Kien, ICT for education

transforming a cooperative into a community

Kien ICT ( is a cooperative of different schools in the Dordrecht region of the Netherlands that manages all the ICT needs of its member schools. Some years ago, this cooperative approached to assist with developing its next strategic plan for the coming four years. Through a series of conversations, it became clear that the growth and development of the cooperative is through building greater unity in diversity.

02-STDNTS facilitated a structured process called “Finding the Soul” that brought 50+ people together representing the various schools and the ICT department. It should be noted that while the schools have joined the cooperative to manage their ICT needs, they yet compete for students in that same region. Most of these people have not sat in the same room before. The “Finding the Soul” workshop invited people to share stories that describe common ground and connection. These stories were grouped and subsequently elevated by identifying the qualities and principles underlying these stories. Moreover, the group identified a clear and inspiring common purpose that allows people to start seeing their work as service to humanity.

Parallel to this process was “Building a Vision of Hope” which brought a smaller group a people together (15) who systematically learnt how to read their own reality and reach a consensus on what is needed. This process led to the creation of “system loops diagrams” that describe the dynamics of some of the most important issues facing the cooperative. Examples include the effective use of technology, the growth of the cooperative, the building of trust and fostering collaborative relationships. Based on a shared understanding of their reality, they formulated a shared vision together that succinctly described the desired future they wish to create together.

The outcomes of the Building a Vision of Hope program together with the results of Finding the Soul was nicely documented in one statement called the Charter of the Cooperative. It serves as the guiding document for the organisation in the years to come and the centre that binds and inspires everyone within the cooperative. This document was the fruit of a consultative process between the people themselves. This document can be found here (in Dutch).

In addition to these two programs, selected staff also participated in the first module of the Soul Driven Leadership program where they developed certain capabilities required to work as one, such as the capability to think and act in terms of processes or to have meaningful conversations with others. Especially this training enabled people to see themselves as protagonist of transformation of the company.

I feel at home
in the way
the community
looks at the world

Furthermore, accompanied the management to develop annual plans that systematically translated parts of the Charter into action. It was here that the capacity to learn greatly developed within the organization. Also the management witness a change in role: from managing and directing people to listening and channeling energies. The Charter became the central point of reference and started to mobilize people. In addition, the members of the management team enrolled into the second module of Soul Driven Leadership which is about meaningful action and accompanying others.

People of Kien speak of a drastic change in the organization. Conversations between people are more focussed and more efficient. There is less complaining and gossip. People feel more committed to the work and show much more initiative. People openly talk about the importance of trust and truthfulness. Other schools become attracted to the Cooperative Charter which they use freely in their own communication. Questions that the organisation is now struggling with are: How can we create annual plans that promote universal participation? What spaces can we create that allow people to regular reflect and deepen on the corporate values? How do we reach greater number of others in this transformative process?

transforming companies
into communities