How to host innovation

Posted on October 6, 2016

"A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a joke or worried to death by a frown on the right person's brow." (Charles Brower)

How can we create an atmosphere where new ideas can grow, where people dare to take risks, experiment and support each other in exploring new ways of thinking and acting?
We at Visionautik Akademie in cooperation with Art Monastery, Plenum and the Sendzimir Foundation are in the midst of a two year research project around those questions and crystallized some of our insights in the Hosting Innovation Certificate Training.
Get a few impressions and insights from the first part of the training which took place in Italy end of September.

Build trust

Trust and appreciation seem to be core prerequisites to encourage new ideas. It is so easy to express new ideas if you are sure to be safe and don't need to fear to be laughed or yawned at. Here a few pictures from trust- and teambuilding exercises.

Embrace ambiguityphoto2

What are uncomfortable thoughts, facts and feelings we tend to exclude, because they don't fit in our picture of the world? Embracing ambiguity and including opposing thoughts with an open heart and creating a space where everything and everyone is welcome encourages courageous ideas.

Dance with what you encounterphoto3

Plans can help to stay focused and implement innovation. But always leave open a space for the unforeseen, and enjoy playing and dancing with the treasures you encounter on the way. In a local challenge during the Hosting Innovation Training, children took up an idea the participants had prototyped in a village. They started to engage with it and transformed it into a common game and the mayor invited us to a spontaneous tour of the tower. It is so rewarding to see what else happens when you allow yourself not to control everything during your innovation process.

Prototype and gain creative confidence

Prototyping and testing are so helpful and important. Not only because it gives you a clue about what is really needed very early in the innovation process, but also because it is encouraging to see what you've created and harvest right away. Here we tested a prototype of an idea right on the day it emerged and it left the participants with the creative confidence: "We can solve a problem and create something beautiful and meaningful in less than a day and it works." If you have had that experience a few times you start to think about new problems in a different way: “I might not know the answer yet, but I am sure we will find a good solution for it."

Be a beginnerphoto5

We explored the special quality of doing things for the first time. As a beginner you sometimes perceive things experienced people don't see anymore. This helps solve problems in a creative way. How can we keep a beginner's mind attitude even if we are experienced?

Start with thankfulness and appreciationphoto6

Solving problems from a point of thankfulness is so much more fun than from a feeling that there is something missing, wrong, not enough. Even if there are difficulties (otherwise you wouldn't need or want to solve problems) there's so much to be thankful about. We experienced thankfulness to be a key starting point for joyful and free innovation.


Why not play? Who says, serious issues need to be solved in a serious way? Playing along the way takes away the pressure of a perfect outcome. It makes the process joyful and worth living. And then good outcomes just happen. Effortless.

Tap into intuitionscreen-shot-2016-10-13-at-17-26-04

Creating good ideas can be done by thinking. A normal brainstorming is a good way to quickly gather ideas. We experimented with more intuitive approaches that invited realms from a more subtle, invisible area which is not so easy to grasp and express, but which we felt was often more complete. We developed the method "perspective carousel" which is an effective and fun way to tap into intuition.

 Find your personal stylephoto9

Innovation can happen in so many different ways. It is important to find out individually what conditions help you or the members of your team, company or organization to be creative. We offered spaces for working alone, e.g. with a reflection booklet and with a medicine walk. We created small group settings for ideation processes. And we spent time together as a whole group for reflection and interpretation, e.g here in the deep-democracy method "shoe shuffle."

Nourish yourselfphoto10

Good food certainly enhances an innovation friendly culture :-) We had the luck to have Lilia cook for us, a real local Italian Mama.


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