EnerTracks goes virtual – cross-linked training among continents
Shortly before the German lockdown, we welcomed 15 energy experts from different parts of the world to launchlabs and trained them in Design Thinking. The ongoing training had to be interrupted and due to the risk that the participants would not be able to return home, flights were booked the same day or the following day. Participants returned to South America, Africa, India & Southeast Asia. To the places where these people are doing a wonderful and courageous work to promote the energy transition.
Because that’s exactly what the so-called “EnerTracks” are all about: offering energy experts new knowledge and inspiration, allowing them to network and strengthen each other. “In my country, sustainable energy is starting to be a movement. Way too slow sometimes. This is like an accelerator for me. We need each other in this, we cannot do this alone” said a participant in the past analog EnerTracks workshop.
Now, after several months, the decision was made to design a virtual training: a wonderful challenge to provide a collaborative and exciting training experience for participants from different time zones!
Networking across continents
Together with Agora Energiewende and Renac, we are now facing the creative task of designing a program that will allow us to teach the training content of two weeks in presence in three weeks virtually – collaborative and interactive.
“Over the last time we have gained a lot of experience in designing digital learning experiences. Even before Corona, we had already dealt extensively with the topic of how to learn at a distance and how to achieve creative teamwork. This helps us enormously now,” says Tobias Wosowiecki, facilitator at launchlabs.
Farah, project manager at Agora, has also noticed this: “That’s why we are digitizing the overall concept together with launchlabs. Because we have seen that they are digitally fit, open and know exactly why we want to do it. The analog time at launchlabs has always been a highlight for the participants. We want to keep it that way”.
Collaboration and interactivity as design criteria
The program will be a combination of self-study phases, group work and digital video sessions in a plenary session with input and coaching. For the latter, energy experts from all over Germany will be connected. At the end, the participants create and present a “roadmap” for the energy transition of EnerTransia, a fictitious country.
We also give the participants a thought-provoking impulse: we are all about design thinking. “An enrichment for people who are constantly surrounded by numbers and strong (political) hierarchies, and who proceed rather analytically and according to a plan,” says Farah.
The self-learning phase will be based on recorded video content. The virtual calls with input and coaching will take place two times three hours a day, at a time when all participants can take part without lack of sleep. In between, the teams will continue to work independently. Check-in calls are there to accompany them.
The entire curriculum is supported by MURAL boards which allow the energy experts to record thoughts and collaborate with each other. At the same time they also serve to tell the story of EnerTransia, a fictional country.
Storytelling in virtual space
“I have been dealing with virtual spaces since the beginning of the crisis and am always happy to have the opportunity to tell a story.
In the case of EnerTracks this story already exists. It now only needs to be transferred into digital space. And here we benefit from the big advantages of virtual spaces. We have almost unlimited design possibilities and as many rooms as we want. Every story can be told visually by moving through different rooms, the MURAL boards.
Our participants are our heroes. At each station they experience and immerse deeper into the story by moving to a new board that represents, for example, a city, a castle, a forest, a planet surface or, in this case, a wind farm or coal mining center,” Tobias says. “But the storytelling does not end with the construction of MURAL boards. Of course we can also continue to tell the stories in our video calls. Streamers have demonstrated it to us with IRL streams (In Real Life). Our smartphones offer us the possibility to connect to a call from any location”.
We realize that virtual space offers us great opportunities to connect people, build cultural bridges and tell stories.
All this provides us with a basis for creating workshops, trainings and events that will be remembered.
The first virtual track has already started and the second one in November is already on the starting blocks.
Do you have any questions or would you like to discuss this and other topics with us? Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org