How you will learn at Holis

Lewis Greener

September 29, 2021

As a learning designer, there are three things people constantly want but are generally bad for them - more content (leading to overload and none of it going in), more contact time (leading to meeting burnout) and all the tools in the world, leading to an impressive library of things you’ve used once and don’t understand.

I’ve been working in remote and distributed teams for 10 years now, and the same frustrations continue, but it comes down to the same reasons “IRL” teams fail - lack of clear process and communication, lack of flexibility, lack of ownership, lack of genuine feedback. This became obvious over the various lockdowns people all over the world had, with one positive being the most reluctant technophobes are now willing to give hybrid working a try.

We believe that through Holis you will learn how to use certain tools - to be honest you could do this yourself right now. The difference is you will learn about them and their limitations, while also working collaboratively, sharing insights across your team and the whole cohort. 

So that’s what you will do, regardless of if this was an in-person residential iteration of Holis, or the hybrid version we are developing for 2021. 

How we propose you do it, is trickier, but nothing good is ever easy. 

Designing is often about becoming comfortable with the unknown, and about making your processes up as you go - not being flippant or ill-prepared, but being able to move with the unexpected and respond to what is emerging. 

And that is how we hope to run this experimental Holis:

Less is more - more self-directed time, more time for vulnerability in learning and reflection. Application when it suits you - sprints are needed but not every week.

We will have dedicated team sprints - where you & the other members of your team are facilitated through a synchronous workshop - helping to build your team's foundation, check-in with each other and make progress at crucial times. 

However, you will also have the opportunity to create your rituals and working rhythms. With your facilitator, your team will agree on the format, length and frequency of your weekly check-ins. Are you a group that wants to see everyone’s faces at the same point each week to spend time together or do you want daily voice note check-ins and asynchronous updates across shared platforms? There is power and value in both and within the spectrum between them. 

A large part of Holis is the community that develops around the school - not just the teamwork, but the shared experiences across teams and network that grows from this. A human factor that is incredibly important to build trust before actually starting working with others. We will continue to develop this during Holis Hybrid - again with a few whole cohort workshops via video conferencing and shared virtual workspaces, but also with the development of guilds - cross-team spaces for discussion around specific disciplines and interests, related or not to the brief. Justyna will also be hosting a weekly morning session, focussing on mindfulness & inspiration - a chance to connect with the other participants without needing to talk about the Holis brief or process! The power of community is something that grew inside each of us even stronger after such a hectic time last two years. This is something that we can’t save on since sooner or later it will haunt us.

At Holis 2021 - we offer you a space, a prompt and provocation, but you are fully involved in your learning and will continue to explore these processes through the learning spiral - no one experience of Holis will be the same and we are relying on you to challenge and develop this process as much as ourselves! We are bold to say, that Holis is changing people's lives, would you dare to give it a try?

Application deadline is 30 September 2021. Apply here:


The project is co-financed by the Governments of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through Visegrad Grants from International Visegrad Fund. The mission of the fund is to advance ideas for sustainable regional cooperation in Central Europe.