Archives: Stories

Mercè Rua

No hay nada más hermoso que lo rústico, quiero emplear lo que la naturaleza da y como de ella nace -- Violeta Parra

Mercè‘s Journey

Mercè is a Design researcher and strategist that works with organisations and institutions in helping them get qualitative, “human-centred” users' data as well as develop new solutions (services, experiences, products, etc.) aligned with the users’ needs, desires and behaviours. She facilitates co-creation and innovation workshops using a unique blend of design thinking, improvisation and art of hosting. Ultimately, her drive is helping people develop the skills needed to adapt and create systemic changes together. She is part of HOLON where she is currently working with UNEP to develop a user-centered Eco-innovation resource for SMEs in developing countries. She also collaborates with OuiShare and Ideas for Change and is involved with different change-makers' initiatives such as POC21, OSCEdays and EEP.

Mercè‘s Practices

#googledrive - Working with a group in different locations and time zones can be very difficult. Google Drive tools allow teams to collaborate and work in real time in the same document. #whowhatwhen - Meetings are useful when allow the group to move forward. To do it, helps to define the next actions, the owners of the task and a loose o defined time frame. #reframe - There are many ways to look and understand a situation. When stuck or blocked reframing opens new perspectives and space to leverage. Example: Perceived problem- our goal is unachievable. Reframed problem - we don't have our goal broken into realistic steps.

Mercè‘s Featured Projects

UNEP Eco-innovation Manual

POC Works: POCWorks is an ethnographic exercise conducted during the summer of 2015 during the eco-hacker camp POC21. My goal was to capture with my eyes and my camera everything that makes collaboration thrive, and this blog wants to show what I saw.

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Solveig (Solla) Zophoniasdottir

// You are connected to everything. Love accordingly // --Michael Karnjanaprakorn

Solla‘s Journey

Solveig (Solla) Zophoniasdottir is a process facilitator and is working independently in the broad field of education through facilitation, curriculum development, leadership workshops, process leadership and coaching. In addition to her independent work she is involved in developing the hosting practices for the HUB Copenhagen. Her main focus is the exploration of the relationship between social and environmental sustainability. She believes that it is essential to create the conditions that support community building and enhancing social trust by engaging in conversations that matter and developing fields of collaboration. Solla is educated from the Kaospilots in Aarhus, school of project, process and leadership and she holds a master in strategic leadership towards sustainability. She loves the magic combination of great food and great conversations and will often be found planning her next big get together.

Solla‘s Practices

Solla‘s Featured Projects

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Benoît Guyot

Benoît‘s Journey

The start of my entrepreneurial journey was back in 2005, when I first heard of the concept of “socio-entrepreneurship” – at that time, this entrepreneurial approach had much news coverage as Mohammed Yunus got the Nobel Peace prize for his pioneering work in microfinance. Thus had I this “philosophical” inspiration when I started studying business, and later joined a raw material trading company building “responsible food supply-chains”. From that time, I got the conviction that business was the most effective way to have a systemic impact. Food business was only the start of an exploration. I had to learn everything – taking appropriate academic trainings and gaining practical experience. First move was moving to Sweden, where I could discover cutting-edge solutions and approach for sustainable development. I offered my services as business developer for cleantech companies – and soon realised that technological innovation is nothing for a market that is not constrained to change. Moving back to my home-city of Lille, in a region at the heart of Europe with a “Third Industrial Revolution” strategy, I think I am at the right place to develop my activity as Sustainability consultant – while still open to new business and often traveling to Africa (Algeria and Guinea). There is a pressing need to facilitate change everywhere, and my partners and I keep exploring how to respond societal needs by combining ICT and social technologies – through pragmatic business.

Benoît‘s Practices

Benoît‘s Featured Projects

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Thaela Stolz

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart. - by Helen Keller

Thaela‘s Journey

Thaela was born in August 1986 and was raised in Wiesbaden – a city in central Germany that she is still calling her home. She lived together with her parents and brother. From early one she was very interested in the current business system and was related to economics and business studies. Therefore she decided to study International Business Administration at the University in her home town. During her studies she spent a semester abroad in Puebla, Mexico as well as in Singapore where she did an internship with Siemens. After getting an understanding of economic aspects and interrelations, she felt like missing an important perspective on the business system. She decided to do the masters programe in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability in Karlskrona, Sweden in 2012 in order to get a better and more holistic world view. The learnings from the studies in Sweden opened up many new perspectives to her and it was a life changing experience. Thaela is currently working for an event organizing agency and is involved in several voluntary projects on green city design, participatory processes with citizens of her home town, intercultural exchange and others. Thaela loves nature and being in contact with animals. She spends a lot of time outside with her dog during long walks through the forest. She feels a strong connection with nature and is also very interested in natural healing methods. Thaela is currently undergoing training in non-medical alternative healing methods.

Thaela‘s Practices

As for one of the projects I am involved in, we are a big group of people where most of the team members only come together to work on this specific project, we use #regular meetings to keep us updated, keep us in the loop, keep as tuned to the project, to keep the connection between us as a group and to keep motivation high. For all meetings we use a #check ins when everyone is in the room in order to get the group´s minds together and to connect with each other. I love using #wisdom walks in order to get a free mind, have open conversations and find inspiration while walking through lovely landscapes. In the morning I write #morning pages to free my mind in the morning and to keep thoughts that unconsciously come during the night.

Thaela‘s Featured Projects

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Melinda Varfi

"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.”

Melinda‘s Journey

Melinda brings experiences gained through working for a telecom startup, building a business academy at a consulting firm and coordinating the Pioneers into Practice Program at Climate KIC Hungary. She has co­founded Impact Hub Budapest, a global community­based coworking office. She is actively involved in cutting edge projects exploring change management in organisations, resilience for communities, and entrepreneurship in a new paradigm.

Melinda‘s Practices

#theoryu - a method that helps us make informed decisions and potential solutions with a clear state of mind #loomio - the best way to make participatory decisions when a team is not sharing the same physical space #participatoryprocesses (AoH) - the only way we can make decisions in a way that we represent all the voices in the room #mindfulness - the necessary practice to quiet our mind and bring our whole attention to the conversation

Melinda‘s Featured Projects

Impact HUB Budapest -

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Michaela Hogenboom

Michaela Hogenboom

"be the change you wish to see in the wold" Mahatma Gandhi

Michaela‘s Journey

Michaela's mission is to contribute to a connected and sustainable society. She is Co-Founder and president of Symbiose, a Liechtenstein-based NGO that helps achieving her vision through projects and by offering a platform for local sustainability initiatives. Moreover, she works with Elias, her husband on a self-employed basis as process facilitators for sustainability. Next to that, she is Part-Time project manager at CIPRA International and Full-Time mother of Sola. While still completing her bechalor in Human Resource and Quality Management in Arnhem, the Netherlands, she took a deep dive in sustainability work, juggling exciting jobs simultaneously: youth representative sustainable development and climate change to the UN combined with an internship at Enviu and later with a function as process coordinator sustainable development at the HAN University of Applied science. In 2010 she co-founded an international NGO called "Rio+twenties" that helped youth to get active at the UN Rio+20 Summit. Three years down her career path, she wanted a break and enrolled for the master programme strategic leadership towards sustainability in Karskrona, Sweden, where she met her husband. Thanks to him, her new journey includes much more time in nature, growing her own vegetables and doing outdoor sports.

Michaela‘s Practices

are developed during one or several #wisdom walks. Afterwards the ideas are tested informally during our regular #jour fixes or just, while chatting with people on a party. Only after the idea is fine-tuned a bit already, it I usually get the best ideas when I #go outside and cycle through the landscape, commuting back and forth. Then the idea is brought up during our monthly meeting. We start with a check-in and an update round and dive into several topics. When it is decision time, we use the method of #basic democracy to get all concerns on the table and find the best solution for all. Then we brainstorm with whom to #partner up. Doing projects together is always better. We close the meeting with a #check-out and we are ready to start implementing the idea. Based on a #piloting phase, we gain experience in how to do it even better. Regular #evaluations support this process. When a project is up and running, it is time to decide to keep doing it ourselves or making it an independent initiative. That are some methods that we use to foster a connected and sustainable society with our organisation.

Michaela‘s Featured Projects

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Michaela Hogenboom

Anton Valkov

Anton Valkov

"The quality of the conversation defines the quality of results"

Anton‘s Journey

Anton is an activist, entrepreneur and facilitator who cares about meaningful conversations that lead to sustainable solutions. He has diverse international experience in the youth sector, as business consultant and freelance trainer and host. One of the callers of the Art of Hosting community in Bulgaria, he is part of projects focused on bringing more meaning in the way organisations work. In his home town Plovdiv he is part of the team of Otsreshta - a cafe and space for sustainability and design events. Anton holds BA in Accounting and MSc in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability.

Anton‘s Practices

"We always use #checkin to start our meetings and it helps us connect on the human level and be more efficient and focused. #IterativePlanning gave us opportunity to start working on what we dream about without spending too much resources and time and we learn so much in the process. Using #sharedeconomy in our events not only allowed variety of participants to join but also provoked intriguing conversations about money and how we relate to it."

Anton‘s Featured Projects


Otsreshta cafe - space for design, sustainability and events in Plovdiv

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Adrià Garcia i Mateu

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― R. Buckminster Fuller

Adrià ‘s Journey

With a background in product service system design and strategic leadership for sustainability my motto is to contribute to the process of shaping resilient human interactions in our planetary society. Originally from Barcelona, Catalonia, my first professional shift took place in Milan, Italy, where was able to access to an holistic worldview in design education through a UNEP pilot project. After some work experience this step led me to Sweden and Denmark to explore and work on how system and design thinking combined can help organisations thrive. The latest turn did take place around the topic of transition design, an emerging field of work steering system transformations focusing on everyday life practices. All of the above finds at HOLON, the design collective I am part of, the field of expression to make this whole shit-talk a reality.

Adrià ‘s Practices

Our practices emerge from the continuous search to have fun being true to all of our human dimensions, leaving none obliterated, and aiming to reflect the zeitgest of our times.

Adrià ‘s Featured Projects

UNEP Eco-innovation Manual

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Tina Sieber

To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. --E.E. Cummings

Tina‘s Journey

Growing up in Germany, attending university was a socially acceptable occupation, which gave me ample freedom to explore, while also getting a degree in something I was sufficiently interested in; biology. And so I spent the bulk of the late 1990s and early 2000s practicing cool skills they hadn't taught me at school, like touch typing, writing HTML, building websites, publishing a blog; and occasionally reinstalling Windows. Eventually, I started making money with what I had taught myself on the side. When I finally left university, I had earned a PhD in Biochemistry and had become a freelance technology writer. In the following years, I became an editor, earned a degree in sustainability, and was temporarily re-hired by the university as a project manager and organized a workshop series, which in turn led to a teaching assignment. I have a lot of loose ends left to tie up in my journey. The thing that led me to study biology was a vague passion for the environment, which evolved into a deep interest in sustainability, and the desire to aid in our transition. How I will do that, I don't know yet, but I'll figure it out while I do what I can.

Tina‘s Practices

Every morning, I take up to an hour to #clear my inbox, so I know I'm not missing anything urgent. Tasks are transferred to my #running To Do list to keep an overview of what needs to get done and when. Then I can focus on getting work done. I #manage my energy by working on what I feel most motivated to do or what is most important and urgent. This helps me keep procrastination at bay. Every evening I #clear my desk, update my To Do list, and refill the water I aim to drink each day, so it feels like a fresh start the next morning.

Tina‘s Featured Projects

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Mischa Altmann

I dont need to know what you know. Rather, I need access to your knowledge!

Mischa‘s Journey

I call myself a recovering technocrat. I can by geeky and I did study electronic engineering. Soon, however, I realised that technology often doesn't put the human in the centre. I left the - fantstic! - engineering consultancy Arup (London, UK) and joined a zero-carbon micro-house startup in Oxford, UK. When this failed, I returned to Austria hoping to join the sustainable buildings industry. Instead, I moved to Sweden by train & bike to do an incredible Masters in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability (MSLS), which turned my whole world up-side-down. Following gut instinct I ended up in Sri Lanka and then Bangalore & Chennai but ultimately returned to Vienna, Austria to re-grow my original roots. Today, I follow three main passions: (1) sustainability, (2) community builiding & (3) india. Currently I am going through a challenging personal transformation questioning just about everything I have ever learned (1) in formal education, (2) about relationships, (3) and my body. Come, let's connect 🙂

Mischa‘s Practices

When the conversation get's tough and our energy is going down, I suggest going #outside to get some perspective. When you feel stuck in an inquiry, I like to play #The "Yes And" Game to get our minds racing again and often bring in humour. I need a little bit of structure when planning and my preferred planning tool is the #ABCD from the framework of strategic sustainable development (FSSD). Creativity is spurred by (some) restriction and playing #ping pong Q&A game has helped me wade through some deeper waters.

Mischa‘s Featured Projects

Sustainability@BoardLevel - kick-ass workshops and consulting for you as board member to build a solid business case for sustainability for your organisation based on rigorous science, managing risk, wisdom of nature and solid case studies. - -

Wiener Salon für Wandel - a monthly salon evening based on participatory facilitation methods of The Art of Hosting bringing together change makers and wanters to offer inspiration and strenthen their ideas - -

Graphic Facilitation Vienna - move from text to visuals to communicate more effectively and create strong memory hooks. -

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