Embodied practices for teams

Capacity Building of Creative Radicals: removing barriers to organisational creativity

A strategic, experimental initiative within Radical Creativity to take further steps towards a more experimental culture.
Abstract illustration for embodied intelligence toolbox by Anna Muchenikova.
Graphic design: Anna Muchenikova

In 2022, Aaltonians experimented with collective practices for cultivating embodied ways of knowing and making space for new possibilities.

The experiment was called Capacity Building of Creative Radicals (CBCR). It was a strategic, experimental initiative within Radical Creativity, one of the cross-cutting approaches of Aalto University’s strategy, made in collaboration with Aalto's Human Resources services, Communications services, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, School of Business and School of Engineering.

The aim of CBCR was to empower the experimental culture in Aalto University. The project was also connected with Aalto's wellbeing activities. Current working life requires even more collective interaction and renewal. In order to solve the systemic challenges, we also need new kinds of social skills: the ability to learn and unlearn together with other people. CBCR offered Aalto University's personnel the opportunity to try out methods that support radical creativity in a safe environment.

The focus was on the inner and collective capacities of learning, creativity and change. The tolerance of uncertainty was explored. CBCR removed barriers to creativity and highlighted multifaceted intelligence for dealing with complexity and systemic challenges.

Based on the CBCR's impact evaluation, the pilot project achieved the expected outcomes well. It reinforced skills important to radical creativity, such as experimenting, developing new ideas and particularly risk-taking among the participants.

The CBCR pilot was a learning journey both to the project team and to the participants. With the help of this guide, skills learned in the pilot can be practiced further even though the pilot itself has now ended. All new participants are welcome on the joint learning journey!

Capacity building with international collaboration

The CBCR initiative was based on Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) professor Otto Scharmer'sTheory U, a framework for catalysing transformative personal and systems change. It integrates systems thinking, innovation, leadership, and awareness to investigate and utilise deeper sources of learning.

The participants of the initiative experimented with over ten different practices for embodied intelligence and collective creativity, both online via Zoom and at our campus. The practices stem from Social Presencing Theater (SPT), developed through a collaboration of Otto Scharmer and Arawana Hayashi, to enable and facilitate systems change pointed out in Theory U.

The pilot project started with a kick-off with a keynote lecture by Otto Scharmer, and a panel discussion which he also participated. The work continued in two full day practice workshops and voluntary check-in meetings between the workshops, which were all facilitated by Arawana Hayashi and Ricardo Dutraa social designer, artist and researcher.The pilot's work got a closure in a voluntary check-out meeting after the workshops. We acknowledge that building up these skills need more repetition and rehearsal.

CBCR project team


Maria Joutsenvirta
PhD (Business & Economics)
Transformative learning designer
CBCR – Creator and content expert
[email protected]

Kirsi Hakio
PhD candidate (ARTS)
Collaboration designer
CBCR – Creator and content expert
[email protected]
Riikka Mäkikoskela
Head of Radical Creativity
CBCR – Project manager & Impact evaluator
[email protected]
Lennon White
HR specialist, Aalto University
CBCR – Specialist & Impact evaluator
Tiina Toivola
Communications manager, Radical Creativity
CBCR – Communications
[email protected]
Maria Uusitalo
Trainee, Radical Creativity
CBCR – Communications
[email protected]
Teija Vainio
Research fellow (ARTS)
CBCR – Advisor
Markus Ahola
Research fellow (ARTS)
CBCR – Advisor

Tuomas Auvinen
Dean, School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Champion of Radical Creativity

Carita Pihlman
Head of People and Organization
CBCR – HR development specialist

More about the CBCR

Maria Joutsenvirta

Theory U - How to lead from the future while it emerges?

Creative people, like artists and scientists, invent and create the new by stepping from the visible world into the invisible world of imagination, and then returning back into the visible. We all can develop our sensitivity, intuition and leadership capabilities to increase creativity.

Social Presencing Theater UN Cambodia

Learning for the future: systemic solutions require new ways of learning and collaborating

Aalto offers its staff a chance to experiment with transformative learning method, that can initiate changes in mindsets and remove invisible barriers to creativity

Otto Scharmer, Senior Lecturer in the MIT Sloan School of Management and Tuomas Auvinen, Champion of Radical Creativity at Aalto University.

How to lead and educate for the future?

Aalto's capacity building project experiments with methods, which may help us become more capable of implementing systemic changes

Three people in a calm environment on their knees with different distance to camera, all facing right.

Learn to sail skilfully through uncertain times

In May 2022 a group of Aaltonians participated in a workshop to increase capacity for change, learn to rely on intuition and challenge the current perceptions of learning and problem-solving

Radical creativity illustration: Anna Muchenikova

Radical creativity

We build an outstanding creative community for new thinking.

Our strategy
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