MiL Foundation Forum Leadership Conference 2019


Work from where you are and not from where you’d want to be

davesnowden-portrait.jpgJoin us at this year’s MiL Foundation Leadership Conference where we welcome our special guest Professor Dave Snowden, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge, who will share some of his experience, tools and ideas on how to lead and organize work effectively, make decisions and work with transformations.

In a time of increased anxiety, hesitation and even paralysis in many organizations and leadership roles, we invite you to come to Malmö and give yourself and your team the time and space to mobilize your courage, challenge what you know and explore new ideas in an exciting learning community of other managers, consultants and researchers.

During two intense days we will explore how to think about transforming organizational cultures starting by exploring what kind of system you are and what kind of stories you tell:

  • Using the Cynefin® model – what is possible to see and do?
  • How to look at cultural transformation through concepts such as complex adaptive systems, flexible negotiable boundaries and enabling constraints?
  • How to embrace the idea of nudging and small stepping-stones in big transformations?
  • How to detect and make sense of weak signals?
  • How to use catalytic probes and attractors when designing new organizational interactions?
  • What old practices, false gods and fads do we need to let go of to have higher success with our own cultural transformation?

Why join?

Leadership-conference.jpgJoin us if you are a manager, researcher or internal consultant working with leadership and organizational development looking to gain:

  • New insights, questions and courage to bring back to your practice in 2019!
  • A collaborative learning space exploring new ways to lead and organize
  • A diverse network and learning community

Who should join?

MANAGERS and LEADERS, which are dealing with cultural transformation in their everyday life, trying to manage and lead their people, business and themselves.

MiLCONSULTANTS moving between different organizations trying to support, challenge and facilitate change initiatives, new ways of organizing work.

RESEARCHERS studying organizations and leadership, wanting to provide relevant insight and knowledge to help understand what’s happening and predict and guide future actions.

INSTITUTIONS trying to support efforts to learn together and change together – let’s all meet up in Malmö in January.

Register now to attend. Get the best out of two worlds by attending as a group from your organization as there will be opportunity for dialogue and exploration of the different concepts introduced and what they mean for you and your organization specifically.




12 000 SEK, for members in MiL Foundation Forum 6 000 SEK. Price is excluding VAT.

Rules for cancellation: Cancellations before January 3, 2019 no charge. After that full price. Your ticket can be transferred to another participant from your company without cost, just let us know.

Register:, +46 40 10 50 00




Day one


– Lena Bergström and Johanna Steen
– Associate professor Magnus Larsson and Johanna Steen

An opening workshop (and lecture) offering an opportunity to start thinking about the many different underlying problems for which ”Cultural Transformation” may be a solution, but also to think about the common tendency to go too quickly for the solution, without enough understanding and mapping the context and issues. Sometimes ending up with a very elegant solution for the wrong problem.

In this session we explore different ways of thinking of problems and solutions, for example the difference between tame and wicked problems and why this is important to know. We also work on understanding a key feature in client- consultant joint exploration - that neither of them fully know the underlying issue.


– Professor Dave Snowden

During times of uncertainty, the way we did things in the past (the essence of case based approaches that underpin most books on the subject) is positively dangerous as it entrains past practice in a new era. So how do we manage the evolutionary potential of the present and avoid the false promise of idealistic future state definitions? How do we make cultural change resilient and sustainable?

To answer these questions we can start with what we know about the nature of systems and human cognition from natural science and this can provide a set of constraints within which we can develop methods and tools.  We also know a lot about the way that narrative tropes form in society and organisations and there are ways to measure them. Complexity theory for systems, cognitive neuroscience for how people make decisions and ethnography for understanding the core narratives - Theory informed practice, or Praxis makes perfect!


– Alenka Rosenqvist

To be in a global business setting with a strong decentralized culture and to decide to experiment with something as well established as employee surveys takes a big chunk of conscious naivity and adventurousness. But things untried can bring massive rewards such as creating awareness of linear thinking and collective mental models in arenas that requires something else. IKEA wanted to search for new ways of exploring and understanding the multiple realities for better ways of co-creating an even better IKEA for the future. Here to tell us about her journey of experimentation and development is Alenka Rosenquist, co-worker relations manager at Inter IKEA.
This session offer a practical example from a still ongoing transformation project. It is a story of a search for another way of understanding and using the strength of the multiple realities/stories of all of us and learn from that to drive the IKEAs business transformation.

– Professor Dave Snowden

Cultural mapping, understanding the day to day reality of people’s lives, the water cooler conversations that determine how people behave - all of these are critical in the public sector. We also need to understand and engage citizens in making small change in the present to help counter the exploitation of fear and frustration by extremist political groups.

In this session Snowden will outline pioneering work on Citizen Engagement through the Cynefin Centre’s Engage, Empower, Enact programme which has been trialed in Colombia and Wales and is now being adopted by Singapore. The work includes the idea of fractal engagement to connect politicians, civil servants and the wider population by making their different understandings visible without facilitation or mediation to create sustainable change and alignment

– Göran Alsén

Göran Alsén, MiL Senior Partner, hosts a reflection, summarising questions and impressions at the end of day one.





Day two

– Johanna Steen

– Olov Hedlin

As humans we are a product of our biology and culture. Today we know that there are strong correlations between the two. When we let the IKEA key values guide us in how we do things, we also set off a group of hormones that in turn impact our feelings and behaviours. By knowing more about how we are constructed biochemically we learn the value of our values and what we can do to improve our ways of working together, finding better ways forward and getting things done.

This session will offer a perspective on how to work with culture and values from a biochemical perspective and is hosted by IKEA Culture specialist, Olov Hedlin.


– Professor Dave Snowden

Design thinking, despite its potential has become increasingly commoditised. Government change labs tend to attract those who are already committed to change, the ‘usual suspects’.

How do we shift away from linear approaches to designing novel solutions? How do we learn from evolution where rapid repurposing of existing capabilities has been responsible for major breakthroughs (flight for example) and allow innovation and change to happen in a non-linear way. Distributed ethnography & ideation and managed exaptation (or serendipity) offer huge potential. Focusing on creating scaffolding rather than an end product is also a key way in which we manage uncertainty without excessive control.    

This session will outline a two year programme of discovery within the Cynefin Centre working with leading academics over three continents to take a new look at design in both the public and private sectors.

– Johanna Steen

This session will offer an opportunity for dialogue and exploration of the different concepts and questions introduced and what they mean for you and your organisation specifically.

– Lena Bergström and Johanna Steen







Dave Snowden, Founder Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge and the founder and Director of the Centre for Applied Complexity at the University of Wales.  His work is international in nature and covers government and industry looking at complex issues relating to strategy, organisational decision making and decision making.  He has pioneered a science based approach to organisations drawing on anthropology, neuroscience and complex adaptive systems theory.  He is a popular and passionate keynote speaker on a range of subjects, and is well known for his pragmatic cynicism and iconoclastic style.

Some of Professor Snowden’s articles on Leadership, Complexity and Culture:
Culture 1 to 7 (Cynefin blog) →
A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making - Harvard Business Review →

alenka-300x135.jpg Alenka Rosenqvist, Co-worker relations manager at Inter IKEA group. Humanist by birth and somebody who has the skill to make simple things complex. Human rights and equality are values close to her heart and a prerequisite for driving a humanistic co-worker relations agenda throughout IKEA. Passionate about creating relationships in unexpected constellations and connecting people where new knowledge and perspectives can happen. Reflecting and experimenting around the topics of measurements, co-worker experience and meaning making in IKEA.
magnuslarsson-col.jpg Magnus Larsson, Associate Professor, Copenhagen Business School. 
Magnus possesses the rare gift of making the complex seem simple without simplifying. With a background as a certified psychologist, today he spends most of his days as a researcher at Copenhagen Business School, where he studies leadership, leadership development and managers’ identity processes and some days doing consultancy work for MiL Institute.
Olav-Hedlin-300x135.jpg Olov Hedlin, IKEA Culture Specialist. He project led the update of the IKEA key values, is working on questions on why we behave the way we do, and is part of the initiative to strengthen the IKEA culture. In his master thesis he criticized IKEA for being a religious sect, spent 3 years recording hundreds of IKEA stories from all over IKEA and 6 years on culture and communication work for purchasing in Asia.




johannasteen-col.jpg Johanna Steen, Head of MiL Foundation Forum
Johanna is the driving force behind MiL Foundation Forum’s ambition to create and host spaces for shared reflection and learning between academia and practice, between the different stand points, knowledge bases and vocabularies of managers, researchers and consultants.




January 24th, starts at 9:00 - January 25th, ends at 14:00




Studio Meetingpoint, Nordenskiöldsgatan 24, Malmö







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