”Think big, start small, scale fast” was Tobias’ Lau’s mantra on innovation that he shared with us, when we went to visit him at Social Action the day before starting our own process of innovation here at Krogerup Højskole.
Innovation is the process of thinking outside the box and creating something anew. Something that to some might seem like an insurmountable task, while to others is the rare permission to let thoughts wander and pursue the ideas that are usually pushed aside in everyday life.
Belonging to the first of these two groupings of people, the thought of a two days innovation camp seemed rather intangible, and I felt in much doubt whether it was possible make any positive contribution in a room with many seemingly so creative and innovative spirits. I was interested in the process of innovation, but felt safer starting out with the theoretical underpinnings, rather than with the practical learning-by-doing approach. As we got started, I soon realised that I intuitively shot down any budding idea by lacking faith in the potential of actual realisation.
Well, much was to change, and looking back at the process now, I realise that no book, however thick and thorough, would have given me the understanding and actual belief in the process of innovation that I got during the course of those two days.
“Never say no to an idea”, “never criticise” and to “encourage wild ideas” are some of the central pieces of advice, when wanting to innovate. As, are phrases such as “no boundaries” and “constructive chaos” and the choice to have no leader and no experts, and instead encouraging a multidisciplinary spirit of teamwork. I quickly became clear to me that for all my realism, there were others to make up for it with limitless faith in the potential of grand ideas. I tried to shot off my usual pragmatism and to begin grasping the ephemeral that float through one’s mind in pondering moments.
Although you by no means transform yourself into an innovative spirit during the course of two days, it was without doubt a journey that was begun, and which I will do my best to continue, having left Krogerup. It does not need to be big, it by no means need to be realised, but to think the thought, to nourish it and let it develop, is definitely something that can be practised back in the everyday routine. I will do my best to let the journey and the learning continue, and who knows, where it might one day take you.
I’ve followed the news of the revolutions spreading throughout the Middle East on a daily basis since the brave young Tunisian set himself on fire in January. Last night during a panel discussion at Krogerup Højskole in Denmark, I felt in a new and different manner with the people at Tahrir-Square in Cairo and all over the region. Through a Climate Ambassador Program youth from Jordan and Egypt have travelled to Denmark to pair up with a danish team and innovate new forms of activism and campaigns. They have all in different ways been involved in the uprise and demonstrations. Through individual stories and sharp analysis the young passionate Ambassadors, told the audience about years of oppression, corruption and humiliation culminated in the intense but amazingly organised demonstrations.
A central part of the revolution in Egypt and uprise in Jordan that shined through the youth attending the debate and transmitted to my heart was the sense of solidarity. Both between the demonstrators insisting on non-violent activism and a solidarity between the youth in the MENA region, exchanging information and tips across borders on how to rise and challenge the unstable regimes. The new sense of empowerment seemed to have inspired, a will to go through enormous structural changes and the discussion went high with ideas of how Egypt and Jordan should and are changing.
Though heartbreaking stories of police brutality and a fear of a system in many ways still intact, the panel discussion showed me the greatest determination and optimism for the future. It was like the spirit of Tahrir-Square for a moment entered the rooms of Krogerup Højskole and touched the hearts of the large audience of all ages remembering the casualties through minutes of silence and honouring them through a lively discussion lightning up the school.
DEMENA Climate Ambassador