u.lab met Innotek & SPK: learning journeys

Next to co-facilitating the U.Lab on a global level, I’m also hosting a hub in Belgium.

It’s a collaboration between Innotek and SPK. For the live sessions they meet separately (both hosting about 20 people), but in between we organise joint gatherings, like the learning journeys on October 1st. And a day to sculpt prototypes on the 21st of October.

During the 2nd week of co-sensing of the U.Lab  24 people joined the learning journeys : a mix of business, government and consultants.

The intention of the learning journeys was 2 fold:

– to practice sensing & listening

– to meet people and projects in our region, that are integrating seeds of eco-awareness in their work. Consciously or unconsciously. 

We did 4 visits, the first and last visit were projects, lead by one of the participants of our hubs in the U.Lab:

– Kamp C: a permanent multi-sector platform around sustainable construction. The center is called Camp C because it was a British military camp until the Berlin wall fell.

On the site, they have buildings for start ups in sustainable construction, a couple of big entrepreneurs, but also government and research are based there and connect in transition cafes with larger community.
Then we visited a company on site building wooden construction houses making fossil fuels useless.

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– VGT: (unified vegetable growers): 

Beautiful combi of “star trek”-technologies (machines thinking and acting as humans but smarter and yet human centric: “no one who works here has backpains or is deeply tired at end of day”) and back to the basics (he talked about his plants as human beings: ‘the more you touch them, the more stress they have, so we developed gentle and fast techniques to look after them’, ‘yet plants (and people) only produce offsprings/fruits if there is some pressure in the context’ – ‘also they use insects as insecticide, no chemicals’ – ‘and they use milk to wash there hands in, to keep viruses away’ – ‘the energy is partly self produced (and sold to grid) and partly connected to other companies producing rest-warmth ‘

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– Widmar: an anthroposophic community, taking care of people with disabilities, by building a strong family culture (literally families live there) and creating work for everyone that matches their abilities and talents.

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– Bright futures: sitting in a field where a wonderful eco-project is being born.

A piece of land being bought by many people collectively in a cooperative, offering space for activities & start ups that model the world we wish to live in and everything (on site) will work with complementary money “bright futures”.

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Positive feedback participants shared:

– building relationships with the other participants

– in creating a multi-sector platform: the importance of staying neutral and independent. (they used no logos of the founder/funder)

– quote of the entrepreneur we visited: “in my forrest are only few trees”, referring to how little sparring partners are available if you are trying to innovate in a conservative sector like construction

– the deep love with which the 2 entrepreneurs spoke about their ‘product’: wood and the vegetables. true love

– the vegetable grower is still looking for compostable strings that can survive the heat/light of the greenhouses and long for a whole season. until now they all broke, but he keeps trying out different ones

– 3 of the 4 projects started with story about their dad (he did in stone, I’m in wood, my dad did tomatoes, i’m in peppers…)

– 3 of 4 projects shared that they are constantly envisioning what the world WILL look like in 10 years or 20 years

So we learned about the 

=> HOW & WHY : perseverance, patience, love, continuous inquiry, child dreams

=> WHAT: they also heard things that they themselves will concretely try to implement in their garden, house, organisation