Interview with Morganne Graves / Hybrid Thinking Academy

Tell us about the Hybrid Thinking Academy.

The Hybrid Thinking Academy is a project which we’ve had “incubating” in our minds for a long time as a concept. We all come from different academic disciplines but we all work in the field of innovation and agile transformation.

The first reason why we wanted to start the Hybrid Thinking Academy is because that we saw the way people are taught innovation tools and methods is not very empowering.

By that I mean that people hire “copy paste” consultants. This is someone who comes in, introduces a standard tool (such as a “persona”), hands over a template and then leaves. What we often see is that when you return to the company many months later, people are still using exactly the same templates, even if they don’t make sense. Often they are not adapted to new projects, contexts or data sets.

So people are not being taught how to be agile or innovate in an empowering way. They are just being taught the standard tools, but not how to have the confidence and flexibility to adapt these tools to their own needs.

Our vision with the Hybrid Thinking Academy is to give people a more empowering professional training experience. We want them to complete the learning journey with new skills and the confidence to make their own decisions. We want to equip people to become problem solvers for a complex world – no more “copy paste”!

The second reason we decided to start is because we see that people are very good at the specific area they are trained in, but they’re not making connections between different disciplines and company departments.

We partner with like-minded companies like cloudibility to offer high quality trainings, either for their clients or their employees. We also curate an incredible network of professionals, who are mainly based in Berlin. They all offer different angles on this huge topic we call innovation, or “new work”. We have amazing collaborators working in, for instance: motivational psychology, biomimicry, resilience training, business modelling and leadership.


You mention you are 5 people from different academical backgrounds, who are you?

We have been working together for a few years in a boutique innovation agency, called phi360. Phi360 was founded in 2014 by Dr. Arndt Pechstein, who was joined by his colleague Dr. Fabian Feutlinske. They were both neuroscientists working in research who realised that they wanted to have a bigger impact on the world around them and were inspired by biomimicry.

They were then joined by Abdeljalil Karam, who has a background in renewable energy engineering, and myself with a background in literature and philosophy. Finally Katrin, a social entrepreneur who runs a circular economy NGO in Ghana, joined the team last year. We are the core team curating a larger network of partners and collaborators.

The thing that really brought us together were our shared values and this common desire to have a positive, sustainable impact on the world through our work.

We also wanted to be experimental with the way we work together, we wanted to push “new work” to its absolute limits. So we all work on side projects and feed those learnings into our work together.

Why do you call yourself the Hybrid Thinking Academy?

Arndt developed the concept and presented it in his Tedx talk in 2017. It resonated really well and we saw there was potential. People like the four-level approach. So we’ve worked on it and developed it into a concept which we can use to structure our workshop programmes at the Hybrid Thinking Academy.

If you want to know more about the Hybrid Thinking concept, read this article


What do you offer?

The programme is modular and we have a large portfolio of workshops. Partner companies pick and choose the workshops that make the most sense for them. This is really important for us- we’re not here to tell people what’s best for them, we want them to shape their own learning journey. Each workshop is two days long.

For companies and individuals who want to get an idea of what we do, we offer short half-day taster sessions. The first one will be on the 17th and 18th

June in Berlin and the modules which we will present are: “Motivational Psychology”, “Adaptive Leadership” and “Agile Sales & Marketing”.

For those who want to have the in-depth experience we will also run one full two-day workshop in Berlin on “Qualitative Research for Creative Problem Solving”. This will take place on the 6th and 7th May, and there are still a few spots available!

How much does it cost?

The taster sessions cost 270 euros each. We will run three back-to-back taster sessions on the 17th and 18th June.

The two-day workshops cost 1199 each, but since we know that the best learning experience is to participate in multiple workshops, we offer reductions if you book three or more tickets. The first will be “Qualitative Research for Creative Problem Solving” and will take place on the 6th and 7th May. There are still a few spots available!

We are also actively seeking partnerships with companies, so get in touch if you think this is something for your company!

What’s the difference between agile working and hybrid thinking?

Hybrid Thinking and agile are complementary. After all, many in our team and network are agile coaches. Agile is good for changing company processes, Hybrid Thinking is good for changing people and mindsets.

Also Hybrid Thinking is deeply value-driven. We want to embolden people to things radically differently and thereby contribute to making a better world and future. This should be a future where ecological sustainability and social justice lies at the centre of everything we make, how we live and how we interact.

Who have you worked with before?

We work with large and medium-sized companies such as Deutsche Bahn, AUDI, Siemens and Axel Springer. Companies are increasingly becoming aware of the pressing need to transform. Agility and resilience are totally interlinked and companies who can’t react quickly enough to changing

market conditions due to climate change or changing demographics, for instance, will be left behind.

And it’s not just the outside world changing rapidly. More than ever, smart young people are looking for purpose-driven careers and a workplace that empowers them by letting them be creative, develop their skills and solve challenges. This is where we come into play.

In parallel, we also work with students and business schools. Arndt is a coach at the HPI School of Design Thinking and I’ve worked with the University of Oxford on multiple occasions, at the Saïd Business School and the Oxford Foundry.

So we work with big client companies, but also with universities. We believe you need to change what’s already out there but you also need to empower the next generation to learn new approaches and mindsets. We also want to contribute to creating the next generation of problem solvers!



Interview by Friederike Zelke/The Cloud Report