I was just planning to drink a cup of coffee...
Written by: Susanne Hermansen, Head of education at Naturkraft
...and then I was actually blown backwards!
This is the headline of my first blog post, but actually also captures the essence of my meeting with Naturkraft and Peter Sand, who has worked with this wonderful project for nine years. So what was it that blew me backwards? To a great extent, it was the declaration of love to nature and experiences that are focused around play. Because playing is a serious matter!
But let me start at the beginning, because I knew that a mere stone's throw from where I live, something was in the process of being built, which was going to become something to do with nature and nature's forces. But I just didn't realise that it would be so big. So fascinating. So cool. So important. And not least - that Naturkraft would become my future workplace.
From self-employed to head of education
I had actually started up my own consultancy firm, and it was going really well. So what on earth happened over that cup of coffee? Well, I could feel in the pit of my stomach that there were things here that could achieve a remarkable synthesis. Helping to create an experience park where everyone across generations can join in the fun and learn about human interaction with nature gives me hope that we can save the planet and that it doesn't have to be through preaching, but rather through experiences and insights at a pace that suits each individual. That makes sense.
Fortunately, Peter also saw the potential in hiring me to develop the organisation. In fact, Peter thought the organisation needed me right now. As the organisation had grown from 1 to 3 to 12 - and now with me as the thirteenth organisation member. In organisations and teams, a lot happens when the number of members goes above 10-12. From that point onwards it is no longer possible for everybody to know everything, and therefore coordination, systems, structures and organisation are needed to support the work. What we also call cultural development. So how do you create a culture that makes sense to the individual, the organisation and the many partners who are naturally involved in a large project like this? At the same time, we also have to ensure progress and innovation in establishing an experience park that nobody has ever seen before.
A sustainable organisation must be created
Therefore I did some exploratory research on how other companies organise themselves. What is the organisation of the future? How do we create sustainability in the way we organise ourselves so that everyone feels they can realise their full potential, and at the same time focus on the common we and the good teamwork? Which methods should we share and which should be left to the individual? How do we onboard all the new employees we need to go out and find, and ensure they feel as much ownership of Naturkraft as those who were hired first? How do we make the 'old' employees feel confident that the new employees can perform the tasks and how do we get them to share all their important knowledge when they are already busy with their own projects? After all, we have a park to open in nine months. These are the questions that are preoccupying me and will be the focal point of my upcoming blog posts.
I want to be curious, build on my own knowledge and experience with organisational development, and then let myself be inspired by researchers, practitioners and especially future research, which tells us something about the megatrends we see in society.
On 4 June 2020, Naturkraft will open, and in order to do so we need to build a sustainable organisation that is both efficient and meaningful. I am very much looking forward to the process and over the coming weeks will blog on how we approach that entire process.