Natural Innovation specialises in convening, incubating and facilitating collaborative innovation labs and networks. We partner with governments, businesses, multilateral institutions and civil-society organisations to develop strategies that foster thriving innovation eco-systems. We also develop our own long-term programs such as the Art of Hosting Applied and Labcraft.
Co-create a bespoke collaborative innovation lab methodology and strategy
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy or methodology when developing a collaborative innovation lab. Each sector, country, and region is different, and the innovation lab field is in constant development.
So how do we devise a strategy that works? With the co-creative participation of stakeholders and partners, we support conveners of new innovation labs by developing a strategy and methodology that fits your context. Taking an agile approach, the strategy will evolve based on rapid cycles of prototyping different innovation programs and events.
Curate and convene partners into a new lab, program, or network
An innovation lab’s success is ultimately based on its team of partners and participants. Innovations emerge and thrive in a web of high-trust relationships.
Our experience convening multiple multi-stakeholder labs and partnerships helps you create those relationships. We help you invite the right partners and participants, set appropriate boundaries, and develop transparent agreements. In many fields we have our own existing strong relationships, and are happy to invite thought leaders, innovators and potential strategic partners as needed.
design and facilitate innovation programs, workshops and retreats
You have the leaders, the stakeholders, and the leading-edge innovators in the room—now what? Our core expertise lies in designing and facilitating meetings, events, and workshops that are engaging, collaborative, creative and deliver results.
We have extensive experience creating and leading events in many formats and settings: retreats in nature, multi-stakeholder dialogues in large institutions, network gatherings of activists and artists, incubation programs for innovators and entrepreneurs, and more.
Build collaborative innovation and facilitation skills
In order for a lab to develop and be adaptable, strong core teams with the right skill sets are crucial. We support you in developing collaborative innovation skills through trainings and action learning meetings.
Our trained innovators and leaders are experienced with many different contexts and countries, and our training programs vary from one day to four months. These programs are deeply experiential and participatory, and make innovative use of online modalities when distance is a factor.
Track and share the story and impact of collaborative innovation programs
Now that your lab has held some events and/or prototyped one or more projects, what results were produced? What did you achieve? These are challenging questions to answer when you work with innovation—especially in a societal context. We help you to reframe and rethink what “impact” means in this context, as well as to design and implement innovative ways of tracking it.
We help to integrate evaluation into your collaborative innovation programs through continuous learning cycles. As well as developing creative ways to share and amplify the new story that’s emerging in your community of innovators. We bring academic rigour to this process, building on our relationships with academic partners such as UC Berkeley and Warwick University.
Want to boost your collaborative innovation skills?
We believe that collaboration and innovation is as much about the HOW as the WHAT. The art is choosing the right methodology for the right purpose and context.Check out our toolkit
Let's explore collaborating
Methods and techniques alone won't make your collaboration successful. Taking risks, inviting diversity of perspectives, learning quickly from 'failure' -to name a few-, all require experience. This is where we can support you.Get in touch
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 longer term 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 some examples of our work in projects.