SENSEMAKING IN THE WORKPLACE
Research Institute of Sweden (RISE)
University of Göteborg, Sweden
Michael Bitz, Henni Nguyen,
Aaron Scheer, Iida Nyyssönen
Researchers at RISE often work on multiple projects at the same time, each with a different team. This high pace does not leave space for reflection and sensemaking. We designed a lunch seminar around mindfulness and the meaning of work.
While working at RISE we talked to different researchers and observed how they work. We identified the need for the organisation to reflect on their everyday actions, to bring the teams together and to find the higher purpose of working there. The opportunity to tackle these needs came up when we were asked to present how we work at a lunch seminar.
In the first exercise, the participants were lead into a mindful eating activity, after which they let their thoughts go “wild” with a stream of consciousness writing. With a fresh mind, they were guided through the metaphor of being on a ship representing RISE. Each of them had to present why they were on it and what was their special skill.
The second exercise of the metaphor involved the discovery of a new land. The participants were asked to physically shape this land by using different materials, magazines, pens etc. At the end of the session everyone realised that the newly shaped land will be the result of their work, if the boat is stirred in the right directions and everyone does their part. Sailing to such direction also means being kind to each other and to reflect on our actions.