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Transcript - Co-Creation as a new approach for self-exploration and teamwork

A conversation with Rike Bucher

Published onFeb 06, 2023
Transcript - Co-Creation as a new approach for self-exploration and teamwork
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Jo: Welcome, everyone, to another episode of Access 2 Perspectives Conversations. We’re here today with Rike Bucher, who is a coach with her own coaching brand called Coachissima, and a new program, which is known by the title Your Wild Nature, welcome, Rike.

Rike Bucher: Welcome, everybody. Nice to be here with you.

Jo: And for those of us who might see the video, also to the listeners, in case you hear some squeaky noises, with us today is also Layla, a little rescue dog. So please excuse any possible interruptions, but we’re here primarily and only for Rike’s expertise and to share her perspective. Yeah. What is YourWildNature about? Maybe let’s start by explaining your coaching approach and then the program that you’ve established as well as we will also draw a line towards how this all applies to the research community at large and also any individual really, but with your particular with the scholarly community of listeners.

Rike Bucher: That’s right. I’ll first start to explain a little bit about Coachissima. Coachissima means that, for example, in Italian music, in opera, you have Focissimo, which means that it’s very loud and Coachissima means that it’s very coaching. And very coaching means to be conscious of what you are, and this is what your nature is all about. It’s a new way of being conscious about what you do. And normally, we don’t like some parts of us, some talents we have, we like them, but the other ones, we don’t like them. So I like to combine both and create a, let’s say, creative flow out of it. And the creative flow allows you to be conscious of what you do and so also to be conscious with others. And as you can see, in our time in politics, it’s not only needed in politics, it’s needed in science, it’s needed in arts, it’s needed in being together.

Let me continue on one thing, because what I would like to talk about with you, especially for the scientists of Access 2 Perspectives as it is two perspectives in your name. I would like to talk about the Co-creation code. This is something very fresh and new in my program, and I think the time is ready for people to have a so-called relational intelligence. Everybody knows about emotional intelligence. Everybody knows about cognitive intelligence. Most scientists use it in a wide range, let’s say. But in my eyes, what is needed most now is to have this kind of relational intelligence. And that means I know myself, I know you, and we together create something new out of our relationship. And this can be everybody. I mean, this can be your partner, this can be your colleague, this can be your teammates, whatever it is. But this can also be in private so to be conscious of what you feel, first of all, about yourself, this is the start to be conscious of what the other one says and wants. And what is well known now is to talk about values like we talked the other time you and me together about values. Values are needed. But I think the very fundamental thing, which is underneath values, which is underneath emotions because we talked about emotional intelligence, these are the needs we have. We have to be conscious about our needs. Otherwise I cannot talk to anybody. I cannot understand. I mean, it’s not a question of language. It’s a question of emotional access to myself and to the other one. So this is why I created, let’s say this concept of co-creation code, because I think we need this code to unlock our relational intelligence. What do you think about when I tell you about it?Jo:It resonates very much within my own perception of how I personally like to engage with individuals around me. And I think it’s also very much needed in the scientific discourse where currently in the publishing scene, like when in academic publishing, there’s an increasing amount of perception description. It’s either or and sometimes opposing opinions and scholars arguing, oh, my approach is the better one because ABC, rather than acknowledging different viewpoints and also different results due to the experimentation approach that is chosen and my personal approach with access 2 perspectives also to provide access to perspectives to different realities around the globe when it comes to scholarly equipment, political context, historical backgrounds. So all of these are concepts, not only concepts but realities we as human beings live by and within. And therefore I think it’s very much necessary what you propose to develop a sense of awareness of the differences that we have as much as underlying…Rike Bucher: As much as similarities.

Jo: At the same time also continuously and always stressing the similarities. What makes us human, so not to drift apart over the differences experienced with some political situations around the globe. I would just like to ask; what comes to mind as you describe it? Is this similar or related to empathy, the concept of empathy?Rike Bucher: To what?Jo: To the concept of empathy; being pathetic…

Rike Bucher: Yes, but it explores it much further, I would say. I can explain it also. Why? Because empathy there are different perceptions of empathy. Right. So the real empathy, I mean the original one, let’s say that was explored by Daniel Goldman, for example, about the emotional intelligence he first mentioned in his first book about emotional intelligence. He explained what empathy means and this is the one that I lean on. So empathy means I can feel myself, but I can also feel the other one. And as I feel the other one, I must have a sort of small inner distance to be helpful to them. So I need not dive into what the other one feels or what the other one, I mean a problem of the other one or something like that. But I have to remain a little bit detached, let’s say, to be able to not control the situation, but to rule the situation. I like this definition of empathy because it doesn’t mean that you both cry, that you both smile or something, but it means that I feel you. It means that I can rely on your feelings. Okay. So if we turn now to the Co-creation code, we can explore it a little bit deeper because the Co-creation code starts with two people. So it’s the same like empathy. But the Co-creation code is much more than this. It creates something like a container with these two people, like we are doing now. Right. We create this container of talking about the Co-creation code. So you like to know what I mean? I like to explain to you, but in a way that you can feel it. There’s no knowledge that I want to give to you to talk about the Co-creation code as a password or something. I want you to feel it more. So that means that this room is an exploration room. This is much well known for scientists. I think they can rely on that very easily so that everybody puts something in. You put something in. I put something in. And we don’t know yet what we will create. At the end of the podcast, we know what we have created, but right now in this moment, we don’t know it. No.

Jo: We have a vague idea. It’s like having a research proposal, a rough plan of what it’s going to be like, but you don’t know what we discover in the process.

Rike Bucher: Exactly. So I think for scientists, it’s a very nice model to dive in and to explore it in a personal way. First of all, you can also use it for subjects or for projects or even for project management. You can use it, but it’s not so much on targets. It’s more about the emotional state. And this is how I interpret it. And that was also how I invented that mythology. And most recently I got I don’t know what you call it, a patent or it was registered as a logo and as a label, let’s say like this new procreation code. And I believe that is something that we all need in future. And I hope that not only scientists but also other people will try to bring that dialogue much further than just speaking. So container, this room that is created is a creative room. So anything can happen there. But these two must know each other better than just to say hello. Right? Jo:Right. Could you give an example or like a case study, or do you want to exercise it with me, for example? Just give some tangible examples with this of what this would then look like.Rike Bucher: Okay. So do you have something like a challenge or something that you work on? Right now and you don’t know how to come out of it or you have a relationship that you would like to explore further or anything like that could be.

Jo: I have several projects that I’m currently working on, but I’m not sure how they’re going to continue.

Rike Bucher: Choose one

Jo: So do you need to know the details, or can we just generally…

Rike Bucher: I would ask you some questions about it. It’s not about details in the home.

Jo: No, I can tell you already. So basically, as many of our listeners know already, that I’m working on an initiative which is also evolving into its own organization called Africarchive, African Centric Publishing Platform. We can use that as an example.

Rike Bucher: What is the challenge?

Jo: The challenge there is basically our mission… So I’m working on this together with an excellent and stellar team of African scholars. And I would also like to mention our partner organization, TCC Africa, with primarily Joy Owango, who’s also a member of our co-creators with Access 2 Perspectives. And we’re working on various initiatives together. So the vision for Africarchive is to be open access and open science portal for African scholarship and to change the narrative that African scholars would only presumably publish so little. There are different numbers to the global scientific discourse, but the challenges are many, including racial biases, including publishing capacity, including equipment on the continent. So we are mitigating or working towards mitigating many of these challenges and are now on the lookout for allies and supporting organizations, and we are finding supporting organizations over time. We’ve been doing this for three years now, and still the journey is difficult and long, and we’re making progress. And sometimes it’s just very frustrating and challenging as many activities and initiatives are similar to many research projects. I think everybody can relate to that. So, yeah, let’s take that as an example.

Rike Bucher: Okay. Let’s start. I just ask you some questions. All right. And you see how you can answer them. So it’s not much about what it is. It’s more related to how you do it. Okay. So I would like to ask you, what is the need that you personally follow in this project? What is your need for that?

Jo: Okay. Now that’s interesting because I actually have a little bit of a continuous identity crisis being non-African myself. And there’s always the danger of me speaking on behalf of the African scholars. And I try very much on a daily basis to avoid that notion. Instead, see myself as a mediator and a facilitator of dialogue with African scholars directly. And that is a balancing act that’s not always easy to pursue. So why am I doing this? I think it’s sort of an urge that I feel inside me for justice, to serve justice. And I have also coined a term. I haven’t seen it before, but I’m sure it’s a general concept by many scholars in particular, it’s called global research equity. I, my colleagues and friends are working towards that. And there’s also many different initiatives around the globe that are having that as a mission of their activities. My personal urge with this, again, is I want to contribute to creating justice on this planet in this lifetime.

Rike Bucher:So let’s pick out justice. Okay. Because one example is more in singularity, we see more than in a complex version. All right, let’s take justice. What is the relationship between you and justice? Where does it come from that you have this need?

Jo: Okay, well, that’s opening Pandora’s boxes. Growing up, I had many approaches to justice. Also from my family story and family legacy, my great grandmother, many of my closer friends or mothers. My great grandmother was fighting against the Nazi regime and gave her life quite heroically, but also not so heroically, because who wants to die for whatever cause, you can say I have it in my genes, but I think it’s something human beings all have in common to various extent. So that’s coming from having grown up and from the family context that I’ve lived in but also …

Rike Bucher: Why do you follow it now? I mean, you can say it’s a heritage. Okay. But at the same time, you are actually working on justice, as it seems to me, right?

Jo: Yeah. I was just trying to figure out why I’m so much looking for a cause in my life, because I think I want to follow in my great grandmother’s footsteps. I want to pay justice to her plight and her legacy. And also, I don’t know if it still makes up for her having to die relatively early in life, but it’s just like she’s like a role model without me having ever met her. My mother was four when she was killed, but it had quite a big impact on my childhood and upbringing. And then I think I’m highly empathetic in my nature, which seems to be common in, I don’t know, 25% of the population around the world. There are several studies; I also learned about the concept of highly sensitive personalities. I would cluster myself in that part of the population. And with this, I always felt strongly about environmental justice, animal rights, human rights at large, and at some point, the pressure on my shoulders and the weight was so hard that it was paralyzing me. I didn’t really know how to act any further in school or studies. So I was trying to figure out, okay, what is tangible that I can actually work on to make a change with. And then I was working with Indigenous people’s rights, which is still, I don’t know, open to 8% of the global population with a large number of people to support. But I felt like it’s a distinct group of individuals. And the mission is quite precise. What was in a sense, tangible. And then I got an opportunity to work within that topic of Indigenous people’s rights and with Indigenous people to go to Kenya to work with the United Nations Environment Program on a project that was looking into climate change and the rise of Indigenous people in terms of climate change. And that was in 2009 and 10. So that was actually when the whole debate of climate change just had started to take off in the media. And that’s how I came to Kenya. And then as a scholar myself, one thing led to the other. And now I’m working with scholars for research equity across Africa. So that’s basically the short version of my story.

Rike Bucher: Okay. So let’s see. This is your personal need. All right. This is justice. It comes from your family, but you expanded it in some way so that you can work with us today. And if you would say, I mean, let’s talk to the watchers and the participants or to the scientists in a wider range. Do you think that scientists’ justice is a reason to work for?

Jo: Well, I think for many it is. I also learned and experienced myself that research on its own, with science like natural Sciences or social Sciences in itself, is feeding curiosity. And curiosity is something that humans have in common, like we’re urged to continuously learn. There’s also what many scholars and we would say is a duty of humans throughout the lifetime to never stop learning. And being a researcher as a profession allows us to do that and get paid for it. Those are very elite or very luxurious decisions to be in, even though it’s not paid as well as other professions you can think of. But yeah. So I think that is satisfying a natural curiosity that we experience as humans. And I also met many young scholars who actually want to make a change with the topic that they chose for their studies and their research as a doctoral thesis. And it’s often medical related. Often it’s also for environmental justice to stop climate change or to help mitigate climate change or to rescue animal species from extinction or anything along those lines. So the motivation to becoming a researcher are many fold. And I think it’s just a very unscientific guess. I think around 50 or 60% is about curiosity. And then there is quite a large number of scholars who feel they have a purpose for their research and want to focus and develop themselves.

Rike Bucher: Okay. So if we don’t want to become too theoretical, I would like to dive into the emotional part. Now, you told me that it needed to be unadjusted or in equity or diversity. Okay. So let’s explore a little bit further. What are your feelings behind justice? Is it something that you feel challenged about that you mentioned curiosity, that you have the curiosity to look after this justice, to find it and explore it further with all that you’re doing with your offers, with your programs and so on, or what kind of emotions if you look inside yourself, what kind of emotions are behind that needed justice, to create justice.

Jo: I think for me personally, it’s to ease the pain that I experience when I look at the injustice that we all see in the world against improvements, against animals, against the environment at large, that causes a lot of pain for me, like emotional pain and that’s paralyzing. So I want to step into action by doing something about it, that I have an education, scholarly research, and even though I’m not practicing biology anymore, but still I practice the scholarly approaches that I learned as a PhD student to do something about it, like something hopefully informative that will also empower other people in my vicinity and within my reach and the reach of my colleagues where we collaborate and co-create to inspire them to take action and activities and initiative on their own.

Rike Bucher: Okay. So I think there’s the goal already, right? You can stay with the pain and say I cannot take it in, I cannot see it, I cannot believe it. And you stay passive. Like you said, you are somehow frozen when you see it. And on the other hand, you can get that as a motivation to see what can I do, not against it, but what can I create in a positive way so that justice could happen? Do I understand you’re right in that?

Jo: Yes, exactly. And also through my scholarly education, I also appreciate, like I mentioned before, the curiosity aspect of it, like to dig deeper into a topic, to learn to see different approaches and viewpoints, also to balance between opinions and not condemning one or the other opinion, but really getting informed before you make your own decision and conclusions. I think that’s what researchers should do and also are perfectly quick to do, and also journalists. And it’s not always like being human. We are also easily drawn to our emotions and be effective to them. But then on the scholarly approach, we are also trying to take a step back out of the emotional mess and to try and find a safe space to look at the situation from an informed point and with some distance without distancing ourselves too much from it. I don’t know. Yeah. But I think that’s a gradual experience that each of us needs to find a position for themselves.

Rike Bucher: I very much like this way of perception, like you said, to explore further, to look behind the curtain, to get more information, not to choose between opinion and opinion, but to balance it out, to have a big picture and not only one single detail. I mean, what should be the opinion itself, right? So this is something I think scientists have in their hands because they explore much further than the normal human being, let’s say about medicine. Nobody can know everything about one particular part of medicine, but scientists work deeper on that. But what they do is they compare the data. And I would say that it is also something like relational intelligence because I can relate data also to myself. If I evaluate data, I can say how do I do it? What do I look at? Do I see more than one project? Do I see out of the frame like this? And so then the emotional part comes in. You can take everything and make a flashback on your emotions. Let’s say like this. So you are related to objects, you are related to human beings, you are related to your dog, to other animals. But you can also see what you are in this, right? And I think it depends because let’s take for example, in another situation you work with somebody different than me right now in a dialogue. It would be another way of creative flow, right? Because you and I have a special room like that. I mean this is what I call this relational space. We have a certain space on us and you with others have another one. So this is exactly how opinions change. This is exactly how we see that different people create a different flow with us. And I think to be more aware of this, that not every person is the same, right. Not every dialogue is the same because people are different and rely differently on each other. This could be a part for scientists. I think that could be interesting.

Jo: I agree. There are various scenarios and situations. I remember when I was studying in Sweden with scholars from Spain, Russia, Ukraine, randomly, well not randomly, but they were actually in the same laboratory. And now we’re looking at the situation in politics these days, China as well. And then how each of us was brought up with also the political situations and our upbringing. And then that also brings about personal perceptions even and especially also in research and how we integrate research and our results and how we especially when it’s about something like Bioscience, like something weird as a political neutral topic. And yet there’s always some political and geographical influence that each of us brings to the discussion, which is also good. I’m not saying this shouldn’t happen, it makes us human and it acknowledges diversity on various levels. And for me personally, it’s important to be aware of that and not to condemn, oh, this is never happening because it is in my view.

Rike Bucher: So the problem starts when somebody says this is the truth, right. But then you stick to your frame in your head and you don’t open up to say oh what’s on there? So to be curious and to see what else can I rely on? So if somebody says this is the truth, I’m always very curious to know what kind of truth he or she means. Okay, so we can explore that much further. But let’s stick to what we have. So this interview is like a dialogue from us both. And I was the one who was asking you the questions you were opening up to tell about where you came from, what your family was, how you see justice in your work, how your projects are exploring right now. And so this opens up a kind of confidence to each other. You’re better now than before because, I mean, listen to what you said, and maybe you know me a little bit better, and you have confidence because I asked questions that opened you up and you feel better because you open up. You don’t talk about what you always say, but you get to know yourself and also me a little bit more.

Jo: It’s a trust building exercise. Right?

Rike Bucher: Right. And so if we are in this way, this is what I call affirmative exploration. It has to be affirmative. If I say, oh, I’m not interested in your family, tell me about other things. I push you down, I don’t want to know about it. I push you back in that. And this is what two Africans offer now. I know that because of my coaches that I have in French, and we talk a lot about this being pushed back because of color, to being pushed back because of what you have as a heritage, as a country or something. But even in Berlin, even in Italy, where I’m here now. Right. So to be affirmative means I open up myself and I want to know. I want to know you. And this space has to be an affirmative one. If I push you back, if I don’t want to know, if I criticize you, we cannot create this form of energy that we have together. And I think critics and the so-called better view of, let’s say, leaders in general who can say that they have the better view. Maybe somebody in the team has a very good idea and can be the one who brings everybody forward. Nobody knows. So let’s be open to each other, to explore each other and to have this affirmative way of saying yes. I want to know what you know. And I want to tell you about myself, too.

Jo: Yeah, I agree. It resonates again, really well with our opening statements because it also underlines us as humans being social animals. We want to get along with each other.

Rike Bucher: And on the first line, as a baby, we don’t criticize anybody. We look for help. We look for nourishment, we look for the milk of the mother. We look for closeness. We don’t have to be enemies, to punch everybody. We are very open. We are vulnerable even in this openness. Right. But then we learn how to behave, how to limit ourselves, because we don’t want to take the other one’s space, and how to criticize so I get a wider range of space for myself. So this is all that we have as a condition, but we have to go back to the wild nature that we have, to the wild nature in us, to say I’m open, I have freedom to myself, I want to know you, I want to talk about myself. So let’s start the creation together.

Jo: Okay. So we mentioned also in the beginning of this episode the program that you’ve developed, your wild nature. Why such a wild name? I like the name by the way. How did you come up with the name and how’s the program serving the tagline? Basically, what is the approach with your wild nature?

Rike Bucher: Okay, so how came I up with it? I think that ‘the wild nature’, I mean, I was a rebel myself, right? I was a singer of a trash band in my youth when I was 20, 21 and my parents hated me for that. Right. Because I was well educated, I came from a good school and things like that. But I was a rebel. So I think we all have this little rebel in us. We don’t want to accept anything that is just pulled on us. We want to explore on our own. And it came from a lot of coachings that I made in the last 17 years. I think it is now. I saw that the people said, yes, I want to be nice. But this part of me, I don’t like it. And I think we have to get back to integration of both of them. We have this side where we don’t like ourselves and it’s good to know why we are like that and we have the other side, why we are good, I mean, why we are liked also personally by others. And this one is the good side, so good and bad go together. Like the Ying and Yang goes together and the moon and the sun go together. So we all have both sides. And the integration makes you feel stronger because if you always keep that rebellion side, you get too much energy out of saying, I don’t want that, I don’t look at that, I avoid that. Right. A major part goes into that avoidance. Right. But if you can take that energy back into integration and say, yes, I’m like that I have these two sides and I try to integrate them. But when I say, okay, I’m like that I get much stronger and can react from this self awareness that I have by integration. This is how it came to be. And it has three parts. We can say, I call it the coaching, the bridge and the words. So the coaching is clear as the one on one coaching on any problem that could occur. The bridge is meant to be the creative part in it. So to build the bridge to the other one. So that was the step already in the direction of relational intelligence, like I told you. And the words is an awareness of how we describe ourselves, of how we see the world, of how we put our perception into words. And you can do it in a poetical way, you can do it in a musical way, you can do it in a scientific way. But if you talk in your own language and, for example, others don’t know your buzzwords that you use normally, they cannot follow you. So to be aware of what you say and how makes part of this relational intelligence too.

Jo: That’s interesting because in my training in scientific writing, I also sensitize scholars. They tend to write very technical and dry, what you consider as dry writing. So it sounds boring as you read it. And it’s difficult. And also for us humans, social animals are difficult to consume the extra information in the manuscripts, but I encourage them to actually use stylistic approaches in writing and writing types and writing styles that you would find in poetry and novelistic novels, which some scholars might argue, oh, this has no place in scholarly writing. But yes, it does because it serves the purpose of communication. So to add words, that does not necessarily add information, but help the human brain in a certain language to process the information quicker because it helps us to contextualize. And therefore, I think, like you suggest, a conscious choice of words beyond the mere expression of information is essential also for scholars in their science communication. I would love to dive deeper because there certainly is enough information and conversation for another hour. So if you agree, I would very much like to invite you back to the show for another episode.

Rike Bucher: This gives me the bridge, if you allow me to say something more on this creative writing. I would like to show you a little bit where I am actually now because last day I developed a program for creative writing. And the creative writing will take place in my second Homebase. And my second home base in Trapani, which is in Sicily. It’s an hour to the south of Palamo, which is the capital of Sicily.

Jo: Sorry to interrupt, just for those who are not so familiar with European geographies it’s in Italy.

Rike Bucher: Right. It’s the ball on the leg of Italy. So the ball, which is an island. Can I take you around a little bit?

Jo: Yeah. Okay.

Rike Bucher: Come with me.

Jo: Okay. So we see a little bit of a kitchen space, or it’s basically our meeting room. And now we’re seeing rooms, right? There is a balcony, and I could see a glimpse of the ocean. That’s the Mediterranean. Right. Obviously.Wow. Beautiful skyline roofs, mountain range clouds, and the ocean and the Sicilian coastline. For the listeners in the audio version of this episode. Oh, my God. And beautiful Italian architecture. We will put pictures of this not in the show notes, no not in the show notes but in the associated blog post, so you can have some visual insights as well. And of course, you can also go to the video recording of this episode. Thank you so much. Rike. This is beautiful.

Rike Bucher: Okay. Thank you, too. I hope we can continue that.

Jo: Yes, we will certainly do. So. See you soon in Berlin when you’re back here. And we’ll put all the links to sign up for your program into the show notes and the associated blog post. Rike Bucher:Very nice.Jo:Yeah. Thanks for joining us. Rike Bucher:Thanks for having me in that interview and I’m looking forward to following your line in the next one. Bye.

Jo: Bye

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