My name is Christian Koch, I work as an advisor and facilitator. From time to time I meet people who inspire and motivate me to engage in a more long-term initiative.
My clients are Companies, Foundations, NGOs, Social Enterprises and Projects of International Development Cooperation. For eleven years, I was a consultant and partner at Como Consult GmbH (Hamburg, Berlin) and involved in more than 100 projects in 30 countries during that time. Since 2017, I’m self-employed and work closely with a network of like-minded collaborators.
What I enjoy most about my work is creating meaningful connections between people. My approach in consultancy is deeply influenced by Systemic Thinking and Gestalt Therapy and some important teachers I met along the way.
The starting point of every project is your concern, question or issue – an idea what could happen in a new, different or better way in your team or organization. Together we develop a focus and objectives that are experienced as meaningful. My core competences in accompanying you in this learning process – extended by those of my network – are located in six thematic fields.
How can we – individually, as a team, in an organization, in a multi-stakeholder partnership – analyse, comprehend and describe our current situation? Develop attractive options for the future, prioritise and bring them into being? And this in an increasingly complex, fast-changing environment? When it comes to strategy, it is about orientation, structure and planning, but it is also about spontaneity, coincidence and sheer opportunism. It is about purpose, narratives, about the joy and passion of creating.
The ability for developing shared intentions and the capacity for cooperation is what defines us as human beings (M. Tomasello). At the same time, cooperation between organizations is often very challenging and unlikely because structures and incentives are missing. “Real” partnerships are change projects which should rather be treated like start-ups. If the different perspectives and resources of participating stakeholders are leveraged, they bear enormous innovation potential. Methodologically, valuable experiences in cooperation management have been made in international development cooperation. Here, results are completely dependent on successful cooperation and learning processes between unequal stakeholders.
Leaders are supposed to be servant, inclusive, agile, lateral, horizontal and post heroic, on eye-level nowadays. Even better – their tasks could be fully transferred to self-organizing teams. A lot of this makes sense and is a step forward – environmental dynamics and disruptive changes of business models force even well-established companies and organizations to be more agile and flexible. Nevertheless, approaches and instruments always have to be tested with regard to their applicability within a specific organization. What is needed here, right now, in this context, to balance continuity and innovation? How to distribute decision making power and responsibility in a way that enhances the organization’s adaptability, it’s capacity to deal with complexity and react to changes in the environment?
Organizations impact our life, our thinking and our actions – and still we are often surprisingly unaware of it. It helps to see them as “world creators” which shape communication, expectations and mental maps of those that inhabit them. The aim of organization development (OD) is to deliberately influence those processes towards “building and maintaining the health of the organisation as a total system” (Ed Schein).
OD comprises a wide array of approaches and instruments for tasks ranging from organization design to process optimization to individual skill development. My particular interest is in reviving enthusiasm and creativity in teams, sometimes lost in well-established organizations in bureaucracy, endless meetings and empty routines.
In my experience, people love to interact. Often, a simple check-in exercise is enough and participants that were looking reserved and grim 5 minutes ago can barely be stopped from communicating. Still, working with large groups isn’t easy and needs to be throughly prepared to channel the energy that can arise. Facilitation is similar to hosting, it is about creating spaces in which people encounter each other constructively. And it is about supporting groups through suitable invitations and formats to develop a focus that gives direction to the process.
Designers see the world differently, I keep noticing that when cooperating with them.
They dive into the client’s system, help to shape and materialize ideas. In doing so they go beyond the role of an advisor who rather stays at the sidelines, maintaining a certain distance. Design can reach and touch people on a different level, it can be a catalyst by giving ideas a concrete form, sometimes a tangible product that embodies a new direction. As well, designers are great collaborators for re-authoring stories and narratives in organizations and communities.