Designing Transformative Experiences #JustFuckingDoIt

Back in May (towards the loosening of the lockdown in Austria) I undertook 3 intense weeks of education or even more experience in transforming our economic system from a result driven ego-system into an outcome driven eco-system: Become, an international online program by the kaospilots. I started into a journey to detect my own purpose, my needs, supportive relationships and designing tools in order to get there. Together with more than 30 international fellow students. In this blog I share some of the hard facts as well as the transformative part of this journey that I am so grateful for!

The Transformation Economy

Alberto Barreiro, a "Strategic Designer focused on making irresistible the transition towards a more sustainable, conscious, and responsible way of understanding businesses and creating value, so we can leave our world slightly more beautiful, meaningful and kind than we found it.", as he puts it in his LinkedIn Bio opened the 3 weeks by an eye and heart opening speech on how to switch from a transactional economy into a system of shared interest. What does that mean? A fundamental change for Business designers and marketers: we will no longer talk about consumer experience and the benefit for the individuum, BUT about the collective impact - which means the long term value of a business strategy for this planet.

The Transformation Economy is a stage of economic development in which the core asset of an organisation relies in its capacity of establishing a meaningful, trustful, respectful, impactful and lasting relationship with people, with society and with the planet. (c) Alberto Barreiro

Start with yourself!

Identify your purpose

The purpose of a Transformation Economy is to create Shared Value. But what is your personal purpose for transforming this planet?

Within a retreat of 3 hours, initiated by a breathing session with Wim Hof I was answering questions like "What do I get out of my job?", "Why is this important for me?", "What kind of world does that create for me and for others?" - digging deeper and deeper, which made me connect with my inner self and my heart. With the following outcome:

The world that I want to create around me, provides a safe space for exploring new ways to (co)create our relationships and self-expression as a global community.
Safe Space

Better understand your needs in order to be prepared for any resistance

Finding your purpose is a relatively "easy one", but what stands beside and sometimes opposite is your needs. There it comes to the projects that your are most passionate about currently: what makes fun, what do you get out of them and what do you want others to get out of them. And then, after reflecting for a while you generate scenarios where your NEED has gotten you in trouble and scenarios where your NEED has been helpful for you.

Healing relationships in order to relief this planet. Connecting potentials. Reinventing our "together".

My biggest AHA! moment was the hint of my friend Matthias, an innovative winemaker and meditation instructor, who reminded me not to over expand the learning zone of people. A step of 15-20% into one´s personal growth zone is more than enough in order to feel safe in making new experiences. This better explains those scenarios where my need for further developing potentials got me into trouble or at least created uncomfortable situations for me and my clients.

Find your ideal partner(s) in crime ;-)

Having detected what drives you and your deeper needs, you are ready to think about people who fit best to bring your project into life. Looking back at successful projects and fellows let´s you create a list of attributes which you can apply on future collaborators, in order to get along faster in bringing your purpose into this world.

Steering Team anpacken by JHammerschmid.jpg

Activating the purpose

And then it´s time to apply your purpose onto your project(s):

  1. What´s the project´s name?
  2. What does it do?
    Define in a few words what your project does. Write down an objective and functional description of your project.
  3. Who is the project for?
    Who is this project going to ultimately impact? Who are you really working for?
  4. What do these people need or want? Find here a list of core meanings as a guide of what people need and value.
    Identify the deep, essential underlying needs of the people you work for.
    The best way to answer this question is by really going deeper by asking ourselves a few times why they need what they need.
  5. How do they change as a result?
    Let’s imagine that we are doing everything right, our experience really worked and our project it’s able to impact others as expected. How do you envision the people that you are working for, changed as a result of your great work?

(c) Checklist by the kaospilots

Desireable Outcome.PNG

Defining the desirable outcome for "Inspire Your Life" (c) Sabine Hoffmann

Now you are prepared to draft a purpose statement for your project:

We are “Inspire your Life”, and our purpose

  • is to connect people with their full potential
  • so that those who want to create a transformation economy,
  • feel encouraged to impact this planet with their uniqueness.

In a rapid design process you define the desirable outcome of your project, ideate 4 radical ideas, gather feedback, design your experience along the kaospilot 5E model and refine it after feedback. So that after 1,5 hours you have your first experience design.

Experience Design.PNG

"With or without you": Experience design for an intervention to make people feel the difference they make. (c) Sabine Hoffmann

Resistance or: How do you hide from the important work?

"I have to..", "I do not have a choice...", "What if I fail..." ... we all know these excuses and patterns that keep us from doing what is important. Being distracted by things that don´t matter, ending up in being to tired to go for the big things. Resistance is fear. Suffered by individuals as well as organisations. Resistance keeps us from reaching our potential, supports us in staying average. This phenomenon is captured by Steven Pressfield in a little manifesto, called The Art of War.

Suspending judgement does not only mean blowing off the "You Suck-Voice" in our heads. It also means liberating ourselves from conventional expectations, from what we think our work ought to be or should look like. Stay stupid, follow your unconventional crazy heart. Steve Pressfield
Map of Resistance.jpg

Map of Resistance, cocreated during the Become program, May 2020.

How to create Buy-In

After having overcome our own resistance it´s time to do a proper stakeholder mapping, in order to identify allies and gatekeepers. Clustered by the power they can bring to your project. In order not to end up playing around with the "puppies" who will not have the power to accelerate your project. Now all the prework on your purpose pays off, as you match values and core meanings, unfold motivators, including sunk costs or fears. Detecting why your allies or gatekeepers would support your project. As a list of criteria in order to prioritize your plenty ideas how to bring your project along.

Prototype Thinking: learning to think through action.

As a next level of prototyping you would then go and experience your prototypes yourself, by applying them: 3 most diverse prototypes in a proper defined experimental setting. In order to experience yourself what works and what does not work about your ideas. Different from conventional testings where you "only" watch others testing your prototype. #JFDI #JustFuckingDoIt

Advance on Growing Impact

Once you got that far, this is the beginning of your learning journey. For me it was helpful to visualize my supportive relationships that will help me to move towards my purpose of connecting people with their full potential. There is a useful tool to get through this journey: WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan), Rethinking Positive Thinking. Gabriele Öttingen proved in 20 years scientific work that if we are too euphoric about a project, a progress or a plan we will end up with worse results than if approaching it more realistic. "Mental contrasting" helps to overcome this. After imagining your best outcome you would think about what stops you from accomplishing your goals. For evolving upfront how to solve the upcoming obstacles, in order to be prepared when they arise.

Last but not least we committed to our next step, as a tweet: I commit to... because I want the world to become...

I commit to supporting our children in expressing their uniqueness, because I want the world to become peaceful. Sabine Hoffmann, May 21, 2020

Being encouraged by the great Scott Gloud, who reminded us that transformation is about what we feel. Words are only containers for affection, we remember feelings, emotions link us as humans and as global community. For me these were the perfect closing words as an answer to the current situation of uncertainty, with more questions than answers.

Now we have the chance to create transformative energy across cultures, continents and borders, from human to human, from heart to heart. As we are simultaneously in the phase of reinventing ourselves, facing COVID-19. Stopping what was no longer nourishing, as we had over separated our work and processes. Starting to express what we are here for. Coming up with one integrated, meaningful life - no longer being torn into "work" (I suppose without meaning for many) and "life" that was supposed to be fullfilling in the rest of the day.

As a first step we will connect to our transformative projects next week while meditating and rowing (sorry for the German) and kick the future off! #onelife