This article is part of a series of reflections on the Global Network Annual Conference. To view the previous article, click here.
The Positive Participative Innovation (PPI) workshop was an important milestone on my journey of discovering the STS Roundtable and the STS community.
I greatly appreciated the way three theories (Appreciative Inquiry, Design Thinking and Open Systems Theory) were merged to demonstrate positive participative innovation. This year the word “innovation” seems following me everywhere: in my professional work (I conducted an evaluation of an innovation project and why the intended change is not happening) and my personal development (so, what is innovation after all? And how do you define it?). I was curious to see how one can make the experience of innovation positive and participative. I loved this workshop. Everything made sense.
I greatly appreciated the diversity of participants in terms of their nationalities, professional background, interests, the way they see the world around us. Diversity is the main ingredient of any innovation: it helps to discover new perspectives on the same issue and uncover hidden dimension of possible solutions just by listening to how others see or perceive the problem.
The language used by the workshop facilitators in line with the Appreciative Inquiry philosophy: “Let’s envision the “wow” future,” “dream-storm innovations” and “model & iterate the innovations.”
I have already borrowed a number of tools that were used in the workshop:
– Building a 3-D model to explain a concept or an idea;
– Using visuals to explain a strategy or a proposal;
– “Less words more visuals” was a great slogan of the day;
– Rotating participants in each group during the initial brainstorming helps to diversify the flow of idea and, at the same time, ensures its continuity as half of the table are people from the previous discussion flow;
– There were several seemingly unrelated objects on each table and as I learned they had their own specific purpose: to help people with various learning preferences to remain present during the workshop (Thanks you Carolyn, for a great tip!);
– “Burning questions list” is not really new to me (thanks to Don!) but seeing it outside the class room was a powerful experience.
I would also like to underline the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and encouragement of the inter-generational sharing of knowledge, insights, and outcomes of their ongoing projects.