Designing Authentic Connections Conference Session:

Emerging Design Landscapes: Decolonializing OD

William Zybach, Dr. Richard Thayer, & Sally Breyley Parker

Category: Emerging Operating Models

William Zybach is innovation director at Syngineering Solutions. He is a collaborator on Syngineering: Building Agility into Any Organization. He is a certified Organization Design, Holocracy and Gestalt practitioner. He was on the Organization Design Forum board, a co-founder of the African Organization Design Forum and currently is a member of the European Organization Design Forum and the International Organization Development Association. After working with Al Gore on reinventing government he worked in Washington DC during it’s transformation before leaving for South Africa in 2011 to teach design practice. Currently he is employed in the US Financial industry.  He collaborates on the delivery of agile organization design training at George Washington University and through Caliber Consulting.

Sally Breyley Parker is co-founder of TimeZero Enterprises, LLC.  Sally, together with a growing community of collaborators, focuses on environmental conditions — such as strategy, design, and culture — that create flourishing systems and foster transformation and enhanced performance. Her passion is social process innovations that tap the genius of natural systems to release the authentic power of the human spirit. The outcomes are inventive strategies, innovative designs, and transformed businesses grounded in a deep sense of purpose.

Dr. Richard Thayer is managing director at Syngineering Solutions, headquartered in Baltimore, MD. He and his partners have written Syngineering: Building Agility into Any Organization through John Hunt Publishing, coming out this spring. As an organization design practitioner, author, teacher, and advisor, Rich’s work focuses on agility and collaboration. He has extensive experience in the oil and gas industry, as well as commodities exchange and nature conservancies. Rich teaches public and internal programs on agile organization design and operating models in conjunction with LBL Strategies and George Washington University’s Center for Excellence in Public Leadership (CEPL.) as well as Caliber Consulting.

The Gestalt “paradoxical theory of change” is the port of departure for a journey we want to take participants on to explore new landscapes, setting sail like the Europeans in the 1500’s. However, unlike the conquistadors this workshop provides a framework that values indigenous cultures and their lands and allows us to enter as collaborators. This voyage includes a fresh and appetizing case study; a charismatic “monarch” dies leaving a fractured and suffering organization in desperate need of a new vessel designed for the changing seas.


In this workshop, participants will play with objective techniques to appreciate common global business landscapes and their associated corporate cultures – ranging, metaphorically on this voyage, from hierarchical monarchies to shared leadership as inspired by the Iroquois Council of Elders. You will be invited to play with some simple yet powerful tools for more dynamic sailing – in the design ecosystem buffeted by waves of agile, digital, AI, and Warm Data – as they crash into the consequences of the global pandemic, climate disruption and the rising tide of inequity and racism. As adaptive explorers, you will collaboratively learn together how to navigate the crumbling theories and practices that built the associated fields of design, development and change. Given that these disruptions are driving the metamorphosis that is upending our practice, can we as a community courageously and intentionally heal and release the past that no longer serves? What must be sacrificed? Will we become the courageous “imagine cells” of our field, and adapt our own approaches in service of transforming our profession into something beautiful and relevant? The paradigm shifts of digital design, contextual design and human centered design are moving us beyond the linear, mechanistic and materialistic models that fed the past.

    Check our Full-Agenda

    Our conference is spread over 6 days in a two-week window. We have designed the conference to be inclusive of multple time-zones.

    *Please note that our agenda is still evolving and that5 timings and details may change.

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    2021 Conference Ticket

    Includes full access to the ODF 2021 Virtual Conference, Designing Authentic Connections: Spread across 6 days, our conference is intelligently designed to achieve virtual learning and engagement with world class keynotes, problem solving peer sessions, experiential lab space, and supported networking.


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    2021 Conference Ticket + 12 Months EODF Membership

    Includes full access to ODF 2021 Conference, Designing Authentic Connections, plus nurture your connection with the global org design community with one year of European ODF membership plus other ODF events:
    • Curated Content Newsletter (CNN), your dose of the freshest org design content
    • Global Org Design Trends, a monthly peer conversation focusing on (CNN)
    • Access to Members Only Knowledge Base, extensive library of resources
    • Discount on EODF Org Design Masterclasses and Annual Conference


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