About Natural Innovation

Natural Innovation is specialised in developing and facilitating multi-stakeholder innovation labs and networks. We support governments, businesses, multi-lateral organisations  and civil-society organisations with developing strategies to foster innovation eco-systems related to complex societal challenges and more importantly opportunities. We help you design your social innovation strategy, facilitate innovation processes and evaluate the impact of your innovation programs.

Our Approach

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 labs 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: design thinking, the U-process, art of hosting, story telling, bio-mimicry, systems thinking, action research, improvisation theatre, deep democracy, and rapid prototyping.

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 labs in the finance, education,  and food sectors.  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

For the past 10 years Simone has been working on learning networks and leadership development with international organisations and multiple stakeholders across the world. Simone is a designer of learning platforms – online and offline, a holistic entrepreneur and co-creator of multi-stakeholder innovation labs.

Besides Natural Innovation, she co-founded the Hub Brussels – a co-working, learning and incubation space for social entrepreneurs and Tasting the Future – a community of practitioners working towards a sustainable food system in the UK. She also frequently works with the European Institutions on participatory leadership trainings and stakeholder engagement.  For the past 6 years Simone has been an active member of the global Art of Hosting network for which she is currently developing an online story-mapping platform. Simone has also been a board member of the FoAM Lab Brussels – a collective of interdisciplinary practitioners experimenting with and researching resilient cultures and of The Hub World – formerly the head office of the global Hub network (www.the-hub.net).

Before becoming an entrepreneur Simone worked with the European Academy of Business in Society – the European business  academic network on corporate responsibility. Already during her studies Simone worked for AIESEC – the world’s largest student organisation – developing and facilitating workshops, CSR summer schools, sustainability campaigns and a global learning network on sustainability.

Simone has worked in Italy, India, Belgium, Germany, the UK, Ireland, Poland, Egypt and Zimbabwe. She currently lives in Egypt and holds an MA in International Communication, specialised in Multi-stakeholder Engagement from the International University of Perugia in Italy.

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Hendrik Tiesinga

Hendrik is an experienced designer and facilitator of multi-stakeholder learning and innovation processes with over 8 years of experience in the field of sustainability in business, social innovation and new ways of collaborative working. He was one of the co-initiators of the Finance Innovation Lab, a multi-stakeholder collaborative innovation project in London. His 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.

He has worked with WWF-UK, Siemens, The European Commission, The Hub London & Brussels, TransForum, Create2Connect, the Asia Europe Foundation, FoAM Lab, The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, and the Innovation Exchange of the UK Cabinet office. He has facilitated workshops in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Greece, Egypt and Brazil.

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

Hendrik is a member of FoAM Lab and he holds an MA in Philosophy from the University of Amsterdam and an MA in Organisation Studies from the Warwick Business School. He is currently pursuing a Phd on the topic of systems transitions and social innovation labs at the Warwick Business School.

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