Some of you are wondering what exactly I’m doing here in Amsterdam. What is this Knowmads business school? What do you do there? What’s the point?
I honestly thought I had a good idea of what Knowmads was about before coming to Amsterdam but I was wrong. They are up to some pretty cool sh^t. Working with Werald Winkel, TED, Edgard Gouveia Junior with the Oasis Game, invisible learning, and having their own Shaman. Yes, their own Shaman. There are workshops going on, businesses pitching their project to the students, presentations happening, events being planned, projects developing and so much more going on and all happening in one week every week! There are no tests here or required books to buy or a strict schedule to adhere by. This is the real world…in (alternative) business school form.
Last Thursday and Friday, 11 applicants (I was one of those) went through an application workshop to see if a) they get accepted into Tribe 5 Knowmads and b) they like what this school is up to and it fits their idea of education. During the workshop we did a series of energy boosting games (some that I will take with me like the dual game and slow motion rugby), speeches to get know each other, lots of reflection and feedback (thanks to lululemon I’ve gotten super comfortable with feedback!), and working on real business projects. These projects weren’t hypothetical, we had 24 hours to come up with a solution to their problems and hope that we delivered.
My group worked with an organization called Economy Transformers (ET). They are a community of over 400 individuals with a common goal of creating an economy that serves humankind and nature. Their community is getting so large that they don’t know how to handle it. ET wanted us to create a business model out of their community, make it sustainable and do it in such a way that followed their mission. Our group thought we were on to something good at the end of the first day finally coming to an agreement with an effective sustainable business model. However, when we pitched our idea the next morning to the school and the other applicants we got a nice surprise from one of the members of the counsel saying we weren’t creating anything innovative. So back to the drawing board and many more discussions. I don’t think I’ve discussed something so much and gotten no where. I’m pretty sure we were all frustrated in someway. But in the end we were able to deliver something to our client. Was it the solution they were looking for? Probably not but it most likely got their wheels turning on where they could take Economy Transformers.
This is what I believe Knowmads is all about. Clients pitching projects to students and having the choice to take that project on depending on the interest level. Projects that are so ambiguous that it’s actually a good thing because there is now so much space to create whatever the heck you want. That’s what these clients want. They come to Knowmads because they are working with students who have a different view of the world and work in a way that is different then the norm. The clients know they will get a solution to their problem that they wouldn’t be able to create themselves because Knowmads provides the space to create and the audacity to think outside the wine glass.
Can I tell you exactly what I learned those 2 days? I could give you some small learnings such as the idea that it isn’t about the winning it’s about the entertaining or learning to never leave a conversation until everyone understands. However, I think with this type of action learning you realize you learn the most when you’ve done a few more projects. When 1-3 months have gone by and you’re working on different projects. You see how you’ve changed as a leader, a follower, a facilitator, a presenter, and a person because these projects become a part of you. You see your evolution because you reflect, give feedback and are constantly taking action moving forward or to the left or right and possibly even backwards but always learning.
And that’s the point of Knowmads in my opinion. Learning by constantly taking action.