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Small Beginnings: A Thousand Strong Steps in the Right Direction

Reflections by Timm Urschinger and Rhea Ong Yiu

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil,

but because of the people who don't do anything about it.”

Albert Einstein

While the world grappled with the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic reaching its unprecedented year of impact in governments, communities, and organizations, we stand to witness humanity at its utmost best during the recently concluded 26-hour Teal Around the World Festival(TATW2021).

It’s been a month since TATW2021 happened, and yet we still feel the buzz echoing in our social networks about the impact it has made on them; individuals, and communities alike. It’s hard to put into words the resonance from cultures that are poles apart, yet united in purpose and vision for healthier organizations that make for more humane societies.

We’d love to take the time to share with you some of the reflections and learnings behind the scenes, many of which prove the power of unleashing potential and collective purpose - most of which embodying the teal principles of wholeness, evolutionary purpose, and self-organization. Let us count the ways.


  • Mission first, everything else second - We took the time to understand each of our individual motivations to find our collective vision. Once we are all set on what we want, we went for it with our individual gifts and talents.

  • Having a mindset of abundance - Inviting people to come alongside us, driven by an underlying collective purpose was the only currency we used to drive the TATW2021 forward.

  • Open Space to let ideas flow - Everyone who came forward with an idea that is crystal clear in value walked away with someone either running with it or sharpening it for more impact.

  • Consent Decision Making at work - This is the gift that keeps on giving. If there is one thing we have seen pay off in many different ways, it is the fact that each hive had the freedom to make decisions to move things forward.

  • Hives made everything nice - Creating structures for accountability helped build capability through cross-pollination of ideas and activation of a shared consciousness that brings trust and confidence.

  • Tensions to sharpen and push boundaries - Applying the Law of Physics on team dynamics was not a bad idea at all. We’ve harnessed the power of tensions and coupled it with non-violent communications to push boundaries for creativity, challenge the status quo of virtual events, and created something beautiful out of something so simple.


  • Bees as a metaphor - Bees captured the core of our vision - to create fertile ground, to cross-pollinate ideas, and to make ideas come to life with vibrant colors, a buzz of energy, and a little sting that pushes us to take action - yes, that sweet action!

  • The Impact of Creativity on Engagement Building - Colours and creativity do matter in driving engagement in the virtual world. From building stages to being stages together, we built the platform brick by brick, collectively with virtual backgrounds. Using co-creation tools like Mural gave the community a chance to give voice to their thoughts and ideas in a way that is playful and inviting.

  • The impact of simple technology on flow and adoption - It all starts with the tool of choice - when people are able to work with the tool because of its simplicity, it becomes easy to follow and navigate the virtual space. For TATW, we designed flows and infrastructure with the intention to simulate what the real world could have been, when stages and large conference venues were still a part of regular events, using the principle of two clicks (two feet) for movement.

  • Space and lots of if for reflection and conversation - Music, ambiance, and lots of space using Spatial.Chat took reflection, meditation, and conversation to a next level - one that even challenges real-life dynamics to a certain extent.

  • Storytelling as an Inspiration to tickle the senses - We are a huge fan of hearing people’s stories, learning through their experiences, and feeling inspired by their journey, to make some courageous next steps ourselves. And we’ve seen people do just that right after!

  • Inclusive Space for Exchange - How do we make people feel seen in a large conference virtually and still make it feel ”small“ enough to let courage come to the surface


  • The power of unleashing networks: What a team of volunteers could accomplish in 7 months, imagine what potential that could unleash in organizations without the fear of failure, a high tolerance for learning and experimentation, and clear structures for action, could look like?

  • From pulling to staging: How might we invite participation to co-create through decentralization and enablement, creating platforms for people to flourish and bring their whole selves for a common purpose

  • Daring to dream: We shot for the moon and we landed among the stars. Cliche though it sounds, this was exactly what we did. We aimed not for perfection, but for an impact that feeds the soul of anyone who comes along.

We ventured into this great quest, with boots on the ground, hearts on our sleeve, and our collective vision steady and steadfast. We just staged a not-for-profit human-centered, lighthearted festival that welcomes all perspectives and cultures for a second time around, fuelled by the unwavering commitment and lots of passion hours. We learned a lot and we’d be lying if we’d say we won’t do it again.

So see you at Teal Around the World 2022? Register here!

Meanwhile, continue to engage with the community during our Monthly Global Teal Meetups.

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