My very first Open Space

Last Sunday I hosted my very first Open Space. I have attended Open Spaces before, but never had I organised and hosted an Open Space by myself. The participants were +- 25 creative festivalorganizers. They are active! Enthusiastic! Loud! Quick! Full of ideas! And it was great to work with them.

Starting of in a circle

Young Art is a cultural organization from the city of Beverwijk, in the Netherlands. Once a year they organize a festival, and I have been a part of it in one way or another for 11 years now. I started as an ‘artshopper’, in a course on documentary making, then worked backstage, and last year I was their stagemanager for the B-stage! I grew with the organization and the festival, and now I was able to try out one of my current ambitions; to practice Art of Hosting and Open Space Technology.

If you want to know more about Open Space Technology, have a look at this website:

Open Space (Technology) is a simple way to run productive meetings, for five to 2000+ people, and a powerful approach to leadership in any kind of organization, in everyday practice and turbulent change.

Providing a framework and a method

It’s about providing a framework and a method to let the attendees talk about subjects that are important to them. One of the main principles is that attendees should feel like they are either learning from, or contributing to the conversation that they are attending. If they feel like they are not doing either of those,
they should use ‘The Law of Mobility’ and move on to a different group or conversation.

It works great if you have a complex question, want to generate new energy in a group or if you want to know what the burning issues are for your employees, community or organization,  this is a great method to try out.

If you want to organize an Open Space (or a different meeting / brainstorming / planning) model for your organization, contact me!

Co-creating the agenda

Happy last day of 2015!

A while ago, this made my day:

It is a good way for me to think of 2015. We worked, struggled, slept, ate, and build half a house. Next year, I hope to continue to live, in the glass bottle of life. That’s all. I nééd this sometimes. I need to get away from the news and focus on the nows.

Just a little addittion for any Dutch readers, the Daily Delusions by the Dutch news blog De Correspondent does exactely the same thing. But then in an hour and instead of a philosphical retrospect you get all the non-news (waan) of the last year. Fun to watch, same result. We work, struggle, and then continue to live.

Happy 2016! May your struggles be enjoyable.


Fear (in Dutch)

I joined the last edition of TEDxAmsterdam as a volunteer and looooved it. Even though your pretty busy as a volunteer, I got to see the main part of the talk of Damiaan Denys. And it might very well be one of the best talks of this edition. It makes you laugh at your own fears. It’s in Dutch as Mr. Denys is at his best in Dutch, but since I live in the Netherlands and many of my clients are Dutchies, I really wanted to share this with you:

I would definitely recommend volunteering at a TED (x) event if you got the chance! As an event organizer, I got a very valuable peek at all things going on backstage. All the stagemangers, the timing, the food and the decor, it was very well done. Plus, you get to be at the TED conference!

End of the semester videos

Last week was the very last class of my course Intercultural Communication and Leadership at the office of CIEE Amsterdam. I will miss my students! The last class of the semester is usually a ‘digital story viewing party’. All students make a digital story of some of the lessons they learned during their study abroad. These lessons can be very personal and provide insight in how different the experience of different students can be. Today I want to share two stories of students who shared their stories publicly on YouTube.

This is a great story about culture shock. There are so many different degrees of culture shock! I am so glad that Emma decided to share her story and hope that others recognize some of their experiences in this story.

This second story is about language. In some time of the semester many of my students suddenly realize how lucky and privileged they are to have English as their first language.

Now I start my holidays checking the last papers and sending out final grades. It is such an amazing and valuable experience to see these students grow and learn during their stay abroad, I am happy I get to do it again next semester.

Intercultural Communication and Leadership is taught at CIEE study centers worldwide. More information on the CIEE website.

Unlocking Creativity

Yesterday I saw an amazing TED Talk by Stanford Professor Tina Seelig. Now there are amazing TED Talks all over the web, and one of my students even told me that watching TED Talks makes us stupid. But I’m telling you, this talk was a-ma-zing.

Professor Seelig indicates several different possibilities to grow creative abilities and thereby innovation, and gives examples of how to stimulate these factors. It struck me that all of them, the internal “imagination – knowledge – attitude”, and the external “habitat – resources – culture”, are separate factors that a person or organization can actively work on. You could make any of these a focus area of a meeting, event or policy if you want to improve your creativity & innovation skills as an organization or even as a freelancer.

Because I am fascinated by Dr. Seelig and because she stated so many interesting concepts at once, I chose to make a drawing of the talk:Summary of the talk of Dr. Tina Seelig at TEDxStanfordYou will only be able to understand some of the analogies if you watched the talk (like the shoes with little umbrella’s on them), so watch it! But it will hopefully help you to remember the talk and the concepts in a clear way. In any way, it helped me!

I started to practice to actively draw out concepts and brainstorming sessions after I followed an Art of Hosting training in the summer of 2015. I love drawing, it helps me to understand and remember, in Art of Hosting they call it ‘harvesting’. I know that I still have a lot to learn and to develop my drawing, and I am excited to share my progress in drawing interesting concepts on this blog.


Supporting Creatives and Makers

What does ANNNA do? There is such a myriad of activities under this name, but there is one common denominator:

To help creatives with structures that create new energy. 

I help musicians, artists and designers with new bookings and promotion. I design events, shows, locations, meetings, shops, trips, excursions and models for groups, communities and creatives; commonly called: ‘custom projects‘. Lastly, I teach and host workshops, on just about anything you’d need!

Need a custom solution to a complicated challenge? Looking for an energizer for a quick project? Let me know at

In the menu on the left you can find some of ANNNA’s activities. If it’s not there yet, we want to create it!