Give yourself the Permission to be Punk, Wise and Audacious

What if you knew that a punk, wise and audacious place to think, could help you bring your most authentic self out in the open, and shift your organisational culture?!

What trusted space would you then co-create to support people into growing into the best future version of themselves?

Earlier today, I was discussing with my mentor the characteristics of people who got the most out of a Thinking Environment, and how they got breakthroughs…

In short, a Thinking Environment is a moment and a space where generative attention and mutual respect contribute to generating the most brilliant independent thinking.

Thinkers who do get the most out of it, are those who give themselves the permission – and the trust – to innovate, to reinvent themselves, to push the boundaries, to ignite their ideas. As a result, they will jump from their day-to-day, action-oriented world, into a world of metaphors, emotions, of self-discovery, all of this in service of the joy this brings to themselves and others

Paradoxically, I have found that a Thinking Environment is also for people who sometimes come into a conversation with a deflated: “I don’t know” – I don’t know anymore”, “I am not sparkling, I am stuck”. In normal conversations, ears shut down. Friends, family and colleagues lose interest… or interrupt you, leaving you stuck in your “not knowing”. Nobody wins.

But in a Thinking Environment, this thinker welcomes our question: “What’s holding you back from knowing?”’ “What are you assuming that makes this “not knowing” or “not sparkling” a place you want to be in now?

So I wonder, what spaces can we create to welcome and honour people, and what are the best pre-conditions to ignite great thinking?

Nancy Kline’s Time to Think approach has established the famous Ten Components to ignite independent thinking…

The Ten Components of the Thinking Environment

I am now looking at these ten components through my personal lens, as I want to embed my philosophy into the work I do at Conscious Innovation, helping leaders who invest in social change to transform people’s lives.


My aim is to bring touches of punk, wise and audacious energy to the space where people look to grow, with my support.

I believe that stepping into a space where you can be the most authentic version of yourself is the most punk thing to do.

punk is freedom quote by patti smith

As a process, enabling a thinker to bring some punk energy into a thinking session is gold dust. This is how they keep moving, shifting thoughts, seeding ideas, dismantling assumptions, and uncovering insights.

“Punk is a reaction to an experience. That experience can be injustice, existential crises, abuse, abandonment, oppression, etc. Punk is the freedom to react to an experience one has in a raw form.” Alexander Wolke

The permission to be punk enables you to remove what’s stopping you from becoming and thinking as your most authentic self. That fluidity reconciles the parts of your life that work well together.

You would be surprised… I have thinking conversations with social leaders, impact investors, and other changemakers, where a lot of fluidity is emerging. I love that they can be both a maker and an athlete, or a head of policy and a carpenter; a coder and a poet; an accounting business owner and a bold burlesque dancer; The least (yes, least!) surprising was a social investor, who was also a post-feminist rocker. All of these things at the same time. We need to break down more of the walls that prevent us from thinking with fluidity.


This “wise” element is generally an outcome of the previous part.

I love the slang expression “to Wise Up”. It refers to making or becoming aware of a secret or generally unknown fact, situation, attitude, etc. Think of what happens when you realise you were the one keeping something important away from yourself! Dismantle your own secrets…

Wise‘s older PIE root *weid- means “to see”, hence “to know”…

Bjork Vegvízir

Do you remember Bjork’s tattoo? It is called Vegvísir, “That Which Shows the Way”.

Veg: the way | Vísir= “that which shows…”

A Thinking Environment enables you as a thinker to uncover your own way.

Nobody does it for you. You own this.


As your insights grow, you gain in audacity (from the Latin “audacia”: “daring, boldness, courage”) and yes, if you put your heart to it, a touch of unrestrained attitude that helps you face what was up to now, a nagging ongoing discomfort.

My mission is to bring this punk, wise and audacious energy to the service of social investors and leaders. This experiential partnership helps them align their imagination, trust and resources, to create actions that transform people’s lives…. and their own.

To do so I create a space for you to think through more than before, as yourself, for yourself, on a topic of your choice. Through this independent thinking, you gain focus and clarity.

White woman with white blouse leaning against wall. Large Graffiti of a mask on the wall at the back with the word "Resist!: on the forehead.

As a changemaker, an influencing leader, through that thinking environment, you also learn to build on the respectful culture and harmony that your stakeholders need to deliver great outcomes.

Eventually, you – and your team members- are ignited to design and implement together – brilliant strategies and effective actions that create a positive impact.

For more information on the Thinking Environment, explore Nancy Kline’s work here and Book a 30 min discovery conversation with me to explore how this could work for you.

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