Learning by doing

During a visit to GNova, our sister lab in Brazil, we boosted both their practice and our own using a simple process model.


The central element of MindLab’s collaboration with GNova is to boost the lab’s ability to create innovation among the Brazilian public authorities. During our most recent visit to GNova, we experimented with a new approach to the work. Instead of just teaching about methods, we took part in an ongoing project and tested the methods in practice. We used our new process model, Praksistjek, for this purpose and went into the field with three GNova team members.
The guinea pig process produced genuine results
Praksistjek is a systematic, efficient method of studying whether political initiatives produce the intended results by involving all operators affected in the process. GNova selected an ongoing training project to study whether courses in innovation at the Brazilian Institute of Management and Administration create the desired innovative capacity in the civil service. GNova managed the process, which involved interviews with all operators.

By getting the operators to put into words what knowledge the civil service lacks, and how it might look in practice, the GNova team produced a necessary overview of how the school’s courses function in practice. It also produced a number of recommendations for how the courses can be improved. This was all done in a few days.


This is exactly the type of research we need, but don’t have time to carry out.

– Pedro Vilela, course coordinator at the National School of Public Administration (ENAP)



Transformation via participation
The process was designed to permit the GNova team to constantly reflect on and adapt successful and challenging activities in interaction with MindLab. The team found it particularly difficult to accept the speed of the process and the fact that decisions had to be made despite the uncertainty. However, it was also this insight that the team subsequently emphasised as experiences that changed their thinking and approach.

The reasons for success and setbacks along the way were reviewed jointly in detail and converted into action-oriented tips to maintain ownership of the lessons the team had learned during the process.


Having to accept the limitations of lightning-fast methodology and proceeding, regardless of your doubt and uncertainty, was a particular challenge. However, it was also the most important element.

– Manuel Bonduki, GNOVA team member


By working on a specific problem in close cooperation with the GNova team, we were able to experience everyday life in the lab, and thus gained a more precise understanding of the deficiencies when we come to support GNova’s capacities. This form of close, context-based collaboration reflects the way in which MindLab insists on working with our owners in Denmark, always with the ambition of creating cultural changes via specific activities, where new approaches and thought processes can be tested internally and adapted to the organisation’s infrastructure.