q Clean Conference 2013 - Clean Change Company

Clean Conference 2013

Clean Conference 2013


Central London: University of London Union, Malet St, London, WC1E 7HY

The full range of speakers at the conference are now on the site, click here.

The structure of the Conference

10 May is for those experienced in the basics of Clean Language and Clean Space (i.e. those who have about 7 days of Clean training), and will take the form of a workshop run by James Lawley, leader in the field of Clean (see  blue text below for more).

11 and 12 May is for all, and no Clean experience is required.  There will be two parallel streams of presentations and a Keynote Presentation each day.

We are running a  Skype Taster Teleclass on 8 May which offers new-to-Clean people an introduction into some of the basics of Clean Language, and while it isn’t essential to have covered these before attending the Clean Conference, it is recommended highly.

Keynote presentations

We are honoured to have two wonderful Keynote Speakers: the well-respected and well-loved Nancy Kline, author of Time to Think, and More Time to Think, joining us on 11 May and William Ayot, a poet, speaker, coach and chief executive of NaCOT (the National Centre for the Oral Tradition) who uses story, theatre and poetry to teach leadership at the highest levels and who is joining us on 12 May.

Nancy’s work has many parallels with the Clean ethos, and some differences, making her work both a good fit, and a good challenge to the Clean community, encouraging us all to consider what we do and we don’t do and what the effects of this are.  In addition, Nancy has a way with words that will provide those who talk to others about Clean with some wonderful one-liners to add to their repertoire – here’s one from Time to Think to get you started: “To determine someone else’s goal for them is an act of infantilization.” See www.timetothink.com for more on Nancy’s work.

William’s work too has resonances with Clean (see below), while his focus is quite different from Nancy’s, making the combination of these two key note presentations very fitting. See here for more on William and his work: https://williamayot.com/

Nancy Kline’s key note session: ‘What’s in a Word? Coaching in the Client’s Own Language

We think in our own words – inside them, inside the links between them, inside the tone of them, the history of them, our experience of them. Our own words matter so much that for someone to invade, change, steer or paraphrase them is to colonise our thinking. When coaches understand this connection between one’s words and one’s emergent thought, coaching moves to a higher and more enduring level.
Nancy Kline will offer a compelling perspective on the importance of coaching in the client’s own words and will propose various versions of this expertise, including the building of Incisive Questions.’
Nancy Kline is President of Time To Think, an international leadership development and coaching company. She is also a published author and public speaker. Nancy created and pioneered the development of the theory and process called The Thinking Environment®.  This model allows people to turn their teams, organisations and relationships into Thinking Environments in which people at every level can think for themselves, with rigour, imagination and courage. The process increases the quality of thinking in, and thus of concrete results from, all human interactions, both in pairs and in groups, and decreases the amount of time it takes to achieve them. Nancy and the other Time To Think Consultants and Coaches do Thinking Environment work in companies, universities, human resource organisations, government agencies and voluntary organisations. Thinking Environment work is active in the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Spain, The United States, Australia  and South Africa. Time To Think began in 1984 and grew out of Nancy’s consulting and teaching work near Washington, DC, where she had served as a Founding Director of The Thornton Friends School for twelve years and as Director of The Leadership Institute for six years. She is a Fellow of Ashridge College, UK Nancy was born and raised in New Mexico and lives in England with her husband Christopher Spence.

William Ayot’s keynote session: Meeting the Minotaur:Poetry, Metaphor & Change in Organisations

Poet William Ayot takes us on an experiential journey to the heart of the organisational labyrinth, exploring the issues that engage and concern twenty-first century leaders.  Reading poems written for senior executives at seminars and leadership labs around the world, William follows the thread of imagination to discover the deep yearnings and aspirations behind the powerful positions and the intimidating job-descriptions. On the way back he looks at ways to change attitudes and challenge working cultures. Finally, rolling up the thread with a simple yet moving creative exercise, he addresses the alienation that plagues our modern working lives. Opening to our own, innate creativity, we can reconnect with the waiting world around us.


William Ayot is a poet, speaker, coach and chief executive of NaCOT (the National Centre for the Oral Tradition). As a co-founder of Olivier Mythodrama, he was instrumental in developing Mythodrama as high-impact methodology in executive education – using story, theatre and poetry to teach leadership at the highest levels. His client list includes international agencies, ministries, blue chip corporations and many of the world’s top business schools. He currently teaches on the AMP programme at INSEAD and is Poet-in-Residence at Oxford Saïd Business School.

William has published three collections of poetry, including E-mail from the Soul: New and Selected Leadership Poems. He is a member of Academi Cymraeg, the Welsh Academy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Guild of Mythodrama Practitioners.

James Lawley’s one-day Workshop, 10th May 

Antifragility, Black Swans and Befriending Uncertainty 

For those with about 7 days of  Clean Language Training

David Grove was a master of seizing the moment, turning a slip into an opportunity, the mundane into the sacred, the bizarre into the extraordinary, the idiosyncratic into the optimal. How? By being antifragile. It didn’t matter what the client said or did David made use of it in their best interest. He loved ambiguity, mis-hearings, puns, non sequiturs and synchronicity. David facilitated from ‘the edge of chaos – that thin strip of existence between order and randomness where life and creativity thrive.

After David Grove died in 2008, the person who has most influenced Penny Tompkins and my thinking is Nassim Nicholas Taleb. His first book, Fooled By Randomness exposed the challenge we have understanding the effects of chance. He followed this with The Black Swan, which showed why  large-scale but rare and unpredictable events have a much greater effect than all the small, common and predictable events put together. Taleb’s most recent book,Antifragile, goes further. It explores how it is possible to be more than resilient, to make non-predictive decisions under uncertainty, and to relate to the unknown without attempting to understand or control it.

Learning by avoiding mistakes is fragile. Learning by trial and error is robust. Learning by trial and feedback is antifragile. 

But what does this have to Symbolic Modelling and other clean approaches? Just about everything. 

As facilitators we have to make many quick decisions. Decisions based on top-down theoretical methodologies are fragile. Decisions that use experience-based heuristics are robust. And there is an antifragile class of bottom-up decision making that relies on serendipity, mistakes, the unexpected, and stochastic tinkering. My metaphor for this is it’s like surfing blind. 

And Taleb’s ideas are not just useful to facilitators. I think you will see they have much to say about everyday life as well.

If you would like some preparatory reading, Taleb has kindly made the prologue of his new book available as a free download: http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/prologue.pdf

Click here to see the schedule of the 2013 Conference

Click here to see Speakers and their sessions

Click here to see Audio List from 2012 Conference

Click here to see photos from 2012 Conference

Tickets are non-refundable but may be passed onto another person.  Please e-mail info@cleanchange.co.uk, to change the name of the person attending.

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