Eurostar. What a ride! From central London to Amsterdam Central in just a few hours, flying through England, France, Belgium & Holland. What a great idea. I wonder who thought of that? Well maybe the idea of a fast speed rail network around central Europe wasn’t that hard to conceive. Maybe the real challenge was making it work. Yes, I’m sure that was the difficult part. Making my journey a reality.

I’m in Amsterdam for my induction meeting at THNK; a new international school for creative leadership. A school that takes models of leadership (on the x axis) and models of creativity (on the y axis), focuses on the biggest challenges and opportunities in the world today, presents these to its students and asks them to draw a 45 degree line where creativity and leadership meet and head for the stars.

But why have I signed-up as a founding participant?

When I received a phone call from the school in October 2010, I knew instantly this was something I wanted to be part of. To develop my personal creative leadership, to shrink and ideally erase what my tutor and mentor Elly calls ‘blind spots’ (my theme for the course will be ‘focus and anchoring’ or ‘stop blogging and finish the accounts’), and to build a strong new professional network of talented leaders that can help each other on their projects and more beyond.

I have completed my first bit of homework; a thorough self-assessment on my strengths and weaknesses, and have asked 6 people I’ve worked with to do the same. Team THNK will soon have a pretty clear picture of what kind of participant they have.

School begins March 17th, when I will join 25+ other participants from around the world for the first week-long session at THNK’s beautiful HQ in a former coal gas factory in Westerpark, Amsterdam. Elly tells me I can expect 3 lots of 3hour group sessions every day! What kind of challenges or problems we’ll be asked to creatively tackle will only become apparent then. Maybe if things go the way I expect, we’ll be looking at creating solutions and models to some big ideas. Maybe we’ll get to design the next high-speed rail-network, social impact network, or sustainable urban community. I sure hope so – I’m ready to board.


Bas Verhart, co-founder of THNK in Wired UK: ‘Education is failing the future makers.’