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Guess Who's in Plaza Magazine?!

Guess Who's in Plaza Magazine?!

Recently, we were interviewed by Plaza Woman on the topic of creative workspaces. The topic was indeed right on target, seeing as how we consider ourselves extremely lucky having our office behind a small glass door in the middle of the second floor exhibition space at Fotografiska, the Museum of Photography, here in Stockholm.

We took the opportunity to talk about what inspires us, why we adore Marina Abramovic', what we do to stay focused and what our plans are for the future.

Make sure to get a copy - in stores now! 

Much Love,

A + J

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November Reflections

November Reflections

With christmas just around the corner, we thought it might be time for some reflection. Time tends to pass by quickly when you are trying to ‘live out loud’, to paraphrase Émile Zola. Our 'loudness' has involved speaking about elastic minds in New York City and curating Zen-inspired exhibitions in Ahmedabad, India. We have written a museum manual, trained the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Design Thinking and produced a new television show. But let's start at the beginning. We stood before the premiere of our first Thought Salon at Fotografiska - the Museum of Photography, a collaboration that would be much larger and more extensive than we would have ever guessed.

The concept of the Thought Salon, which was designed to make Fotografiska into a more social place by creating conversations between strangers using the art of photography, was a success, which we then repeated in connection with other exhibitions including Guy Bourdin, Erik Johansson and Martin Schoeller.

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The summer began with a graduation from The Stockholm School of Economics and ended with two separate trips to India. One of us went to Pune to explore social innovation and design thinking as tools for finding new ways of preserving cultural heritage in urban areas. The other went with Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship to Ahmedabad and National Institute of Design to explore whether India 'invented' postmodernism and what happens when you combine Zen Buddhism with Socrates.

In connection with Tankeapoteket’s first birthday, we were invited to Vinnova, the Swedish Innovation Agency, to explore the future of innovation. We explored global and economic trends, and the types of inventions that might shape our everyday lives. We prototyped the future, used storytelling to design scenarios and discussed possible consequences.

Later during the fall, we arranged a day for the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with Openlab. By gathering ninety ambassadors from all over the world in Stockholm, we were able to create global activations promoting the brand of Sweden using tools from Design Thinking.

In collaboration with our good friend, SSES, we were given the opportunity to lead a Good Morning Session with Stephan Sigrist från W.I.R.E and Hlín Helga Guðlaugsdóttir, under the theme of White Noise and why an information-based economy needs more common sense.

2016 began with the largest and most comprehensive case in the Tankeapoteket history. Fotografiska - The Museum of Photography, were about to expand on a global scale and needed our help to consolidate, analyze and record what constitutes their organizational culture - from the most concrete (how coffee is brewed and exhibitions created) to the most abstract (the values that guide behavior and why they do what they do).

We switched gears, became cultural anthropologists and began a year of interviews, observations, writing, thinking and more writing.

Spring came and brought with it a much needed break from manual writing, and a long-awaited trip to Tankeapoteket’s Mecca, a.k.a New York City. We had been asked to open the annual Verge NYC conference at Parsons School of Design. In our lecture, "Cultivating Elastic Minds for the Future," we talked about elastic skills, social design, transdisciplinarity, reciprocity and Negative Capability.

After the conference, we went to Washington D.C. to meet one of our favorite authors of all time, Daniel Pink, for an incredibly exciting conversation about curiosity, intuition and chance.

Back in Stockholm it was time for another workshop, this time in collaboration with our supercool friends at Another Tomorrow, to investigate ways of making Global Child Forum's events more socially efficient. We trained the participants in social validation and they learned how to create their own app in twenty minutes.

The summer came and went and well back at the office, we were honored to firstly be named Women of the Week and then asked to speak at The Medea Prize for Performing Arts. We took this opportunity to explore the nature of secular-sacred places and how that is connected to Rumi's public secret, why subways are so depressing and how museums can become engines for empathy. We played distraction-free Bach in order to make visualize the dangers of blunted senses. We talked about Thin Places, those spaces where heaven and earth seem to collide, and explored ways to recreate them in a secular society.

As true Creative Generalists, we have also ventured into unexplored areas of expertise. In our new television show, Rethink, we step outside the filter bubble to explore new perspectives on timeless themes. Is romantic love relevant in today's society? What are the economic consequences of unrequited love? Are we losing something when reality becomes virtual? And what does power look like in the age of the internet?

So, here we are. At the end of the most exciting one yet. Hope you’ll join us into the next.

Much love,

Anja and Johanna

Ps. Check out our new website! ;)

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Tankeapoteket in New York: Talking about Elastic Minds at Parsons

TALKING ABOUT ELASTIC MINDS AT PARSONS

We are excited to announce that we are going back to New York next week! This time we are honored to be among the amazing speakers giving our take on Elasticity at the annual VergeNYC conference at Parsons School of Design!

We will run a workshop on Cultivating Elastic Minds for the Future and help curate the evening conversations with questions exploring everything from neuroplasticity and Alan Watts to creative boundaries, speculative design and the ever-changing nature of personal narratives.

Verge revolves around transdisciplinary conversations that gather interesting experts and opinion-leaders from diverse industries to shed light on Elasticity form different perspectives.

Click here to read about our adventures during last year's Verge conference on the theme Action in the Face of Uncertainty and see below for the video from last year.

About the workshop: Cultivating Elastic Minds for the Future
During this session we will talk about how we as Social Designers at the Swedish start-up, Tankeapoteket, are paving the way for a conversational renaissance. We will tell you about how we are using the art of dialogue to increase empathy, creativity and trust in everything from banks and universities to app companies, governments and museums. We will introduce you to the DNA of Dialogue and how that is connected to cultivating elastic minds, wicked problem-solving and resilient organizations for the future. Dedicated to stretching minds and broadening horizons, we are excited to give you time and space to meet in new ideas and unusual conversations.

About Verge
VergeNYC is a three-day design event organized by students at Parsons School of Design, along with design and community partners. We bring together leading thinkers, field experts and change makers to galvanize a movement towards Transdisciplinary Design. In our upcoming conference from February 24–26, 2016, we will be exploring the theme of Elasticity. What does an elastic future look like, and how might we design for it?

Our workshop is on Feb 25th at The New School University Center (63 5th Avenue). Please stop by if you're in the city! For more information about Verge and to secure a spot at the conference visit the Verge website

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Tankesalong på Fotografiska den 3 februari!

DAGS FÖR NY TANKESALONG PÅ FOTOGRAFISKA!


Nu är det äntligen dags för ny Tankesalong på Fotografiska! Denna gång tar vi oss an Guy Bourdins utställning Avant-Garde och Martin Schoellers utställning Up Close. Nu på onsdag den 3 februari klockan 19:00 bjuder vi in till en kväll som inspirerar till tankeväckande konversationer. Följ med oss på en kväll där idéer får liv och samtalen skapar nya insikter. 

Från klockan 19:00 möter vi er i foajén. Där får ni vidare instruktioner på hur ni kan ta er an utställningarna med nya ögon. 20.00 samlas vi i baren.

Varmt välkomna önskar Tankeapoteket och Fotografiska!
 

"A satisfying conversation is one in which you say what you have never said before" 
Theodore Zeldin

RSVP

Läs mer om Tankesalongen här

Read more in english here

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Workshop with The Ministry for Foreign Affairs!

Workshop with The Ministry for Foreign Affairs!

Today we held a workshop for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in collaboration with Openlab. 90 ambassadors from all over the world gathered to solve the world's problems through creativity and design!

The focus of the day was to explore how the practice of Design Thinking can be used to come up with innovative ways of promoting a strong, broad and accurate image of Sweden abroad.

In order to make the process as tangible as possible we decided to focus on one specific target group: Connectors. Using the first step of Design Thinking, “Empathy”, we immersed ourselves in the lives of this specific group, trying to understand their needs and behaviors in order to design experiences that provide them with maximum value. After having extracted insights and selected specific needs to focus on, the participants got to create prototypes and scenarios while “thinking with their hands”.

Adding our own flavor to Design Thinking, we included plenty of time for immersive sensemaking, giving participants time and space to meet in meaningful conversations. By encouraging transnational dialogues we wanted to leverage as much as possible from the group’s internal tacit know-how.

The workshop was a great success and we hope to continue turning wicked problems into tangible solutions in the near future!


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Exploring human needs at Fotografiska

What drives our need to capture moments in photographs?

Today we were invited to host a workshop for the teachers at Fotografiska's Academy. Together we explored mega trends and created future scenarios where participants were encouraged to "think with their hands" and turn ideas into reality.   

Talking about the future of interaction, we explored big questions such as: What drives our need to capture moments in photographs? What is the future of learning? And how can we design experiences that involve all the senses?

The future of photography: Going back to the analogue?

The future of photography: Going back to the analogue?

What are the psychological mechanisms driving our desire to communicate through art?

What are the psychological mechanisms driving our desire to communicate through art?

Creating prototypes and telling stories to build empathy and understanding of the customer.

Creating prototypes and telling stories to build empathy and understanding of the customer.

Participants prototyping a scenario and "thinking with their hands".

Participants prototyping a scenario and "thinking with their hands".

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New partnership with Fotografiska!

New partnership with Fotografiska!

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We have some exciting news! Tankeapoteket is now offering creative workshops and lectures together with Fotografiska, the museum of photography in Stockholm!

The workshops will be centered around topics of creativity, communication and future-thinking and involve insights and methods from a range of disciplines including psychology, design, business and architecture.

Follow this link to add a creative flair to your next conference, meeting or event.

På svenska

Öppna upp för framtiden

Öka din kreativa förmåga

Bättre och mer effektiva möten

About our new workshops:

Opening up for the future
Every day we shape our future. The way we think, act and interpret our surroundings greatly effects the reality we experience. In order to remain relevant in a time of constant change, we must deal with the future in a tangible way. During this workshop you will explore future scenarios, learn to "think with your hands" and develop skills to analyze important trends in your business environment.

How to boost your creativity
A world in flux requires new ways of thinking. But what is creativity and how can we become better at it? During this practical workshop you will develop your ability to see patterns, understand the big picture and create new connections. We tell you why attention is the most valuable resource of the future and how you can learn to make the most of it.

How to have better meetings
We have so many meetings. But how can we make them more effective? During this practical workshop you will learn how to optimize the time you have together. We introduce the latest research on positive and negative communication and help develop your skills in the art of conversation.

<3


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India Bootcamp - Design Thinking and Postmodernism in the land of a lot

Perfecting the skill of getting lost in rickshaws.

Perfecting the skill of getting lost in rickshaws.

Design Thinking and Postmodernism in India

When the five of us met for the first time at the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, approximately one week before leaving for India, we were all told three things: your senses will be assaulted, you will return a changed person and chances are the experience will turn out to be unsayable – that is too complex and multifaceted for our limited imagination to make sense of. All three statements turned out to be true. Still, in order to give you a flavor of what we were up to during those amazing days I will stretch my cognitive capabilities and do my best to connect the dots of this crazy experience.

National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India.

National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India.

Out and about in Ahmedabad.

Out and about in Ahmedabad.

The first thing that struck me when stepping out of the cab and onto the streets of Ahmedabad was the extreme contrasts. If Stockholm is quiet, clean, conformist, cold, individualistic and secular then Ahmedabad is loud, dirty, rebellious, hot, communal and religious. I quickly realized that I had left the land of moderation for the nation of exaggeration. Luckily, I was not alone but accompanied by a group of wonderfully bright minds from the all over the world (Sweden, Poland, Brazil, Germany and Turkey) covering a large part of the academic spectra (Psychology, Engineering, Design, Public health and Economics). And if this diversity weren’t enough, we entered the National Institute of Design with the task of exploring the development of post-modernism in India with the tools of design thinking.

Looking for signs of post-modernism.

Looking for signs of post-modernism.

A hindu temple in downtown Ahmedabad.

A hindu temple in downtown Ahmedabad.

Entering the N.I.D campus was equivalent to opening the doors to Narnia. Leaving behind the busyness of the street and the madness of a traffic system without lanes, lights or rules, we found ourselves in a giant beautiful green garden with wild peacocks, monkeys and outrageous drama students. During the first day we were introduced to the interdisciplinary campus and given a lecture by professor Ronald Jones on the difference between modernism and post-modernism and what black holes has to do with John Keats and the ability to live with ambiguity.

Professor Ronald Jones talking about negative capability, poetry and NASA.

Professor Ronald Jones talking about negative capability, poetry and NASA.

Random peacock taking his daily stroll through the N.I.D campus.

Random peacock taking his daily stroll through the N.I.D campus.

Entering the campus of wild ideas and wild animals.

Entering the campus of wild ideas and wild animals.

We were soon divided into groups and given our first assignment: to venture out on the streets of Ahmedabad to look for subtle signs and symbols of post-modernism. A day spent practicing the art of looking at the world through the eyes of an ethnographer revealed interesting findings that we brought with us into the design process. Well versed in the values of post-modernism we then spent a day in Gandhi’s Ashram getting to know his way of life and the intricacies of experience design. Back on campus we were ready for the main assignment: to create our own exhibition exploring post-modern India through the art of experience design.

The future of Uber?

The future of Uber?

At Gandhi's ashram exploring the future of experience design.

At Gandhi's ashram exploring the future of experience design.

The following days were spent in thrilling conversations about art versus propaganda, if inclusion can lead to the dilution of culture, how sustainable progress will become possible and whether non-violence is a useful method in the 21st century. Accepting the nature of post-modern thinking we soon rejected the existence of a universal truth and agreed to base our project on asking the big questions. We created a full-sized labyrinth titled “walking paradox” where the Zen-inspired tradition of mindful walking merged with the Socratic notion of public dialogue. Another group used mirrors to confront guests with questions about their own basic assumptions, one created an art-show displaying contemporary paradoxes and yet another presented a visual timeline connecting the abstract with the concrete, taking the visitor on a journey from the inside of a black hole to the multi-sensory experience of riding a rickshaw in downtown Ahmedabad.

Walking paradox - a mindful way of blending Zen-buddhism with Socratic dialogue

Walking paradox - a mindful way of blending Zen-buddhism with Socratic dialogue

Proud designers showing of their final exhibition.

Proud designers showing of their final exhibition.

Despite a couple of virus-infused Pepsis and a Dengue-mosquito in the mood for Scandinavian blood, the trip was a mind-blowing experience that I will never forget (and likely never fully comprehend). What I do know is that I met a group of people with whom I now share a bunch of wonderful, crazy and confusing memories that I hope we will laugh about for years to come.

Thank you Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, The National Institute of Design and my fellow comrades Clara, Lara, Savas and Piotr for making this possible.

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Innovation Workshop - Preparing Minds for Serendipity

Innovation Workshop - Preparing Minds for Serendipity

A Socratic Symposium for the 21st century.

A Socratic Symposium for the 21st century.

Earlier this summer, right before the political week in Almedalen, we held a workshop for members and friends of the Swedish Incubators and Science Parks (SISP). The idea was to gather a group of diverse people from all over society and engage them in transdisciplinary conversations about the future of innovation, human creativity and entrepreneurship. 

During the workshop we introduced our thoughts on how transdisciplinarity and design thinking can help adress wicked problems, how the skill of dialogue can be cultivated and how the concepts of serendipity and neuroarchitecture is helping to reshape the way organizations work with creativity in the workplace. 

Johanna talking about the role of empathy in purposeful dialogue.

Johanna talking about the role of empathy in purposeful dialogue.

The workshop ended with a Symposium where participants got to meet each other in mind-stretching conversations, combining ideas from art, science and culture to discuss matters of self, work and the meaning of life. Our tailor-made conversation menus introduced guests to a variety of thoughts spanning from Wittgenstein's view of language and understanding to the limits of neuroscience and the relevance of thinking clearly in a world of distractions.

Grilled salmon served with questions about courage and loneliness.

Grilled salmon served with questions about courage and loneliness.

The event was an opportunity for people to come together and reflect on the bigger issues of life and get to know each other on a deeper level before entering the hectic, stressful and often demanding environment in Almedalen.

"Chance only favors the prepared mind" (Louis Pasteur)

"Chance only favors the prepared mind" (Louis Pasteur)

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Tankesalong at Fotografiska!

What if Museums Were More Social?

What happens when we really stop and pay attention to our experience?

What happens when we really stop and pay attention to our experience?

We both love visiting museums and other cultural cathedrals for the new impressions, thoughts and perspectives that they often give rise to. However, all to often we would leave an exhibition feeling inspired and curious but lacking someone with whom to share and make sense of these new insights in depth.

We started thinking about creating a community around the museum experience, a time for reflection and dialogue where visitors could meet and mingle with new ideas, people and perspectives. The purpose being not only to explore the depths of the artistic intention but to connect the experience to a wider palette of thoughts form art, science and culture in order to highlight the universal within the particular.

Earlier this summer we were finally able to turn our vision into reality together with Fotografiska, The museum of photography in Stockholm. Our first Tankesalong took place on June 3rd and revolved around Martin Parr's exhibition Souvenir

Below you will find some of the highlights from the evening.

At 6PM we welcomed visitors by handing each of them a folder containing one of four different ways of experiencing the exhibition with new eyes. Some were instructed to explore the photographs from different perspectives, others to focus on and question what they found most boring and others to look for patterns across the exhibition. The purpose was to bring attention to the subtle things that we often take for granted and to switch off the autopilots that all to often determines our reality.

Four different ways of experiencing the exhibition with new eyes.

Four different ways of experiencing the exhibition with new eyes.

With booklets in hand guests got to make their own way through the exhibition, noticing details and paying attention at their own pace before meeting up with us an hour later at the top-floor.

Turning a trip to the museum into a communal activity

Turning a trip to the museum into a communal activity

Why do we put up with incessant small-talk? What would Socrates do?

Why do we put up with incessant small-talk? What would Socrates do?

At 7PM we all met at the live-stage where we introduced the purpose of the event and provided some short background on the history of conversation from Socrates and Plato and the Salons in Paris, to Freudian psychoanalysis, instant messaging and social media. Using the colored folders we divided people into pairs where they got to discuss questions connecting the exhibition to broader reflections on love, meaning, work, culture and identity.

Connecting "blues" to "reds" and "yellow" to "greens"

Connecting "blues" to "reds" and "yellow" to "greens"

Following Proust's advice by giving each other time to become interesting

Following Proust's advice by giving each other time to become interesting

After 20 minutes of dialogue we divided people into new pairs who got to explore a new set of questions from our tailor-made conversation-menus.

"What is it like living inside your head?"

"What is it like living inside your head?"

"Parr says that we need the bad in order to understand the good. What is the purpose of cheap entertainment?"

"Parr says that we need the bad in order to understand the good. What is the purpose of cheap entertainment?"

Taking the opportunity to discuss some of the questions ourselves

Taking the opportunity to discuss some of the questions ourselves

After another 20 minutes it was time for a new change of partner and one last session of conversation.

Skipping small-talk and moving directly onto questions of art versus propaganda

Skipping small-talk and moving directly onto questions of art versus propaganda

"What do you most appreciate in others?"

"What do you most appreciate in others?"

We had a lot of fun and hope to bring the concept back to Fotografiska later this fall!

Also, click here to listen to us talk about the event in the podcast Fotosidan.

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New York, Parsons & Anti-disciplinary Adventures

New York, Parsons & Anti-disciplinary Adventures

Roleplaying the bus of the future

Roleplaying the bus of the future

Earlier this spring we were invited to New York and to Parsons School for design with the purpose of exploring the future of mobility in gridlocked cities. Arriving as an interdisciplinary group from Stockholm we were soon divided into teams with extraordinarily talented students from the MFA in transdisciplinary design. What followed was an amazing couple of days where we, in the spirit of design thinking, set out to observe actual needs and ideate out-of-the-box solutions using the tools of speculative design. Here are a few highlights.

On the first morning we were given an unusual task:  Travel to a part of the city that you have never been, using a mode of transport you never used before. Look for signals from the future.

In Bronx looking for fragments of the future

In Bronx looking for fragments of the future

After collecting a few somewhat questionable items from our new borough, we travelled back to the studio in Manhattan for some brainstorming around how public transport could become a more attractive alternative to the car.

Our first prototype was a floating bank that would be able to serve multiple functions after rising sea levels had put lower Manhattan under water.

Future scenario and speculative design: What if lower Manhattan was under water?

Future scenario and speculative design: What if lower Manhattan was under water?

Prototyping a floating multi-purpose bank of the future

Prototyping a floating multi-purpose bank of the future

During the second day we decided to take a more realistic approach and developed a bus for the future. The idea was to create a bus that would decrease the time-sensitivity of its passengers by tailoring to their needs of comfort, tranquility and connection.The result was the Tribus (which you can see us roleplaying into reality at the top of the page).

Other projects included ways of manipulating time by dividing the city into different time-zones, creating a way for senior citizens to control traffic lights and turning a crowded subway-commute into a meditation session.

Manipulating time in order to decrease gridlock in New York city

Manipulating time in order to decrease gridlock in New York city

The red feather in Anton's hand is in fact not a feather but a time-saving device for senior citizens

The red feather in Anton's hand is in fact not a feather but a time-saving device for senior citizens

For more details on our workshop click here and here

After an intense workshop we were invited to participate in the first ever Verge NYC conference, a student led design event bringing together creative thinkers, field experts, and change makers to Parsons. During a couple of inspiring days we got to experience everything from jazz-improvisation to purpose-driven workshops and creative movement. A fantastic initiative that we hope to bring to Stockholm in the near future.

Jamer Hunt introducing the Verge NYC Conference

Jamer Hunt introducing the Verge NYC Conference

Verge NYC - Action in the face of uncertainty

Verge NYC - Action in the face of uncertainty

Interactive Jazz Session led by Riley Mulherkar

Interactive Jazz Session led by Riley Mulherkar

Two very excited mind-apothecaries

Two very excited mind-apothecaries

A transdisciplinary dialogue on uncertainty and inequality

A transdisciplinary dialogue on uncertainty and inequality

All in all, an amazing opportunity to experience the power of transdisciplinary design in tackling wicked problems. A big thanks to SSES, Parsons and Ford for making this happen!

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Världens första Tankesalong på Fotografiska!

Tankesalong på Fotografiska!

"Måste vi överdriva samtiden för att se våra egna mönster?"

 Denna fråga och många fler får ni chansen att diskutera nu på onsdag den 3 juni när vi bjuder in till världens första Tankesalong!

Om eventet: Upplevelser ger mer om man får möjlighet att samtala om dem efteråt. Från klockan 18:00 bjuder vi in till en kväll som inspirerar till tankeväckande konversationer. Med utgångspunkt i Martin Parrs pågående utställning ”Souvenir" tar vi med er på en resa genom konst, kultur och vetenskap. Med skräddarsydda konversationsmenyer ger vi er möjligheten att delta i samtal som förundrar, förändrar och stimulerar till nya insikter. Möten att minnas, helt enkelt.

Från klockan 18:00 möter vi er i foajén. Där får ni vidare instruktioner på hur ni kan ta er an utställningen med nya ögon. 19.00 samlas vi vid Livescenen på vårt översta plan för en kväll utöver det vanliga. Vi avslutar formellt klockan 20:15 men ni är givetvis välkomna att hänga kvar och fortsätta samtalet.

Tankesalongen är gratis utöver ordinarie inträde. Du bokar ditt deltagande här: http://simplesignup.se/event/61560

(begränsat antal platser.)


VI ses där!

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Tankeapoteket on Tour!

Hey there!

A lot has happened since last time. Where do we start? For simplicity, let's treat time as linear and start where we left off. After a long period of busyness we took the healthy decision to spend a few days focusing on the things considered “important but not urgent”. We settled in front of the giant pile of promising books, articles and TED talks and immersed ourselves in the theoretic jungle, hungry to create new connections. A couple of intense days led us to discover the DNA of Dialogue, understand how physics can explain communication and explore how different mindsets hinder or facilitate serendipity. Most importantly; we finally understood how it all fits together.

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Once we had returned from the abstract world of academia it was time for the first of a series of Creative Interventions for IFL Executive Education. The management team got to pick and choose from a conversation menu consisting of questions such as:

Paul Graham, investor and PhD from Harvard, says: "Prestige is the enemy of passion". How do you define success?

Zorba the Greek said: "A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares to cut the rope to be free." How are you crazy?

Medical students from Harvard who studied details in works of art improved their ability to make correct diagnoses. What can we learn from culture?

The evening was a great success and we look forward to an exciting year!

Back at SSE Business Lab awaited a packed schedule of meetings, app and concept development, Vinnova follow-ups and meta-cognition.

Finally, it was time for our next intervention, this time a full day at Tillväxtverket. The aim was to give them space and time for reflection, conversation and inspiration. Tankeapoteket were invited to ask basic questions, encourage new insights and deepen their relationships. In our mini-lectures we talked about the history of conversation, the complexity of communication and presented some example of transdisciplinary thinking in practice.

A few days later we took the train to Malmö to meet up with dedicated and passionate people from vastly diverse disciplines. The first visit was to Munkhätteskolan where we met two inspiring women, school leaders and experts in pedagogics, to talk about dialogue as a tool for improving young people's learning and language development. Then we crossed the bridge over to Copenhagen to meet up with three forward-looking and motivated entrepreneurs from the news agency Trendsonline.dk

Then it was finally time for a meeting with our inspiration/ philosopher-poet /science-guru, Tor Nørretranders, at the suitable Cafe Apotheke in Hellerup. All of our hopes and expectations were fulfilled and he was exactly as wise, empathetic and present as we had envisioned. Stay tuned for our upcoming interview with him on the blog.

We leave the South with new inspiration, synapses and even greater ambitions. 

Much love, 

/ Anja and Johanna

Some recipes:    For Perspective    For Peace and quiet

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Tankeapoteket - The Story so far

Dear friends!

We thought it was time for a quick update on what we have been up to lately at Tankeapoteket. This blog has been somewhat silent during the fall, but there has been frantic activity just below the surface. Since we stared out, just about a year ago, we have found an office (fittingly enough a lab), spent countless hours discussing the nature of empathy, our mutual fascination of black holes, the future of innovation and the meaning of life. Most importantly, we have developed Conversation Dinners, Salons and workshops that we have organized for a number of different organizations. And during the upcoming spring we will finally launch our events for individuals as well!

One major highlight last year was the evening we arranged for the principal and management team of the Stockholm School of Economics. In a beautiful location outside of Sigtuna, the participants got to ponder over questions such as:

Kierkegaard once said:" Life can only be understood backwards but must be lived forwards. "Where do you live?

How do you communicate with the world?

How come we experience time as linear, when in fact everything we see around us (nature, the economy, our feelings, life) goes in cycles?

Other events include a creative evening with the app/knowledge company Babygruppen and a conversation dinner for External Relations team at SSE.

Another highlight was to find out that we received funding from the state innovation agency Vinnova! It is truly amazing that Sweden sees the need to invest in conversation! This spring we will continue on developing our tools in the hope of in the future introducing them in more areas where they can make a difference. 

All in all, last fall was packed with new impressions (and late nights). Among other things, we finished our master studies at SSE, studied Trend Spotting at Konstfack, met SSE’s finest humanist, Mats Tyrstrup, and made him our mentor. In the lab, our home among the rooftops on Saltmätargatan, we received daily doses of inspiration from other struggling entrepreneurs and serendipitously, we got to know and establish a future collaboration with curious specialists at Karolinska.

Now, school is finally over and we can put all of our attention on Tankeapoteket. So, we take a deep breath, raise your gaze and stomp on the gas. Now awaits a creative intervention for a big Swedish authority, cooperation with IFL Executive Education, a trip to New York and a meeting with our guru Tor Norretranders in Copenhagen.

That's all for now. If you would like to get monthly updates, sign up for our newsletter!

Lastly, some recipes.

For doing what you love

For reflection

Much love

 / Anja & Johanna

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A not so Angry Conversation Dinner

Yesterday we were invited to hold a Conversation Dinner for the External Relations team at Stockholm School of Economics. At the Angry Diner on Södermalm our conversation menus were served alongside three delicious courses.

People were invited to discuss questions such as: 

"How do you define success?"

"Zorba said: "A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares to cut the rope to be free." How are you crazy?"

"Studies have shown that people who sing together synchronize their heartbeats. Physical presence creates unity. Is social media making us lonely?"

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At the end of the evening, when the guests had left, most conversation menus were gone. We see this as a good sign and hope that the conversations continue outside the comfy walls of the restaurant.

#conversationalrenaissance.

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Vad är väl en julfest?

Fullt ös på Tankelabbet med förberedelser inför kvällens mingel och Konversationsmiddag!

Nu tar vi "julfest" till en helt ny nivå!

<3

Translation: Busy preparing for tonight's mingle and Conversation Dinner.

Time to take "Christmas party" to a whole new level.

 

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Mind Your Mind

 

“It was autumn, the springtime of death. Rain spattered the rotting leaves, and a wild wind wailed. Death was singing in the shower. Death was happy to be alive."

Tom Robbins

 

 

It is the end of October, the air is crisp and nature is putting on its annual color-carnival. Most people are missing the show. There is an air of gloominess covering Stockholm. To be expected, seeing as how summer is over and winter is approaching fast, carrying with it that familiar desire to cover oneself in layers of wool and never leave the house. Determined, however, to embrace this new season with undeserved enthusiasm, I poured myself a cup of tea and made my place on the couch alongside my iPad and the latest edition of New York Times.

 

There I came across an interesting article written by Bruce Grierson entitled “What if age is nothing but a mind-set?”. The piece was referring to the work of Ellen Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, who has spent the last 40 years studying the impact of thought, emotion and mindlessness on our physical health and well-being. In one of her most famous studies, The Counter Clockwise experiment, she gathered a group of older gentlemen and placed them in a house in the countryside. The environment had been meticulously designed to resemble what life was like in that time; including what was on TV and what news were reported. The participants’ only instruction was to imagine and act as if they were twenty years younger. Several experiments were administered, before and after the study in order to measure any changes during the period. The results were astounding. Merely imagining themselves to be younger improved their vision as well as their posture, hearing, intelligence and memory. How is this possible? “Wherever you put the mind, the body will follow”, says Langer.

 

If this is true, and our minds really do have the power to influence our health, then we should be extremely wary of what we carry around up there. Be it stories from the past, worries about the future or feelings of recent indignation. Of course, we need to plan for the future and learn how to live with uncertainty. But excessively worrying about the outcome seems like a giant waste of time (and suffering). Worrying is, like John Rogers puts it: “holding thoughts in your mind that you want less of”. So what are we doing to ourselves?

 

Personally, I am a great worrier. Not even thirty years old and already concerned about retirement savings. Being a pre-crastinator is often a good thing, but pouring too much energy into dealing with imagined futures cannot be an effective use of time. “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives”, says author Annie Dillard. Therefore we should take care of our minds and treat it to the occasional inventory. We should continuously question the validity of our own thoughts for the simple reason that, as Langer points out: "it is not our physical state that limits us,” but our mindset about our own limits, our perceptions, that draws the lines in the sand.”

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Konversationsmiddag med Handelshögskolan i Stockholm!

Nyligen bjöd Handelshögskolans rektor, Lars Strannegård, oss till kursgården IFL Kämpasten för att presentera vår verksamhet och hålla en Konversationsmiddag för skolans ledningsgrupp. Vi tog fram skräddarsydda konversationsmenyer med frågor som kretsade kring fem teman; bland annat utbildning, skönhet och mening.

Middagen var mycket uppskattad och vi ser fram emot ett framtida samarbete mellan Tankeapoteket och Handelshögskolan!  

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Translation: Recently we were invited by the president of Stockholm School of Economics, Lars Strannegård, to the conference center IFL Kämpasten to present Tankeapoteket and host a Conversation Dinner for the school’s Executive Management Team. We created tailor-made conversation menus with questions related to five themes, including education, beauty and meaning. The event was highly appreciated and we look forward to a future collaboration between Tankeapoteket and SSE.

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