WDHB in 2020 – What has changed?

Learning and change are inseparable. In our work, we speak of developing leaders’ toolset, skillset and mindset. Learning from each other and with each other is crucial. Now is the time to use every trick in the book! Also for us. Here we want to share what learnings shaped us over these challenging few months.

With analysis and ideas about the corona and post-corona world aplenty, we tend to soak up information and triggers from outside, but engaging internally and sharing and learning from each other is equally important. “We’re in this together” is easier said than done when the environment in which we communicate and collaborate in are so different from each other.

And while we were observing attentively to what was happening in the real world, one of first step for us was to go back to our toolbox and look for frameworks that could support our own strategic development.

Futures Theory

We were especially looking at perspectives from futures theory and the Three Horizons model from Bill Sharpe. It provides a practical framework for thinking about the future and how – in the spirit of William Gibson’s quote « The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed. » – the advent of the future is all about realities that previously existed remotely on the planet becoming more dominant in our lives.

Sharpe also describes how making our way from an old normal towards a future requires often an intermediary step, a transition, where innovations prepare us for the future but might not necessarily last. A prime example of that is/was Google Glass, which prepared us for a new reality of augmented reality and wearables but hasn’t become a hot item in itself. This is interesting as we understand that this transitory phase can also be intentional – if we know what future we desire and want to steer towards.

Looking at how our collective experience of Covid-19 factors into this, we adapted Bill Sharpe’s model to ask ourselves what question might be most relevant for us right now.

When the old normal (purple) gets interrupted by an external force, the activities to cope and adapt kick in (orange). At the same time, as scenarios for a potential future become clearer, it is important to remind ourselves that change from the old to the new in itself has different stages. To succeed, change needs to become something intentional. As we picture a desired future (yellow), we can take action to get there. Inevitable as it might be, this transition is intentional (blue).

From an organizational perspective, intentional transition is what is required. We have to build a new bridge to the future – the old ones go to nowhere and going back is not an option. For this to be successful, having an idea of the desired future is imperative.

Three questions are at the heart of these reflections:

  • What is happening to us right now?
  • What do we want to see in the future?
  • How do we get there?

Almost every organization is taking severe steps affecting every part of their business, many are even radically changing their direction of travel. This places a huge responsibility on leaders, as the context in which strategy development takes place is so unpredictable and unprecedented.

We in the talent and leadership development business have a crucial role to play in supporting leaders and teams in this now. However, we also have a responsibility to think further, to imagine our desired future so that we can intentionally work towards this new vision of our reality.

I’d like to share our reflection on 3 relevant areas for us and our work on this journey from reaction to action:

A wider organizational learning context:

Work-life boundaries:

New rules of engagement:

Experiential Learning after Covid-19

With radically different working conditions still applying to many, organizations need to change how they support their people in being empowered, engaged and involved in their work. Culture and structure need to adapt and offer spaces where personal and organizational growth go hand in hand.

This is something experiential learning does exceptionally well, by offering a deeply personal, immersive experience that stimulates and challenges us on every level. We have applied the methodology behind our human-centric approach successfully to all of our platforms of engagement: Blended learning programs, workshops, gatherings, in-house events or expeditions ranging from a couple of days to a whole week.

These learning experiences will be essential in a changed world, but we know they will be delivered under new paradigms. How will we look at safety? What will we spend time on? Where does mobility and travel fit in?

There are limits to the collective experience of collaborators who are separated by everything, from whole oceans to challenging personal circumstances invisible to the eye of a webcam. There are no limitations, however, on providing our minds with a purposefully designed flow of divergent and convergent thinking, providing the opportunity to empathize, question, share and challenge each other. The space for all of this is desperately needed.

How we responded

Everyone who collaborated with us or joined one of our programs knows that personal connection, authentic testimonials, compelling stories and memorable in-person experiences have been at the core of our approach and we are proud of providing the best in class immersive experience into different worlds and ecosystems.

All of this is part of our future still and we believe it will become even more important as the new world will give rise to new tasks and ambitions to which on-site, in person experiences exchanges will remain the most powerful driver for growth and change.

But that doesn’t mean it’s the only way. The expertise in designing, coordinating, framing and facilitating meaningful moments of exploration, reflection and growth in-person has been applied to virtual and smaller formats before, often at the request of existing clients.

Over this time, we have refined our product offering to provide a more detailed overview and input on the opportunities and possibilities of fully remote Learning Sessions and Events as well as Hybrid Learning Experiences and how they continue to allow access to unexpected encounters and valuable outside-in perspectives while leveraging the latest in technology for exchange and alignment.

The purpose is not to offer a simple band-aid to respond to the current reality of travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines. Instead we wanted to project ourselves into a future, in which organizations and individuals are able to make smart choices to address learning needs taking into account the safety of their employees as well as environmental considerations and resource questions.

Our brochure “WDHB Going Virtual” provides more information, sample designs and activity examples as well as observations and learnings.

Request a copy here:


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The WDHB Lab Manifesto

By |February 14th, 2020|

Since 1989, WDHB has pioneered experience-driven approaches to Learning & People Development. Today, we aim to build a knowledge and innovation hub through which we can keep developing cutting-edge methods and frameworks for corporate learning. These are our guiding principles:

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