A term Wessels and Van der Poll often use to describe their way of working is challenged based learning, a method where theories are directly applied to practical reality. Organisations applying for the course will need to bring an existing company project that will be worked on during the course. Through the combined fresh eyes of Wessels and Van der Poll new insights will emerge, that can directly be applied to the project.
Asked for a practical example Van der Poll mentions a project to recycle disposable cups at a festival. “To achieve the recycling end goal you could think of ten different solution trajectories. On a systems level, you could think about how to better separate the cups. On a behavioural level, you want to make sure people don’t throw away the cups. On a product level, you can design the cups so they are less polluting by using different materials or adding a deposit. Those solution trajectories are all separate routes in the prototyping and launching phases of a product, service or campaign. In the end, the question you started with – how to handle the waste stream of disposable cups – has to achieve a result. In other words, the waste stream has to have been diminished. The entire process in between is fluid. Our goal is to help organisations based on this way of thinking and working.
Decisions are not sacred, says Wessels. “In traditional decision-making methods, it is often thought that you cannot recall a decision. But why not? If you get a better idea tomorrow, it would be foolish to ignore it. Say you’re running to the North today, but tomorrow you suddenly realise that it’s much better to run to the South. You’ve really gained something because you received that insight only by first running to the North. So innovation means experimenting and learning, but also daring to fail!”