ebbf international event milan may 2016 - consultation


ebbf’s next international learning event:
beyond decision-making a tool for learning

Join mindful people from around the world exploring how to create more meaningful economic systems and workplaces, during this, ebbf’s 25th anniversary event, where will be celebrating the present and accompany you in an exploration that will help you build a more prosperous future.

We will be investigating the role of consultation, beyond decision-making as a tool for learning. We will explore how workplaces and economic systems are evolving and how new ways to collaborate, to learn and progress can be harnessed.

We aim to offer you new insights, ideas, questions and processes allowing you to better adapt to the new era of collaboration, moving away from short-term decision making objectives to effective collaborative, unity-creating mindsets and processes.

We aim to open our eyes to new trends and explore together the new mindsets that will allow us to fully harness this new world order that is emerging, having us and our organizations thrive fully in this exciting and fast changing world evolution.

Join us in Milan from 17:00 on Thursday 12th of May until 14:00 on Sunday 15th of May 2016

Why come?

you can find below some of the reasons mentioned by people who already registered for this event:

Mika KorhonenMika Korhonen – Values-based leader and software development professional (Finland)
click to see his linkedin profile

“The purpose of sharing, listening and discussing together in unity and as equals is not only to make better informed decisions. Its purpose is also to enlighten us with different views and see the world in a new way. And in the end, it builds a common understanding. Those crazy ones who think that they will change the world, and eventually will, this is for you. Booked my tickets! ”

nauman hussainNauman Hussain – Private Banking (Switzerland)
click to see his linkedin profile

“Pop Quiz? What is the common denominator of the following challenges WE are facing?

Financial Crisis, Environmental Issues, Climate change, Human rights&Refugee Crisis, Extreme of wealth or wealth concentration, Tax evasion, you name it…. They are simply: GLOBAL

What would be the common numerator to find a desirable and sustainable solution: COLLECTIVE ACTION

What would be the best way to find the desirable solution: CONSULTATION, as defined the decision-making process through the collective search of truth from different perspective….

The application of effective consultation among governments, policy makers, corporations, business owners, communities, civil society, colleagues, families, couples, individuals….

WHY is it important?: Because we are ONE Human Race, living the same planet, with a collective destiny, and time is ticking against us….and we don’t have any other alternative planet…

That’s why I registered and will join in to bring my input, views, share my experience in the next ‪#‎ebbfmilan event whose theme is Consultation”

birgit peetersBirgit Peeters – Director at Aquincum (Switzerland)

click to see her LinkedIN profile

“I so look forward to coming back to another ebbf event, I think that consultation can also help to create unity within diversity, just like job sharing.  I want to explore how I can use consultation to allow deeper and better decision making, making all people involved feel engaged and happy !”

ralph_blundellRalph Blundell – Strategy Consulting (Portugal)
click to see his LinkedIN profile

“I look forward to experience and explore the extraordinary power of consultation, an approach to learning, decision making and problem solving. This may, just may, be the transformational approach that turns our wishes into reality. If you want a fair and just society, meaningful work, to find practical ways to collaborate, to change your company culture, and to unleash the potential we all have, join me and other change makers in Milan this May for another groundbreaking ebbf international learning event.”

Call for contributors

we are looking to fill the last slots with speakers and facilitators of workshops bringing themes and inspiration relevant to ebbf and to the theme of the event.

Please make sure you

read this PDF introduction to the event and to what we expect from speakers


submitting your offer to contribute to this next ebbf international event


ebbf speakers are able to spark new thinking and new ideas. Speakers are not expected to share all that is wrong with today’s organizations or economic systems, rather we are looking for individuals able to elevate the discourse and offer uplifting and inspiring (not just interesting) scenarios of current trends and future states. ebbf speakers are able to connect their talk to ebbf’s core principles and values. They often share personal experiences and always talk of issues they are truly passionate about. ebbf keynotes are twice as long as TED talks:

we assign each keynoter 30 minutes to spark inspiration.


the parallel learnshop sessions are highly interactive 90 minutes slots, where participants learn from the facilitator and from each other. They are not longer keynotes and should never be monologues, with interaction and learning experiences being what participants enjoy most. The learnshop facilitator offers their expertise but most importantly brings out from participants their own ideas and conclusions on the theme you will select.

On average 20 to 30 people attend these parallel learnshops.


You can find below the first confirmed speakers you will enjoy interacting with,
part of the over 30 interactive sessions you will be able to engage in during this learning experience.

Another element of the  ebbf learning events experience is the range and diversity of parallel learnshops that you can decide to attend, learn from and contribute to. These are highly interactive 90 minute sessions that allow you to grasp and experiment in smaller groups the processes, ideas and tools useful to you.


1. Dynamic Consultation: Asking Better Question (Trip Barthel)

“… ye may be free to ask what you need to ask, but not such idle questions as those on which the men of former times were wont to dwell. ”
Kitab-i-Aqdas (2:127)

“Computers are useless, they can only give you answers.”
Pablo Picasso

This interactive and explorational program will consider the role of questions in comprehending our material and spiritual worlds. If you want better answers, you need to ask better questions. Better questions open up exciting possibilities and lead us into undreamt of realms. Independent investigation, one of the core principles of the Baha’i Faith, is based on asking questions. You will leave this session being able to ask deeper and more meaningful questions.

2. Outsmart your own biases (Valerie Arnold)

If Consultation entails considering all points of view without attachment to personal opinion, then it is essential to become aware of the cognitive biases that prevent us to do just that,
and to learn how to outsmart them!

The learnshop deepens the theory presented in the keynote with practical experiential learning activities, where we will explore:
1- The problem with our brain: a little experiment
2- The physiological roadblocks to consultation (incl. blind spot, how the brain acquires new knowledge)
3- The psychological roadblocks to consultation (incl. cognitive biases such as denial, overgeneralization, mental filtering, etc. ; groupthink ; aggressive advocacy)
4- Overcoming roadblocks: learning new knowledge, attitude and skills (incl. self-awareness, being a “nowist”, groanzone & brainstorming, triple loop learning and challenging given truths)

3. Fostering Conversations Between Souls (Dary Enkhtor)

Through the process of intensive programs of growth the Baha’i community has been challenged to expand beyond our familiar comfort level to reach out towards greater and greater numbers of people who differ along socio-economic, cultural, racial and religious backgrounds. This struggle to build authentic community mirrors the one faced by the world at large. Drawing upon the guidance in the Bahá’i Writings, this workshop will focus on knowledge and skills to help us break down the barriers that keep us in isolation from each other. We will deepen our understanding of the nature of the soul through

reflection and meditation practices. The workshop will feature experiential and interactive exercises exploring the processes of prayer and meditation, and deep listening, as well as their practical applications in relationship-building and increasing unity, all essential to building united teams and authentic community.

4. A Case Study: The Evolving Role of Consultation at School of the Nations, Macau (Vivek Nair)

Join Vivek who will be using the case study of the Macau School of the Nations, to explore the role and applications of consultation in the educational system.
Consultation is a process of investigation and analysis that should be the basis of all decisions in an organization. In my keynote, I would like to review the history of the use of consultation in organizations and use the experiences gained at our international school where the process of “consultation, action and reflection” has become grounded in our daily activities and discussions as a forum to explore with the audience how this process can change the atmosphere in an organization and impact the role of all stakeholders involved.

5. The practical application of consultation (Toufan Rahimpour)

Using his own current experience and insights as COO of LogoWorks and his years of experimentation and application of consultation in different environments, this learnshop will offer you an experiential application of consultation in our every day workplaces, elevated by his own experience of what works, what doesn’t and the right climate that ensures better outcomes.


1. Consultation creating new standards in leadership qualities and attributes (Vafa Akhavan)

In order to understand and know where we are on the continuum of consultation, one can view the journey as having five stages of maturity. Each would have unique qualities, attributes and environment within which they exist and flourish. The first is when all decision making is centralized in one leader who decides what should be done and others do it. There are no questions, discussions or feedback. The second stage happens when power and authority is challenged through force, debate or argument and decisions are still made by a singular leader. The third stage is when information is fed back to the top of the organization and some level of discourse takes place in a two-way relationship, but still the decision is made by the leader albeit much more informed and more inclusive. The fourth stage is when those impacted by decisions are fully engaged in the decision making process, while the responsibility and accountability for decisions are now placed with a broader leadership group or team. The fifth, and likely not the final stage of consultative maturity, is when purpose is a fundamental belief system, when leadership is irrelevant in today’s context and definition; when the culture is collaborative by DNA, when the qualities and attributes of seekership manifest in every individual, and when the roles and responsibilities of the individual, community, and institutions are recast and universally integrated.

2. Dynamic Consultation: Creativity (Trip Barthel)
“It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed.” (Abdul Baha)

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

The most difficult problems require the most creative solutions. This session will connect the Writings, the science and the practice of creativity, and show how to apply it in consultation. Creativity is not 9 people talking around a table. Creativity begins in isolation. Dreams enable our creativity, subjects who dreamed during a nap resolved 40 % more puzzles. It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed ( ‘Abdu’l-Baha, PUP, page 212-13). The source of every new idea is the same, it is a network of neurons shifting into an unfamiliar pattern. Knowing this, how do we create an environment of creativity? We’ll end the session with some simple activities that promote higher levels of creativity.

Books: Imagine, Creative Conspiracy


3. Building a new lexicon (Mika Korhonen)
We are used to common business terms, but how can we create a new lexicon?
How can we reload commonly used business words such as ethics, decision-making or capacity-building giving them a new meaning and a new application?
Together with Mika Korhonen we will start together an ebbf track that aims to co-create and then give us access to a new language to communicate and make meaningful change happen both in our workplaces and in economic systems.

4. Feel and visualise the power of consultation (Enrico Giraudi)
Using systemic constellations methodology you will experience visually and dynamically how much consultation can make a difference and improve the relationship within groups.
We will make evident both the virtuous and negative relationships in your workplaces and practically see how these can be addressed to allow the right flow and consultative culture to emerge in your organization.
5. Beyond the Culture of Business Lobbying and Towards a Culture of Genuine Consultation: Ethical Engagement of Business in Shaping Public Policy? (Maja Groff)

As part of my new role on the Advisory Board of B Lab Europe, I would like to facilitate a learnshop in order to explore and lay the groundwork for an ethical framework for business engagement in public policy debates and the shaping of governmental policy / legislation, in line with the B Corp vision. That is, how do governments properly consult with the business community, and vice versa? Horror stories are known of how business efforts can distort important public debates (e.g. think of the painful debates around the health effects of smoking and climate change), but is there a cultural shift we can chart in which businesses can constructively and ethically engage in developing sound public policy? In some States business lobbying is heavily regulated, but with insufficient effect—is an ethical commitment which comes from within businesses what is needed? I intend to take the insights and first principles generated from this learnshop back to B Corp Europe and B Corp USA, to get further input from this community. Eventually, one could envision a set of principles on this topic which could be disseminated globally both through the B Corp community and through ebbf.


1. Changing the world sitting on a bench (Gianluca Lotti)
Quite often we pursue change through actions. But with action we do often reinforce the very situation we are striving to move away from.
Ancient philosophy and modern science suggest a different approach: only apparently a more passive one.
We will be exploring the power of changing how we perceive reality.

2. Dynamic Consultation : the distance between yes and no  (Trip Barthel)

“The purpose of consultation is to show that the views of several individuals are assuredly preferable to one man, even as the power of a number of men is of course greater than the power of one man.” (CONS, 97)

“There are many more wrong answers than right ones, and they are easier to find.”  (Michael Friedlander)

With the advent of computers we started of thinking of life in binary terms, when in reality the zero and the one represent the end points in the spectrum of life. This session will explore and demonstrate decision making in a gray universe, where all contribute to better decisions through recognizing that each person has a unique opportunity to contribute to a complete solution.

Books: 6 Thinking Hats, Participatory Decision Making

3. Want to create your dream enterprise? (Monique Blokzyl)

You love to get a glimpse into the pitching mysteries? What is a powerful story, an impactful message? What is this irresistible Yes-trigger? How do you convince anyone to give you anything? Join us in this learnshop if you want to get some powerful answers. Besides taking away proven techniques, you will also get many real case stories. And most importantly, you will roll up your sleeves and craft that impactful message for your own business right away. Get ready to trigger a sound Yes!

4. The myth about power (Marc Avanzo)

Why do we assume that the CEO knows better or that a Harvard graduate must be right? I propose to explore this power paradigm and understand the myths, the beliefs and natural filters it imposes on us all, in order to find alternative way to look at the world and successfully empower the collective intelligence.
More often than not, this intrinsic value we attribute to people is subconsciously becoming a moralistic value judgement.
This moralistic value judgement is at the basis of the power paradigm, the way we experience it in our day to day lives, the reason why so many people limit themselves and are unwilling to take initiatives or ownership. It is the same reason why a heavy hierarchical society holds together, because the people who are not at the top have accepted to judge themselves as being valued less than their bosses.

5. Promoting a culture of learning – spreading ebbf local events (Mahmud Samandari)

People interested in replicating the ebbf learning experiences that create consultative learning communities at the learning communities will both hear of best practices, first steps and co-create together a path forward accompanying the spread of local ebbf events.

Latest News

14th April – Dary Enkhtor
18th April – Mika Korhonen
28th April – Trip Barthel
see: events page 


Click here to read the recent interview by presenter Dary Enkhtor
Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 09.47.49
Click here to read the recent article by Steve Caswell
Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 11.09.11

Enrico Giraudi will offer an interactive session at this event, allowing us to visualise and correct the dynamics and relationship in your teams. Here he shares what he finds in ebbf events that keeps him coming back.

ebbf‘s director general daniel truran shares some of consultation’s transformative opportunities that he looks forward to explore at this international learning event.



Conference Tickets (excludes accommodation and meals)MembersNon-members
Early Bird Discounted Rate (ended 20th March)130€ 190
Standard Rate€ 190€ 250
Click here to register for the conference


In this special year in which we are celebrating ebbf’s 25th anniversary, we are offering a limited number of young professionals the opportunity to attend the event with a free conference fee (you will only have to cover hotel/meal costs).
Interested? Apply for the sponsored ticket writing an email to register@ebbf.org , telling us about the impact you aim to make by attending this learning experience and why you cannot afford to purchase a ticket.
The deadline for the application is February 14th 2016

You must book your hotel room and meal package separately, directly at the hotel website here.

Cancellation policy for conference fee

Cancellations received before March 15th: 80% refund
Cancellations received before March 16th and April 15th – 50% refund
Cancellations received after April 16th – No refund
(don’t forget to check the cancellation fees of the hotel)