Innovation Trip Munich: Helena Rocha

Innovation. A single word but with many possibilities of understandings. A concept that in my point of view was born due to the fact that everyday life is constantly changing as well as people mindset, and I deeply include myself on it. Maybe it’s cliché to say that “times fly”, but actually it’s a big true which goes beyond what we can imagine. The world is not static, and those who don’t open their minds to live the flow of life can stay behind of the others that are just living like a leaf flying in the wind. Of course, barriers will certainly appear in everyone’s midway and I believe that keeping the feet on the ground is also extremely necessary… But once you’re open and you let the new come into your life, you will be better prepared to handle any difficulty of life.

I know that the new and innovation in any aspect are not exactly in the future. They are happening now, and the future will be drawn according to what you are doing in the present, what you believe in and how you are fighting to achieve all your desires. For me, one of the best things you can do to increase your “open-minded lifestyle”, is traveling. But why? I know that for many people traveling it’s just going away from their routine for a while, to have fun, to spend money doing what they want, and to go to many places in this big world. For me, it goes much further – traveling is a perfect way to exchange experiences and to share cultures; to be able to learn with the others about things you’ve never thought before, things you couldn’t even imagine by yourself. When you fly away from your common place, you have the big opportunity to purely observe. Observe what’s happening around your own bubble, around your own certainties and thoughts. Once you observe, you can better absorb others points of view that are fundamental for your personal growth. At the same time, when you are sharing your ideas, you are letting the others learning from you, and this one of the things that really matter in life: the opportunity to be remembered by people for something you did or said. That’s why I’m always trying to be open to the new, even if it’s difficult to accept the differences and to understand why people think like that and not like me. When it happens, I try to stop thinking for a while and then I feel better just by letting things come.

My last trip to Munich was super intense and it gave me many insights about my career as an innovative graphic designer and also helped me to improve my personal way of thinking as well as my feelings about my life and my surrounds. While I was there, I heard from a very clever person that when you want to generate a positive impact experience on people’s life, it’s extremely important that you keep in mind the approach of developing a symbolic capital. It is to say that you will capture the attention and bring out the feelings of people with great and meaningful stories, offering fewer products and more immaterial things that can reach them through design, gastronomy, culture, innovation, knowledge, fashion and so on. Munich gave me the opportunity to experience the new through all these aspects mentioned and even more. As a young graphic designer, I had the opportunity to think about the innovation regarding design in many different points of view. Thinking as a historical timeline, my first visit in this new city was to the Residenz Platz Palace. It made me think about the past, wondering how people developed innovation in that environment, how they were able to paint all these ceilings below, and also building such amazing furniture’s without the technological machines we can use today… But still, they were able to design beautiful things that we don’t even see anymore now a days. Authentic, original and completely unique.

Also, we visited the Dachau Concentration Camp, that was a different way of observing innovation. I felt very moved while I was there because that place could awaken me many feelings at the same time, and some of them were unknown to me since then. It made me think that even in an environment of pain and suffering, people were able to innovate and to develop new skills somehow. Then, next day we experienced one day at Steelcase, the proper present in a super innovative and technological center where I could apply and improve my learning related to innovation and design thinking and I realized that the place itself, as well as the people you work with, make a lot of difference while you are thinking, ideating, implementing, and prototyping an idea. I felt super comfortable to work there with people I’ve never worked before and so I can say it was a great experience in general.

But the visit that made difference the most for me was the workshop at Ouishare. I could learn about Speculative Design, an approach that I’ve never heard about before. I confess it was crazy in the beginning to understand the meaning of thinking in the future through different lenses keeping in mind one single scenario we had to choose to work with. But then, I understood that the social life can be (and must be) thought of in the future – that is plural, it’s happening now and it’s collaborative. Reinforcing this thought, yes, it is plural: there are futureS, not “the future”. It’s not linear; we can always choose and test completely different and crazy possibilities, maybe even combine some of them. I realized that through the lenses we are able to look and ask for all these possibilities, opening doors for us to create something new and captivating – because people are not used to think in the future this way. We are able to literally make real and explainable a feeling that is inside us, and that’s amazing! Because if you don’t like where you are, you can just picture where you want to be, what you want to do; and once you pictured, all you have to do is look forward and go for it.

I came back to Barcelona feeling super fresh and positively energized. Feeling braver to continue discovering myself and all the things that are happening around me. I also realized that people are what matter most as well as the environment in which you are. I’m sure I want to continue learning from others, and that’s why now I can easily see myself working in a social environment where I can share my thoughts, ideas and feelings without fear of making mistakes, learning from other perspectives and trying to communicate meaningful stories to the users through possibilities that touch them. Also, I would like to make they think about a simple (but intense) question: how far is the future for you?

Innovation starts now.

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