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ThinkPlace designer Roberto Persivale recently ran a ThinkCamp in Peru

Got a complex challenge? Welcome to ThinkCamp...

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them  - Albert Einstein

If you are reading this -- even if your organisation is performing well -- chances are that  you’re interested in how your organisation or sector could be doing better. 

There could be something that you need to change. It could be a new program, a new service, changes to your organisation or to the strategy that drives the impact you want to make in the world.

If you knew how to do it… if doing it was easy… if your everyday team was sufficient to get it done… you likely would have done it by now. 

It’s almost certain that you won’t get more impactful results by employing the same old methods. However, you might not be sure what to do next or where to start in exploring a new approach.

That’s when you need a ThinkCamp.

At ThinkPlace we work with clients to tackle the world’s most complex problems, using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to guide the projects we take on, the partners we seek and the impact we strive to deliver. 

Across hundreds of projects, all over the world, we have assembled a vast toolbox of techniques, methods and mindsets that help people and organisations arrive at a shared vision for change and then set about successfully implementing it. ThinkCamps are one of the most effective tools for doing this.

 

 

 

WHAT IS A THINKCAMP?

To break through the gridlock of business as usual you need a powerful catalyst. More focused and more collaborative than a conventional workshop, ThinkCamps provide an ideal environment to uncover and explore the diversity of thought that exists within a system and empower participants to create something new through innovative application of co-design methodologies. 

It starts with what we call ‘convening power’—identifying and bringing together the right mix of people and perspectives to co-create a change where authorship and ownership can be shared by all.

This co-design approach, empowering people at the heart of systems by inviting them into the discussion, is essential in informing genuine insights and generating innovative solutions.

Beyond assembling the necessary voices, a ThinkCamp provides an ultra-focused, rapid-fire environment where the case for change and the change itself can be ideated, developed and tested in a way that creates momentum, breaks gridlock and engenders collective enthusiasm.

It often starts with generating a better understanding of the challenge and the context it sits within. ThinkCamps help to uncover relationships, dependencies and unintended consequences of change by using a series of frameworks, including:

  • Collaboration–recognising that no individual has all the answers. The focus is on achieving the best result for all stakeholders rather than avoiding failure or scoring points. 
  • Systems thinking – the process is integrative and considers how the whole system will work. In large community-based systems it seeks to optimise for society, the economy and the environment.
  • Seeking exploration and innovation – fostering divergent thinking as an engine for experimentation and innovation by giving people the autonomy and freedom to think big, entertain novel ideas, and engage with those inside the problem whose voices are rarely sought directly. It is important to provide people with a platform and the opportunity to disrupt the status quo and deliver new value.

We have seen ThinkCamps deliver outstanding results for clients all over the world, regardless of culture, language and degree of design literacy. 

We’d love to talk to you about how a ThinkCamp, facilitated by our expert team of design leaders, can help you tackle the complex challenges your sector is facing.

 

CASE STUDY: Habitat for Humanity ThinkCamp (Peru)

 

ThinkPlace ran a ThinkCamp in Peru for Habitat for Humanity

 

THE PROBLEM

Peru lies on an arc of fault lines, making it prone to frequent earthquakes. In the event of a large-scale earthquake, many homes in Peru are at risk of total collapse. In Lima alone, 70% of dwellings (approximately 500,000) are deemed to be at high-risk, due to precarious construction practices, lack of professional masons, and limited access to high-quality materials and technologies that cater to low-income families.  

 

THE CLIENT

A leading global NGO operating in more than 70 countries, Habitat for Humanity has been active in developing actions and programs aimed at improving the owner-driven construction process in Peru. As part of its Innovation & Entrepreneurship Ecosystems program, Habitat works to connect affordable housing entrepreneurs to funding and expertise, while also encouraging more entrepreneurs and investors to focus on affordable housing. 

ThinkPlace ran a ThinkCamp in Peru for Habitat for Humanity

THE THINKCAMP 

In September 2019, Habitat partnered with ThinkPlace to deliver Peru’s first ThinkCamp for innovation in housing. The project aimed to gauge stakeholder buy-in and scope feasibility for a new program to support affordable housing entrepreneurs and investors in the Latin American region. 

The two-day ThinkCamp gathered a broad range of stakeholders from diverse disciplines to participate in activities curated by ThinkPlace design experts. The 42 participants and facilitators collaborated to map the complexity of the affordable housing system in Peru and the vast range of actors involved. 

 

THE RESULTS

Through the ThinkCamp, Habitat was able to further define their role in helping entrepreneurs and investors to overcome challenges and roadblocks towards impact, and identify the strategic partners needed for success. The insights, personal reflections, and concepts shared at the ThinkCamp helped to frame an understanding of how different actors can collaboratively add value to the future of the sector through innovative approaches. 

Today I have learned that even the mafia can be involved in a solution. - ThinkCamp Participant

In one example from the ThinkCamp, a group identified an opportunity to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset to safely rescue low-income families from the grasps of mafia guilds. These guilds are involved in many stages of the owner-driven construction process and have increased their influence in the informal economic sector, which is worth $1 billion annually. The idea generated by participants conceived for the first time how the sector could gather data about how the guilds operate with a view to legitimising mafia business through an incentive-based model. 

ThinkPlace ran a ThinkCamp in Peru for Habitat for Humanity

 

CROSSING THE CHASM

Tackling complex problems is a daunting process. It takes creativity, trust, courage, and time. However, this is cannot be a solitary journey; solutions necessarily require the collective contributions of a community of actors to allow for the diversity of thought needed to achieve breakthrough innovation. 

ThinkCamps afford organisations the physical, intellectual and emotional space to start connecting people. To elicit passionate ideas and enable disruptive thinking. To nurture an ecosystem of collaborators to generate a roadmap for success. And to encourage resilience in the face of adversity. We believe in the power of co-design and ThinkCamps deliver this transformative approach to collaboration.

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