Balancing the Grind with Servane Mouazan, Founder of Conscious Innovation

Servane Mouazan is the founder of Conscious Innovation, where she helps decision-makers re-think and action strategic innovation.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

My mission is to help leaders and decision-makers align their imagination, their team and collective resources to transform people’s lives and their own.

For twenty years, I have had the privilege to support – mainly women- founders and intermediaries in the social economy through my organisation called Oguntê.

We worked to amplify the women-led social entrepreneurship ecosystem across the world; we steered conversations around gender equality and intersectionality and we created incubators and leadership programmes to help women sit at the decision-making table to ignite their social impact. We were one of the first 50 UK B Corps

Before that, I worked in various settings: I delved in community development, arts and campaigning in Europe and Brazil. To pay my rent, I served in the marketing department of a big pharmaceutical company and was even hardware specialist for a global IT company back in the Netherlands.

Earlier, in France, I was an interpreter, doing touristic visits on some days, and guiding Dutch dairy farmers on farm visits on other days. Quite a squiggly career. Nonetheless, all these experiences informed my work later on.

My current work is focused on Conscious Innovation. I help decision-makers re-think and action strategic innovation so that we treat this planet and all of its living components as if “they matter”.

Using a thinking environment that ignites people’s independent thinking, I help people understand how to adapt their behaviour, traits and attributes now to build a kinder future.

I do this through in 1:1 and in group settings, across the world.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I am based in North London, UK. My day starts around 6am with a solemn greeting to my cat and exercise indoors whilst listening to news from various countries, spotting signals of the future and dreaming out loud, before the rest of the family gets up.

My key moment is to write down 3 to 4 strategic actions by hand I need to have achieved by the end of the day. My internal competitor loves chucking this piece of paper in the bin come dinner time.

I have a series of coaching conversations with groups and individuals throughout the day. In between I write pieces to promote my business or participate in other people’s events, podcasts or advisory boards.

A fair chunk of my day is spent engaging with others, to learn or provide some sort of community support. Networking is my passion and also a necessity for a small business.

Finally, I sieve through potential pieces of work I can take up on my own or in collaboration with associates.

If I feel my mood goes low, I move around, read a page of poetry or watch 10 minutes of a soothing documentary. It’s a matter of rebalancing and finding joy, simply.

Overall, I found there’s a method in how I operate. I need to go D.E.E.P: Deliver, Engage, Energise, Prospect. (Sometimes in a different order!)

The last chuck of the day is focused on my partner, my teenage son and my cat. We always have dinner at the table and talk about our day. The cat is very judgmental.

3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I have always paused at this question because my work is integral to my purpose in life. So I look for “balance” instead. I define this as an ideal equilibrium that stabilises subtly on a good day, and that might tilt dangerously on a bad day.

Sometimes life itself shakes you – health, house logistics, rows, or grief, and that can jeopardise work. Or work sets you back and you need to be able to find refuge in “life” and its comfort, if you have the privilege to have some.

My approach is to create wonderful memories for later, ones you cherish, ones you learn from, ones you share with others. Maybe it’s about finding some sort of love in every minute or every action of your day. It feels like balance to me.

4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

My habits go back further than the last 12 months: I exercise every morning without fail, I practice my foreign languages every day. For the past 5 years, I have also monitored the type of food I eat simply because I found I could be a big trickster at the dinner table, and I reached an age when food intake can have a determining impact on my life. This is how I became a data geek, purely because I love getting evidence-based results!

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I find these newsletters inspiring: 

  • Dense Discovery: Discoveries at the intersection of design, technology, sustainability and culture.
  • Psyche: a newsletter that offers tools to understand myself and others better, to enjoy more the beauty of everyday life.
  • The Blast by Nobl: I love helping others though professional and personal transformation and this newsletter by Nobl is “obsessed with helping leaders spark cultural and organisational transformation.
  • Institute for the Future Signals Newsletter: As a futures-thinker, I love mining signals, evidence of the future that we can find in today’s world. Signals touch every aspect of our life and work.
  • The House of Trust (Podcast) I love listening to people who love to invest in social change and how they explore the conditions for trust to surface between people. It feels good.

Books: Time To Think, More Time To Think and The Promise that Changes Everything by Nancy Kline 

These have helped me “being a Thinking Environment” and offer support to people by not interrupting them and not judging them, but instead igniting their independent thinking and amplifying their imagination 

6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Nancy Kline, the creator of the Thinking Environment, an approach I am honoured to practice and share. 

7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I will leave you with a quote by my dear late Brazilian friend Marcelo Yuka, that really inspires me.

“I believe in love almost as a technology, a way of seeing things. A form of intelligence. Love out of the box”

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.