The first Future Innovation Lab will be held at Shelter Dubai on Tuesday, August 28th. The Lab will be an open platform for discussion and reflection that seeks to change the fundamental ways that we solve problems in our communities. We interview host Kamyar Houbakht about the goals of the meet-up and the path that had led him to this unique event. To RSVP for the first event on August 28th click here (Facebook) or here (Shelter.ae). This event is free. All are welcome.
First, can you explain what is the Future Innovation Lab?
The Future Innovation Lab is a gathering for anyone with an interest in affecting positive change in their environment. The purpose of the Lab is to discover new methods for confronting and solving the challenges that we face as we try to live more sustainable lives. The Future Innovation Lab is not an organization or a project. It is an organic and collaborative platform that allows for deep innovation and deep creativity by creating the conditions that are needed for the community to go deeper [into thoughts, emotions and consciousness] and change the root cause of the problems.
What do you mean by “going deeper” to solve problems?
Since the industrial revolution, we have been increasingly applying linear, input-output, processes to how we think and act. We have lost our connection with our deeper, nonlinear selves. We rarely use our emotions, our thoughts and our consciousness to solve problems: we create solutions using only the surface layer of our abilities.
How can tapping into these deeper levels of consciousness help us create solutions?
A lot of energy is being invested in social enterprises, but this energy is being wasted because the underlying attitudes are not being adjusted: we are not addressing the root cause. Instead of only focusing on the surface, we need to go deeper and change our thought patterns and our organizing patterns. We need to shift our consciousness. This will automatically lead to new products and projects which are more creative and more effective.
How did you get into this field of work?
I had always been an IT guy: I even started my own IT company, with a partner, and we did very well at it. About four years ago, I went to a workshop in Muscat on “organizational learning,” where we learned how to foster communities that learned and grew, as if they were an organic being. In that workshop, I realized that this is what I want to do with my life. I came back to Dubai, I closed my company, and I decided to learn how to do that.
Who have been your mentors along this journey?
I belong to a community of learners, based in Greece, who come together once a year, to share what they have learned, working with others to reach those deeper levels of consciousness. The program is run by 3 women, my mentors, who live in nature. They embody what they teach on a very broad level and they learn from the land and they learn from the nature and they translate that learning into their work. Their main source of learning isn’t human intellect, it is pure nature.
Is it possible to reach that deeper level of consciousness in Dubai?
If we learn how to interact with ourselves, both on an individual and a collective level, we can access these levels of consciousness wherever we are, even in the Dubai Mall. They are as accessible there as they are being in the wilderness. And I really like the challenge of opening a community like this to life processes, because it is a real challenge and it is interesting.
The Living Wholeness Institute: The group in Greece to which Kamyar belongs.
TheoryU: A methodology created by Otto Scharmer that has been in use at MIT.
Join Kamyar for the first Future Innovation Lab on August 28th (7-9pm) at the Shelter. And, stay tuned for subsequent meet-ups, as well as the upcoming workshops we will lead on Creative Flow and Leadership this fall.
- Mary Ames
Educational Programs Manager//Shelter Dubai
Image available under CC License by Anoop Kumar