Take 20 newly educated climate ambassadors; put them together in a room with a laptop, a data show and a white board, and within minutes you will have a highly engaged discussion going on! This was what happened Friday 3rd June 2011 when we gathered 20 of our national climate ambassadors at MS ActionAid’s facilities in Amman to share achievements and experiences from the first month of their lives as climate ambassadors. Several of the ambassadors had been very active and they were more than eager to tell about their accomplishments. Among the activities they had conducted were environmental lectures at schools, plant-a-tree events and a theatre play about youth leadership and environment. The young Jordanians are so creative!
Several times during the meeting I was thinking that our presence as facilitators was superfluous – the national climate ambassadors were conducting the meeting just great without us! They were sharing experiences and giving each other tips and advices on how to overcome the challenges they are facing as ambassadors for the environment. Moreover, they were very eager in getting engaged with campaign activities – and I am really looking forward to see what they have of brilliant ideas! The best part of the day was experiencing the spirit of the group – they are really supporting each other and doing a great job in their society. So come along and take part in the wave of active environmental citizenship!
”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.