2020 has been gentle on us. Of course, there was a lot that we, like others, missed. What hurt us most was postponing our long-term leadership and incubator program ‘Visionautikum’. We love working in direct contact with people and we were really missing this. We have also suspended or redesigned our salons of courage and a few other events. In return, we had the time to develop some new online formats that would otherwise not have existed, such as the Future Forges. These are short collaborative innovation sprints that allowed us able to give a number of future projects a boost, such as the social business “Foodprint” from an international group of students.
But above all, we have experienced – without having planned it beforehand or suspecting it – that many parts of our work have proven to be extremely crisis-proof and pandemic-compatible. We have been working on international projects for years, with partners across Europe and the USA. Therefore, we were already well-practiced in dealing with video conferencing, creative remote work, using real-time collaboration tools, building trust online and leading virtual teams, dealing with time differences, and a lot more, so that the switch to online activities was very easy for us. Some of our projects could simply continue as planned, such as the EU project “Building Capacity for Transformative Learning”, in which the book “A transformative Edge” was created, a joint effort by over 40 authors from all over the world. Or the project “Blended Adult Learning for the Social-Ecological Transition”, which will still continue this year.
Nonetheless, we too made a huge leap in running online workshops that went way beyond how we have been working in recent years. We have greatly expanded our repertoire on how to conduct online workshops in a creative and varied way, how to enable deep encounters and meaningful conversations, and how to ensure that the participants can contribute even to multi-day conferences full of energy and fun. We were sometimes surprised by how much community, fun and trust can arise without real encounters and how many possibilities there are to hold a conference without constantly sitting in front of the screen. We especially learned a lot from the moderation of two multi-day online conferences – a team workshop for the project “X-Topien” and the kick-off of our EU project “Hosting Empowerment”. We had the luxury of having two very experimental groups in front of us who got involved with a remarkable openness, from systemic constellation over bodywork to an online spa.
Still, we were able to hold a few live events that we particularly enjoyed: a train-the-trainer seminar in Croatia, a team-building workshop for a new project team, a firewalk in Austria, a Salon of Courage, and the Event “Learning Future” with the presentation of the new book. Here you can find some retrospective photos.