GAIA STORYTELLING FOR GAIA LEADERSHIP – WEIMAR, VILLA INGRID, 15-18 APRIL 2020: An event hosted by the European School of Governance (EUSG). 

Governing the Anthropocene is the ultimate challenge of the 21st century. Anthropocene Thinking and Systems Change lies at the very heart of the European School of Governance as a true thought and practice leader in the tradition of a European New School. Being a community of inquiry and transformation, we research and teach. We engage and intervene. We believe in dialogue, provoking and facilitating public discourse.”

Welcome back to the age of Gaia. Yes she is still here. And she is beginning to kick back reminding us that she is the mother of all life on earth. If it was not for her, we wouldn’t have something called communities, societies, cultures, politics or even economics. If it was not for her, there wouldn’t be storytelling, leadership, corporations or organizations. Gaia is life itself. Water flows through her veins. She creates the air that we breathe. She is the mother of flora, fauna, insects, animals, fish and indeed all life on earth. She is multispecies storytelling. She requires our attention and is calling us all to action. We are creating a Gaia storytelling event for leaders, politicians and other decision makers to meet that call. The event takes place from 16-19 April 2020 in the city of Weimar. Gaia storytelling has several purposes and methodologies. Gaia storytelling is about thorough-thinking. Thorough-thinking is the deep meditation that connects body and mind. Through this kind of thinking a state of bodymind is reached in which this deep thinking flows through the body and to the mind. In this bodymind state we feel the eternal recurrence of all species flowing through us. Every day is a new beginning. Every day is a miracle in which the whole world is recreated in each and every one of us. Being in a state of bodymind is to be answerable to this world. The deep thinking that leads to this state of oneness is to have a “gaialog” with oneself. We believe that sustainable leadership requires having a gaialog with one self as a precursor for enabling gaialogues elsewhere and enabling sustainable practices.

Gaia leadership ‘storytelling’ is to put the bodymind spirit into action. Gaia ‘ensemble’ leadership ‘storytelling’ happens when we come to realize and reconsider our intentions, interests and motivations in engaging with not just shareholders, stakeholders, communities and citizens, but with the multispecies storytelling of Gaia. Gaia leadership storytelling can only happen through collective action and requires courage; a “ensemble leader” who knows that truly living organizations like living organisms only live because of seeds planted and nourished by the cycles of nature, cultures and communities. Ensemble leadership means we are all leading together, doing ‘Together-Telling. Ensemble Storytelling means actively listening to Gaia Storytelling. Ensemble leadership means turning poverty, hunger, social problems, water, air, land, life into the very mission and vision of the corporation instead of ignoring them. A Gaia leader knows that she needs new technologies and material practices to accomplish this aim. She knows, she needs to create other work spaces to create the kind of holistic living that philosophers think we have lost to capitalism. She knows that friendship is one of the most life-giving activities for companies. And she knows that we need to have gaialog circles between actors all along the potentially vast scope of strings of relations that make companies.

We meet four days in Weimar in April 2020. The city of Nietzsche, Goethe, Schiller, Bach and other great philosophers, artists and musicians. The city of the eternal recurrence and the cradle of democracy. Weimar is a vibrant city full of history and life. Villa Ingrid is vibrant and full of history and life. We will perform bodymind therapy, material storytelling, true storytelling and -making, and Gaia theater in order to put you in that state of bodymind and bring out the warrior in you. We will provide space for the gaialog with oneself and for enabling gaialog circles across the scopes of different ensembles of spacetimemattering.

Storytellers shaping the Gaialog spaces

Norman Heydenreich: Weimar storyteller, host and owner of Villa Ingrid

Julia Hayden: bodymind therapist and Princess Gaia

Anete M. Camille Strand: Material storyteller and associate professor at Aalborg University

Jens Larsen: True storyteller and founder of OldFriendsIndustries

Kenneth Mølbjerg Jørgensen: Terrestrial ethics storymaker and professor at Aalborg University

David M. Boje: A shaman, true storyteller and professor at Aalborg University and emeritus at New Mexico State University.

Cost is €1750 per participant plus accommodation & meals. Limit of 30 participants for the four-day event. Please contact Julia Hayden <> to make your reservation.

What you will gain from the four days? We are combining several EUSG labs. The Sustainability Storytelling Lab provides a methodology called ‘True Storytelling’ to help you move from ‘abstracting’ informational narrative expositions to ‘grounding’ your storytelling in Gaia. The Strategic Foresight Lab provides, among other things, the Material Storytelling methodology that helps you ground your own ‘living story’ into the spacetimemattering of your life paths through three story modes of spaces, bodies and artifacts. Together the EUSG labs help you do ‘futuring’ of new potential ways of living in Gaia and to begin ‘rehistoricizing’ what has led to our current situation of global warming, water shortages, pollution, and so on.

We journey through the seven principles of True Storytelling’ in the four day event. 

‘True Storytelling’ Method has seven principles:

  1. True: You yourself must be true and prepare the energy and effort for a sustainable future
  2. Making room: True storytelling makes spaces respecting the stories already there
  3. Plotting: You must create stories with a clear plot creating direction and help people prioritize
  4. Timing: You must have timing
  5. Helping stories along: You must be able to help stories on their way and be open to experiment
  6. Staging: You must consider staging including scenography and artifacts
  7. Reflecting: You must reflect on the stories and how they create value

‘True Storytelling’ has Five Phases you will experience during the four days, as depicted here.

      phases of true storytelling
  1. What’s Your Story? The gaialogues begin with this question of self-reflection. Most people find this a difficult question because ‘giving an account of oneself’ takes you into your untold story’ or what is as yet unstoryable, and into moral answerability for your life in Gaia. Most of us learned in school, to use the four C’s of exposition: to be clear, concise, coherent, with continuity. The four C’s are not helping you tell your as yet, untold ‘living’ story. A ‘living story’ is about places, times, and what we call the first principle of ‘True Storytelling’: You yourself must be true and prepare the energy and effort for a sustainable future.   With ‘True Storytelling’ you are a character in your living story with impactful plot of events doing something in once-occurrent Being. An exposition reduces your ‘living story’ life to a bystander’s ‘narrative’ with the usual arbitrary  linear structure of a “beginning,” a “middle,” and an “end”. Or  it’s about being persuasive, and constructs a rise to a climax, a fall to a resolution, then an expositional denouement. Instead of the old ways, try these Four Questions:

1.Did you check it out?

2.Do you believe in it?

3.Do you have the knowledge to do it?

4.Can you sustain (get energized & not burn out) in long future?

Answering these questions will help you find your own living story. To relate to Gaia Storytelling, there is more to do.

  1. Connecting with Others Stories The next gaialogue is sharing your living story with others. This can be done by taking a walk with others in Weimar. It is about the second principle of ‘True Storytelling’: Making room: True storytelling makes spaces respecting the stories already there. You walk in the ‘spacetimemattering’ world of Gaia, unfolding your ‘living story’ in an entangled web of Others living stories. You come from many walks of life. We would like to invite you to work on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals using a True Storytelling Approach.

  1. What Stories is Gaia Telling? As you walk in Weimar, you not not just listening to Others living stories, you are listening to the multispecies storytelling of Gaia’s living systems. You are resituating your ‘living story’ by engaging in the Third Principle of True Storytelling: Plotting: You must create stories with a clear plot creating direction and help people prioritize. We will apply a process from the Strategic Foresight Lab and the Sustainability Storytelling Lab with work in Three Horizons.

      horizons and true storytelling

Your living story is in the middle of a transformation from Horizon 1 (RED) to Horizon 3 (GREEN). It is the transition from the dominant narrative ‘plot’ called ‘Business-As-Usual’ to the emerging ‘plot’ called ‘Preparing in Advance for Gaia’s Multispecies Storytelling World. Horizon 2 has disruptive innovations good for one horizon (1 or 3) but undesired by its opposite. Think of your four-day experience as a way to learn about storytelling complexity, and how to move from the Red pathway basin A to the Green pathway basin B.

This is a good moment to introduce you the Fourth ‘True Storytelling’ principle, Timing: You must have timing. There are many kinds of timing (clocktime, primordial time, existential time, and so on), and they are all entangled in spacetimemattering. A way to think about it is with the Star Model of Actor-Network-Theory. We are in a multiplicity of times, places, pressures, material agencies, and optics.

  1. Together-Telling puts your living story in relationship to Gaia Storytelling. Of course, you are already Being-in-the-world. Here two principles come into play, and we work wiith two EUSG labs 'Strategic foresight Lab' and the 'Sustainabie Storytelling Lab.’ Principle Five of True Storytelling: Helping stories along: You must be able to help stories on their way and be open to experiment. The EUSG labs are all about being open to experiment. Experimenting and intervening are ways to helps stories on their way. How to help stories along? We suggest six antenarrative questions. An antenarrative is about the bets you are making on the future. It is six processes that constitute living stories.

1.Forehaving: How is your organization preparing in advance BEFORE the future takes place?

2.Foreconcepting: What is in advance BENEATH  in fore-conceptions?

3.Forestructuring: Identify any BETWEEN the  parties, in their fore-structuring?

4. Foregrasping: What is the BEYOND relation of your body to Gaia?

5.Forecaring: What is the entire BECOMING, forecaring?

6.Foretelling: What are the BETS on the future made with foresight?

Principle Six: Staging: You must consider staging including scenography and artifacts Working with material artefacts, developing the scenography is part of the Together-Telling, as we situate your living story within Gaia Storytelling, which of course, it already is. In True storytelling, you are an ethical character experience, experimenting, and taking action in response to Gaia events in places, times, and mattering. True Storytelling is meaningful in the big picture, in the transition that is happening, moving from Business-As-Usual to Preparing in Advance for Multispecies Storytelling Future. Gaia Storytelling delivers answerability, not just a narrative collection of events and bystander characters, but the scenography for doing Together-Telling.

  1. Spiralling Storytelling Futures Together You are ready for Principle Seven: Reflecting: You must reflect on the stories and how they create value. Creating value in multispecies storytelling is all about reflecting on your living stories entanglements with Gaia Storytelling.

The combination of the EUSG Labs gives you a way to resituate your own living story within Gaia Storytelling. Your will be learning to apply the True Storytelling Principles so you can make a difference in bringing about a transition from a Red Pathway to a Green Pathway. True Storytelling has been coming to an end, replaced by Fake Storytelling, and by informational narratives presenting collections of facts in a linear (mono)logical flow of ‘Beginning’, ‘Middle’ and ‘End.’ You are a meaningful character morally answerable for the events happening in the world. We can no longer afford to settle for the ‘lie’, the ‘fake’, the ‘fib’, the ‘fabrication’ or the ‘half truth.’ We realize we are asking you to surf against the tide of the Fake Storytelling that has become the norm. 

For further preparation see Click here for slides for the Storytelling and Temporal Interplay  Seminar at Copenhagen Business School,

Centre for Organizational Time (COT)

August 26 2019

Slides for the Kolding Denmark May 14 2019 seminar done 'storytelling science' are downloadable here

Skagen May 21 Workshop on True Storytelling for Interreg NIV project on migrants in Scandinavia