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  • Photo du rédacteurJuliette & Iseult

What we learned in The Netherlands

As you might know, our world tour was stopped in March 2020 due to COVID-19.

That was a bummer. We went back to France (and that was not hassle free as it took us 3 days and 4 planes to get back) and started thinking about the future of Make It Work.

When countries started to reopen and things started clearing out in June, we decided to get back on the road.

So, we prepared a bit and we left in the beginning of July to go to The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden.

We're in mid-August now so we thought we might compile all the recaps we have so far to give you an idea of what we have been doing!

We arrived in Rotterdam out of curiosity and after a bit of sightseeing, we set off for Utrecht. It's a really cool city not far from Amsterdam, with a medieval historic center and canals. Highly recommend ;)

Our two weeks in The Netherlands were packed with incredible people and conversations!


✏️ Our first meeting was with Caroline Verlee, a pioneer teacher with a very progressive view of education.

It was such an inspiring start. We learned a lot about the Dutch school system (which is pretty different from the French one) and teaching in a different way.

Caroline taught English and mentored children in a secondary school called UniC during 6 years.

As we were educated in the French system, what she told us seemed pretty progressive!

In France, education is top-down. The teacher speaks and the students write down what he has to say. Knowledge is assessed through tests. At least, that's how we experienced it.

On the contrary, at UniC:

  • Autonomy is valued.

  • The curriculum is not imposed on children. Children decide what projects they want to work on ("I want to build a tiny train") and learn what is needed. In that case, it would be the notions of mathematics and physics related.

🏖 We then met with Luuk and Farouk from the Semco Style Institute.

As you might have recognized, they train companies based on the radical and pioneer principles of Ricardo Semler.

If you don't know him, he's a Brazilian pioneer who radically changed the way his family company was run back in the 80s. You should check out his Ted Talk "How to run a company with almost no rules" to understand his radical view. He inspired a lot of companies & workers around the world!

They all took a salary cut during the COVID-19 crisis and we thought it was pretty cool.

😎 Still in Utrecht, we met with Bruggink & Van der Velden, a B-Corp law firm that is far from your traditional pyramidal law firm!

Among many other things, they set their own salaries, work 4-day a week with no fixed hours.

Everyone is king in their own castle!

When we talked to people, we really felt like they had chosen the law firm for the right reasons.

Martina, who has been working for BvdV for 7 years told us:

"It fits me really well. I don't see myself working for any other law firm"

🎉 Still in Utrecht, we met a really cool consulting company: The Rookie Minds. They work on legal, financial & organizational design matters with a strong purpose: Humanizing Work.

We spent the day at their headquarters, the Utrecht Social Impact Factory.

There, talking with the team, we really felt that freedom & trust were crucial to them.

They set their own salaries, have roles instead of managers (inspired from Holacracy) and unlimited holidays

We also met Edwin van der Geest, who works both for The Rookie Minds and his very cool platform! He lists pioneer companies and practice around the world.

🤙🏻 We then went to Eindhoven to meet Joost & Pim from the Corporate Rebels. They have been traveling the world to meet pioneer organizations and sharing their discoveries for some time now. They helped bring about great changes, highlighting pioneer companies and practices on their blog and now in their book.

They were really cool, helpful and inspiring!

🍰 After Eindhoven, we went to Amsterdam to meet Quintus Willemse of the The Share Council.

They believe companies should be co-owned by the employees (as well as stakeholders in some cases). It's both a philosophy and a practical way to reduce income inequality.

So they help companies set up legal and financial models to ensure everyone gets a share of the pie!

This is a crucial topic because to what extent can you change companies if you don't change their operating system?

Our last company was Seats2meet back in Utrecht.

They reinvent co-working and the way we share unused space.

If you are an independent worker or a freelancer, you can reserve a free seat in exchange for social capital. ‘Social capital’ is basically the willingness of people to pass on their knowledge to anyone who might need it.

The bigger the network, the more social capital there is.

That creates synergies and it can end up in start ups or pop-up organizations.

Their business model is based on renting rooms for meeting.

We had a lot of fun in The Netherlands and we had the feeling it was a progressive country!

No wonder they have so many pioneers ;)

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