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About Natural Innovation

Natural Innovation is an interdisciplinary platform for learning and collaboration around the pressing issues of our time and the new human capacities needed to tackle them. Our work focusses on process design & facilitation, initiating collaborative projects that support social innovation and capacity development.

Inspired by nature we are convinced that real innovation only occurs in the creative tension that emerges in the interplay between the different elements of a social ecology. We believe in the creative potential of diverse groups of people coming together to co-create new and wise solutions. Solutions coming from a deeper understanding of the wider context, the world, and our role in it.

We support organisations to build their capacity to innovate and learn on a systemic level. We design safe and creative containers or labs where the collective intelligence and creativity that exists in a system can be harnessed to tackle a particular question or challenge. To do that we incubate and host learning and innovation spaces where a social ecology can come together, experience and learn about itself, innovate and empower the participants to co-create and implement the life-affirming solutions that they themselves believe in.

These cross-sector or interdisciplinary labs can be short lived (several days up to several months) and focussed on a clearly defined challenge such as a strategic review, a conference, workshop or a design challenge. Or they can be (semi) permanent and focussed on a broader theme such as a sustainable financial system or urban social innovation.

In each case we will make use of a combination of participatory research, design and innovation approaches to convene, design and facilitate these spaces, such as: the U-process, art of hosting, story telling, bio-mimicry, systems thinking, action research, improvisation theatre, deep democracy, rapid prototyping and embodied learning.

We have used these approaches to incubate and facilitate urban social innovation spaces, communities of practice, leadership retreats, pan-European art collaborations, collaborative working spaces, and multi-stakeholder initiatives in the financial, education and food sector.  We have worked with many different organisations ranging from large international corporations and social enterprises to NGOs, governments and intergovernmental bodies. See examples of our work by browsing the categories on the right sidebar.

The Founders

Simone Poutnik

simone

I am a social entrepreneur, action researcher, designer and facilitator of collaborative innovation processes. I initiated and co-founded the Hub Brussels before co-founding Natural Innovation.

Since 2006 I have also been a practitioner of the Art of Hosting meaningful conversations, applying   the patterns and practices in my daily life and work.

I have worked with Community Intelligence, the European Commission and the European Social Fund on incubating Communities of Practice, with the European Academy of Business in Society and the European Investment Bank on mainstreaming Corporate Social Responsibility, with Siemens, Foam, the Kitchen, Time’s up and several art organisations on participatory design. And I co-hosted several trainings on the Art of Hosting /Participatory Leadership in Belgium, Germany and the UK.

In 2002 I participated in the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg as a delegate of AIESEC, the worlds largest student organisation through which I went to work in India for 3 months in 2003.

I hold an MA in International Communication, specialised in Multi-stakeholder Engagement from the International University of Perugia.

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Hendrik Tiesinga

hendrik

I am an experienced designer and facilitator of multi-stakeholder learning and
innovation processes with over 6 years of experience in the field of sustainability in
business, social innovation and new ways of collaborative working. I was one of the
co-initiators of the Finance Innovation Lab, a multi-stakeholder collaborative
innovation project in London. My other projects range from multi-stakeholder
dialogues on nano-technology, participatory space design, trainings on sustainable
innovation and creative labs with artists and the cultural sector.
I have worked with WWF, Siemens, The European Commission, The Hub London &Brussels, the Asia Europe Foundation, FoAM, The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, and the Innovation Exchange of the UK Cabinet office. I have facilitated workshops in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Greece and Brazil.

Prior to working as an independent consultant I managed the European Corporate Governance Service, a pan-European research consultancy specialised in corporate social responsibility based in London.

I hold an MA in Philosophy from the University of Amsterdam and an MA in Organisation Studies from the Warwick Business School.

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