As an artist and activist, I generally operate outside the mainstream – my peers tend to be on the radical side, clear-eyed, angry, frustrated fighters against the status quo that by now threatens human life on the planet. I admit I harbour a vague unease with the idea of connecting business and social innovation. However, at one point I came to realise that staying inside my bubble leads to missed opportunities, and so stepping out is necessary.
I joined the Social Lab for two reasons: to become more connected to the people who seek change but are not marginalised; and after the hot summer of 2018, with the conviction that this is the right time to act, society is now ready for the change we have known for decades is necessary.
I did not expect to find so many people from all walks of life on the path to challenging themselves, their assumptions, their ways of working, outside of my own circles. I felt a bit suspicious of the enterprising nature of our future projects, and somewhat defensive about not working in a specific industry, not carrying any flag for engineered solutions, and generally believing that change starts within ourselves.
What I found, however, is a group of sensitive, curious, clever individuals who all had been carrying the same questions like me, for many years. One of my main discoveries in the Social Lab was how much larger my community was, than I had ever imagined. It was a wonderful experience. All along, I felt that I belonged there, my skills and experiences were needed and appreciated, and witnessed such an openness of minds and hearts that I had experienced only a few times in my life. I immensely enjoyed seeing everyone’s contribution, the connection and energy that expanded each time we were talking to each other, whether in small or larger groups.
The journey felt like the organic process of forming a community. The structure proved to be flexible to allow for adjustments, but rigorous enough to hold us in place and achieve the goals that were set at the beginning. It allowed us to see how we could work together, and how we can support each other in the future. In the end, I felt a strong conviction that we started something important, and that we all will be part of the unavoidable change, working together; and also felt extremely privileged to have met such a group of exceptional people. I hope to keep in touch.
Katalin Hausel is Hungarian artist, designer and educator, currently in residence in Switzerland.