Ecosystem Awareness

3 to 10 Sept 2022

learning to act with systems awareness

This course offers tools, frameworks and practical skills to increase the ability to adapt effectively in changing times and builds capacity for leadership and collaboration from the perspective of ecosystem awareness. This training is hosted as part of the Ulex South Project

Ecosystem awareness is a continuous process of: 

  • transforming the quality & awareness of joined-up thinking
  • transforming the quality & awareness of relationships
  • transforming the quality & awareness of collective action

We will focus on:

  • Aspirational and creative orientation: this is the domain of personal vision and personal mastery – especially maintaining creative tension – and building a shared vision,
  • Reflective conversation: this is the domain of personal reflection (being more aware of my own mental models) and nurturing a different quality of conversation and social field,
  • Understanding (and being able to cope better with) complexity: this is the domain of systems thinking and systems sensing, feeling the forces at play in a larger system.

Contextual background:

Many sectors, including social movements and organising, focus on collecting data to gain information about a topic. Data might be quantitative : number of people at an action; how many refugees entered Spain in 2021, or qualitative: an increased sense of togetherness; a feeling of collective rejection.  However, the feedback loop of ‘better data’ leading to ‘better social action’ is often weak or non-existent. This is due to lack of capacity for joined-up thinking or quality relationships between actors in the system. This means that  potentially threatening  or non-conforming ‘data’ is ignored or discarded, or people recognise the data, but still do little to change their actions.  This is true around many ‘hot topics’ such as race and inequality, resource use, consumerism  and climate chaos. We have  enough high quality data – it is that we don’t have the capacity for joined-up thinking or relationships. In effect, the typical low quality of relational space (in a meeting or between social moments) diminishes the ability to ‘process’ (recognise, collaboratively probe and ultimately act on) non-conforming data. So rather than simply collecting more data and assuming that data will bring about change, we focus on the basic growth loop so that better data can lead to more effective collective action. Without practical ways of initiating and sustaining self-reinforcing processes that improve the overall relational space, better data will achieve little: when difficult problems arise, they will be neglected or dealt with only superficially. 

The deep capacity and community building that drives the basic growth cycle never ends. This learning continues to unfold as new stakeholders are engaged and new problems are faced. As this develops, peer learning relationships become more important, both within the community and between the community and others doing similar work. Cultivating the internal and external forces that make the process resilient is central to our long-term vision and awareness of systems change.

Key areas of study and reflection include:

Personal: (to grow as a person) Awareness, presence, empathy; ability to manage emotions in order to learn to respond to unforeseen events; to contain emergency situations; to know how to enter into relationships in an empathetic way; to manage emotional boundaries in relationships.

Professional: (improve one’s relational skills) Priority of relationship as a tool for care. Professionalism capable of empathy. Overcome the logic of doing, to focus on how. Being with the person in the here and now of the relationship, in authenticity and congruence with one’s own feelings. Knowing how to listen to needs, renouncing pre-packaged solutions.

Organisational: (improve one’s ability to co-create). Prioritise collaborative communication with the various professionals involved. It is important to be able to recognise and value the ways in which different professionals operate in order to assume a collaborative attitude.


Specific objectives:

  • Gain awareness in order to improve relational skills
  • Tools to be able to cope with the change / change management skills
  • Management of human resources
  • Generative communication
  • Development of creativity and responsible action
  • Understanding of our own responsibility to build the environment
  • Understand the connection between motivation and emotional intelligence
  • Development of personal awareness and sense of self-efficacy
  • Strengthening of self-esteem
  • Awareness and development of one’s own potential
  • Facilitation of the assumption of new responsibilities for a greater propensity for action 
  • Development of problem solving and decision making skills
  • Improvement of the ability to manage conflicts and difficult conversations 
  • Tool to prevent burn-out and work-related stress


The methodology adopted is participatory and experiential and includes individual and group work, simulations and role-playing, reflection on theoretical material, embodiment practices, group exchange, projection of audiovisuals, theory class, personal production . The use of feedback will also allow participants to acquire greater awareness of their own path in relation to the skills covered.


  • Theatre of the oppressed
  • Peter Block 6 conversations
  • Theory U
  • Wendy Palmer embodied leadership Tai chi
  • Social Presencing Theatre
  • Mindfulness
  • Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman
  • 4 agreements
  • Conscious Business Coaching
  • Daniel Kahneman Think slowly think fast
  • Peter Senge 5th discipline
  • Martin Heidegger, LA PREGUNTA POR LA TÉCNICA 
  • Han, Byung-Chul

This course is specifically designed for:

  • Those who are setting up, or have set up their own organisations, networks or activist groups and want to increase their ecosystem awareness and understanding of the whole
  • Those who advise on or manage aspects of organisations, networks, or groups and would like to explore this area with others, and consider how to best enabling transformation
  • Those researching the area of social change 
  • Those practising mindfulness and interested in how mindfulness or broader contemplative practices can support social change entities.
Contribución sugerida
En la economía solidaria: €400/€750/€1200
(ver los detalles de nuestro enfoque hacia Economía solidaria)

The Team

Our Name

Ulex: Latin (argelaga Catalan, gorse English) noun:

1. A thorny-evergreen flowering shrub, with a high capacity for regeneration and resilience. Its seedpods open in contact with fire and it reshoots from charred stumps. A successionary plant that grows well under challenging conditions. It improves soil fertility through nitrogen fixing, preparing the way for renewed biodiversity.

2. A traditional choice for igniting fires. Burns hot and bright.

3. A networked project adding nutrition and fertility to European social movements through training and capacity building. It kindles the realisation of social justice, ecological intelligence, and cognitive vitality.