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Photo: Agnete Schlichtkrull


Watch: The Power and the Pitfalls of the Self-Leading Organization

14. Feb 2022

In this recording of our Design AM, you can learn more about the challenges and successes when working in entire democratic or self-leading organizations

Quick insight

Training organizations in new ways of working has long been the core business of the Danish Design Center. But in the summer of 2020, we ventured into our most radical design experiment yet: Reinventing the DDC itself. Inspired by thinkers like Frederic Laloux (“Reinventing Organizations”) and Brian Robertson (“Holacracy”), we did away with middle management, teams, KPIs, and traditional hierarchies. Every staff member is now free to lead themselves, working in a dynamic, free-flowing project structure. Three staff members have described the transition in the media outlet Mandag Morgen (in English here).

During this online Design AM, our COO, Sune Knudsen, takes you through the guiding principles that shaped the transition, how we decided to leap into the new reality, and the discoveries and dilemmas that followed. 

To share perspectives on the long-term results of a more democratic organization design, we invited Tobias Bornakke, a partner in the analysis agency, Analyse & Tal. Analyse & Tal has existed as an employee-owned cooperative since 2014 with shared ownership, flat pay rate, and distributed leadership.

Together, Sune and Tobias discuss the strengths and pitfalls of the reality and day-to-day workings of the self-leading organization. 

What you’ll learn:

  • The general principles behind the TEAL/self-leading organization, and what should motivate the transition
  • How to prepare for the transition to self-leadership – and when you should take the leap
  • How to make crucial decisions, shape communities, ensure staff recognition, and maintain well-being in the free organization
  • What the transition means for executive management and staff – before, during, and after

Sune Knudsen


Phone +45 2575 8930
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Bryghuspladsen 8
BLOX, 2. floor
1473 Copenhagen
CVR 3699 4126


Dyrehavevej 116
Design School Kolding
6000 Kolding
CVR 3699 4126

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