Sharing insights of the Regenesis TRP course with transition scientists @ DRIFT

Regenerative design and development. The terms are popping up more and more in the media. But how is it different from innovation-as-usual?

I shared a few of the key learnings from The Regenerative Practitioner course organised by Regenesis with an international team of transition researchers and practitioners that gathered at DRIFT to discuss the future of co-creation for urban transformations.

Most co-creation processes today start from a functional (this is what we have to achieve) and problem solving (this is what we have to fix) focus.

The problem with problem solving is that it is like riding into the future facing the past. It may eliminate what we do not want. But it does not do anything for what we do want” (Mang & Haggard 2016).

This insight, together with the insight that the most powerful engine for transformation is the will – I like to think of the ‘will’ as the 5th element that just like air, water, fire and earth is a force of nature – offers us a new perspective of what we should be working on in co-creation processes to achieve more effective outcomes.

Instead of starting from a problem solving approach, designing the design process to start from potential – the gap between what is and what could be – helps us activate the potential of both people and place and awakens the will to make this happen. Will and potential need to go together because without the will and agency to activate a vision, people will lose hope. And that is not what the world needs today.

Imagine what we could achieve if we would start from the premise of what could be.

What if we could redesign cities so that they are friendly to life: generate oxygen, produce food, buffer water, sequester carbon, support biodiversity, boost mental capacity & creativity and promote health & well being,… just like forests? What if we could develop our potential and step into the true essence of what we need to become so that there is no arbitrary distinction between work and life, there is just wholesome and meaningful life. Things would not only become much more joyful but much more effective and efficient too.

We cannot evolve our systems, just think of a circular economy for instance, without evolving humans as well. So if we could design co-creation as developmental rather than functional processes, we can work to elevate human consciousness and conscientiousness and start creating the world that we would like to live in.

Like to learn more? I can highly recommend this book!

The mission of Studio Transitio is to support businesses and governments in shifting from degenerative to regenerative innovation trajectories. By learning to innovate like nature organisations advance efficiency, effectiveness and meaningfulness of innovation and it is simply much more fun.