Lund/Malmö | Feb 13-14 2014

explorative innovation lab


»Explorative Innovation Lab« was a two-day cross-sectoral forum for critical, visionary thinking and innovative strategies for transformation. An opportunity for theoretical, methodological and experiential exchange between an invited group of Swedish and international artists, researchers and organizations.

All invited participants operate at the intersection of art, research, business, innovation and social work – actively examining, challenging, reformulating and transforming society through their work. The format was question driven, experimental and iterative. Our main ambition was to facilitate a collective space for orchestrated collisions between disparate modes of practice, thought and strategy. The aim was to investigate the exploratory aspects of collaborative work across professional fields.

We wanted to detect and make use of the situation's intrinsic surplus, i.e. find what was already there, rather than inventing "the new". We introduced a number of concrete methods – currently under development within KAI – of active reflection, discourse development, the dreaming mindset, sensemaking and feedback. We learned more about the various directions we're moving in, on a collective as well as on an individual level. We formulated new questions, and began a journey ahead – in an ongoing iteration between chaos, order and reflection.


Explorative innovation is at its core a question driven activity. Our work might occasionally (more as a side effect, really) generate a few answers, but for the most part it will rather lead to even more questions and new tracks to explore. This was also our ambition and desire for »Explorative Innovation Lab« – to raise the most relevant questions for us as a collective, at this very time, in this very context. So instead of producing yet another manifesto™, we have chosen to summarize our experiences from »Explorative Innovation Lab« as a series of open questions. Consider it a start of something.

What potential does explorative innovation have as a driver for tranformation?

Why should artists save the business world, and from what are we saving them?

Is innovation and change the same thing?

What if we embrace the state of confusion?

What if the state of confusion becomes the basis of the explorative mindset?

What will the spaces for explorative innovation look like beyond incubators, science parks, collective spaces, etc?

What's the difference between "innovation for change" and activism?

How do we distinguish a real (personal or collective) need from what we are said/suggested we need?

How should technical universities incorporate artistic methodology in order to prepare the industry for cross-platform collaboration?

Is it possible to talk about explorative innovation in a meaningful way without resorting to ideology?

Where do we go from here?

Makers statement

From where we stand, the word innovation appears as a slippery and somewhat abused concept. Is it just an empty container, ready to be used on any occasion as a signifier for progress? We have a need to understand what it actually means - or at least, what it has the capacity to mean. We do believe in the unexplored potential that the essence of this word carries.

What does it mean to "renew and make new" (as the Latin innovātus suggests)? In order to know this we must first also understand the present; what it is that constitutes the soon-to-be old. To avoid building upon a dysfunctional foundation. The act of innovating/transforming/inventing/moving forward always comes at a price. There has to be room for failure, courage, desire and passion. When we truly dare to step out of our comfort zone, and challenge our established routines and preconceptions - that's when amazing things start to happen.

The way we see it, innovation is not some colorful topping upon a stagnant structure. Nor a lubricant to make the wheels spin faster. For us, innovation – or explorative innovation, as we choose to call our particular version of it – is a long bridge, an ever-evolving learning process, an extended artistic practice based on a potentially disruptive way of thinking, that simultaneously explores and challenges the larger structures of the present.

– Alexander Hall & Gustaf Iziamo | KAi Creative Industries, 2014-03-07


…the whole trajectory to be organized as an explorative process.

…more open space for things to emerge.

…a coherent group of professionals to work together for more than two days.

…more time for exploration and more durational labs.

…more people from the business sector.

…more collisions.

KAi is a factory of ideas. Our fields of expertise include
techniques for explorative innovation and radical concept
development. KAi aims to be an inspiring force and a bridging
entity that combines unique expertise from the artistic field with
the latest development in academia and the private sector.
The organization was founded in autumn 2012 by Alexander Hall
and Gustaf Iziamo, as an evolvement of the cross-disciplinary artistic
work that was carried out for six years within the framework of Guacho. /

»Explorative Innovation Lab« was supported by: