Waterlution’s Executive Director and Co-Founder, Karen Kun, shares her Top 5 Lessons from Water Innovation Labs (WILs).
Combining unknown ingredients can create something unprecedented. Bringing in participants and resource guests* with the “less obvious” water connection takes a lot of time, energy and personal attention yet it is worth it! Innovation comes from people asking interesting questions while being part of a unique shared experience. Then mixing that people/place combination with creativity and coming away with ideas, companies, and projects never before imagined.
At each WIL, something magical happens in the space between chaos and order. The Lab design seeks out the balance between: differing perspectives; the expected and surprises; comfortable routine and new challenges; as well as structure/schedule and play/openness for new ideas and connections to emerge. Opportunities for playfulness and time in nature were key components in the overall design.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRACTICE
Learning to practice and practicing what we learn. By providing opportunities for practice we witnessed their enjoyment, experienced their skills and celebrated their confidence.
Trust in one another and trust in the process.
From our experience we know it’s important to spend several days and nights together to build trust among participants (most of whom are strangers prior to the Labs). There is something exhilarating about being surprised. Prior to the Labs, everyone is pushing for an agenda, wanting to know what is going to happen, when and where. We will provide enough of an agenda for participants to attend; yet we will leave a number of unknowns open to surprise. Quickly, participants will learn to trust us enough to convene despite not having all the answers of what the Lab will entail.
What’s an experience without a challenge?
Often the Labs are very much about challenging participants to step outside of their comfort zone. As hosts and conveners, Waterlution also challenges ourselves to do things we have never done before in the Lab design. We realized that if we were asking others to embrace layers of discomfort for transformational learning, then we needed to embrace the same ideology and spread it in every aspect of the design and process.
Written by Karen Kun
WIL Porto, WIL Brasil & WIL Australia are all coming soon, click HERE for further details!
To see videos from past WILs, click HERE.