Your team away day, online

Better groups through deeper conversations

Yesandera is a new kind of conversational platform. Yesandera invites individuals in groups to glimpse aspects of themselves in each other, and discover the roots of deep human connection and collaboration. It encourages us to pay attention to the ways in which our usual forms of conversational conduct influence each other and experiment with those that produce the most useful — and productive — results.

Human difference as a powerful resource

Often we struggle to work with people whose view of the world is different from ours. Yesandera helps us recognise the practical possibilities that arise in these differences, so that we can harness our separate strengths in the best combination for a shared purpose.

Understand people

Gain a deeper understanding of the people that you work with, how they think and communicate

Improve collaboration

Build shared leadership and break down institutional barriers to collaboration

More economical than an away day

An opportunity for deep team learning without the expense of going away together

Yesandera is an open source learning project built from 20 years of research and development in workplace story exchange.


I definitely learned how to communicate more effectively with my colleagues for the future. It feels like I’m learning how to speak their language, and they’re learning how to speak mine.

Alanna, team manager

Quiet or loud, leader or follower, everyone contributes equally and their voices are all included and there are learnings in all of them. Because it is written, slowed down, in your own time, it is accessible to different personalities.

Robert, senior developer

I got a much better understanding of what each individual is contributing to our team. It was wonderful to see my qualities being identified and validated by the group.

Chelsea, sales & marketing

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The Yesandera experience

Each group has a convener and a purpose.

A discussion takes place with the convener to explore and confirm the purpose and the members of the group .

A programme of exercises is established to meet the group’s agreed purpose. The timetable and the time commitment for each group member is then defined.

Group members are invited to sign up for the programme. Because the value of the experience depends on participation of the whole group, each member is asked to make a written commitment to their participation and to the timetable.

The programme has three stages. In the first stage, group members complete the exercises by themselves in their own time.

In the second stage, group members compare their responses, and report any significant differences.

In the third stage, group members undertake a specific reflection on each exercise and its implications for their work in their current roles.

As a final step, the group then meets with the Yesandera facilitator to share their reflections. In doing so, they draw together all of their learning from the entire programme and consider their conclusions for future action .

StoryMaker, the creators of Yesandera

Theodore Taptiklis

Curiosity has been the lodestar of my life. Curiosity led me to the world of organisations where I became a well-paid strategist. Then I left the business world to undertake a 20-year exploration of how and why we do things together. And all the learning from a global journey that has gathered many extraordinary colleagues, and has affirmed my sense of New Zealand’s place in the world, is now distilled into Yesandera.

Our Mission

Many people feel disconnected from their organisations, and from their colleagues within their organisations. People are stuck in silos. Leaders are isolated from employees. Capabilities and experience go unrecognized. Institutions become brittle and failure-prone. Without connection, we have no sense of history and cannot learn from it. We waste human resources making the same mistakes. We can’t collaborate effectively.

Yesandera: the historical and cultural background
M. M. Bakhtin, Te Ao Māori and Mindfulness

Organisational disconnection is emphasised by ‘managerialism’, preoccupied with theorising and measuring at the expense of the realities of human experience on the ground. We spend our time articulating ever more-brilliant policies, strategies, organisation designs and identities in an environment of competition and debate - the ‘yes, but…’ paradigm. We work to make sense of things together in each present moment.

It’s time for a new era, the ‘yes, and…’ era. With Yesandera, Instead of focusing our attention on what we think is expected of us, we join the world that is happening around us right now. The world of the present, with its contradictions, its uncertainties and its possibilities – the possibilities that generate unexpected connections, creative insights and genuine innovation.

Our History

Yesandera has been developed by the Storymaker Research Institute, a collaboration for learning and experimentation, with colleagues in New Zealand, the UK, the US, Australia, and Scandinavia. Yesandera is an online re-imagining and expansion of the Storymaker Research Institute’s decades of experience of consulting and facilitating group dynamics, social and cultural change, leadership and professional development, and research and evaluation in government, health, education, business, academia and other sectors in countries around the world.

The Storymaker Research Institute has gradually built deep understanding through its work, and this provides the foundation for the design of the Yesandera process, the culmination of many years of face-to-face practice development.

Our work

Building public sector capability and productivity in pioneering projects in New Zealand, the UK, the US and Denmark, e.g.

Developing organisational responsiveness in large international private sector enterprises in the UK and the US, including

  • BP plc , including the corporate centre, the divisions and field operations
  • SAB Miller , including the European HQ and operations in Milwaukee, WI.

Exchanges or working partnerships with relational thinkers and practitioners in universities and research institutions around the world, e.g.

  • John Shotter, University of New Hampshire & London School of Economics
  • Kenneth Gergen, Swarthmore College & Tilburg University
  • Jacob Storch, Attractor at Aarhus, Denmark
  • Christian Bason, Mindlab, Copenhagen
  • Patricia Shaw, the Complexity & Management Centre at the University of Hertfordshire & Schumacher College
  • Ralph Stacey, the Complexity & Management Centre at the University of Hertfordshire
  • David Boje, New Mexico State University
  • Patricia Benner, University of California Berkeley
  • Hubert Dreyfus, University of California Berkeley
  • John Thomas and colleagues at the Thomas J Watson laboratories of IBM at Hawthorne NY.

Peer-reviewed publications in academic and management journals, including a book, Unmanaging: Opening up the organisation to its own unspoken knowledge (Palgrave Macmillan). Read a recent review here.

Our Commitment

We are deeply concerned by the ‘locked-in’ experience of so many people in today’s developed world. Repeated research evidence and social science experience shows that in our clamorous environment, we are all heavily preoccupied with expectations and assumptions about how we should operate in our daily lives. And we are often so busy living up to these expectations that we have almost no attention left for what’s really happening around us in each present moment.

We believe that this isolation even in the midst of each other – something identified by Giambattista Vico three hundred years ago – is the limiting factor to our collective productivity, and to human survival on this planet. Without the capacity for spontaneous concerted action in the face of our great global challenges – action that takes advantage of the distinctive qualities possessed by each of us – we have no future.

The Storymaker partnership is committed to reducing this isolation. Our purpose is to enable people at work to learn to collaborate by opening themselves up to one another as more complete human beings, and by developing the skills and disciplines for the arrangement and conduct of more productive human encounters. We will offer the Yesandera experience to any group on any conditions that can genuinely achieve this purpose.

Our Vision

Yesandera will evolve beyond the current online experience to a wider platform drawing together a wide range of participants in a growing conversation about understanding human difference and working together productively. Someday we hope to host an open, multipurpose learning database of recorded content, including user-submitted conversational extracts. Yesandera will become a gateway for building capability in the work of conversational facilitation, helping to prepare and develop a new generation of leaders and facilitators.