Jan Maisenbacher interviewed Stefanie Gfeller and Sidsel Andersen for Enlivening Edge Magazine
(Closing circle, second TealCamp. Photo by Jan Maisenbacher, wickedprojects.work)
TealCamp is a participant-driven unconference with a facilitated, general flow throughout the conference days. Stefanie and Sidsel were holding this beautiful space of tapping into the unknown and of mutual inspiration in 2016 and 2017. They are again part of the next TealCamp organising team 2019.
Why did TealCamp get started?
Stefanie: The TealCamp evolved out of a Responsive Org Meetup in Bern. The meetings that happened with these Meetups gave us so much inspiration and connection points that at some point we wondered, if it wouldn’t be great to offer this platform to many more people than just our Bernese community. Somehow the purpose of these gatherings seemed to be bigger than just Bern. That’s how the un-conference idea was born
Sidsel: Yes and I recall there was something special in the air at this time in 2016. So many of the people who showed up joining those Meetups were exploring and holding big questions: “How does a truly responsive organisation and work culture look?” “What is coming to an end in the world, in your organisation and in myself?” and “What does it mean to re-imagine sustainability, happiness, and an understanding of life that faces our current reality?”
With this willingness to ask such types of questions there was a strong energy that something was just ready to move, to change, to emerge. And only a bigger format for 100 people could truly support this.
Who started TealCamp in the first place 2017?
Sidsel: I was sitting with a small group at one of the Meetups and at one moment one amongst us shared a dream about bringing together a broader community in Switzerland. This dream caught fire without meeting resistance.
It just had to happen. It was the right time, and the right people were hearing the calling. Amongst this small group of people the fire was kept alive and in the next couple of months the real workgroup who became the TealCamp organisers took shape.
Stefanie: Furthermore at that time Holacracy was very much on its way and we decided to set up the team in a holacratic way to learn more ourselves. That was quite challenging but finally also helped us to organize everything in a team of people that are highly engaged in various fields and living apart from each other.
What is a story that still travels with you from the first two TealCamps?
Stefanie: For me it is really the depth of the conversations and sharings that we were able to host in the first two Camps. Many people had truly meaningful conversations and could take home a lot of inspiration and insights.
After the first TC we received some feedback that the conference was the catalyser for real life-changing steps. Such feedback is of course unbelievable and is still staying with me–as a source of energy to organize another TealCamp and because I believe that for a sustainable transformation – on a personal as well as systemic level – such spaces and experiences are needed.
Sidsel: What has really stayed with me is the diversity of the group we gathered each year. The challenges in a transformation to Teal are so utterly diverse.
In one corner a group is discussing how we might set up a legal entity that works as a community; in another corner there is a group meditating; in a third corner people are sharing stories of organisational struggle of inhumane change strategies, and in a fourth a circle is practising what it feels and looks like to speak from the heart.
Both unconferences were holding real precious space for a myriad of ways of shifting and questioning of our mainstream working cultures and lifestyles.
Why was there no TealCamp in 2018?
Sidsel: When something is created because of care, passion, and heart energy it is not caught by the energy of push and production. It does not get caught in the ambition to get bigger and better. It is what it is when it is. And only when enough sincere energy stands behind it, it takes place again, which makes TealCamp a precious and authentic space.
Stefanie: In addition to that, I get the impression that collectively we reached a different maturity level. Many of the firsthand interested people have now gained real practical experience and at times the really interesting challenges are becoming visible in organisations.
This transformation requires work on the deepest beliefs and attitudes that people hold. It’s done not by just changing a structure and calling it agile or self-organized. The discussions and challenges are gaining in depth and complexity.
Why did you change the location from Thun (2016/2017) to Davos (2019)? Is there anything else that is changing in the evolution of TealCamp?
Stefanie: We often talked about the balance between doing and non-doing. Pursuing a broader purpose than just making a profit can make you feel like you’ve never done enough. It made us think that we are obviously still acting in the same patterns–with a different coating.
This led to the idea that we would like to celebrate the camp aspect more and dedicate an equal amount of time to just “be” in the space. Supported by a very relaxed structure you are welcome to do what you like to do for yourself and maybe as well as a team. Some basic theories and foundations will be shared in the second day before we start the unconference on the 11th and 12th of October, 2019.
Sidsel: And we loved the opportunity to get closer to nature and to the Swiss mountains.
Why does TealCamp have to happen again?
Sidsel & Stefanie: TealCamp has to happen again because the Teal movement in Switzerland is alive, is forming, and needs also a caring space for it to grow into shape. Without coming together, in a way that is open, emerging, and at the same time held within certain frames, we do not utilise the potential of all the people who are part of this movement and who feel there is something in the air–something different.
Many of the TealCampers, those in traditional or untraditional jobs, those with traditional or untraditional lives, believe that another reality is possible for our world, for our organisations and for ourselves.
Secretly or openly, people live with this feeling of “something different”, something that feels more meaningful and honouring of humans and nature as a whole is needed. We might have conversations or we might read books that stimulates an inspiration, but knowing is not enough, and everything that is possible to do stays often within the limits of our everyday life frames.
Frankly a real, practical, physical space to explore what this other reality looks like is needed. TealCamp has to happen again because it is the moment to move and shape further as a community.
We warmly invite you to join us at the 3rd TEALCAMP SWITZERLAND October 11-12, 2019
For the first time this year, we are offering a real Camp-vibe. Join us as well for 2 days PRE TEALCAMP October 9 & 10 !
TEALCAMP is a participant-driven unconference. There will be a facilitated, general FLOW throughout the conference days, but otherwise, the CONTENT of the program is generated through the participants (YOU!).
The TEALCAMP organizers will hold the space for an experience with a lot of potential to TAP INTO THE UNKNOWN and MUTUAL INSPIRATION.
We believe in the emergence of a new paradigm that will transform leadership and the structure of organizations, business and society as a whole.
We are inviting you in with your firsthand experiences, stories and real challenges! All this at the intersection of old and new paradigms. The time is right for unreasonable ideas, unlikely alliances, and a hint of magic. The quality of TEALCAMP is space itself. It is the richness in people and group experience.
We believe it’s time to meet, to (re-)connect with the Teal movement, the community and ourselves. We can’t wait!
Why should you participate?
1) If you are convinced that we as a society need more conscious ways to live on our planet.
2) If you want to experience and learn about different ways to work and collaborate together.
3) If you are longing for space and time to dive deeper into your personal challenges and burning questions that relate to the first 2 points.
4) If you are interested to connect and be part of a diverse group of tealcampers.
For more information look at http://www.tealcamp.ch/ or contact TealCamp Team <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Except as indicated otherwise, all above images by Marion Walz and used with permission. Featured image slightly cropped.
Jan Maisenbacher, founder of wickedprojects.work, was an inspired participant at the two first TealCamps in Thun/Switzerland (2016 & 2017). Jan is a dadpreneur – and very proud of his two sons. As a project catalyser he founded wickedprojects after 20 years working in wicked business projects himself. He loves to design, facilitate and co-create new ways of conferencing transforming people, projects and places. Being an underwaterrugby addict, Jan is a natural teamplayer.
Sidsel Andersen is a person who dreams and struggles, loves and fails, suffers, celebrates and sometimes also wildely succeeds. Whatever taste life has at the moment, she is passionate about staying as present with the human experience as possible. That’s probably why she now loves working with groups to explore the power of dialogue together. sidsel.andersen@collaboratio.
Stefanie Gfeller considers herself working as a discovery agent or development catalyst, who seeks to reveal the life-pulse, the unique power and purpose of organizations, communities, teams and individuals. Worked and trained in various fields from the private to the public sector, with NPOs and communities. Deeply believing in Co-Leadership as the Leadership paradigm that allows to work on today’s complex challenges. Therefore recently founded a company: www.punktnull.be