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Conference on Deep Learning
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10/16/2009 to 10/18/2009
When: October 16-18, 2009
Hours TBD
Where: Lassia Studios
Petra, Lesvos Island, Greece 

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Deep Learning

The theme of this conference is deep learning, because nothing less than that will let us close the gap between our potential and current condition, at every level, from individuals, to organisations and social systems in transition.

Our intent is to bring into focus the bond between the inner and the outer journey of individuals, and their relationship with the inner and the outer journeys of their teams, organisations and networks. The term integral leadership is used in this realm and refers to the art of the simultaneous cultivation the inner and outer, individual and collective.

Deep learning is about transformation on the level of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and perspectives. It calls for open mind, heart and will, as Otto Scharmer says. A conference with deep learning as its theme cannot just talk about it. We’ll strive for experiencing and embodying it. Together, we will be learners in action, reflective practitioners, and action researchers all at the same time.

The Core Question

Individual, organisational, and social learning ‘as usual’ is good enough in ordinary times; but not when the old world is dying and the new is trying to be born. Many of our perspectives are woefully narrow for the complex task of making meaning out of the current epochal changes, much less guiding them. Our old mental models are re-creating the status quo through the way we think and act. Deep Learning is needed to source a new level of collective intelligence and wisdom. Only then will we be able to create a whole that is truly more than the sum of its parts. Solving the intertwining global crises requires an intelligence wiser than the one that created them.

This conference is for people with more questions than answers. The complexity of learning to deal with the increasingly interdependent challenges calls us to share our essential questions. To help you articulating yours, here’s one to start with:

What burning question, which if answered, will make the biggest difference to dealing with critical challenges in your domain of study or action?

Co-creating a conference

We invite you to share your experiences of deep learning, especially with the development of competencies for integral leadership. We are inviting researchers, consultants and practitioners eager to learn from each other’s experiences to join us at this conference on Deep Learning whether they are generated through dealing with the challenges of our times in practice, through research or through consultancy.

The conference will bring together people from different backgrounds: academics, consultants, and practitioners - from business, government and the social sector. Theory and practice converge.
Concurrently cultivating theory and praxis, we are creating a platform for trial and exploration, doing and talking, reflecting and exercising. At this conference we will not merely talk about theory but do theory; not just live in action, but theorise action. We will work on embodying theory and on theorising experience.

The power of this conference will be in combining all these different perspectives. It will generate a pool of collective intelligence on deep learning and integral leadership, capable of enriching the perspectives and practices of all participants, and their audiences and organisations. We will do this with help of Theory U as a methodological framework which means that we will be co-presencing its outcomes.

Call for , reserve the date, show your interest

With this call we invite you to become a member of the Deep Learning Community, to reserve the dates in your diary, and to begin imagining the contribution you might make to this conference. You are invited to submit your insights and intuitions as a contribution in the form of
an academic paper, a practitioner report and/or a consulting essay.

At you can register to become a member. As member, you can submit your written reflections and make them accessible to participants before arrival in Lesvos. All participants will be able to respond to the submissions. The review process will be an open peer review. The scientific committee will harvest the insights generated through the individual submissions as well as through the comments in the community.

Drawing on the variety in contributions, the participants will co-create a three day dialogue. This will be an action learning conference. Together, we will create a safe space for dialogue. Participants will bring their insights, intuitions and ambivalences. The conference will be a scaffold for experimenting with new insights and different forms of behaviour, and for developing new competencies.
All final submissions will be available on CD-ROM, complete with an ISBN number to facilitate referencing by researchers.

To register your interest, please go to the website: We expect an attendance of 50 – 60 people. Places are limited – don’t hesitate.

Organising Committee

Pieter Schrijnen, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
Stefanos Michiotis, University of Greenwich, Tetras Consult, Greece
Elyssebeth Leigh, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Emilia Lenghel, United Nations, The Hague, the Netherlands

Scientific Committee

Pieter Schrijnen, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
Elyssebeth Leigh, University of Technology, Sidney, Australia
George Pór, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Stefanos Michiotis, University of Greenwich, Tetras Consult, Greece
Christoph Mandl, School of Business, Economics and Statistics, University of Vienna, Austria
Erik Mathijs, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

Costs of attending

The fee for attending the conference will in the range of € 300.
The costs for the three day stay in Lassia will be in the range of € 80 – € 105 (double/single occupancy, bed & breakfast).
The return travel cost from Athens to Lesvos starts from € 60 (special offers) or € 120 (early booking).

About Lassia

Lesvos is blessed by its bright sun, beautiful beaches and forests. Unspoiled by mass tourism, it gives the visitor the opportunity to discover real the Greece. At the northern side of the island is Petra, a picturesque village, where you can swim or fish in the bay, stroll along beautiful footpaths, visit the impressive rock with the church on top, observe birds and flowers, participate in feasts and celebrations with the locals, and enjoy food and local wine or ouzo.

Lassia Studios is a family owned and run hotel, giving the visitor the sense of being at your mother's country house, where everything is familiar and is done without unnecessary formalities. Built on the slope of a hill overlooking the bay of Petra with its enchanting sunsets, it consists of small complexes of spacious studios, each with bathroom en suite and a large veranda or a balcony, ensuring privacy and peace. Some studios are accessible by people of older age or with disability problems. There is an open air pool, a restaurant, and a bar where you can relax and taste home made food (traditional Greek recipes or international dishes, gourmet or vegetarian plates), barrel wines from all over Greece and a variety of coffees and drinks.

Visitors can reach Lesvos (Mytilene) either by regular flight via Athens or by charter from many European cities. For ensuring cheap flight bookings we suggest early contact with: Aegean Airlines (, Olympic Airlines ( or Athens Airways ( From the airport you come to Lassia by taxi or rented car; if desired this can be arranged by the hotel at extra charge.

About SoL

The Society for Organisational Learning is devoted to the interdependent development of people and their institutions, in service of inspired performance and meaningful results. Organisations and networks learn when people learn, but only if people share their learning.

The SoL community is a platform of practitioners, consultants and researchers. The community works on the mutual development of individuals, teams, organizations and networks.

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