As a facilitator, you may also want to shorten or extend the time accordingly to the speed of the group (not too much though).

7. Debrief: For the debriefing you can go through each challenge and help the group appreciate their success as well as facilitate a meta-reflection at the end:

-> What did we learn through this exercise that we want to take with us for the rest of the Workshop?

8. Learnings:

  • This exercise enables a team to learn something about their team-dynamics and collaboration-patterns.

  • It breaks the ice and gets people in a can-do mindset.

  • If the challenges are chosen well, the exercise can beautifully help people land in the topic and come up with the right framing of the theme themselves. It activates the mind to already think in associative ways about the challenges at hand.

  • Different people have different preferences of action.

Practical information (time needed, amount of people etc.).

  • Time: 20-45min

  • Material: Flipcharts, markers, music, more material is optional according to the challenges you choose to come up with

  • People: between 6 to 23

Our Experience with this Method

The Mission Impossible (MI) was, as far as I (Osi) know, invented by Arne Reis. Arne was at the time our Facilitation Trainer of the euforia Training Program. Later we took that method along when we started to work with teams of all levels (Top-Management to Sales-Teams) at Swisscom. The MI is one of my favourite methods to use because of its power to introduce the methodology of learning through experience, activating the group, breaking the ice, as a metaphor for challenges, and more.

Here I want to share quite a unique moment I’ve experienced as a facilitator practicing this method: the 3rd retreat of our Gender Lab.

In this 3rd retreat of the first Gender Lab Cycle we practiced the 4D Mapping. Which is a very powerful method to map the system in current and future reality using our bodies. As this is not a blog about the 4D mapping what matters to say is that after that exercise the energy of the group was quite low and there was a need to elevate the spirit and engagement of the people. At first, we thought “let’s wait for how things look like the next morning”. And so the next morning came and still it was quite obvious that if we wanted to end the workshop on a good end something needed to happen.

So we invented in a very short time our very own Gender Lab Mission Impossible with around 10 different challenges. Together with an encouraging but also a little bit provocative intro (“let’s see if you manage to Tom-Cruise this out!”) people just went at it and some of the people that previously hadn’t been very active in the process were participating with a high level of engagement as that high-energy-method was a better fit to their preferences. After successfully achieving this Mission Impossible together the Lab Cohort did not only feel better in the moment, something also had started to shift in terms of how some people looked at the happenings of the previous day. Just as with the Mission Impossible, things that previously seemed insurmountable started to become one more “Mission Impossible” that can be figured out if we truly work hand in hand together.

At that point the Mission Impossible had served us to shift the energy, perspective and cohesion of the Gender Lab Explorers. A person that is normally used to very slow and deep transformational process even said at the end: “It was great to, for once, just go at a speed so unusual to me! I can still feel the energy buzzing over my skin!”

Wie schaffen Mythen Realitäten?

Heute feiern wir die Gründung der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft! Wir alle kennen die sagenumwobene Geschichte des Rütlischwurs, wo die Uhrkantone ein Bündnis schlossen und somit den Grundungsakt der Eidgenossenschaft festlegten. Gründungsmythen haben eine starke kulturelle und verbindende Relevanz, die nicht unterschätzt werden darf. Zum heutigen Nationalfeiertag stellen wir uns zwei Fragen: Wie schaffen Mythen Realitäten und wie sieht die Schweiz aus in der wir leben wollen?

"Mythen sind unabdingbar. Eine Nation, eine Gemeinschaft erzeugt Mythen und Traditionen, um zu existieren und zu überleben. Diese Erzählung legitimiert Aktionen und ermöglicht es, Ereignissen einen Sinn zu geben. Das gilt für die Schweiz genau so wie für alle Gesellschaften weltweit."

Prof. François Walter, Universität Genf

Der Gründungsmythos der Schweiz

Viele kennen sie, die Geschichte der drei Eidgenossen der Stände Uri (Walter Fürst), Schwyz (Werner Stauffacher) und Unterwalden (Arnold von Melchtal), welche sich auf der stillen Rütliwiese am Vierwaldstättersee trafen, um sich den ewigen Bund und Beistand zu schwören.

Die Historiographie der alten Eidgenossenschaft war zunächst geprägt von der volkstümlichen Form des Gründungsmythos mit Elementen wie dem Rütlischwur oder der Tellsage, wie er erstmals im Weissen Buch von Sarnen (1470er Jahre) fassbar ist und durch verschiedene Chronisten wie vor allem auch Friedrich Schillers Willhelm Tell stilisiert und popularisiert wurde. Die Mythen der Eidgenossenschaft gerieten bereits 1760 ins Zwielicht durch die Publikation des lange vergessenen lateinischen Bundesbriefes von 1291 und die Entdeckung der nordischen Wurzeln der Tellsage.

 Der Schwur auf dem Rütli von Jean Renggli dem Älteren: Der Rütlischwur, 1891 Luzern, Stadt Luzern

Der Schwur auf dem Rütli von Jean Renggli dem Älteren: Der Rütlischwur, 1891 Luzern, Stadt Luzern

“Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth -- penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.”

― Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Wie schaffte der Gründungsmythos Realitäten?

Mythen sind mehr als Erzählungen, denn sie stiften politische Bedeutung. Sie strukturieren die Vergangenheit und haben Einfluss auf die Gegenwart und gestalten so die Zukunft mit.

Das lässt sich auch in der Geschichte der Schweiz erkennen:

  • Der Gründungsmythos der Schweiz unterstützte zu Zeiten der alten Eidgenossenschaft (bis 1798) die Solidarität innerhalb der Bündnisse gegen aussen.
  • Während der moderne Nationalstaat gebildet wurde, trug der Gründungsmythos zur Bildung einer nationalen Identität bei: Die Schweiz als “Willensnation”, welche weder durch die Sprache, noch wegen der Religion eine homogene Gemeinschaft bildet. Stattdessen wurde eben diese Heterogenität, die ihren Ausdruck in der Mehrsprachigkeit oder dem föderalistischen System findet, zu einem wichtigen Aspekt der “nationalen Kultur”.  
  • Während den Weltkriegen wurde der Gründungsmythos auch für die Aufrechterhaltung der Neutralität verwendet: Mit den Alpen als Schauplatz der eigenen Gründungsgeschichte, als Metapher der Freiheit und Unabhängigkeit.

Fragen zum Gedankenanstoss:

  1. Brauchen wir heute einen neuen Mythos, um unsere Vision einer zukünftigen Schweiz zu unterstützen? Wenn ja, wie stellst du dir diesen vor?

  2. Weshalb machst du was du heute machst? Wie ist es dazu gekommen?

  3. Wie sieht die Schweiz aus, in der du Leben möchtest?

“We need myths that will identify the individual not with his local group but with the planet.”

― Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Ein kurzer Geschichtsüberblick für Interessierte:

  • 1291 | Alte Eidgenossenschaft BÜNDNISPARTNERSCHAFTEN
    Wechselnde Bündnisse zwischen Städten und Landschaften bezwecken die Sicherung der politischen Ordnung gegen innen und der Unabhängigkeit gegen aussen. 1291 schliessen Uri, Schwyz und Unterwalden das erste dokumentierte Bündnis ab. Der Begriff «Eitgenoze» taucht 1315 auf. Im Lauf der Jahrhunderte wächst die Eidgenossenschaft durch weitere Bündnisse und durch Gebietseroberungen.
    Nach dem Einmarsch französischer Truppen wird die Eidgenossenschaft zur Helvetischen Republik umgestaltet: zu einem Einheitsstaat unter pariser Kontrolle.
  • 1803 –1814 | Mediation GELOCKERTE FREMDHERRSCHAFT
    Nach Bürgerkriegen zwischen Föderalisten und Anhängern der Helvetischen Republik gibt Napoleon der Schweiz eine Mediationsverfassung. Sie gibt den Kantonen eine gewisse Eigenständigkeit zurück und legt die meisten Kantonsgrenzen fest.
  • 1815 | Bundesvertrag NEUTRALITÄT UND STAATENBUND
    Nach dem Sturz Napoleons anerkennen die europäischen Grossmächte die Neutralität der Schweiz, und die heute gültigen Landesgrenzen werden fixiert. Der Bundesvertrag von 1815 fasst die verschiedenen eidgenössischen Bündnisse zu einem einzigen Staatenbund zusammen. Dieser ist für die Sicherheitspolitik zuständig.
  • 1847–1848 | Sonderbundskrieg LIBERALE GEGEN KONSERVATIVE
    Bei der Frage nach der Ausgestaltung des Bundes kommt es schlussendlich zu einem Bürgerkrieg zwischen liberalen und katholischkonservativen Kantonen. Der Sonderbundskrieg endet mit dem Sieg der liberalen Kräfte.
  • 1848 | Bundesverfassung DEMOKRATISCHER BUNDESSTAAT
    Die Bundesverfassung gewährt den meisten Bürgern – Männern – verschiedene Rechte und Freiheiten, u. a. das Stimm- und Wahlrecht (Frauenstimmrecht erst ab 1971). Auf Bundesebene wird nach amerikanischem Vorbild das Zweikammersystem eingeführt, mit einem National- und einem Ständerat, die den Bundesrat wählen. Einige Bereiche werden zentralisiert. Die Schweiz entwickelt sich zum einheitlichen Rechts- und Wirtschaftsraum.       


Wie sieht die Schweiz aus, in welcher du leben willst? 

Im Rahmen des ersten Collaboratio Festivals vom 18. Juni 2018 haben wir unterschiedlichen Menschen in der Schweiz diese Frage gestellt. Wie sieht deine Vision einer zukünftigen Schweiz aus? Teile sie mit uns unter dem Hashtag #visionCH!


Lichtmann, Tamàs (2010): Die Schweiz als Erzählung: Nationale und narrative identitätskonstruktionen in Max Frischs Stiller, Wilhelm Tell für die Schule und Dienstbüchlein. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main.
Im Hof, Ulrich (1990): Nationale Identität der Schweiz: Konstanten im Wandel. In: Schweizer Monatshefte : Zeitschrift für Politik, Wirtschaft, Kultur. (70).