SCE München 48.1538958 Heßstraße 89 +498912653200

- - - - -

Collaborative Leadership Lab

Go back

Collaborative Leadership Lab

Using collective creativity and embodied presence to navigate change

Ruth Förster _ Zurich (CH)
Ken Otter _ San Francisco (USA)
Wolfgang Stark _ Munich (Germany)

Time: 1 day, 9.30 am – 6 pm, Tuesday, Sept 6th

Participants. max. 24

Fees. 130 € professionals / 85 € members of ARC, SCE and Hochschule München / 45 € students


Full information: Initiates file downloadPDF DOWNLOAD

For Questions 
please contact

The Reason. Why you should participate.

As the world becomes increasingly interdependent, turbulent, and uncertain, organizations must become more innovative and adaptive. Leadership that is more relational, collaborative and inclusive can help organizations make this shift. Such leadership serves to link people across sectors, cultures, generations and genders and promotes collective creativity and action (Otter, 2012). By developing this multi-stakeholder engagement and creativity in people, organizations are more able to respond skillfully and effectively in complex and dynamic change circumstances.

This experiential Collaborative Leadership Lab engages a group of no more than 24 managers, leaders, entrepreneurs and change agents from academia, business, the social and public sector in an exploration of embodied presencing, creativity and change in cultivating capacities for relational and collective leadership. The work of Adaptive Leadership (Heifitz & Linksy, 2002), Theory U (Scharmer & Kaufer, 2013), Social Presencing Theater, and the Tamalpa Life Art process provide the road maps for this exploration. In addition to movement and improvisational art explorations, an overview of key principles and crucial elements of relational and collaborative leadership based on improvisation research are presented.

The lab culminates with an opportunity to explore how to apply the lab experience into one’s own work and life. It will also offer the opportunity to connect and learn with fellow innovators in leadership and for networking.

Who should participate?

  • Social entrepreneurs, managers, leaders who want to expand their leadership skills in fostering meaningful change involving collective creativity and improvisation
  • People from a wide range with diverse backgrounds who want to expand their leadership skills in fostering meaningful change involving collective creativity and to enable others to do the same, in multi-actor settings.
  • Leadership consultants/trainers/educators/coaches with the aim of expanding their know-how in the field of teaching and facilitating collaborative & relational leadership development in others to complement and transform existing conventional leadership perspectives and approaches.
  • Change agents and transformative leaders interested to experience new methods and approaches based on artistic approaches and to reflect about possible applications in their field.



  •  New skills in enabling cross-sector, multi-disciplinary work in more relational, self-organized, and creative ways in a networked and dynamically changing environment.
  • Increase capacity to recognize benefits of plural forms of leadership i.e. collective, shared, and distributive, to complement more leader-centric hierarchical forms.
  • Learn embodying relational & collective leadership principles through improvisational play, constellations and expressive arts that increase social, cross-cultural and system intelligences.
  • Identify the relevance and meaning of the experienced for your personal and professional practice



  • Heifetz, R. & Linsky, M. (2002). Leadership on the Line. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press 
  • Otter, Ken (2012). What difference does it make? A qualitative inquiry into longer-term outcomes of a transformative education in relational leadership. Dissertation California Institute of Integrative Studies. San Francisco 
  • Scharmer O. C. & Kaufer, K. (2013). Leading from the Emerging Future. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. 
  • Stark, Wolfgang (2015): Performative Patterns for Innovation. The Power of Tacit Knowing in Social Systems. Keynote Paper, delivered at the International Conference on Pattern Languages for Societal Change (PurPLSoC 2015) in Krems/Austria 
  • See also:


Who offers it?

Ken Otter
Ken Otter, PHD, has 30 years of professional experience in human and organizational development as an educator, coach, and consultant in the US and internationally. This experience spans multiple sectors and a wide variety of industries such as education, hospitality, health, and the arts. This work is grounded in his life-long inquiry on the interplay between inner and outer change and how this interplay is practiced toward individual and organizational wellbeing. His areas of scholarship include: global leadership development, multi-stakeholder collaboration, and the application of lifespan and wisdom development in organizational life and leadership. Ken is Associate Professor in Leadership Studies at Saint Mary’s College of California since 2002, and Core Faculty at Tamalpa Institute since 1993.

Ruth Förster
Ruth Förster’s main interest lies in creating processes and innovative education offerings that support individual and collective transformation towards more sustainable living. In her work she counsels educational institutions and offers trainings. Further she is the project manager for developing an interdisciplinary postgraduate program at ETH Zurich in ‘Future Transport Systems’ ( ) with a strong link to innovation and change. Her approach combines scientific with art-based methods rooted in experiential education. Ruth holds degrees in mechanical and environmental engineering and is trained as vision quest guide and in the Tamalpa Life Art process. She is one of the initiators of the Collaborative Leadership Lab at Swissnex San Francisco in March 2015 (

Wolfgang Stark
Wolfgang Stark, Prof. Dr., has been one of the founders of the Munich Self Help Resource Center and is teaching since 20 years as professor for Organizational and Community Psychology. He is founder and director of the Organizational Development Laboratory (, and scientific director of the Center for Societal Learning and Social Responsibility ( Wolfgang Stark is also founding member and former president of the European Community Psychology Association and Executive Director of the Center for Innovation and Sustainable Leadership, a member of the German-based Steinbeis Foundation ( and is now affiliated with the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship in Munich ( His research is specializing in community building and empowerment processes in organizations and society, and in organizational/societal learning and organizational culture. In linking the arts and organizational science (ARC), he is keen to establish transdisciplinary knowledge base for societal innovation. In identifying patterns of implicit and tacit knowing in people and organizations he is developing a pattern language for strategic improvisation.