Archive for strategy

Introduction to Magic in the Middle – Part Six

By Finn Voldtofte, 2005

Authentic Leadership
Each of the nine practices can be learned, trained and improved, so that I can grow in my ability to contribute to the magic in the middle.

If I am to take on an authentic leadership that engages the magic in the middle of my organisation, it requires competence within the nine practices at three levels: personal experience, process design and process guidance.

Metaphorically seen, magic in the middle can be understood as social technology at the level of the operating system. If I want to use a computer to write a letter or make a budget, I need to know some targeted applications, as Word or Excel. But I also need to know the operating system of the computer, which is the platform for the applications.

In the same way, if I want to achieve robustness and community around idea and intention in an organisation, I have to make use of targeted processes for realising strategy. If it happens on a platform of process that engages magic in the middle, it is possible to create results that to a higher degree draw upon the collective intelligence of the organisation.

I believe that many of the processes we make use of today, in order to lead and transform organisations, could get a radical lift by engaging magic in the middle of the organisation.

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This is the last of six weekly posts taken from an Introduction to Magic in the Middle written by the late Finn Voldtofte in March of 2005 (click the following links to go directly to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, or Part 5.

Finn was one of the original co-founders of the World Café. He worked tirelessly with Juanita Brown to distill and articulate the World Café Design Principles that underlie all World Café practice. Finn was an amazing human being who inspired and touched many, many people on a profound level. His articulation of the “Magic in the Middle” is still one of the most evocative descriptions of what makes World Café “work” and we are honored to publish his words here in this crucial time, when they ring as truly & eloquently as ever


World Cafe is “Stepping In” on a new level – increasing our capacity to engage most effectively with the challenging issues of our times. Here’s an overview of what we’re envisioning and some of the priorities we’ve identified to start. Please join us and contribute what you can to support this important work.

This blog post is one response to an open invitation to our global community – to step up & express what the gift of the World Cafe means to YOU. We welcome your posts, as well as your comments and shares on this post.

World Café at the European Commission

(local time in Brussels)


The European Commission has used the World Café extensively over many years as part of a participatory engagement strategy to impact social issues, community relationships, internal decisions, and develop conversational leadership within the Commission. To help celebrate the World Café’s 20th Anniversary, members of the European Commission will host a special Impact Café on Nov 6.

Organiser: Art of Participatory Leadership Practitioners Community in the EU Institutions
Time: 12.30 – 14.30 (arrival time as of 12.00, actual start 12.30)
Address: Rue Philippe Le Bon 3, room 1.4. (1st floor)

Those who do not own Commission badges please contact Frans for registration: ue.ap1513265031orue.1513265031ce@SJ1513265031IN.sn1513265031arF1513265031

Hosts: Dominika Novak, Frans Nijs, & Ursula Hillbrand