We are thrilled to announce that the first edition of the Catalyst Lab is going live very soon. This is going to be a bumpy ride for the next 9 months ahead for around 20 individuals wanting to bring about transformation to their contexts in order to co-create a regenerative Switzerland. Before starting the journey, however,  we are having a look at who is behind the Catalyst Lab and has been working on its creation. Besides the creative minds of the collaboratio helvetica team, mainly three people have been driving the creation of the Catalyst Lab, namely Luea, Nora & Severin. Dear passengers, let me introduce you to your flight attendants. 

  • Luea

My experience: Three aspects have been at the core of my work: the Arts, Healing Practice and Community and Organisational Leadership. As an art curator and leader of international trans-disciplinary organizations I have  integrated art with social and ecological topics and research activities for more than 10 years. I am trained and practice as a cranio-sacral and trauma therapist and have explored a range of holistic and indigenous methods of healing. As a practitioner of systemic constellation and experienced in understanding living systems and complexity I am at ease with intertwined challenges and seemingly chaotic dynamics. Over the years my facilitation and coaching practice (based on approaches such as Art of Hosting, Theory U, System Thinking and Complexity, Dragon Dreaming, Conflict Resolution...) has further gravitated towards transdisciplinary and cross-sector collaborations. I have worked internationally with diverse Social Change and Innovation networks and with organisations such as Windharvest International, GEN International, Akademie für Potential Entfaltung, as well as co-created the EU-Project SIRCle. A deep fascination for conflict resolution practices and integral peace, my work in different cultural settings and the importance of transboundary dialogue and long-term collaboration have led me to support the founding and work of the Nile Journeys, a transdisciplinary platform in and for the Nile Basin, aimed towards building a regenerative ecosystem and a culture of peace across the eleven countries that share the waters of the Nile. I co-founded Collective Transitions - an Action Research & Action Learning Hub offering a pattern language, process tools, collective practices, and frameworks building shared capacity for fostering and maintaining transformational shifts.

What attracts me to the Catalyst Lab: The “HOW we do WHAT we do” and the strengthening of the capacities to go to the root causes, the deeper laying pain and leverage points is a strong focus and calls me to support the Catalyst Lab. Working internationally in diverse sectors helped me see a lot of underlying and shared dynamics that are at play. The Catalyst Lab is for my a container where the ones at the forefront of transformational change come together not only to be supported and inspired by each other, but especially also to see themselves as part of a larger mycelium addressing the intertwined patterns that are calling to be worked with, beyond just fix and fight the current realities. This work is not to be done alone. It needs a field to hold, host and steward a field as well as an ongoing practice in a set of aligned and coherent methods. 

About myself: What I am “doing” in the world is strongly reflecting on how I understand my calling to life and vice-versa and the lines between professional and personal are fluid. Gardening and being in and with nature is my source of inspiration and a way of putting things in perspective and listen to the subtle. Dance and soundscapes are ways to embody and express my fascination for cycles, rhythms and the so beloved space between the tangible and intangible. My 4 C’s (Curiosity, Commitment, Courage and Care) are somehow summarizing my attitude with and in life.

  • Nora

My experience: Ever since 2009 I have been an activist and changemaker, volunteering or interning at a number of NGOs such as Terre des Hommes and the Swiss Red Cross, and taking part in conferences within the UN ecosystem. Since 2010, I have been a part of the European Youth Parliament, successively holding different roles, from Editor, Chairperson to President, in sessions all over Europe. From 2014-2016 next to my studies in International Affairs at HSG I presided its Swiss node and also organised an International Session of the EYP in Laax, which brought together 350 young people from all over the continent around the topic of “Young and Innovative Ideas for a Sustainable Future” under the patronage of Didier Burkhalder. In 2017, I co-founded collaboration helvetica, an initiative dedicated to the transformation of Switzerland towards more sustainability and human flourishing, focusing on the collaborative approaches needed for systemic change. I held multiple roles within collaboratio (e.g. facilitating the Gender Lab alongside Nicole Schwab) and have been recognised for my work by organisations such as UNESCO, Cohort 2030, annabelle, the Presencing Institute and JCI International. My training background includes Sociocracy 3.0, Art of Hosting, Theory U, Ecosystem Leadership and Social Labs training by Zaid Hassan.

What attracts me to the Catalyst Lab: The Catalyst Lab is everything I wished I had received when starting collaboratio helvetica and the Gender Lab, and more. It is a unique program, tailored to the needs of Catalysts who are ready to impact their systems and just need support to do so. I am really excited to see it coming together, and can’t wait to start working with the amazing Catalysts who will join this journey. It will be an exciting learning process to find out together what the practices that support and guide this work are and the deeper layers of what it takes to work towards systemic change. I also trust a lot will emerge by simply playing and sharing together. This is the first iteration of the Catalyst Lab, and as we are in it for the long run we will learn a lot to deepen and scale the impact of this container in the future. It starts with us today! 

About myself: Besides a short gig as a summer trainee at Deloitte in Organisational Transformation, I have always been moving in the non-profit/for-impact sector. I am deeply passionate about too many things to dedicate myself to all of them at once, but ever since I was 15 the centerpiece of my life has been the question “who am I, what is my work and how can I make my best contribution to the transition our planet is in?”. What touches me the most is when I can contribute to activating the highest potential of people, organisations and places. When I’m not doing this kind of thing within collaboratio helvetica, I’m out there representing our ideas and visions, and trying to find how we can integrate more stakeholders. And when I’m not doing that, I am at yoga, dancing, wandering around in nature, reading, trying out awesome vegan recipes, spending time with friends, making music, experimenting to go fully zero waste, writing poetry, taking pictures or creating other things.

  • Severin

My experience: In 2010 I started getting involved in euforia -  a social innovation organization that aims to empower individuals, teams and organizations to co-create a sustainable future - where I am still working until this day. On this 9-year journey I’veten some understanding of what it takes to create a collaborative and inclusive container for social innovation. In the beginning, I was mostly co-organizing events (ie. imp!act) for students that empower them to create their own sustainable venture. Over the course of the years I’ve held many different roles and been involved in many different projects in- and outside of euforia, e.g co-founding initiatives such as careAct (which resulted out of the first ever imp!act event) or the students project oikos Social Entrepreneurship at HSG, working with a wide array of stakeholders and partners including NGOs, universities, international organizations, and business. My training background includes Art of Hosting, Theory U, Radical Collaboration, The Human Element, Liberating Structures, Non-Formal Education and Social Labs training by Zaid Hassan.

What attracts me to the Catalyst Lab: There are different reasons why I think the Catalyst Lab is amazing. Firstly, it includes and weaves together some of the most powerful practices for societal transformation that I know (ie. Theory U, Art of Hosting). Secondly, I believe in the potential of people who are committed to make to contribute to the SDGs in Switzerland coming together and collaborating. Collaboration is key in achieving the Agenda 2030. Thirdly, the Catalyst Lab is tackling the systemic level. There are numerous events and workshops for individuals and organisations. However, what is still missing, is that there is an initiative looking at the systemic component. There are many more reasons why I am getting excited about the Catalyst Lab and I am happy to share my excitement with you. 

About myself: I love sports and the outdoors. However, I tend to overplan my days and vacations which leaves me less time to spend doing these things than I would actually like to. Living in a place like Switzerland, however,  allows for very easy access to incredible mountain scenery where I like to do two of my favorite sports: snowboarding and hiking. Besides, I also love playing football in the alternative football league in Zürich, cycling in the city, jumping into lakes and rivers and running. When I am not doing sports, I am usually visiting friends and family or travelling with them all over Switzerland and abroad. My most precious possession is my GA (yearly train pass for CH) which allows me to see many places and people. This year, I even get to enjoy train rides more extensively since I set myself the challenge of having a no-fly year. 

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