Week 2 review. See it emerge before your very eyes in a
Also have a look at the
visual practice tools
by Kelvy for u.lab, which include this great Week 1 contribution by Jayce:
"...we experience a world about to be born in e.g.
education, biotechnology, renewable energy, social assistance, volunteering, elimination of hierarchical systems..."
"...our first meeting - great interaction, listening and sharing ourselves..."
Hub American Corner UMM
"...It's not about me. It's about something else that os about to come into the world and that I'm in service of..."
Glaswegian creativity and learning at its best...in the kitchen! Despite a few venue challenges tonight the hub was fabulous..."
"We did a mini-journey through the U, with very inspiring results! Looking forward to the rest of our journey."
Empathy Walk reflections by various u.lab participants:
"I learned that you don't have to do charity or ngo work to create a labor of love. This vineyard owner puts in hundreds of thousands of his own money to produce delicious wine he loves, purely because of the passion and a moment in his past where he decided he wasn't okay with the business as usual.
Being aware of my listening, I was able to deepen it, though I wasn't sure what to say when he would finish sharing a big part of his story. ´Fascinating, inspiring´ could only be said so much. I am working on tapping into my own experience by listening deeply to myself and what comes up for me."
"I've walked with Emilia, an homeless who lives close to my office. (...) We met each other since 1997, but we never talked openly like today. During the emapty walk we talked about books, literature, smoking, health, people, switzerland and rome. I really enjoyed being with her. I loved how much she knows about the district. She knows everyone. She express appreciation for a lot of people. She told me her feeling, how sad is being treated bad by some residents. I learned a lot. The quality of my listening improve. Nothwithstanding my preparation, I've started feel unconfortable, being far from her. But, though sometimes I wanted to run away, I've started feel very good being with her. I've discovered a lot about a place I'm living in since almost 20 years. Wasn't emapthy alone, at the end our discussion based upon books and literature was really generative. I felt emerging awareness of the place I'm in and to the people I meet everyday. An empathy walk valuable like a power training."
"Close to where I live is a major intersection that often is frequented by youngsters begging.
The other day there was a boy of 18, as I eventually learned, who used juggling sticks to attract attention. He did it with such skill and a big smile on his face that he got quite well rewarded. I invited him to a nearby coffee shop for something to eat; I had to ignore many disapproving looks by other guests when making our way to a table.
His story was heart breaking and heart-warming at the same time. He has been living on the streets for quite a few years, had no idea where his parents were or whether they were still alive. But what struck me, his friendly demeanour was not just a façade, it seemed to be genuine and part of his personality. He told me about his dreams of getting a decent education enabling him to do different work for making a living. He did not consider begging as undignified but as a means to survive.
What became very clear to me during our time together that as human beings, we had more in common than what divided us.
Thank you Tshepo (when checking the meaning of his name later, I found out that it either means Hope or Trust depending which local language one applies)."
I am in the real estate business in Venezuela, a bankrupt country. Today I sat with a client who told me the reasons for her selling her apartment and leaving the country for good. More than a business transaction I could observe myself deeply listening and sympathising with her story. In a moment of the conversation I could observe myself observing the experience, being conscious of my feelings and totally involved in her reality."
"My empathy walk ... a walk into empathy
It was perfomed with my son ... strange enough, so close and so away ,,,
It was wonderful!"
"I chose to do my empathy walk with a very young-looking 30 year old Iranian woman who recently started taking care of my mother through social services. I had only seen her once and all I knew about her was that she had emigrated to the US less than a year ago. I myself had left Iran 40 years ago and now feel completely assimilated. I wanted to connect with her and listen to her story. I was curious how she was coping as a recent immigrant. I must say I was completely stunned to find out she had been battling cancer for the last 8 years. She had had 2 operations and 2 rounds of chemo and has stage 4 cancer. She is learning English and is very grateful to be in the US. She seemed such a positive and cheerful person despite her health challenges. I felt I was listening at level 3 and 4, giving her my full attention and really opening my heart. As she was smiling and looking at me, I asked what its like to be going through all this and working everyday and studying in a new country. She just completely broke down and I went over and held her and we cried together for a very long time. It was just a priviledge to hear her story. She told me she tries to be strong for her mother's sake, and always keeps herself together. she told me how much lighter she feels after a good cry. I learned that emphatic listening is a wonderful gift, both for the receiver and the giver."
coaching circle experiences in the ULab class helped me see how powerful small groups with structured interaction can be online and now I'm developing software that can support this kind of process with any kind of learning. We're running out first pilot with a program out of Harvard this November."
I just wanted to share my apprehension regarding the empathy walk. I have been pushing it back since I heard the assignment and I am feeling a little stuck.
The more I block though, the more I realise this is a necessity as it demonstrates more and more clearly a basic form of disconnection with the social field (aka people). There is a lot of truth in saying that "systems change is personal" (quoted from the huffingtonpost article) and I believe this first assignment is spot on in addressing one of my challenges and giving me the opportunity to initiate inner change."
I go evey morning through the day before, sort of watching a film of what has happened to me and to what i made happening.
Then I focus on special moments that to me are representative of a specific
level of listening and I draw conclusions about the percentages.
"He's my journaling after our first
Authenticity and vulnerability provide a doorway into the emerging future. I am committed to hold spaces where people feel safe to tell their authentic stories and explore their (our) learning edges. This requires me to listen with an open heart to myself and to others and to take my risk to be vulnerable when telling my authentic story."
It is very gratifying to see the degree of social empathy with colleagues"
U.LAB HUB VISUALS
By Giorgia Madonno in Singapore
Singapore Ulab Hub roadmap - draft open to the emerging future!"
By Jorge Liras in Valladolid
"Winds that help us favorably in the storm towards a brighter future. Watching, listening to our intuition to keep our true north and act
Dear u.lab community,
Many of you are well on your way with co-sensing activities, and we trust that Week 3 is going well for you.
By now, we hope you have found a coaching circle, gone through a case clinic process, and also completed the Empathy Walk. The left columns in this newsletter will give you an impression of how your fellow participants experienced these practices.
The listening assessment reminder has been fixed and should now show up in your inbox daily (if you have opted in). By using this tool, you will get into the habit of paying attention to how you are listening and paying attention to your surroundings.
You have also been invited to apply your deeper levels of listening to your context and your conversations, and explore the edges of your system through learning journeys or stakeholder interviews. If you have already completed one of these activities, you can use this week for sense-making. Consider using the Social Presencing Theater practices that were made available in the course along with Week 3.
Enjoy the rest of the co-sensing phase!
The u.lab newsletter team
In this edition:
u.lab community stories
To get an idea of what's happening across our global u.lab community and what type of questions are being asked, we've highlighted a few hubs and initiatives and provided brief snippets of how they came together this passed week.
Some of the active areas are:
Smart cities and government
Health and wellbeing
Do these reflect some of your own questions and experiences? Any other voices that have yet to be added?
If you have a u.lab story or experience to share, don't hesitate to email us at
This week Concordia University in Montreal had their third gathering. Topics that came up were complex organizational change, citizen engagement, and youth development. Also the topic of what it means to create peace - inside the self, at work, with a community - was addressed and how we can include individuals who feel unheard and isolated in order to promote a sense of belonging in society.
United In Diversity
The UID is collaborating with the US Embassy in Jakarta and has initiated 6 u.lab hubs at educational institutions across Indonesia. Each week so far, over 110 people have participated in the hub gatherings. On the picture, participants are practicing their listening skills and discussing "What kind of burning questions keep you up at night?"
University of Antwerp
At the University of Antwerp, associate professor Els Laenens is using u.lab to prepare a ´cloud` for the upcoming Eapril education conference in November.
Entrepreneurial u.lab hub in Mumbai
centered around deep listening. This digitally led media & learning platform for entrepreneurs is coming together on a weekly basis for co-learning.
LEGO u.lab hub in London
James Poulter at the LEGO hub says: "We're looking at a range of ideas from how we can make LEGO more sustainable, foster cross-team collaboration, and developing entrepreneurship alongside traditional careers. (...)
We are all super excited to see how U process can help us think about large-scale organisational change and behaviour forming. (...) The LEGO London Hub is one of the companies 5 global sites, we have around 300 LEGO Employees based there across a variety of our global functions."
Smart cities and government
Housing Co-op Ideas in Brixton
Impact Hub Brixton hold their u.lab meetups during their weekly open project nights. This week one of the discussions revolved around housing co-op ideas.
Sustainable Development Goals in Geneva
Impact Hub Geneva here coming together for their co-initiation session. In addition to co-learning, the collective intention is to apply u.lab to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals
- a perfect theme for this city! The hub was also deeply inspired by their youngest attendee, who is only a couple of months old.
The u.lab hub in Brussels is focusing on sensing into the city as a living organism and opening up to what future might emerge through the cracks of disruption.
Reinventing Democracy in London
Impact Hub King´s Cross in London is using u.lab as a vehicle to address e.g. the topic of reinventing democracy, what that means and what that might look like.
|Health and Wellbeing
Global Community Wellness hub
One of the hubs on the u.school community site,
is now extending to 16 countries while they continue with their monthly live meetings to discuss The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness and other mindfulness tools to help us live with more awareness, paying attention, on purpose, be in the present moment, and being non-judgmental.
Non-violent Communication Hub
Davida Ginther writes:
"Excited to share that our growing Non-Violent Communication Hub is now counting 50 members! At the core of our activity stands the question: How can we practice Non-Violent Communication within the frame of Theory U for leading social change?
People from all sectors, fields of interest and world parts are welcome to join us for sparking this meaningful conversation. The picture was taken at our first on-line call last week."
Blue Zone hub Oss, the Netherlands
A 'Blue Zone' is a place that supports longer, happier and healthier life and work. In Oss, the Netherlands, the Blue Zone hub is using u.lab as a vehicle for tapping into how they might shape such a zone in their neighborhoods.
No hub? No problem!
It is perfectly fine and possible to go through the u.lab material individually or with one or two other partners. Interaction and real-world learning is certainly encouraged, but this can also be taken into your day-to-day context. For instance, an Empathy Walk with a client, a Stakeholder Interview with a colleague, or a Learning Journeys on your commute home - feel free to get creative!
The coaching circle is a group of no more than 6 participants for going through the Case Clinic process. The circle can be virtual or offline. While the case giver does need to prepare a "case" to present (a current leadership or personal challenge), the rest of the instructions are provided. No special expertise is required.
Any more questions? Don´t hesitate to send them to email@example.com.
Hub Host Support
This u.lab we started more focused activities to support the hub hosts
. We are aware that hubs play an important role in the experience and outcomes of u.lab and form a 'highway to impact'; for the individual participants, the hubs themselves, and u.lab in its aim to reconnect and transform the described acupuncture points. We also notice that hub hosts deeply love their work, even though sometimes it can be a very new role.
With this new role for many hosts, we felt more specific
support for them would help the u.lab field. Many of the hubhosts work in a team, some do it alone. There is definitely a lot we can learn from each other and it is nice to strengthen the connection between the hosts, since most of them are very much working apart together!
What did we do?
First, during last spring, we organized some conference calls (zoom sessions) to hear what was going on, what the needs were, and how could we help. This became the start of the hub host calls that we now offer 3 times a week: to share experiences, to listen, to ask questions, and to inspire each other in for example the design of the sessions, the tools, etcetera. We also co-created the
Hub Host Guide
together with other hub hosts and based on collective knowledge and experiences.
The hub host calls (being hosted at different times to make it accessible for all time zones) are highly appreciated among participants. We have so much to share and it is such a rich experience to connect. Both on a very practical level, and on the more personal level. Regular participants are becoming like a team, feeling strengthened simply by the awareness that they have partners all over the world. New colleagues, who are also finding their way to each other without the calls, once they get acquainted and feel a connection based on language, theme, sector, an so forth.
Want to join?
If you are a host & you want to join this ongoing dialogue, you are very welcome! Simply send a message to
and we will add you and your hub to the conversation.
Julie and Simoon,
Hub Host Team
Join online conversations
Because we felt there are some global/regional conversations to be had, we created some theme-specific Facebook groups. We list a few of them here:
With the current moment of disruption in Brazil, we thought it could be helpful to have a place for awareness-based change practitioners from Brazil
to have a constructive and generative dialogue, learn from and support each other.
One of the comments up until now:
"I see in common (...) that there are barriers for reaching people, because of lack of interest, cultural specificities and not knowing how to get or act on this needed information (or even not knowing that it's necessary to get them). So the question is, how do we overcome these barriers?"
Want to add to the discussion? Go ahead and join the
u.lab Brazil group
u.lab Future of Europe
Here you can collectively feel into the current moment of disruption in Europe, and tap into its emerging future.
One of the topics already raised is that of Brexit.
One member of the group reflects on how he sensed this political event in a gathering the day after Brexit:
Having lived, worked and studied in the UK myself, I have very much felt the pain and disappointment of many of my friends there on June 24...something is shifting here clearly with the old idea of Europe dying and the new one not quite clear yet...tha
t's why we thought it is so important to tell our own stories about Europe and what it means to us... When we actually started talking about our own experiences, then the passion and excitment was very quickly in the room as it was about our personal life, the diversity of experiences, the sharing of stories, no matter, where you live and work in Europe...It felt very good to express ourselves in words, pictures and gestures"
u.lab United States
The next seven weeks are likely to be a defining moment for the future of the U.S -- with race, politics and so much more at a tipping point. These seven weeks also happen to be the time when u.lab 1x runs in 2016. We thought it could be helpful to have a place for awareness-based change practitioners in the US to have constructive and generative dialogue, learn from and support each other.
In order for professionals and organizations to inspire and support each other in the use of the U for innovation, and for them to connect and form an awareness-based
The group is still getting warmed up, but the u.lab hub LEGO London says Hello!
Want to add to the discussion? Go ahead and join the u.lab Business group.
Missing a theme-specific group? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request another group.