OMG. This is really happening. Tankeapoteket is going to New York in collaboration with SSES and Parsons The New School for Design!!!
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.
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 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.
/ Anja & Johanna
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?"
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.
Fullt ös på Tankelabbet med förberedelser inför kvällens mingel och Konversationsmiddag!
Nu tar vi "julfest" till en helt ny nivå!
Translation: Busy preparing for tonight's mingle and Conversation Dinner.
Time to take "Christmas party" to a whole new level.
Sveriges innovationsmyndighet VINNOVA satsar pengar på Tankeapoteket och våra "gränsöverskridande konversationer som stimulerar till nya insikter, ökad förståelse och innovation i samhället". Nu kör vi!!!
“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."
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?