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How can we embed human connection in services and systems?

Hi, I’m Ellie. I’m setting out on a Learning Marathon to find answers to this question. I’m looking for a dozen co-learners to join me on this 6 month, part-time journey, powered by a trio of organisations.
Applications are OPEN for a November Kick Off.

A trio of organisations

This 6 month Learning Marathon is brought to you by 3 organisations who weave meaningful human connection into their work: Deepr, Enrol Yourself, and Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking.


Deepr is the R&D lab at the forefront of thought and work on meaningful connection in service, culture and systems design.

Deepr will bring research and insights into relational design, supporting the participants to apply this knowledge throughout the journey.

Deepr will offer ongoing practical support throughout, while learning with you along the way.



Enrol Yourself




Enrol Yourself reimagines lifelong learning through the power of peer groups. We host the Learning Marathon: a peer-led learning accelerator for self-directed learners.

Enrol Yourself will provide the learning structure and framework: adapted from our core Learning Marathon programme. We will ensure the peer group maximise their individual and collective potential.

Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking

Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking is a charity, sustainably run estate and cultural hub in the heart of the Cotswolds.

Hawkwood House will provide a beautiful backdrop to your Learning Marathon. We will come together for two residential weekends at Hawkwood, where we can live and embody meaningful human connection while exploring our learning questions.

The Deepr Learning Marathon

How can we embed human connection in services and systems? 


The Deepr Learning Marathon is a 6 month learning accelerator where you'll tackle this question, together with a dozen peers. 

Why ask this question?


We lead increasingly disconnected lives with loneliness and depression on the rise across all demographics.


Most of the services and systems we use everyday are designed in ways that reduce opportunities for meaningful human connection. We use apple pay in the self check-out queue, we check-in at the doctors by tapping a screen. We use less of our human judgement and social skills to communicate, to purchase, to organise. This is part of a drive for greater efficiency that places no value on the power of human connection and the huge benefits even tiny social interactions can have.

This kind of relationship-centred design is in its infancy, so we’ve come together as three organisations already optimising for connection: Deepr, Enrol yourself and Hawkwood. We'll share some of the things we know, test some of the things we think we know, and discover new insights around embedding meaningful human connection. 

The Learning Marathon:

We will curate a cross-sector peer group to bring together vital perspectives. Each group member will apply with a personal learning question that connects to our overarching question, for example:

  • How can I make the case for human connection in digital products when the driving force is efficiency?

  • What role could relational design have in the age of climate emergency?

  • How could meaningful human connection fit into hierarchical work structures?


You'll take part in a 6 month programme of activities, designed to help the group pool ideas, skills, experience and perspectives. The programme creates a rich 'soil' that will fuel your response to your question - and growth of your knowledge and capabilities.


You'll work towards a collaborative output and public event that will showcase individual questions and collective learnings about embedding human connection in services, systems and society.

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You'll get:

  • Space to tackle a learning question that matters to you. You'll tackle your question as a live project, adding something of real value to your portfolio. 

  • A dozen peers who are also working on something that sets them alight. 

  • You can forget subject silos. This is an interdisciplinary learning environment.

  • A host, trained in the Enrol Yourself philosophy and approaches, there to guide, not to lead. Your host will participate alongside you.

  • A carefully crafted 6 month Path that provides structure and accountability to keep you moving, whilst harnessing the collective potential of the group.

  • Support, inspiration and collaboration from Deepr and Matt McStravick throughout your journey.

  • 2 full weekend retreats at the beautiful Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking in Stroud. ​

  • ​Access to the wider combined network of the group, plus access to the wider Enrol Yourself community.


You'll learn:

  • The power and fundamentals of relational design, empathic interaction, authentic relating from the expertise of Deepr.

  • What you want to learn! Your Learning Question is your own unique course title. It frames your goals, challenges or curiosities as a site for active exploration and response.

  • From the expertise and experience of a dozen cross-sector participants bringing their unique perspective, network and skills.

  • The Learning Marathon is designed to nurture your capacity for 21st Century capabilities like collaboration, creativity, complex problem solving, resilience, and continual learning.

  • How to practice, live and embody our over-arching theme of human connection during two residential weekends at Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking. 

  • To harness your collective capacity to develop  ways of working, learning, doing and creating together as you create a final showcase or group project to share with the world.


Your host

Hi, I’m Ellie. I am a facilitator, researcher, ethnographer and coach. My thirst to learn, create and grow is matched by my love of helping others connect and do the same.

Here’s a little bit about me and how I got to be here:


Eight years in insight, ethnography, trends and futures taught me the art and power of conversation and connection. Studying system change opened my eyes to a new perspective on the world. Joining the Deepr family and embarking on my first Learning Marathon with Enrol Yourself (one of the best decisions I’ve ever made) gave me new space in my life to learn, grow my creativity, and perhaps most significantly, find beautiful friendships and forge deep connections.


I’m fascinated by the power of meaningful connection - to ourselves, to others and to the world around us, and how it is fundamental to making the shifts in society we need to. I’m playing with a learning question around these elements, but is not set in stone - so if you don’t have a question yet don’t let that put you off applying.


If you are still reading, and you are still curious, I encourage you to be brave and open, and if you’re still unsure about anything you can reach me at or arrange a time for a call using the button at the top.

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"Ellie is brave, hugely playful and deeply compassionate. She's fascinating and fascinated." 

- Dave Heinemann, facilitator



Applications open 19th August


Open night 
24th Sept


Early bird deadline (10% off) 30th Sept


Final application deadline 14th Oct


Kick Off weekend 22nd - 24th November


Programme finishes 
June 2020


Full programme dates:

  • Kick Off weekend: 22nd - 24th November
    (2 days/2 nights at Hawkwood House)

  • 12 fortnightly Tuesday evening Meetups 6.30-9.30pm at a variety of London locations.

  • 12 peer mentoring and coaching sessions, scheduled at your convenience.

  • 1 full day Power Up day: 1st February, (London)

  • 1 Power Up weekend: 27th - 29th March 2020
    (2 days/2 nights at Hawkwood)

  • Showcase event: w/c 1st June 2020

  • Finish Line weekend: tbc

  • Additional 'Get Shit Done' sessions occasionally scheduled.

Time commitment:

The guideline we give is that you will need to be able to commit 5+ hours per week. Some weeks it will be more, other weeks it may be less. Some of this time will be spent in meetups and workshops, some of it will be self-initiated and spent working on your Learning Question.

The Learning Marathon has been designed to integrate alongside work, and many of our participants have had a full time job. If you're unsure, have a chat with your host.

What does it cost?

We have several options when it comes to fees - to keep the Learning Marathon as accessible as possible.

Fees: Your fees make it possible for your host to make the experience happen. Learning Marathon fees are based on your sector or professional context:

  • Small organisation / freelance / individual:  £1,395

  • NGO / social enterprise / public sector:  £1,695

  • Corporate / central government:  £1,995

Payment plans: Individuals can make their payments over 6 monthly instalments to spread the cost.

Bursaries: We have some bursaries available, and could reduce your fee by between 25% - 75%. Get in touch with your host if you are interested to know more.

Trades: Occasionally we offer a fee reduction in exchange for your skills or time. Chat to your host about what's possible.

Employers: We welcome employers fully or partially covering your fee. We have resources to assist you in making the case. Shout if there's something additional your employer would need to see.


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What does the programme look like?

You can find much more detail about the Learning Marathon and how it works here.

Who is this for?

We aim to be as inclusive as possible and for that reason we welcome diversity on every spectrum. If you can answer yes to the following 4 questions, it's for you:

  1. Are you passionate about discovering how human connection can be embedded in services and systems?

  2. Do you want to challenge traditional learning formats - and yourself - by joining a peer group?

  3. Do you recognise the value of working toward more cooperative social patterns of behaviour?

  4. Are you an adult human, ready to commit to an average of 5 hours per week over 6 months?

What do we look for in participants?

  • Commitment.

  • Genuine interest in learning with and from a group of peers. You'll have great listening skills and be able to work in collaboration. 

  • A proactive spirit. You come with lots of ideas and creative energy to make them a reality.


We also welcome applications from pairs or collaborators working on the same question. 

How do you select the group?

We are not selecting those with the best credentials or interview skills. We will be thinking about the range of skills and attributes that applicants bring, and we will look for complementary expertise and synergy between the Learning Questions. Our commitment is to connecting a group of peers who bring a diversity of viewpoints and who will effectively multiply each other's learning. 

What's the application process like?

The application process is simple. You'll tell us a bit about yourself and make a short proposal via an application form. You will need to propose a Learning Question. If you're shortlisted you will have an interview with your host over the phone.


Should I wait until the deadline to apply?

Ideally no. Your host will review applications as they arrive. Apply by the early bird deadline for 10% off.

What is a Learning Question?

Your Learning Question is like a thesis question - without the enormous essay. For this programme your Question must connect to our overarching question, although we take a broad view of this. If you're not sure whether it fits, contact Ellie.

What if I don't have a Learning Question?

Everyone has a Learning Question in there somewhere! Whilst some applicants come with an existing question or project they want to develop, others do not - and that is totally fine. What matters is finding a Question that can act as a starting point. Questions tend to evolve along the way - this is all part of the learning process, so there is no need to get too hung up on finding the perfect question.

We have several resources to help you:

Where will the Marathon take place?

Apart from the two weekends at the Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking, Learning Marathon meet-ups will take place across London in venues chosen and arranged by participants.

What support will I get from Deepr?

Creative Director Matthew McStravick will support participants both through one to one coaching sessions and, where requested, practical design support both to the group and to individuals.

How will learnings be shared?
The reciprocal and symbiotic nature of this Learning Marathon hopes to capture learnings throughout the 6 months for mutual benefit of everyone involved, and the group will co-create an output that shares our collective learnings with the world.


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