Designing for Collaboration

Collaboration is essential in our interconnected world, and everything inter-esting has become “cross”, “multi” and “inter” today: international, inter-disciplinary, cross-functional, multi-generational, multi-sectoral. You name it!


Yet, often it seems harder to collaborate than not. We are largely unaware of a shared purpose and feel disconnected. We’re unsure if we can trust, in whom to trust and in what to trust. We fear making ourselves and our organizations or businesses vulnerable.

The August Peace Innovation Lab in Berlin posed the question ”How design can support collaborative spirit?” to a full room of participants, representing a wide variety of professions, ages and nationalities. After a warm-up and team-building exercise, Ulf Brandes from Go21 gave a 20min introduction to the theory of behavior change design. The presentation was followed by two case studies presented by Josef Lentsch, Director of RSA International and Anne Kjær Riechert former researcher at OpenIDEO.

After an hour of inspiration it was time for the participants to “walk the talk” and start collaborating. Topics like open innovation, team configuration, leadership roles and enablers of collaboration were discussed in two rapid rounds of World Café. Afterwards the insights were shared in a plenary session to utilize the wisdom of the collective.

Trying to cover the field of collaboration and behavior change design in only two hours was no easy task. It may have felt a little like drinking from a fire hose. But the idea was to provide the audience with a long list of inspirations and questions, which they could continue discussing at the Peace Innovation Lab ‘After Hours’, or even better, bring to work the next day.

* Watch the slides at : Behavior Change Design and OpenIDEO case stud


The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce): an enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges. Through its ideas, research and 27,000-strong Fellowship it seeks to understand and enhance human capability so we can close the gap between today’s reality and people’s hopes for a better world. The RSA is popular in Germany for projects such as RSA Animates. is a network of likeminded professionals from corporations, start-up firms, charities, and consultancies: A growing think and do tank of entrepreneurs, managers, policy makers, researchers, facilitators and creatives united by a passion for human work environments that help organizations prosper. The meetup is created in partnership with Go21´s co-founder Ulf Brandes, an experienced innovation navigator and behavior change design researcher.