About Us

CCI is a hub for innovation welcoming any who facilitate creativity and tap into the collective potential of team and organizations. We are an open source, no trademark community of practice that exists globally online and locally in the work that we do. Our community comes together for weekly Sessions and occasional Intensives where we share insights and co-create solutions to major challenges. See the History page to learn about our foundation as a research program in the renowned School of Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Our core team consists of three Co-Directors, Bryan “Sage” Rill, Matti Hamalainen, and Aaron Eden. Each takes responsibility for managing one of three arenas in which co-creation has impact: Business, Design, and Education. The Director of each arena will post theme focused content as well as contributions from members of the community of practice that fall into that arena. Co-Directors engage each group and weave them together into the larger community of practice.

Bryan (Sage) Rill, PhD

Anthropologist, Experience Designer, Creative Catalyst

Working professionally as an anthropologist, designer, facilitator and educator, Sage’s specialty is understanding and shaping how people relate to the world. He leverages a diverse, global background to deliver insights, catalyze innovation, and develop creative leaders.

He helps the Eliad Group design and deliver co-creative learning programs, as well as “train the trainer” programs in which teachers can learn how to facilitate this art. He seeks to deepen these experiences by cultivating core capacities such as mindfulness, dialogue, and insight—which together facilitate collective breakthroughs.

Sage was originally trained as an anthropologist. He is a Fulbright-Hayes scholar with a doctoral degree from Florida State University. Emphasizing the importance of culture to design, he moved on to teach design psychology at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, a top design school in Asia. There he founded and directed the Co-Creation Initiative, a community of practice that designed co-creative processes to transform education and organizational culture.

Sage’s work stems from over two decades of inquiry into human cultures, consciousness, and creative processes – a journey that has taken him from exploring transformative media environments to training with monks in the mountains of Japan. He is constantly exploring new ways of knowing and being. He is author of “The Art of Co-Creation: A Guidebook for Practitioners,” available from Palgrave MacMillan HERE.  His scholarship and firsthand experiences serve as a foundation for the design of transformative leadership and creative programs.

A favorite quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Aaron Eden

Aaron has been transforming education since way back when he hacked his own high school experience. He has been creating and facilitating novel learning experiences for others ever since. Aaron is equally at home facilitating learning experiences with students, co-creating new definitions of success with cross-stakeholder school groups, and working with school administrations clarifying vision and developing strategic plans. Aaron believes there is nothing more important for a sustainable future than reframing how we approach education.

His focus is on supporting self-nourishing practices within organizations, consisting of the necessary feedback loops, communication practices, and iteration periodicity to allow for emergence and flow. Aaron has spent the last 15 years building on his earlier experience in corporate education and organizational change management to bring co-creation practices to education. He has been a pioneer in design-based, emergent, community-integrated learning in the K-12 space and has influenced educators and school programs across the globe, running kindergarten through graduate school. He has a personal mission to break down the walls between school and the real world—bringing continual learning and a sense of play into organizations, and helping usher schools into engagement with community. 

Aaron Leap pic

Matti M. Hämäläinen

Matti  received his Masters of Science from Helsinki with a specialty in mechanical engineering and product design. Matti is an expert in building innovative systems both in terms of infrastructure and processes. He has published on design theory and methods, human centered design, and university-based innovation.

Between 2008 and 2011 he worked under Professor Kalevi ‘Eetu’ Ekman as the research Manager of Product Design Research Group at Aalto University. From there he moved to China. From 2011 to 2014 Matti worked as the Factory Director at Aalto-Tongji Design Factory in the Sino-Finnish Centre of Tongji University at Shanghai. Matti’s strongest expertise lies in Integrated Product Design Practices. His research interests include Knowledge Management, Inter-Disciplinary Collaboration Practices, and Human Factors in Product Design processes. He is on a mission to change higher education as we know it.

Matti sees co-creation as an integral part of innovation, and seeks to design future collaborative environments based upon the co-creative framework.


Building Capacities to Unlock Collective Potential