IOT Olympics hackathon

For the Amsterdam IOT Living Lab I organized the IOT Olympics. IOT (‘Internet of things’) is a rapidly developing market where there is still a need to define it’s value proposition from a people & society point of view.
At the IOT Olympics we aimed to generate concepts for, in this case, outdoor sports activities, such as running, yoga, games that people can do in the park.
Working together with the HvA and the city of Amsterdam, we outfitted the Oosterpark with a number of beacons and asked participants to prototype sports IOT concepts.

IOT Olympics

IOT Olympics

IOT Olympics

IOT Olympics

IOT Olympics

IOT Olympics

Design for change workshop @ Border Sessions

At Border Sessions I was fortunate to have the opportunity to host a workshop about Design for Change. The idea behind the workshop was to explore a thinking & designing framework to adapt to an uncertain world in which everything constantly changes.

Design for uncertainty workshop

Design for uncertainty workshop

Design for uncertainty workshop

Design for uncertainty workshop

Design for uncertainty workshop

Design for uncertainty workshop

Design for uncertainty workshop

Design for uncertainty workshop


Starting the Fab Academy 2015 today

Cool! The Fab Academy 2015 is starting today. I am on my way to the Waag in Amsterdam where we will follow the lectures. Psyched!

The FabAcademy is about fablabs and everything you need to know in order to make things yourself in a fablab. That means 3D printing, laser cutting, 3D modelling, building electronics, prototyping etc.

I will report here on my blog about my fablab adventures these coming 5 months while I go through this course. If you have great ideas or tips for me, I’d love to hear from you.

My 3 words for 2015

I came across this blogpost by Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan). I’m subscribed to his maillist for a while (can’t remember when or why I signed up).

In this post, Chris shares three words that he decided will define the year 2015 for him. Like lighthouses on his journey. These three words focus, ground and anchor everything he will be doing this year.

It is a very appealing idea to have that kind of focus. It is something that I need too. There is some much stuff I like, love to be doing, would love to learn, would love to experience, go to, make, become, say, create…well, you get the picture.

So for better of worse, here is my shot at my 3 words for 2015:

HEART – I have spent a lot of time chasing things that either drained my energy, or were just not the right thing for me (usually in hindsight). Most of the times, my heart was sending me signals that I was off track. By listening more carefully to my heart and have the courage to take steps towards where it* is sending me (even though often the path might be unclear, uncertain, scary, unknown, strange, unfamiliar…), I will benefit and grow. This is what I will do this year. It means saying no to lots of things or doing them differently. I believe that what my work will benefit from it and I will bring more energy and value to the table.

*note: Feels strange to speak about my heart as an ‘it’, as if it is something impersonal. It’s not, it is my essence. It deserves to be at the center of things.

MAKE – I have been an idea person all my life. I love the flow of creative thought and of unlimited associative thinking. I am a facilitator, I organize creative events (workshops, hackathons, etc). All good, but it is lacking one thing: adding to ideas and bringing my own to life. I am beginning to feel that hurt. It is as if I am telling my own creativity: “You’re nice and all, but I can not put you into the world.” That is bullshit. This year will be about creating things (digital products for one, so joining the Fab Academy is going to help me enormously in that respect, and also art, photography, and perhaps I’ll have a go at making a graphic novel which is a long time dream) and not holding back to share ideas and add value to those of others. To make is also to do, which is to experience which is to learn which is to be. So there.

FOUNDATION – I love trying out new things. That also means I keep jumping from one thing to another all the time. That beginner’s mind is often what enables me to bring a fresh perspective to things and why clients hire me. However, it can also be a trap in the sense that I often will want to start from scratch, from a blank page, which often does not work. This year will be about building upon things that are there already and bringing new things to higher levels.

In short, I am committed to bring my fullest, purest self to my work and deliver creative value with tangible, hands on ideas.

Fab Academy 2015!


Awesome, the next couple of months I will be learning everything I can about 3D printing, lasercutting, building hardwareand prototyping, because I am joining Fab Academy 2015!

Fab Academy is organized by MIT‘s Center for Bits & Atoms where fablabs originally sprouted. In a few months you learn everything you need to make almost everything. How cool is that 🙂

I learned about the Fab Academy at the Waag Society‘s Open Knit workshop in October. ‘Wow, I need to do this!,’ were my immediate thoughts.

Being a value engineer and organiser of innovation events such as #hackathons, I want to shape ideas into prototypes.

Check back here for regular updates about my Fab Academy adventures!

so true

Palo Alto’s CIO Jonathan Reichental @ Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs

Today Jonathan Reichental (, CIO (chief information officer) of Palo Alto visited the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. He was invited here by my Polderhack colleague Anne Bruinsma. I had the opportunity to speak with him about his views on open government and open data.
Palo Alto can be called the capital of Silicon Valley. Within a few kilometers you find Facebook, Google, Apple, HP and many other techgigants from our daily lives. To be CIO of such a place is special to say the least. Silicon Valley is a place that I also enjoy visiting for years already for its bustling energy and entrepreneurship.
Jonathan is a big advocate of open data, especially for governments. He sees open data as an opportunity for governments to involve their citizens in government. By enabling citizens to be involved in public affaris and by facilitating transparancy and serving data to citizens and companies, governments make it possible for everybody to partake in better city government.
On initiative of Jonathan, Palo Alto has therefore signed a proclamation on February 3rd, 2014, becoming an ‘open data by default’-city. In Jonathan’s own words: Take a look at the data shared by Palo Alto: (note: take a look also at open data from the Dutch government and the city of Amsterdam, since 2012).
During his talk, Jonathan pleads for a new operating systeem for government (I guess you’re a techie or not..;-) ) based on 4 ingredients: culture, data, engagement and smart. It all revolves around involving citizens and entrepreneurs in city governance in a 21st century way: with lots of open data. And I love that Jonathan organizes hackathons to support openness 😉
On February 22nd 2014 he was interviewed during the National Congres Open Data in the Netherlands. Take a look at the interview here:
Follow Jonathan on Twitter and check out his Youtube channel.
Finally a beautiful quote by Jonathan:
” open data is a weapon of mass democracy”

Misdirect yourself with a hackathon

We all know that to innovate we need to abandon old ways. What does that actually mean really?

It means that for a moment you need to forget what you know, what have done so far and who you work with. That’s difficult, especially if everything that surrounds you at the office reminds you of action items and todos for alle those ungoing projects.

At a hackathon it is impossible to use your knowledge exactly how you are used to. It is a place where you collaborate with people you do not know or otherwise would not normally be in a a team with. There is room to pay attention to something unusual.

Pretty exciting circumstances. You’re being asked to work on a subject that is unknown to you, in a process with an uncertain outcome and with a team of strangers (most of the time).

Perfect cicrumstances to misdirect yourself and your routines!

Why would you want to put yourself in that position? Well, now you need to engage with others in a conversation about their thoughts and intentions. YOu need to search for ideas that feel strange (it’s the strange ones that count!). And you need to find ways to leverage the talent and manpower in your team – which are limited, because a hackathon team should be no larger than 5 people! – to produce a convincing prototype of your idea.

To make it even more fun, the process is bound to give you new insights that change your perspective on the problem and its possible solutions as you go. Adapt all the time!

You gain much from this. You are made aware of your own patterns and fixed routines (which you often not even know you have!). You are challenged to think about a new subject and to get off the beaten path. You get to know new people and their talents (better, more than yourself!). Meanwhile creating something new with potentially a lot of value. O, and yes, hackathons usually have great atmosphere, they are inspiring and insightful. A pretty good use of two days of your time, right?

Want to know more? Let’s do lunch or have a coffee and I am more than happy to share my experiences with you and your colleagues. Get in touch now.

PS. A hackathon is one of many formats (even many that are designed as we go along) available to innovate. Formats like designathons, brainstorms, bootcamps, pressure cookers, or – real slow, letting thoughts and insights simmer… – a slow cooker ;).