Innovation Sense Making Den

Author: Barış Yazıcı

RC Social Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Creativity Office (RC SEIC) organized the second meeting of the series “Innovation Sense Making Den”, during which faculty, staff, and students engaged in a discussion on Dr. Otto Scharmer’s Theory U with a particular focus on “Turning the Camera Around: Who is my self? — What is My Work?”.

Why Innovation Sense Making Den?

The philosophy of “Innovation Sense Making Den” emerges from a critique of learning hierarchies, which divides the learning process into two distinct groups: students and teachers. This hierarchical structure results in missed learning opportunities. Our aim as RC SEIC Office is to flatten those learning hierarchies (#everyoneisalearner!) by creating a space for people from different age groups, roles, and backgrounds to meet and interact with, and learn from each other. To that end, in this series, we will be inviting faculty, staff, and students to sharing circles to consume content (a video/TED Talk/an article/a podcast) on (social) innovation and make sense of what we interact with together. We hope to hold space for the co-creation of a common understanding and shared language on (social) innovation and healthy conflict in this circle of diverse people bringing in different perspectives, knowledge, expertise, and experiences.

Meeting #2: Turning the Camera Around

We started off by watching two videos “Turning The Camera Around” — an excerpt from Planetary Collective’s “Overview” — and “Who is my Self? What is my Work?” by Presencing Institute.

Some of you might remember that, in our first meeting, to initiate the discussion, we had asked participants to share their questions regarding the theory or specific points they would like to discuss. This time, we tried a different approach and did collective journaling before the discussion!

What is Collective Journaling and Why is it Important?

The act of collective journaling creates a space for a group of people to co-create on the same medium, generating a collection of thoughts. One may think of collective journaling as the “agora” in Ancient Greece, a place where diverse, antithetic, and insightful ideas arise through a collective effort. It allows people to express their opinions while realizing that others have their unique thoughts too.

How to Do Collective Journaling?

Since we do our events online, we created a shared document that includes three different questions, and asked participants to fill that document in a limited amount of time. Then, for 30 minutes, we discussed the answers given to the questions, reflected on each others’ comments, reflected on our individual and collective learning journeys while allowing new ideas to emerge from our sharing circle. You may find the questions we used in our collective journaling experience below.

Here are some of the insights that emerged from our discussion:

  • We should explore past and present passions and learn to adapt to unknown challenges.
  • The seed of a great tree that will bring peace, concord, equality, collaboration, and happiness to the whole world must be born and sprouted.
  • A novel approach to creativity is waiting to be born. Currently, there is a change in our understanding of what a “school” is.
  • Compassion, love and empathy in a learning environment!
  • Is “normal”, really normal, or is it just the “familiar”?
  • Is the teacher always the expert? Not necessarily!
  • An act of creation free of space, time, and borders is waiting to be born.
  • There should be a curriculum encouraging students to define success for themselves and to change the traditional definition of success.
  • Ego centric systems, the blind acceptance of the patriarchy, old institutions, and extractive economic models are dying.


What is dying in today’s world and what is waiting to be born? Share your comments and questions with us.

Robert College Social Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Creativity Office