We met in Vejle, Denmark by invitation of the municipality of Vejle and the Balancity project. 21 people from 10 countries joined to meet in the conference center in Vingstedt.
We met over two days
Day one: Community work - Slideshow
Day two: Networking day - Slideshow
What did the participants think? Here are some stories.
Jochen Metzger, Hamburg, Germany
Okay. My perspective is the one of a curious but Zero-A.I.-experienced
journalist. Maybe quite different from the rest of the group. This is
what happend to me at Vejle:
Day 1: For me it was the first time to see A.I. „at
work“ (well, at least some parts of it). At day 1 I learned a lot about
Vejle an Jelling. But also heard a couple of wonderful stories about
national identities (really: what did I know about Kazakhstan?) and
great museum-experiences. At that particular point I felt, what A.I.
can do: We shared the stories in small groups, connected very quickly
and inspired ourselves mutualy (I guess) to remember more or even
better stories from our past. After that, it felt very easy to agree on
some key factors for such great experiences (in our group we named
All this has been created just by a
couple of simple, but well selected questions. Hey, where do you get
more self-efficacy? (maybe that's why it can be fun to be an
A.I.-consultant? Just a guess …).
So this is what I got from the working-time in day one: Connection, invention, tools for solutions/new ideas, inspiration.
Apart from that: I was feeling like an apprentice on his first day in
„the firm“, surrounded by professionals. That's situation I like very
much – I can ask questions all the time and everybody has an answer.
2nd day: All our „Open Space“-plans exploded in a
second. I have never seen Open Space. So now my conclusion is: The
radical openness of the method inculdes it's vulnerability to those,
who are not so keen in taking part in it. Probably this is an
oversimplification. But it will definitely be my working-hypothesis for
the future. But then: We found a new agenda for the day very fast. I
liked that, but still wonder why and how it happened. ???
Interesting and strange to me: When I came home from a meeting full of
appreciation and non-deficit-thinking/-talking I had two days where the
thoughts that popped up spontaneously, were definitely MORE
deficit-oriented than they ususally are. Why? Maybe Christine's idea
(we should do some "appreciative wrestling" at the next meeting) is not
so bad after all?
What struck me was the heterogeneity of the group. Not just in terms of
personality or age (it was an honour to have lunch and dinner with
Ruth!) – but also: profession, organisation, methodology, interest.
What is it that keeps this group of people together? Why will they want
to be in Bled next spring? Why would I want to be there?
So much for today.
All the best from the Hamburg-area
Madelyn Blair, Maryland, USA
Jochen, you captured so well the sense of how this group works as you described the two days -- and especially, day 2. In a story that I wrote about the Regio-Emilia meeting,
I spoke of the ability of the group to deal with chaos without losing
connection with each other. And this time, you saw this phenomenon
happening again. The desire to relate to one another is more powerful
than the desire to control. Beautiful when seen in the 'doing.'
Madelyn Blair, Ph.D. Pelerei, Inc. Turning Vision into Reality
Yvor Broer, Denmark & the Netherlands
First of all, I felt privileged to come
into the meeting at the time I came in. The question on purpose of the
network and the proceedings of the network meetings, somehow connected
very well to the meeting I some weeks earlier attended in London. That
meeting, which started off on the discussion on how Europe could
formulate a kind of AI curriculum and ended with a huge list of
elements that would stimulate deep learning, which would never fit in a
strict curriculum, made me aware that we do not do what we say that one
should do, namely using AI ourselves during the meeting. Also,
following that list of elements (also called a menu for deep learning),
we could do so much more to learn from each other. Have a look at
http://networkplace.eu/web/page.aspx?refid=97 and see what I mean. I
would love to bring some of these elements into the next meeting!
Also, and even when I was not there, I think it was great to involve
the local context into the meeting. I might have sounded critical about
how the school intervention was done (calling it unethical), but the
idea is good (in Bled we would be silly not to involve some students of
the Business School into our programme).
I came with a case study to last meeting, but did not find the space to
bring it in. What happened instead (of the open space) was more than
good, but the case emerged after the meeting, meaning that I am over
thinking it more and more, even when the job to which it refers to is
already over. It somehow has very much to do with the connection
between values and visions, but moreover how to address team and
organisational values that are not 'internalised' by individuals.
Basically what I did, is altering AI completely (although, the way I
used AI before). I started by asking for a story when these values were
put at risk (yes, I know, there might be blaming into it) and how they
worked on it. That worked just well, as the risk factor was external.
But then I also skipped the dreaming phase, as somehow the group did
not want to follow. What I did instead is taking the positive core,
make them write it into the future, making it stretching, provocative
and ambitious, and voila, there was a vision statement that brought the
group bold plans all wanted to commit to. Maybe something for the next
Having said this, I would like to have some space at the next meeting
where we can deeper share experiences and questions, in formats like
supervision/ intervision. Such as the issue above. And for sure we all
have stories we want to get a deeper insight into.
These are just some reflections and thoughts. Please feel free to
react/ connect and see if we can make some clear points out of it for
the next meeting.
With kind regards,
Vejle Network Meeting was my very
first experience of connecting with the European AI community. It is
interesting that even as I write these words, it still surprises me
that I need to think about regional, cultural, and philosophical
distinctions here. You see, up to this point, AI community for was that
– AI community, no boundaries, no specific focus. What I came to
discover is that for some it is very important to define AI in a local,
regional, etc focus. While I honor that completely, for me personally
it is a very unusual space to be talking about ‘American AI’, ‘European
AI,’ or any other similar divisions – I guess being a
Russian-Kazakh-American-living-in-Slovenia would do that to you :)… But
something is there to inquire into, still.
There is something to inquire into as the most precious reflection on
Vejle experience is that, at least for me, it felt like home. It was
connecting, and inspiring, and sometimes stretching, just as any AI
gathering throughout the world. May be we are not that different after
I found the two-day format very helpful: focused work on Day 1, open
space on Day 2. It is good to see community wisdom in action – our
plans were blueprints at most, with constant changes, re-evaluation,
and re-design of the day’s activities as we went on. Gives me good food
for thought as we start working on designing the next Network Meeting –
hosted by my own institution – IEDC-Bled School of Management in
Slovenia! I think we should build-in a summit into our next meeting,
what do you think?
And yes, do come on over to the most majestic Alpine lake Bled – so
that we can find ways to connect and inquire all over again :)
I truly enjoyed the meeting. It was an open dialogue, we came to
good conclusions and decisions. The first day at the Jelling monument
was for me very exciting. And the highlight of the second day was how
the group dialogue flowed in a gentle and still sharp and constructive