Award for Professional Achievement

Award for Professional Achievement
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Internationaler Action Learning Preis für Otmar Donnenberg

Global Forum R.L Dilworth Award for outstanding contributions to the field of Action Learning

wurde Otmar Donnenberg am 10. Juni 2014 im Rahmen der 19. Jahreskonferenz des Global Forum on Executive Development & Business Driven Action Learning in Davos verliehen.

Der Preis wurde verliehen "in recognition of exceptionally valuable contributions to Executive Development and Action Learning Worldwide",

auf Vorschlag von Mitgliedern des Global Forum.

Vorige Preisträger waren Verna J. Willis (USA), Stephen R. Mercer (USA), Victoria Marsick (USA), Fernando Lanzer Pereira de Souza (Brazil), Lennart Rohlin (Sweden), Filippo Martino (Italy), K.A. Chang (Singapore), K.R. Yoon (Korea), Lars Cederholm (Sweden), Nina Nijs (China).

Für das Programm der Jahreskonferenz 2014 in Davos siehe:

Otmar Donnenberg hat im Rahmen des Konferenzprogramms einen Beitrag geleistet zum Thema "Inquiry into basic beliefs underlying current business in cooperating with civil society networks"

Award Recipients on Action Learning 2014

Since 2009, the Global Forum community has honoured individuals who have made a major contribution to executive and management education by bestowing on them the Global Forum/Robert “Lex”  Dilworth Award for Outstanding Achievement in the field of Executive Education and Action Learning.


The Award is in named in honour of the late Robert “Lex” Dilworth (1936-2009). He was a Global Forum community member, a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army, a Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a consultant to many companies and organizations.Lex cared passionately about people and was always helpful to all. He was a leading practitioner and major author in the field of Action Learning. For more on Lex and his life please see the article by Verna J. Willis in Action Learning and Its Applications. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2010.




Award Recipients 2014

Otmar Donnenberg

(on the right)

Otmar is a pioneer. He played and continues to play a major role in publicizing and disseminating Action Learning in Germany and The Netherlands. He was personally acquainted with Action Learning’s founder, Reg Revans, and translated some of his work into German. Otmar was the founder of the Dutch Action Learning Association and the author of many articles on Action Learning as well as the editor of the first book on Action Learning in German (Action Learning, ein Handbuch, 1999). He is both a scholar and a practitioner, in the modern parlance, a deeply compassionate man, always ready to help others. He is a source of inspiration for all who know and have worked with him.


He started as an elementary school teacher. He went on to study law and worked in labour law after his studies. But again he went on, this time to organize management education for the employees of the Austrian Productivity Center in Vienna. Otmar also trained industrial trainers and delivered many projects in the areas of Human Resource Development and Organizational Transformation in the Netherlands.Since 1986 he specialized in Action Learning programs for companies, health care institutions and consulting groups. He teaches at Business Schools on entrepreneurship and acts as coach for professionals on their road to becoming managers, and for managers entering into higher levels of responsibility and for management teams.


Otmar’s says that his goal is to implement successful change by building on existing initiatives and developing potential on the basis of lean thinking and working for the common good.

He is very passionate about the work he is doing with civil society, integrating institutional interests on the one hand and the concerns of citizens taking responsibility for social and ecological issues on the other hand. As co-founder of Transition Town Freiburg (Germany) he has helped build the Gemeinwohlökonomie (economy of the common good), a three  year old movement, already  present in thirty countries.  He is once again pioneering in new and critically important pathways for our common future.


“Action Learing is a way of life. Otmar was able to make that which was “implicit” “explicit” teaching me about the principles of Action Learning. Because of this “explicit” understanding of the principles of action learning he helped me to better understand what I was doing and filled in the gaps. This helped me explaining this to others, to the benefit of myself and these others. In my personal and professional (entrepreneurial) life I still benefit from meeting Otmar and his teachings of action learning. For me Otmar is someone who is able to “bring out the best in people” in the most modest way possible, the silent hero.” 

Eelco Boonstra (Liftconsult B.V.)


“Otmar and I first met in 2002, when he came up to me during an action learning workshop and said: “I have heard about you. Let’s talk!”. You must know that Otmar was the Action Learning ‘hot shot’ in the Netherlands at the time. I was flabbergasted that he approached me - completely out of the blue. During the time I did my PhD, I met him very frequently. He was willing to share all of his files and impressions about Action Learning, both the positive and the negative. I will never forget that he did that. He also shared much of his approach to life with me. I still try to use his insights on his daily basis, and dare to say that my personal and professional life has become much happier as a consequence. Otmar – if anyone deserves this award, it is you!”… And I totally mean that. Otmar is really sorely missed in the Netherlands.” 

Dr. Ivo De Loo (Center for Information, Management Accounting and Control systems, Nyenrode Business University)


“Seeing Otmar in Action Learning, he impressed me specifically in three quite different situations. The first time was at a conference, comparing Action Learning with the Chris Argyris method, looking for differences and similarities, and whether they were contradictory or supplementary, a hot issue at the time. Otmar was standing in front of the group, thinking aloud, sharing his thoughts and actively supporting others to give their arguments. The second time he was leading a knowledge sharing conference on change methods, being attended by change professionals propagating their own approach. Otmar designed the conference and took care of an intensive and rather personal exchange of ideas, recapitulating and very often explicating the many tacit assumptions, hidden in often beautiful performances. It was an intellectual tour de force, all the time remaining on top of things and overseeing the group. Thirdly, Otmar was sitting quietly in an Action Learning group, being the moderator, paying attention simply by being there, at the same time being focused, very aware and duly relaxed, sparsely intervening. Otmar is many things at the same time: relentless in driving the things he thinks worthwhile, and remaining open to other opinions most of the time; knowing himself what are his strongly felt convictions without becoming judgmental towards others opinions: His driving force: curiosity | His way of knowing: methodical | His perspective: never-ending.” 

Ernst Drukker (Amsterdam)


“Otmar’s dedication to Action Learning makes it surprisingly easy for people to commit themselves to innovative steps – so that their hesitation at the beginning becomes motivational and enthusiastic. At the end they are amazed when they see what they have been able to do! And the secret of his success is that Otmar’s life has been and still is Action Learning. 

Prof. Dr. Dr.h.c. Friedrich Glasl (OD-consultant and mediator, Salzburg, Austria)


“The ultimate purpose of Action Learning is to make a difference in this world! That is for Otmar the main driver of his work and publications. For me personally Otmar is a source of inspiration! Based on my experience working with him in the field of Management & Organizational Development in Dutch organizations and in the Dutch Action Learning Association, I can say that he deserves this award for 100 percent!!” 

Dr. Maaike Rol (Senior Program Manager, Executive Education and Organizational Development, Nyenrode Business University)


“Otmar for a period of over 7 years was a highly appreciated tutor and examiner at our Business School. Thanks to him hundreds of Dutch managers for the first time experienced the power of Action Learning during his Change Management workshops. Students praised Otmar for his charm, great Action Learning knowledge and patience when teaching.” 

Marcel van der Ham (Director International and Dean of Business School Netherlands)


“I would like to mention here some of the merits of Otmar Donnenberg: 1. First of all Otmar has by his enthusiastic and empathic behavior, a huge number of professionals and managers personally inspired to an enduring learning attitude in their own personal and professional lives. 2. Otmar has always had an influential and stimulating role in developing new methods and instruments in the field of Action Learning. 3. Otmar is a networker pur sang, connecting people and institutions, so there could grow a holding space for Action Learning as a professional methodology. 4. Otmar is always been very creative in finding new ways to use Action Learning, so organizations and societies could better face the challenges of new times.”

Dr. Frans J.L.M. Verhaaren (Verhaaren Consult, The Netherlands)

Thoughts about receiving the Dillworth Award

Thoughts about receiving the Dillworth Award
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What is new?
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