Over the past semester I have had the pleasure of working as a young innovator for innovation consultancy VANBLEND. I participated in an innovation workshop for the municipality of Amsterdam, in which we practiced design thinking to come up with new concepts that could be led by their newly appointed “gebiedsmanagers”. I also was part of a similar workshop conducted for and with NedTrain. It was my task to extract ideas from the experts and stakeholders, link them together and conceptualize them directly. During these sessions I was able to put my knowledge and skills in business and entrepreneurship and creativity and aesthetics into practice and gain experience by doing so. Next to that I have learned valuable techniques that could be extremely valuable for ideation in the future. An example of these is “Angels and Demons” whereby the group is split into two and each half glorifies or attacks a given idea in the space of a minute. This proved to be a very quick and effective way of determining flaws and strong points in a concept, and could be very useful for co-creation sessions in the future. Pleasant cooperation with VANBLEND has resulted in the company offering me a job as project leader for the design of a new service to “clear up” the clutter that is street furniture for the municipality Utrecht.

Next to this I have worked together with VANBLEND to come up with concepts to challenge the wicked problem of the refugee crisis. One of these is the “DIY life vest”, which is a life vest made of PET bottles and other commonly found, cheap materials. Since life vests at the Turkish crossing have become a despicable industry, with prices of up to 250 euros and fake vests circulating the market, a service which helps you build and test your own one could be invaluable. This concept has been published in Vrij Nederland.

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