Why collaboratio exists

"Very great change starts from very small conversations, held among people who care" - Margaret J. Wheatley

collaboratio helvetica was born out of one such conversation in 2016, followed by many more, involving a growing number of people into a co-creative process. In today’s world we grow up with a sense of urgency. The Arctic ice is melting faster than ever. We lost over half of our biodiversity already. As we’ve seen, Switzerland’s SDG performance is still lacking on a number of indicators.

There is no shortage of challenges, no shortage of work to be done. Whilst the Agenda 2030 can give us a collective vision, goals that light the way, the reality seems sometimes overwhelmingly challenging… This space between the current reality and where we want to go is what we call the creative tension.

(c) Robert Fritz -  Presencing Institute

(c) Robert Fritz - Presencing Institute

collaboratio helvetica is the initiative we shaped while engaging with this creative tension between the Switzerland of today, and the Switzerland we want to live in. We believe that all the seeds needed to grow a brighter future are already here: So many people and organisations are doing outstanding work to shape the future of this country and change our impact on the planet. Our realisation is that if we want to reach our goals, we need to come together to address the issues we are facing, and most importantly, we need to do so in a different way.

We know that we need multistakeholder and participatory approaches to address systemic challenges such as climate change and gender equality. Further, to really solve a problem, we need to understand the underlying causes, instead of just grappling with the symptoms. This requires a deeper process, one that allows us to see how we individually and collectively keep contributing and reproducing the status quo we are trying to change and transform the mental models we act from.

“The gap between vision and current reality is also a source of energy… actually it is the source of creative energy. We call this gap creative tension” - Peter Senge, System Scientist & Professor at the MIT

So what we want to ask ourselves is: What is causing our (sustainability) problems on a deeper level? How can we become differently equipped to solve them?

This question can only be answered by coming together in a different way, one where we listen with attention, where we speak with intention, and where we can engage meaningfully beyond our differences through dialogue. Once we connect with each other and our shared vision on this level, we give ourselves the possibility to collaborate and co-create the future we really want, bridging status quo and vision.

“I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be, to inspire me and not terrify me.” - Tracee Ellis Ross

We believe in the potential of Switzerland to make an important contribution to the implementation of the Agenda 2030, because our history is one of working together across religious divides and language barriers, and continuously finding creative ways to address our challenges as a diverse society. In that sense, we are in a unique position to build on our cultural heritage of dialogue and collaboration to move beyond what is keeping us to stuck and to create the future we want to see, together.

“You can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” - Albert Einstein


What we are

collaboratio helvetica is at once platform, community, organisation, laboratory and movement. Today, we are a growing community of co-creators of various backgrounds, united by a common mission to work towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), regenerating the Swiss culture of collaboration. We explore and cultivate the internal, organisational and systemic conditions for collaboration. This spirit of cooperation allows us to unleash untapped potential in the spaces “between” different actors, ways of working, organisations and institutions.


Our beginning

collaboratio helvetica was established in December 2016 by a group of dedicated individuals from foraus, euforia, Coworking Switzerland, GreenBuzz and the Impact Hubs for Bern, Geneva and Zürich, with the support of the Engagement Migros development fund, to catalyse collaborative innovation towards the Sustainable Development Goals.


collaboratio and the sustainable development goals

The Agenda 2030 and its 17 SDGs
The 193 member states of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on 25 September 2015, containing 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Agenda represents the synthesis of a number of UN conferences on sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which lapsed at the end of 2015, and the process included a large-scale public consultation.

“The agenda clearly shows that all objectives are interrelated. You can’t reach the targets individually. Gender equality cannot be achieved without education or as another example climate change, health and urban development are closely linked.” - Till Berger, co-project lead Agenda 2030 (ARE)

The 2030 Agenda is a major milestone in sustainable development. Beginning in 2016, it sets the globally applicable framework for national and international efforts to find shared solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, such as extreme poverty, climate change, environmental degradation and health-related crises. The 2030 Agenda applies to all states, whether north or south of the equator, and determines international guidelines and priorities for sustainable development up to 2030.

“You’ve got to think about big things while doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” - Alvin Toffle, Writer and Futurist

Check out the video to the SDGs in Switzerland!


Our driver

Individuals and organisations are driving the implementation of the SDGs in Switzerland but the full potential of that ecosystem is not activated.
We create space to serve individual and collective transformation in order to deepen, expand and sustain impact.


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