Are We Designing Capacity Limiting Solutions?

vusblogOne of my favorite non profit blogs here in the US is “Non Profits With Balls” written by a smart and funny guy from Seattle named Vu.  Today he posted an article that might resonate with your small NGOs – in fact, you may want to share it with them. It may influence your own projects!


Introducing Janneke, (not) my super powers

Hi all,

I have experienced some confusiasm getting my post to turn up in the right spot on the internet. Thanks heaps to @cogdogroo for the help.

My name is Janneke Sluijs and I’m one of your tutors during Project Community. What I love about this project is the way it challenges traditional ways of learning and how it encourages, the students, as well as their NGO’s and not the least their teachers to learn. I enjoy a touch of chaos in every process and during my masters Imagineering I learned how organisations can behave like complex living systems adapt and learn following rules from complexity science/chaos theory. As long as the (starting) conditions are right these systems tend to adapt and learn. I believe Project Community sets the conditions for your complex learning environment and I’m excited to be part of it again!

THUAS is my home base for already ten years now. I’ve done my bachelor program here, where I learned to be a user researcher. I’m a researcher on Design Thinking and educational innovation for most of my professional life and I took part in setting up the IDE program and worked here ever since. I also have a room on the sixth floor; SL6.91, I spent most of my time there. Last summer I’ve been working in/renovating my new house; my superpowers or skills really aren’t in this department. However I confronted the challenge head on. I take pride in the results and my parts in it and I will definitely share some of the results and my learnings on the way.


One I will share with you right now: With many tiny or bigger decisions in the house I was confronted with things I knew nothing about. My default is to go and ask people who know more, and learn about the subjects. This is a useful process and I love it, secretly I was hoping that there would be people who would tell me what to do or how to do it. This however is never the case; in the end, I’m the one who has to take the responsibility, make the decisions and live with it. I would suggest this phenomenon also applies when you’re studying; you are responsible for your learning; and in the end you get to live with the knowledge and skills you learn on the way.

My plan is to move in next week; I empathise with all of you who moved this way in the past months or earlier. I look forward to the confusiasm of this year’s Project Community. By the way, if you’re stuck in confusion, I, as many of your teachers, can help you to enjoy the process and get enthusiastic about it!


Laura’s Superpower

red rocks
In Red Rock country. Not so far from Alan’s house.

Has it really already been 4 years that we have been doing Project Community together? Last spring we saw the 2nd group of students graduate, so it must be true. We are in our 5th year at IDE.

From rock climbing & Windsurfing in the USA, to Diving, Snowboarding and Wakeboarding here in Holland, I am most happy if there is sunshine and a slight breeze. The beach could be called my home, but the Red Rock Country of Arizona sure makes a close 2nd!

I’m a sports instructor, a Landscape Architect and an Architect turned teacher when I finally started to practice what I had been preaching for years… to Follow your passion! Yes, I really love this job!

I’ve written 2 books on women in the building industry called “Building Passion” and anyone wanting a free copy only needs to ask. They tell the women’s stories of why they love what they do so much, and by doing so, encourage other women to go for those top jobs most often controlled by men.

Coordinating must be one of my “things” since you will find me coordinating a lot this year. It could also be because I am slightly a control freak (saying “slightly” is being nice to myself). Starting off with the Introduction Week, Project Community and the Mentor Coaching (all of you will be assigned to a mentor) and later on with Design Exploration, you’ll see me in Area51 quite a bit. Loving to coordinate only has drawbacks if there are too many things at the same time.

My Superpower? Lifesaving

superpower laura
The Lifesaving will be popping up once in a while in my role as coordinator and as mentor.

I’m not a softy or a pushover – I’m sweet, but can be as hard as Lifesavers rock candy 🙂