The V.I.P training


As a Socratic Designer you are able to transform any group of individual professionals into a collective intelligence that can generate knowledge necessary for the future of your organization. The VIP training transforms a high potential like a CEO, innovator, educational designer, any form of designer or a thought leader in a Socratic Designer. A Socratic Designer is capable of moderating the proces of generating new narratives for human flourishing and development; by realizing collective wisdom through the art of dialogue.

Socratic Design is a practical philosophical method to build new strategic cultures and new narratives by a paradigm shift mindset. We strive, develop, enjoy and work according to our human values and human challenges. These values are the essential part of the narrative we live in consciously or unconsciously. Narratives are the ecology of mind that connects us to one another.


More and more people want to work in a context they also feel connected with. Or to put it differently: people want to be meaningful within their work environment. Companies with moral narrative that rests in the employees are the ones that will be strong in any scenario. The challenge is to leave the old school mindset behind and to build a new one.


We cannot just lift ourselves up from a state of mind which is drowned in the old mechanistic, rational and industrial assumptions. We cannot leave behind incoherent practices, frustrating rituals and customs, personal attitudes and above all incoherent organisations, just by saying so. We should not act like the Baron von Munchausen! The organisations we live and work in, define our thinking, our feeling and our acting. And at the same time we ourselves define these organisations. We absorb the hidden assumptions in our environment and then make thoughts based on these. We execute procedures and rituals without realising the incorporated assumptions in these acts. So we continually are reproducing a context that we find not coherent and that we reject, due to the fact that we are not aware of what is at work.

We are caught in a vicious circle, being defined by that what we define!

Language is an essential way of making a culture of real organisational collaboration. Socratic Design is the art of analysing effectively what is going on when we think, feel or act in this or that way. The society we live in now, is also based on the fruits of philosophers. So we need philosophy to decode our society . What coding is for digital tech world, is Socratic Design for the real world. We analyse and change our ecology of mind. In the analysis we do not start from silos or fragmented departments, we approach the whole stakeholder system as a unity. We need a way to free our minds out of the vicious circle that chains us to our fixed and sometimes wrong assumptions, or that chains us to destructive or negative interactions between colleagues or that chains us to destructive behaviour. If we live in the narrative that you should “outsmart” every body else, we will have an incoherent team, where everybody talks about collaboration but has no tools to activate and realise it.


We cannot change the world without first changing ourselves. Unfortunately we are also mostly not capable of thinking. How strange this will sound. Mostly when you think you are thinking you are NOT! Our nervous system stimulates repeating the same thoughts over and over again by rewarding this repetitive act with a release of dopamine. Real thinking demands a higher level awareness to avoid this addiction to the same thoughts over and over again.

Addictive thinking is reinforced by the environment that we designed with these fixed thoughts, in a command control culture certain behaviour is stimulated and rewarded that is related to the past. In Socratic Design we move ourselves into a virgin state of mind, where we are able to reflect collectively on our assumptions, on our values and on our authentic needs. We will be at our best by tapping in the collective intelligence or wisdom. Socratic Design also deals with another serious flaw. It is very difficult for people to really listen to one another, most people totally lack the experience of ever having listened to another person (it is not in our genes). When we hear words we adapt it mostly to our own fixed thoughts, without connecting with the other. But we do think we have been listing. This provokes a lot of noise and distraction. We need a strong disciplined dialogue to get people out of their closed circle of thoughts.


With the Socratic dialogue we can, thanks to the impact of the “art of listening and dialogue” move into an optimal collaborative state of mind, where we are able to generate a whole stakeholders approach, tapping into the potential of each of the individual participants. We use the different talents and capacities not based on roles and procedures but based on personal contribution and on the confidence that disciplined dialogue will generate strong commitment, strong motivation and reveal tacit knowledge. Key in Socratic Design is the question “Why are we doing this?” . The why is related to the whole stakeholder system as well to personal aspiration and motivation. Personal ideas at any level can be a cornerstone for the collective idea-making process.


Socratic Design establishes a sensitive environment to engage in “deep listening” by Socratic dialogue. These Socratic dialogs transform us from ego and ratio oriented atoms into a collective sensitive mind that is capable of “listening” to the deepest human values and needs. This method guarantees a higher level of thinking. It frees us from the old addictive neurone circuits, while each individual mind is “stimulated” to leave that behind. When individuals are freed from tighter ego performances, they can create a sensitive collective intelligence. This sensitive collective organ is the producer of instantaneous wisdom, capable of creating genuinely real knowledge. This knowledge is concrete, personal and build on questions about our values, our authentic needs and on our vision of a good life.


It is astonishing how many great minds, CEOs, leaders and politicians decrease their thinking quality once they’ve reached their chosen field: they just retreat into rehearsing admittedly very clever thoughts that got them there in the first place. Of course initiated by a certain culture of business. The exciting thing about Socratic dialogue is that we have to create knowledge each time again from scratch. Knowledge is the way we create the world around us every second. There are no isolated facts, you see what you are focused on. So if we could start really thinking with these clever minds we would really be free of old “coal and steel” thoughts and get into a new era.


Real thinking is the state-of-the-art creative process. As such, we should only design things and practices when we are at our sharpest, that means when we are in this collaborative state of practical wisdom. The CEO The CEO is of course the key to these organisational collaboration. In the exponential growing technology we need a plethora of approaches because of the complexity: – increasing societal complexities – old silos preventing agile anticipations – exponential growth in capacity of employers and users due to big data – the rise of social responsibility and consciousness In order for the company to be capable to operate in different uncertain and unforeseen situations, the CEO has to be able to lead the flexible open mind dialogue incorporating the strong values and distinctive competences of the company.


She or he will have to transform the static silo organisation into an agile organisational collaboration where people work as a real collective mind, based on common values and with a common horizon (they know why they exist). He or she has to facilitate the transformation out of old command-control vocabularies, out of old Hobbesian assumptions into a new mindset while keeping the rich history of the old narrative or to maintain the distinctive competence (the what) in any new circumstances. The facilitation is only possible if the CEO has experienced a transformation herself or himself before leading as an example.

In the Socratic VIP training, a leader analyses her or his history as a cumulation of cultural values and assumptions, that have been determining the identity for her or him and hence can understand what a transformation on organisational level implies. Every person can be considered as a embodiment of several cultural and historical assumptions and philosophies. We therefore can only understand ourselves if we analyse the philosophical assumptions in dialogue with that particular person. We use philosophy as the treasure of all our actual and all our potential ways of thinking, we use it as the source for meaningful transformation.