I interviewed Patrycja Pielaszek, founder of WeCoCo, on the topic of “Nothing changes if nothing changes". Tune in and find out what it's all about being courageous, finding joy in experimentation and how un-learning can foster collaborative innovation where everyone is included.

One thread in this conversation is the concept of un-learning, re-thinking and, re-building together. And it is right there where the meaning of the title of the episode “Nothing changes if nothing changes” gets clearer. Now you might think, that this is rather business-related, but indeed it is very life-related.

How can we foster our relationships in our businesses and collaborations?

As nowadays the boundaries between business and private life are fluid, it is difficult to balance between them. You can just choose the way you want to live it. So, live the only life you have.

When it comes to new ways of collaboration, it's mainly about curiosity and being open to whatever comes. That means being open to different perspectives, different opinions, and all kinds of differences. We are all different which is the main asset of humanity. Now the question is, how do we embrace it? Are we rather irritated, blocked, or stressed or does it depend on the topic? How can we open ourselves to differences and reflect before reacting?

One way to handle new and irritable situations is to take a step back and acknowledge the irritation as such and the fact that the irritation has more to do with ourselves than with the other person. Another way could be to agree to disagree. This means our truth is not the other person’s truth, but we are respecting their truth.

" I don't see things the way they are. I see them the way I am."

What happens when you don't speak the same language as your counterpart? A modern way of overcoming this obstacle and capturing the essential message is the power of the LEGO®️ Serious Play®️ Methodology. LEGO®️ Serious Play®️ is all about metaphors. That means, whatever we think, our opinion about something or our visions and ideas are, we visualize it with a model that we’ve built with LEGO®️ bricks. By referring to this model and not to our personal thoughts or opinions, it's like taking out the tension in the room.

As an example, when speaking and presenting strategies in a business environment, we can all look at the same PowerPoint slides and the same strategy on papers, but in the end, it’s not the same. Everyone “sees” something different. It is very powerful to use this metaphor and to create a true common understanding.

How can we practice curiosity and openness?

How can we nurture our curiosity and the desire for creativity and also, to live the joy of experimentation and innovation? Well, it needs to be playful and maybe also a bit chaotic and with a healthy way of childishness. In other words, to un-learn, to re-think, and to re-build together. We can practice by trying, failing, trying again, and learning from our failures. Then we change something – in our behavior, in our experimentations. And yes, to do so it needs courage. Courage to embrace our trying and our failures.

All about changes

It is important to acknowledge that in order to be able to evolve changes are needed. We need to understand that not everything can and should be done as it has always been done. Even though we as human beings want changes but tend to resist change; we want evolution but without any changes. But frankly: Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes. The only constant IS change.

Often, we hear that embracing change means we have to get out of our comfort zone. Meanwhile a well-worn expression. But how about we enlarge our comfort zone, making it bigger, instead? That way, we can still stay in our comfort zone and at the same time feel well, powerful, energetic, and creative. Like traveling – when we widen our horizon. Not only literally, but also in our minds and heart. And then, we come home to our comfort zone.

Difference between collaboration and co-creation?

Without consulting Google or Wikipedia 😉 here is an attempt to explain what these buzzwords could mean.

Co-creation is creating something together with one or more people.

Collaboration is more an exchange of our ideas, it has a masterminding aspect.

When it comes to collaboration, first of all, it doesn’t matter if it's just a team, two people, or an entire organization. In collaboration, a clear target is defined. Together it is defined how the target can be reached within this collaboration. What are the roles? What are the tasks? What are the milestones? How to reach the predefined goal?

When it comes to co-creation, things are completely unclear. The end/goal is totally open. In co-creation, we open up to curiosity and creativity and start interacting, without knowing what's going to happen and where it's going to lead.

Imagine now, why collaboration became so important during the last one and a half years. Suddenly we have more players. Not only players, in the meaning of human beings, but also machines and tools and channels.

We just started to collaborate with these tools in these channels without agreeing on how we're going to use them.

In the offline world when everyone was at the office where we could easily exchange our perception of an email messenger note. Over lunch or during a coffee break.

Today, we are confused because we don't have these “clarification islands” any longer. One misunderstanding is building up another misunderstanding and this all piles up to a huge intransparent heap.

So, in a mostly virtual environment, we have to find new ways to communicate, to get the necessary information in a flow. How can we achieve that?

We can plan virtual but private meetings and chats. Why? Because this is a possible tool to build up trust, by speaking about you, your family, your friends, your pets, etc. You interact in a different way. As soon as there’s a good basis of trust, the information flows naturally.

Mind you, this is only one possible tool. And don’t underestimate that the virtual & planned personal talk lacks the spontaneity that often helps to open up in that kind of conversation.

But on the other hand, let’s not forget: We – all together – were forced to un-learn, to re-think, and to re-build. We were (and still are) all on a crash course over the last 2 years. Therefore we must be gentle with ourselves.

Business and personal life are no longer separated

Regarding business versus personal life - our current situation is definitely not the same as two years ago.

Not only startups but also corporate companies worldwide are really trying their best to turn around the big ship and it's a large ship. But let's break it down to the people because this is what counts. With people, you can do enormous transformation and have a great effect on everything that has to do with an agile, collaborative, and innovative culture. In that case, it doesn't matter if it’s a startup or a corporation.

What is important? It's not just being diverse, and wow, you're successful. Not at all. It's actually all about this crucial combination of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

"D-I-B - Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging."

It is human to want to be part of something. We are social. Social human beings. We are not made to be alone. We want to belong to something or someone and be part of a project or an initiative, an idea, a vision. This is a human approach in every kind of constellation. If it's an organization or just a team. They need to be enabled with diversity which simply means staying open and don't exclude anybody. And not only for the quota. It's not like having all different kinds of cultures, skin colors, or gender in your team. Not at all. It's about being open and then, inclusion comes naturally. Actually, inclusion makes diversity work. Inclusion says: okay, we embrace the differences; we are open and we listen to each other.

Working alone, together. Allowing to work alone together and meaning that you, create your own thoughts and ideas. Then you make it part of the team and you allow that others have other ideas or a different understanding. And combining that is what co-creation is all about.

When this works – not only diversity but inclusion, belonging makes every person jump out of bed in the morning, because we feel and believe the magic of what we do and create.

Find all links to Patrycja and a link to the full episode here.