“Connecting Transformation Leaders Toward Greater Impact”

In this interview, CSCP Senior Project Manager and co-do lab Team Member, Mariana Nicolau speaks about the power of “collective intelligence” and explains how the co-do lab Pioneer Network provides a space for co-creating transformative solutions. The CSCP launched the co-do lab as a Wuppertal-based do tank that runs as a social business and aims to support organisations to accelerate transformation towards greater sustainability.

What does it take to co-create and scale sustainable transformations?

There are different ways of doing that, but at the co-do lab we are becoming increasingly convinced about the power of one approach: collective intelligence. It is about organising and curating groups of leaders that have been successful in advancing transformation in reality, on the ground, in their own roles, organisations, and contexts. The purpose: to combine their know-how and experience about what works and what doesn’t in order to achieve transformation across sectors, including food, technology, infrastructure, biodiversity or Circular Economy. As lonely wolves, each of these leaders might go far, but collective intelligence can take us further down the journey into places that individual motivation alone may not. Besides, why have transformation leaders act in silos if we can create platforms for them to join forces and co-create transformation pilots and initiatives that can deliver the level of interdisciplinary change and innovation required in sustainability topics? This is why the co-do lab Pioneer Network is a platform where frontrunners across disciplines can draw on each-others depth of knowledge and tap into the power of collective intelligence to achieve the sustainable transformation. 

Tell us more about the co-do lab Pioneer Network – what is it and how does it work?

The Pioneers is a mastermind group in which we bring together transformation pioneers to empower them to scale up their impact towards sustainability. To achieve this purpose, the Pioneers join regular meetings with carefully curated and impactful content on how to advance transformation in different sectors and contexts, besides having the opportunity to advise and provide thought-leadership to co-do lab projects to advance the transformation towards sustainability on the ground.

What profile does one need to have to be a co-do lab pioneer?

Joining the Pioneers is possible by invitation only. We receive nominations of candidates which we review based on a set of criteria. The most important criteria is that the person needs to have a track record of transformation achievements and is ready to both pass on that know-how as well as apply it towards sustainable transformation goals. One can be a pioneer in the Circular Economy field by, say, having helped mainstream breakthrough circular solutions. When this person comes together with a pioneer in the field of digitalisation or biodiversity, synergies happen. This is how robust, innovative, and transformational solutions are co-created.

In transformation processes, people may feel insecure. How can the Pioneers support to address such feelings or reactions?

The pioneers have blazed trails before and shown what is possible. I often think that one of the greatest challenges of sustainability projects is the guesswork about what the most effective way to drive something forward is. With the Pioneers, project advice and peer-to-peer learning are based on actual results, on what has worked (or not) to achieve transformation. This definitely helps dissipate negative feelings in view of transformation needs.

And what about the exchanges among the pioneers – how will that be put into the service of scaling transformation?

Our goal is to enable pioneers to double their impact on sustainable transformation. We are developing what exactly that means together with the pioneers themselves, based on what they perceive as impact for themselves and their organisations in view of societal needs.

Even in the early stages, we put a lot of effort into understanding what the pioneers are accomplishing and curating that knowledge for peer-to-peer learning among the pioneers.

For further questions, please contact Mariana Nicolau.

© Marc Wessendarp