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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