EarthScapeVR: Circular Leadership through the Overview Effect

 EarthScapeVR: Circular Leadership through the Overview Effect

“A unique Anglo-Dutch cooperation in space VR” is a short way to describe a new initiative using the overview effect for leadership training. EarthScapeVR is a UK-based startup that developed a virtual reality (VR) experience based on the overview effect. They have teamed up with Circular Leadership, a Dutch leadership training organisation, using the VR experience as an important element of a new sustainable management training course that is available as corporate and open training days in the Netherlands and the UK.

The challenge

Despite people’s worry for the environment, their behaviours often do not correspond with these concerns. Several leading organisations are moving to net zero, but many leaders find it difficult to navigate in this space. In addition to financial goals and satisfying their shareholders; new skills are required to strengthen their sustainability DNA.

Society is demanding change, and this is seen in board rooms globally. Companies will be able to differentiate themselves by acting now and being ahead of the requirement to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

EarthScapeVR aims to inspire leaders to transform into agents of change and initiate behavioural change in organisations, primarily multinationals.

The solution

Numerous courses are aimed at teaching the facts of climate change, but most do not touch on the human emotional aspects. EarthScapeVR leadership workshops are developed and run to better connect people to our planet and to encourage participants to be compelled to act by becoming part of the sustainability solution.

The training solution blends evidence-based immersive VR with the issues of climate change, addressing both the heart and mind. The workshops help people discover their personal purpose so they can transform themselves and their organisations for a better world.

The VR experience takes participants on a space journey, watching Earth from space, creating a powerful cognitive shift in awareness in how we think about our surroundings, our connection to life and others, and how we think of our home planet.

The EarthScapeVR mission

To put it simply, the EarthScapeVR mission is to deliver the workshop, with the help of third parties, to a million people by 2030. While it is difficult to quantify the impact the training courses will have on alleviating climate problems, the workshops are aimed to elicit an emotional change. Research has shown that emotional stimuli such as VR have the potential to influence two thirds of people undergoing them.

Over 2,000 people have now experienced the EarthScapeVR journey into space, showing a range of responses. A significant number of people report a strengthened connection to Earth, becoming tearful and feeling a sense of guilt at what we have done to our planet, our home. If only a fraction of the one million people change their behaviour as well as their organisation, the positive impact to the climate problem will be significant.

Circular Leadership training session using the EarthScapeVR overview effect experience
Using virtual reality for leadership training (image: Circular Leadership)

Circular Leadership

Never before in our history have we faced so many challenges on a global scale. The wellbeing of mankind and our planet is seriously endangered. More and more leaders feel it as their purpose to make a positive contribution to their own wellbeing, that of other people and to our planet. They acknowledge that a fundamental change in awareness is necessary to make a successful transition to a more peaceful and sustainable world.

The Circular Leadership company was founded in the Netherlands in 2014 to enable leaders to raise their consciousness so they can gain mastery over their lives, guide their actions and be a source of inspiration to those around them. The company teaches leaders how to be resilient in times of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) to develop vision, focus, creativity and better intuition.

From personal leadership to corporate leadership

With innovative and state of the art leadership and team training programs Circular Leadership aims to create a connection between the heart and mind and help leaders discover their personal purpose, so they can transform themselves, their teams and their organisations for a better world.

When leaders raise their level of consciousness they build sustainable organizations in which people thrive, are more fully engaged, more creative and work powerfully together. These leaders realize their purpose and continuously adapt to their environment; delivering innovation and value to their organizations, stakeholders and the planet.

Earth from Space: a virtual reality leadership overview experience

The world-first workshop “Earth from Space”, includes a 30 minute multi-sensory VR space journey that combines state of the art VR technology and soundscapes to give a full immersive experience of a space flight. The VR experience is a multi-sensory three-dimensional high-definition space journey built on NASA’s Blue Marble data set.

The experience takes participants, after witnessing Earthrise on a voyage from the dark side of the moon towards the Earth. They then travel in orbit with breath taking views of our planet, in day light and during nights, watching the beauty of the oceans, the forests and the northern lights. But they also become aware of the fragility of our atmosphere and the devastating human actions that causes bushfires, melting of the glaciers and pollution of rivers and landscapes.

The Overview Effect provides leaders with new insights, a renewed sense of responsibility and a new planetary perspective. Common features of the experience are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.

The impact of the Overview Effect goes beyond the personal to the social. Scientific research shows that it deepens the cognitive, emotional and spiritual connection with our Planet and so motivates conscious, sustainable and ecological leadership.

Read more

You can read more about EarthScapeVR, and book your own virtual reality overview effect experience, at their website:

Additionally, you can read more about circular leadership training, including the virtual reality experience at their website:

Remco Timmermans

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