Appendix: Developing embodiment methodologies at CERN IdeaSquare and its potential in innovation


Since 2014 CERN IdeaSquare, the Innovation Space at CERN, has been delivering Challenge Based Innovation (CBI) programmes involving multidisciplinary teams of students from all over the world to address SDGs through Design Thinking and exposure to technologies used at CERN. 


Alongside the CBI programme, the team at IdeaSquare is always looking to advance the state of practice for experimental innovation by designing new processes to engage participants. For example, since 2018, workshops using embodiment techniques have been introduced as part of the CBI curricula to increase the innovation mindset of the students by inducing an advanced state of awareness to themselves and others in their cohorts. By embodiment techniques, we mean invitations that stimulate the participants to engage their bodies to sense and take actions whilst interacting with their spatial environments and other participants. In other words to create physical and mind spaces by doing before thinking. A particular focus of these embodiment techniques is placed on creating a safe space and a playful atmosphere to allow participants to welcome the unknown. 

Over the past 5 years, more than 600 students have been involved in those embodiment workshops and here is some feedback collected from the course organisers who co-designed the CBI programmes for their students with the CERN IdeaSquare team. 


“movement workshops prompt you to literally move out of your comfort zone and act without overthinking. This can be great for creative thinking necessary for innovation. It may elicit different emotions and responses in the moment, but in reflection, helps build awareness of self in relation to others.”

Prof. Christine Thong, Academic Director, Swinburne Design Factory Melbourne.


“What was special about the embodiment style of workshop is the interaction with the physical space and others in a totally different way. It sparked senses and feelings you didn't know exist. Next to that, it gave the group a feeling of connectedness.”

Sem Carree, Lecturer Creativity TU Delft 

“The session was about co-creation, understanding what means to lead, to follow and to co-create and it felt really powerful to see how the students would step out of their comfort zone to get into the game and to explore with the group their own mental and physical boundaries.”

Sonia Navarro, Attract Academy esade coordinator, Ecosystem architect for Experiential Learning