Combining strategic thinking with adventure retreats

Just imagine being able to mobilise and exercise your body, return to camp, be nourished by a tasty basecamp treat and cup of tea or coffee, and seamlessly transition into mobilising and exercising your mind. 

One of the exciting things about what we do at Heart & Lava is combine our decades of professional expertise in strategic design, futures thinking and facilitation with our decades long passions in adventuring.

Over at our design practice, Relative Creative (Bec and Tristan), we have worked with many leading organisations and all levels of government to help people think about, talk about and mobilise sustainable futures. For example, we have helped Queensland Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Art Gallery (QAGOMA) create their future visions and Strategic Plan. We have helped the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) rethink their policies, programs and advocacy towards helping the industry design with Country. I even received the AILA QLD 2022 President’s Award for this work. The list goes on…water futures strategies with QLD and NSW Gov’s, health strategies with VIC Gov, masterplans, placemaking strategies and more. We’re so immensely proud of this work!

Tristan stands in a circle of seated workshop participants with bell tents in the background
Heart And Lava Website Image Portrait Strategic Thinking
Heartandlava Books 2

At our Heart & Lava adventures and retreats all this knowledge is woven into experiences. Often this occurs in subtle ways, such as fun and accessible prompts for people to reflect on the place they’re in and the pasts and futures of that place. Sometimes it occurs in structured ways, such as when organisations book group retreats with some strategic workshopping sprinkled in amongst climbs, pilates and hikes!

The power in these moments is that when by the campfire, or in a quaint campside hut, or on a table under the shade of a gum tree, these places inform the thinking. Feelings of these places are fostered in ways where those feelings can turn to knowledge, embedded in strategies. These insights could not have been illuminated if not for being in the moment in the place at that time. We can use prompts out of flora laying around, or spatialise ideas using twigs and scrub. Because of the fact we’re camped together over a couple days, we can return to ideas, allow for ideas to permeate, like the coffee in the pot off to the side. In fancy strategic language, we can build consensus by drawing things together with embodied place-based experiences where our multiple senses of place coalesce.

At the heart of Heart & Lava is experiencing mind, body and place before feelings turn to knowledge, but when we’re ready and willing, allowing feelings to turn to knowledge transforms ideas!