Anna Timofejeva

Alumni Anastasija Babarikina on creativity: "We realized we needed to take risks"

3 Jun 2021
by Ida Riikonen

Anastasija Babarikina is a 20-year-old alumni who is about to finish their second year of Business Administration studies. Anastasija is a Russian who was born in Latvia, and taking part in international projects seemed interesting to them partially because of this international background. Creative process can be tricky sometimes, especially when you need to build trust with people you do not know beforehand. Anastasija tells about their experience on two different Demola projects.




They will probably have common interests with you, and you will probably come up with a common language together!”

"I have already done two Demola projects now. The first one was located in Latvia, and I almost had a chance to do it on place before the pandemic. I think I met my team at least for five times before the lockdown, which was cool. But after having to move everything online, it was very hard, because a year ago it was still difficult to get used to the digital environment. The second project was a global one, also online, and it was great! But there are its downsides to working online, for example, it is very hard to get people to talk. When the communication is happening online, you just wait for people to start talking. In our second project we also lost a team member, partly because they were not able to communicate that well during the process.

How did you overcome difficulties as a team?

To be honest, the start of the project was very awkward actually. I think it is normal to have this awkwardness between the team members at first. I think it was one of our team members who is a talkative person, thatd the conversation. They asked us to tell something about ourselves, and when we were asked directly and kind of forced to speak, it somehow turned pretty natural. I think there should be at least one person to start the conversation in the team!

I guess we just accepted the difficulties since we had this shared goal, and as soon as there was action, we were able to go towards it. And as for building trust with strangers, the fact that we already met in the framework of this project speaks for itself – we already shared common interests and goals, maybe common values, even. A thought of that made it easy for me, because when I was about to meet my team for the first time, I kept repeating to myself in my head: “Come on, it’s not random people from the street – they also applied for this project, they will probably have common interests with you, and you will probably come up with a common language together”. In short, I just want to say that when you meet your team in this project, it already is a good possibility that you will have some similarities and you will end up finding a common language.



Photo from Anastasija's own archive.

Looking back at your latest project from the perspective of a facilitator, it seems that you had fun! How did you see it, and do you have any tips or ideas regarding creative thinking?

Our team dynamics changed when one of the team members left the project suddenly. Until that, we had been trying to rationalize things too much. But at the end of the process, we started to think in completely different way. I am not blaming anyone, I am just trying to explain how our thinking changed. We realized we needed to take risks and do something that people might not expect, something that did not even make any sense! We just started to follow our hearts and have fun. Before that we were put in these strict boarders, we were following the plan, and that killed our creativity. So we just destroyed the boarders and we relaxed! We started doing something that we enjoyed, and I guess it worked.

We had our ups and downs, which is okay. It is very healthy to come out of your comfort zone.

What are your plans, hopes or dreams for the future?

Some time ago, I came back from my Erasmus journey, and I had a lot on my shoulders - I applied for Demola, I had to do my course work, I did my internship... For now, I will take some rest and definitely apply for a Demola project again in the autumn! That is the experience I can mention to my future employers, add to my CV and all that. And my dreams for the future… I will finish my degree, that is my biggest goal at the moment.

What inspires you?

Maybe it sounds a bit selfish, but I really like it when people get inspired by me. That is something that inspires me. For example, my cousin is 15 years old now and she is always telling me that she wants to be like me. These kinds of situations lift me up. I do not want to sound arrogant, but when people say something like this, it makes me feel like I’m doing something right. It is also a form of helping others, and that is always inspiring to me."


Anastasija's LinkedIn

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