Founded three years ago in London and now based in Vienna, mesh.works is a practice that helps people and organisations build confidence and purpose. An innovative way to achieve this is through Walkshops - connecting people and organisations with the real world around them, getting the world of work out there to see the world they work in. Walkshops provide smart experimentation and exploration.
The idea for Walkshops was born out of the need for a new and radically different intervention technique.
Studies (see links) show how walking increases the size of brain regions linked to planning and memory and enhances creativity. Based on these discoveries, we have designed exciting walks around topics that matter to people’s experience at work and beyond. Walkshops strike a balance between an effective learning process and creating a zone of fruitful discomfort.
Participants need to navigate outside their protected terrain, and push their everyday limits to find new perspectives. By providing a structure that acknowledges people’s capabilities, creates motivation and strikes a fine balance between safety and excitement, Walkshops fuel curiosity and innovation.
Many things happen when we are walking: People become best friends, our brains relax, we discover things about each other that we never knew and we finally manage to “join the dots”, to work things out because we relax.
And there is wisdom, insight and something to learn on virtually every corner of modern cities - layers upon layers of stories and experiences.
One of the things that have always fascinated us is what happens when people decide to take action while walking. It is almost as if they walk planned actions into their muscles - from abstract thoughts, determination emerges. Knowledge is just a rumour - until it is walked into our muscles. It is about using the whole body to think: using the brain’s social cognitive needs drives new thoughts and engagement for people tomorrow - bonuses and more money are not going to be the answers.
Apart from being a great workout for both mind and body, Walkshops allow people to pose questions they generally don’t dare to ask. The approach challenges the existing paradigms and provokes new thoughts, new perspectives and a new ways of doing things.
Whether it is leaders, decision makers, innovators, teams or individuals - Workshops immerse everybody into the exciting maze of the city. They use walking to build trust in the team or help people develop the interfaces needed in today’s network economies.
We have been using Walkshops in cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam and Vienna and designed them around a variety of important topics the world of work is facing. These topics range from innovation, strategy and leadership to seeing the bigger picture, from enhancing teamwork to finding a new vision.
Based on a number of variables, e.g. how many people participate and which topic(s) they are interested in, we equip participants with a virtual toolbox - filled with games and exercises to explore the questions they have brought with them as well as the urban space around them. The exercises can come from design sciences, systemics, human dynamics, coaching and mindfulness.
Apart from this toolbox, we introduce participants to exciting local ideas and businesses, ranging from the hottest startups in town to traditional companies who have been successful over long periods of time, sometimes for centuries.
By tying the walks up with historic facts of interest, inspirational stories from the past and present, modern innovative projects and unusual concepts, Walkshops not only open up people’s perspectives, but also put the respective city on the map!
We are currently developing a microsite and an app to make the advantages of Walkshops available to everybody.
These digital tools will let users access exercises and games centred around the topics they care about. When using the app, people can share specific walks they have been taking and take advantage of other users’ experiences.
The digital platform also provides an opportunity to feature exciting startups, galleries, museums, social projects and innovative businesses that shape a city’s distinctive energy.
Users will be able to create their own itineraries and pin exercises and ideas. Thus, the map within the app becomes a map you draw yourself, creating unique exper