Last week, I had the good fortune of joining the Unleash team in Toronto for an inaugural event exploring new business approaches to meet an evolutionary purpose. The inspiration of the session was in part based this call: “How would it feel to work in an environment where everyone is working with joy, dignity, and expanding creativity? What if we could tap into the intrinsic motivation and deep search for meaning we have while also being profitable and highly effective? And what if there were different ways of organizing that would allow us to be more agile and responsive to help maximize our impact in the world?”

The session took place in the brand new Unleash space within Evergreen Brickworks, a “community environmental centre that inspires and equips visitors to live, work and play more sustainably.” We heard live drumming out the window, watched the trees of the Don Valley burst their first chartreuse leafy hellos, and gathered from far and wide into a circle of aspirational curiosity. It’s a rough and ready, high tech, light-filled room built for adaptive stretching of mind and soul, an arena for balanced play and care.

In being with such enthusiasm, exploring a ‘work & be’ future, i was acutely reminded of the span of my own career and the original ASE (Accelerated Solution Environments) network i was a small part of cultivating in the late 90’s – early 00’s. The original network of management centers, conceived and developed by MG Taylor in the 70’s, was eventually licensed as a series of nodes to Cap Gemini. Many of the centers around the world still thrive today; the processes and people that sprung forth and rooted – from and within these highly collaborative places – continue to transform ways of work within institutional, organizational and business contexts.

Back then, our small team had a seemingly endless, unbounded amount of energy to help something burst through, to shepherd in a new way of work, to release inner creativity of the individual in an applied context. Those ways hold up. The Value Web, among many other groups and individuals, carry the practice forward.

With an extremely similar spirit of ‘yes!’ Unleash takes it all further. Addressing the full HUMAN BEING, Unleash seeks to uncork possibility of applying true Self – in all it’s beaming and fault-line glory – in an increasingly conscious, evolving ‘eco-work’ landscape.

Connor Turland eloquently writes about Integrating Work and Wholeness, offering double dip into the very paradox we face when aiming to go deep within AND stretch far into the potential of a shared future. “A lesson I am taking away from today is that every moment in this collective process is a moment of sense-making. What makes sense for the group right now? What makes sense for the event right now? What makes sense for me right now?”

I am still making sense of the week. The drawing above is just one particle – an attempt to reflect a myriad of inputs in one place… a far from a complete representation of the spirit of the time we inhabited together.




Some additional quick pics, taken by Robbie Ruuskanen, and one of the inspiring team itself. Rock on Unleash! May all goodness in the universe be your guide.