Talks, briefings and keynotes

Challenging, Revolutionary  and Inspiring Ideas for Facilitators of Creativity and Change

CATS3000’s Paul Levy has been invited all over the world to give talks at conferences and events on many different topics based on his work in the field of change and transformation.

Below are some topics that give an indication of the breadth of Paul’s sweep!

Contact us here for further information or to book a talk, briefing or keynote.

Session Aims:

–    To provide short, focused and inspiring input on working to one’s potential – individually and socially – which may involve blowing you to bits but giving you some new ground to rebuild

–    To help develop skills for beginners and advanced educators and work developers, for managers, leaders and change agents to do it properly or run away

–    To share ideas and experiences in the setting of some powerful, fresh expert input – it is time to throw out the bullshit and, if we’re going to kick up a stink, lets lay down something fresh and really fertile for something to grow on

“These are PowerPoint-free, visually interesting, inspiring and challenging talks on  topics that aim to tap into the real issues faced by individuals and organisations. I’ve been invited to share talks at away days, conferences, public events all over the world, including the UK, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Cyprus, Slovenia, Croatia, Canada, Singapore, to name but a few. A powerful talk can be as impactful as a whole day workshop.” Paul Levy


Suggested Sample Timings:

–    Breakfast slots 8.30 to 10am (with good croissants and coffee, tea and juice, nothing mediocre)

–    Early evening slots 5 to 6.30pm

–    Lunch slots 12.30-2pm

–   Conference Addresses and Keynotes (guaranteed PowerPoint free, and a voice and face with a lot of life in it)

All of these sessions are also available in a virtual format through online meeting platforms such as LiveMeeting or Skype.

Skills Topics

Designing Workshop Frameworks – creating telling and vibrant learning and development events at work

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Creating a “default” programme allows one to become flexible and emergent as a facilitator or trainer. Workshops should be adaptive to the context and specific situation, and yet also draw on the trainer’s best and most valuable “stock in trade”. A balance between “default” and “specific in context” learning frameworks make for learning that has an authentic and lasting impact. The aim is to blow up the happy sheets and risk the zone of discomfort with programmes that span the whole range from affirmation to revolution.

Icebreakers and Theme Setters

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: the need to capture interest and engage from the start, to identify relevant themes and work practically with them. Here we challenge the validity of “icebreakers” (which assume there is coldness at the start of a session) and, instead look at the notion of “energisers”, looking at how flow can be created and quickened at the start of a session, without falling into “facipulation” – manipulative facilitating!

Designing Workshop Activities

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: There are many different types of workshop activity, appropriate to different issues and needs. Too many workshop leaders, trainers and facilitators simply borrow their material from sources that have probably borrowed themselves from others! Some activities and exercises are timeless and have travelled well. But how can you create your own workshop activities, games, exercises and experiences that are original, fresh, focused and relevant to the participants?

Taking Questions and Feedback

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: arts based training raises many questions and generates feedback, dealing with during and after the workshop is critical for maintaining a relationship with the client and building bridges to further work.

Collecting Ideas and Output – using flipcharts and whiteboards

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: The need to output ideas, experiences, questions and concerns, making best use of available technology is vital to being a competent, responsive trainer and facilitator. What’s the difference between a flipchart and a white board? How can you gather in the emerging “story” of a workshop – the critical thoughts and ideas? How can you ensure the whole event isn’t just a “false revelation” where ideas are put onto walls and paper and no action ever results. How can you collect ideas in a way that already engenders tangible action? This session is powerful for focusing on the concern that the more you write down, the less is likely to happen, unless you use “restless recording” as a method.

Dealing With Difficult Behaviours in Workshops

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Coping and sensitively managing the discomfort, which may arise from an arts based workshop, dealing with ‘opting out’, and the generation of sensitive organisational issues. Difficult behaviours are always the responsibility of a facilitator. Trouble can also be a good sign in a workshop. How can we face up to “trouble” in a way that ensures a deep and honest experience by participants? How do we get into the heart of conflict and skilfully negotiate the fires that often start when our workshops break through collusions of niceness?

Linking the Workshop to Practical Action, Personal Commitment Statements

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Ensuring the workshop has real impact in the client organisation, to create follow through, and tangible benefits. How do we ensure the workshop doesn’t get beached on the sands of inaction and fake honesty? This is all about, not closing down, but opening up to real action, during and after a workshop or learning event.

Designing Supporting Materials, Workbooks, Handouts

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: To ensure impact back at work, to ‘bed in’ the experience and learning, to ensure the work isn’t dropped or forgotten, to allow the experience to ‘continue’ through self-development. Can we be paper free and deliver an “acoustic” session ( a bit like just showing up with an acoustic guitar at  music gig!). How can we ensure that supporting materials are authentic sources of support and act as catalysts and springboards for action beyond the workshop or learning event.

Using the Technology, social media, web learning, Power Point, Whiteboards and Flipcharts

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Making best use of the in-house technology, using the tools of the client in a more creative way, providing integration between the art and the normal tools of idea capture and sharing at work. It’s astounding how incompetent many trainers and facilitators are at using the technology of learning properly. Here we’ll look at the basic building stones of technology in learning and change as well as taking a look at the world of web learning and the power of social media for learning and development, cutting through the crap and seeing past the bullshit.

Organisational Exorcism

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: This is a very uncomfortable and challenging session about the “shadow” side of organisations, businesses and change. Here we look at the “poltergeist”-like behaviours of change resistors, as well as the dysfunctional and often destructive impacts of “demonising” in groups and departments”. This is a session which really uncovers the truth or the dynamics of organisational politics and shares some of the secrets of how to deal with social vampirism, haunting of change programmes, and the horrors of hidden agendas.

Theme Topics

The Importance of Change at Work

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Change and its effective management is high on the agenda of every organisation in all sectors, of all sizes – there are key concepts, models, methods, ideologies, tools and techniques. Yet mostly everyone screws it up. Here we look at the existential nature of change, its essential quality of eluding attempts to “manage” it; we explore different models of change and also the “shadow” side of change management, arriving at some earthy, gritty tips and approaches that challenge the comfort zone and also inspire and scare.

Innovation and Invention, Product and Process Design

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Understanding the difference between product and process improvement, the need for invention (a source point of artistic thinking) to be translated into tangible products, which generate a return (innovation). We’ll dabble with the madness of great invention, the notion of challenging the status quo, we’ll rubbish the notion of left and right brain thinking, and try to explode the so called “box” everyone is trying to think out of, instead looking at the wonderful new and original space where the box once was. We’ll examine originality and the concept of the “original palette” and its relationship with original creativity.

Real Customer Service and The Theory of Contempt

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: The importance of improving customer service, providing excellence, being responsive, generating long-term sales and customer satisfaction; we’ll contrast this with CATS3000’s ground breaking Theory of Contempt, which gets right to the heart of what real customer care is.

The Art of Organisational Communication

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: The need for smooth and effective flow of information, knowledge and wisdom in organisations, both through having the right systems and processes, as well as the right skills and attitudes. We’ll look at “comunion” as a higher form of communication, the importance of deep dialogue, as well as moral technique as a mean of truly listening in communication.

The Art Managing Technology – a technosophic approach

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: How to select, design, assess, implement and monitor technology in organisation; creative approaches to technology design and management ensure the organisation leads in its field; the need for integration of organisation and technology. Based on the book by CATS3000’s Paul Levy (with Dr Mihael Junkar) “Technosophy”, we’ll examine the concept of a multi-perspective, “wise” approach to managing technology – “technosphically” – radical and practical!

The Supply Chain – what are the real issues

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: The need for economies of scale along the whole chain of supply, from raw materials to end use; the development of partnership approaches and inter-organisational collaboration; trading and working with different cultures, though genuine association and partnership. Based on CATS3000’s Paul Levy’s writing in the Handbook of Total Quality Management, we’ll explore what genuine, non-collusive customer-supplier relationships are all about, reach beyond the jargon into some tried and tested and new methods.

Business Values and Culture – are organisations monsters?

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: The need for clear, believable, shared values, and a culture to support the organisation’s goals. Organisations can become “egregores” – a kind of monstrous form in which people’s individuals values are either sent to sleep, into a collusive, compromising, stupor, or where the organisational “mission” becomes fakes, and minimally committed to by staff at a purely cold level. How can an organisation truly become a conscious, empowering, yet also effective place?

The Human Resource Agenda – Involutionary Approaches to People

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Managing people effectively, supporting the personal and management development of the organisation’s employees; identifying and implementing a flexible personnel system which support the organisation’s strategy. Here we’ll appear to go a bit mad, challenging the theory of evolution, elaborating it into the more practical and usable theory of “Involution”, with many stories and examples, looking at how a more free and involving approach to people actually helps an organisation to evolve more successfully.

Managing Equality and Diversity

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: creating fair and equal opportunities-based organisations, which encourage and celebrate diversity, based on Paul’s book “E:Quality” (with Gillian Shapiro). Here we’ll explore a very grown up version of diversity, looking at the power, not of sameness and smiliarity, but of difference and the need to nurture divergence at key stages of an organisation’s development.

Time Management and Time Travel

The time management session that has no crap and useless tools and techniques. A very practical look at the importance of moving consciously along timelines, working within timeframes, taking hold of ones own “freely decided” priorities, living sanely in others’ agendas, and also  the secret of how to change the past – how to change history. Mind-blowing and useful.

Business Systems – a voyage into Wonderland

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Systems and processes which are efficient and effective, the need to rethink current systems, to ‘re-engineer’ processes which reduce time taken and maximise resource use in a human-centred and creative way. We’ll dig into the work of award-winning Bernard Lievegoed and explore open systems thinking and the power of developing “emergent” business systems, able to cope with high rates of change. We’ll dance with chaos and also explore the value of deep permanence in structure.

Managing Quality

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: The need for zero defects, total quality, having a broader, more existential view of quality, which encourages quality thinking, with systems of prevention and fail-safing. Taking a technosophic approach we’ll look at the less tangible aspects of quality and look at how hard and soft quality management can dance together in a way that makes a business eloquently effective and successful. Lots of cases and practical examples.

Business Relationships – developing non-collusive trust

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Internal and external business relationships based on trust and mutual dependency, methods for working collaboratively, with supporting systems and measures to ensure joint improvement of product, service and process. We’ll dig into the concept of the Collusion of Mediocrity, explore the vital need for honesty and an ability to challenge in the name of innovation and improvement.

The IT Agenda – from keyboards to real dialogue in social media

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Managing information technology, the emerging world of the Internet and electronic business, understanding the relationship between people and computers. We’ll look at online life and death, the  heaven and hell of the “virtual world”, looking beyond the Binary Beast, and seeing how social media can create sustainability, a quantum shift in the quality and quantity of communication, empower business effectiveness, and destroy the human soul!

Intranet and Internet Artistry

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: The role of artistry and artistic genres in designing intranets and internets. When we publish and create material online these days, white -space dominated “minimalism” dominates as a style. Can minimalism also be beautiful? What other artistic styles and genres can we make us of? Based on pioneering work at the Edinburgh and Brighton Festivals 2008/9.

Managing Complexity – the power of falling short in the management of chaos

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: dealing with complexity and even chaos, coping with uncertainty, managing complex product systems. We’ll look at whole system change, the techniques of open space, and collusion breaking, new theories of change as well as the wonderful world of chaos and emergence in leadership and management (as well as mismanagement!).

Organisational Learning

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Capturing and fostering individual, team, organisational and inter-organisational learning – managing knowledge in organisations. How do we learn in ways that reach into behaviour change? How can we learn in an awake and aware way? How do we ensure our organisations don’t make the same mistakes? If learning from mistakes is key, how can we make it a safe virtue in a business?  A big topic, we take the bull by the horns and dive into the world of individual and group learning.

Conflict at Work – the art of facing it and working through it for real

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Dealing with conflict arising from unresolved issues, cultural problems, resistance to change, problems arising from mergers and takeovers. How do we encounter resistance without falling into “safe niceness” or into damaging war? How can conflict be “acted out” in a way that makes the performance of it, like a play, worth it? We’ll look at some models and approaches developed by CATS3000.

Working for Real With Teams

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Effective team working is a big issue in organisations as they increasingly use teams and groups to manage projects and get work done and working with difference in teams, forming effective groups, exploring problems and resolving them. We’ll go beyond the superficiality of many approaches and look under the lid of team energy and drama.

Real Coaching and Mentoring

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: The need to provide support to people in organisations – helping people to develop their careers, overcome personal blockages and deal with issues through mentoring; helping specific skill development, sharing of experience and guiding through coaching. We’ll look at the key difference between coaching and mentoring and share CATS3000’s unique approach which has clients all over the world.

Real Creativity at Work

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: how to develop creativity in individuals and organisations; working creatively with problems, solving them, generating ideas for innovation of products and services. We’ll ru along the border between creativity and creativeness, explore true originality, and dip into the philosophy of freedom, and the methods of inner mobility.

The Design Agenda – towards deep applied creativity

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Designing products and services that customers need, being flexible in the design process, moving design into more artistic, creative realms. We’ll look at artistry and innovation, and the multi-perspective approach to design, developed by CATS3000, known as Technosophy (and published as a book under the same name!)

Thinking and really doing  ‘Lean’ in Business without being Mean

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: Being lean is about improving the organisation by using resources more effectively throughout its systems and processes in order to do things in half the time, at half the cost, for twice the quality! We reveal the groundbreaking ideas of Goethe as a father of Lean as well as looking at how lean can really help us in the aftermath of the global recession.

The Lack of Originality in Organisations

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: The importance of authentic originality in develop effective and lasting change programmes. We’ll look at two contrasting images – the “original palette” and the “palette of broken pictures” which uncovers the difference between real originality and derived originality. Uncomfortable, revolution here!

Why Change Fails

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: A talk about the collusion of mediocrity as a cause of failure in change programmes. Here we have stores if why change is often screwed up, and how to get it right. All kinds of new ideas here and a valuable method called the Javelin Audit.

A Guide to the Gurus and Buzzwords/The Language of Management

THE CRITICAL ISSUE: the language of business and management is always changing; arts trainers need a regular ‘update’ on the emerging ideas and language, the new gurus and business theories. A quick A to Z of business bullshit. Funny, worrying and very practical and scary.

Further topics and themes

These titles are indicative. CATS3000 is happy to have a discussion with you about other titles and subjects to meld into your learning or development event. Contact CATS3000 for more info

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