2021 holds huge plans for The Climate Venture Collective. We are committing to running 24 workshops on 12 themes, and we will launch at least 12 impact projects from these workshops. We want to change the world, and we think this is a pretty good way to start.

The first workshop of the year was on the super material “bamboo”. This ranks 21st in the list from Project Drawdown and could play a key role in short term carbon drawdown. This is all alongside the hope that it has real potential as a long term replacement for everything from steel to plastic.


The CVC is a digital community, and the workshop format gives us an opportunity (and an excuse) to dedicate some time to thought experiments. It goes something like this…. We get some people on a zoom call and explain the principles of the workshop:

  • Work together but alone
  • Ideas are anonymous
  • Exercises are time boxed
  • Getting started is more important than being right

The principles are researched, sourced from multiple places. They are tried and tested workshop rules designed not only to help the best ideas surface but also to remove issues prevalent in more traditional brainstorming formats. For example, by working ‘together but alone’ we avoid loud voices dominating the conversation (which we all know, traditionally will be the white, male voices). We can also fit a lot more into a short time period than is normally possible if having to communicate through speech.

The most important principle, though, is to just get started. Don’t worry if an idea seems silly, or it’s not perfect or fully formed. No one ever changed the world by having the most sensible idea. That’s why we have two parts to our workshops now. Part 1 is about ideating, part 2 is about refining.


A powerful part of ideating is making sure we’re asking the right questions. A key part of the workshop therefore sees the participants creating some challenges. These challenges revolve around one central phrase: “How might we…?”. This phrase acts as a prompt for the construction of a list of inspiring challenges which, if solved, could potentially change the world. Since people like to rise to a challenge, the idea is that this will force us to be creative, to think in new ways about a problem.

We followed this process at our Bamboo workshop on the 14th of January 2021. Here are a selection of our most interesting “How might we’s” (HMW) posed.

  • HMW provide employment to marginalised people through bamboo?
  • HMW use bamboo to clean up the ocean?
  • HMW use bamboo for 3D printing?
  • HMW make bamboo the default choice?
  • HMW fix inequality with bamboo?
  • HMW get bamboo to the Olympics!?
  • HMW make a veganuary / dry January equivalent in regards to bamboo products?
  • HMW ensure viable markets for bamboo farmers?
  • HMW use bamboo as a construction material for refugee camps?

Once these (and many other questions) had been posed, we set about trying to rise to these challenges. We then set about a search for sources of inspiration. We trawled the internet and items of research on bamboo, stories of business success or even just cases using an idea that ‘just might work’. The entire purpose of this section was to be ‘radical and ridiculous’. We really wanted participants to be extravagant in their approach, to really aim to change the world. We wanted them to let their minds run free from the shackles of potential embarrassment, fear of failure and (most importantly) what has been thought of before. We wanted them to take a moonshot. This is what this looks like:

This was the first workshop of 2021, and the first where we put our new improved workshop recipe to the test. It seems, thankfully, that the recipe works. It turned out to have been one of the best workshops we have run so far. The products of this workshop will now be voted on, with the most exciting ideas put forward to the next workshop for refinement. We can’t wait to see which ones you pick!

Is your brain running with ideas? Want to tackle the climate crisis? Frustrated by a lack of progress? Turn your ideas into action. We’d love to have you at one of our workshops, and the door is always open for you to join our community. The more the merrier.

Sign up for our next workshop here

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