Does a fast-paced, cut-throat business environment lend itself to inner awareness? Nicola Slawson talks to Claudia Roth, co-founder of an initiative to raise consciousness in business
Each fortnight, the Good Business column catches up with people who are leading social change. It’s supported by Impact Hub Islington, an incubation space in London for socially-minded entrepreneurs
Nicola: Hi Claudia, tell us about ConsciousLab
Claudia: ConsciousLab is a platform to raise consciousness in business. We organise events and workshops as well as trips to India called Adventures to Consciousness. It’s an initiative that’s different to many others – we’re not here to make money.
ConsciousLab is in London and, in October last year, we started our activities in Geneva, Switzerland – the heart of business. We are also open to doing things in other parts of England if the demand is there.
What do you mean by consciousness and why is it important?
The concept of consciousness is difficult. For me, it’s awareness. Once you are aware of who you are and how you interact with other people, then you have choices to make. It’s about empowering yourself through creating awareness to take conscious choices in life and in business.
If you are stressed, decisions you take will be different than if you are conscious. When you are conscious of yourself and your environment, your decisions are so much more powerful because you’re not taking them from a place of ego, distraction or stress.
Emotions are so powerful. We very often take decisions from a place of emotion and it can actually have a negative impact on business. Being conscious helps you take decisions with a clean mind. Your judgment is less clouded.
How did ConsciousLab begin?
A client of mine, Subhash Thaker of Taj Hotels, and I had a discussion one day about the challenges businesses are facing. The ‘normal’ way of doing business was no longer working, so we decided to organise a talk about the need for deeper change. ConsciousLab was formed after that.
But really the whole journey for me started many years ago. My business is about building brands in the luxury world, which makes my story a bit more unusual. I come from an ego-driven, highly-charged luxurious background and it’s really different from what people expect. I call it ‘outer luxury’. Many years ago, I started to pursue a life of ‘inner luxury’ and at some point these two met and that was the real start of ConsciousLab.
What kind of people and businesses come to your events?
All sorts! And we hear incredible stories. That’s what’s so nice. The more people we can touch, the better it is for society. There are a lot of curious people. They might not even know what they are curious about. For us it’s very important to make a difference in business but obviously to do that, you have to start with the individual. The database is growing and the movement is growing. The time is right!
Where do you see the project in five years’ time?
ConsciousLab is growing organically. As people have engaged, we’ve taken it to wherever it needs to go. We can’t really plan because we don’t know who is ready to join. I expect there will be international or European branches. I expect that we’ll work with corporate companies – go into companies and work with their management and teams. I expect we’ll have a selection of the Adventures to Consciousness, not only to India but also to Africa or South America.
What makes ConsciousLab special?
All of us are dedicated to our own personal development and evolution. It’s a fantastic learning ground.
The next ConsciousLab event, Join the Debate: Women’s Approach to Consciousness and Business, takes place at Impact Hub Westminster, London, on Thursday 20 March 2014 from 6:15pm – 8:30pm.