“You Can Only Achieve What You Can Imagine”, Says Eva Rudolf From the co-do! lab

Eva Rudolf is a CSCP senior designer and co-do lab team member who believes that true transformation starts with open-minded people. In this interview, she explains how the co-do lab employs “Taste” formats to inspire key actors to start and implement successful transformation processes.

Sometimes to start a transformation process one needs to get “a taste” of how the change could look or feel like. What is the co-do lab approach to this?

Transformation starts with people, imagination and open minds. In the last years we learned that when it comes to the complex and interconnected challenges that we face today, knowledge alone does not help to bring people and organisations to action. Organisations and individuals often feel overwhelmed and alone with the giant task of carrying out transformations on multiple levels and at lightning speed. In most cases the first hurdles organisations face are related to the lack of a clear transformation pathway and getting people on board. Change is often met with reluctance, fear, lack of imagination and awareness about possible gains. The main question therefore is: how do we get people from intention to action.

And how does co-do lab do approach fit in here?

At the co-do lab we complement knowledge provision with experience and emotion by developing individual “Taste” formats to open minds, engage people and get them on a transformation track. “Taste” is indeed a format packed with information, but from a strong hands-on perspective. Potential future solutions are made tangible to target groups – they can see, ‘taste’, and test them. It’s a communication and learning format that uses art, design, creativity, involving pioneers from across fields and topics and including future places to showcase possibilities. With this transformative mindset and the ability to imagine possible futures we enable organisations to innovate and transform toward greater impact.

Are the co-do lab “taste” formats pre-set?

On the contrary: all “Taste” formats are co-developed in collaboration with the organisation in question. We start with visioning and design thinking workshops to learn about an organisation’s most relevant topics, needs, and goals. Since the co-do lab collaborates closely with a large network of pioneers from different fields, we are in the position to match an organisation’s specific needs with the right type of expertise and experience, which can be anything from conventional knowledge sharing to highly experimental approaches.

As an illustration, at Gut Einern in Wuppertal, where the co-do lab is located, we have a space where teams can explore the future of agriculture. By visiting a vertical farm they can experience (including all senses) what a response to the challenges in the agricultural sector can look like. They can indeed “taste” the solution. For another topic, one could imagine a cooking event with leftover food to taste circularity in the food sector. Basically, you can TASTE anything – your product, your value-chain, the Circular Economy, your city, the 2050s. The ultimate goal of the “Taste” format is always a hands-on, interactive, and tangible team experience of future solutions aiming to inspire and excite people about the wide range of opportunities to shape their individual transformation pathways.

As important as the “taste” element is, it is only the starting point of a much longer process. Can you tell us how a transformation journey supported by the co-do lab can look like?

Exactly, the “Taste” element is only the start of a longer company-specific journey. As such, “Taste” works for smaller groups of ‘ambassadors’ from across departments of an organisation that can come together in person. The idea is that they then bring the spirit and learnings back to their organisation.

As a second step, we transfer “Taste” formats into the digital world to reach out to larger groups and be able to scale transformation. To do so, we use a digital gamified e-learning platform that allows interactive learning experiences for any number of employees, be it 100 or 1000 or more. We call this the co-do lab 10% approach. First, we work with a smaller group, the transformation leaders. Together with this group we co-create the learning journey for reaching 10% of employees from across a company, the so-called ambassadors, who are the critical mass to impact the whole organisation and drive transformation forward.

Gamified e-learning and customised digital learning journeys sound intriguing, but how do they really work?

Like the physical “Taste” formats, the digital learning formats are interactive modules where employees are able to experience solutions. This can be various formats such as quizzes, video-based storytelling, video-games, digital escape rooms or a combination of elements from these formats. Edutainment is the keyword here. Using stories, interactive elements and letting people figure out new pathways creates new spaces for different perspectives, new ways thinking, and idea development. And of course, such journeys should be fun too. Exploring future pathways is a collaborative adventure and the digital learning journeys are designed to induce appetite for more.

How can such learnings materialise in the real world?

After employees of an organisation explore future scenarios and possibilities by experiencing “Taste” formats and places, exchanging with pioneers and learning through digital journeys, the next major step is piloting. With all the knowledge, experience and enthusiasm serving as a base, it is on employees to develop pilots and implement their transformation pathway. This is an iterative process supported closely by the co-do lab team. Learnings and experiences from the pilots will then be taken into the scaling phase, which means implementing the transformation pathway for the whole organisation. When or wherever support is needed, the co-do lab team is there to help overcome hurdles and the pioneer network is a resource for exchange and support.

Transformation is a collaborative process and it is necessary to create strong partnerships and supportive networks. It is not a one-way process but rather a constantly-evolving collaborative process of learning, sharing and growing together in order to actively drive sustainable, digital and social transformation with long-lasting results.

For further information, please contact Eva Rudolf.