European Local Makers Network (ELMN)

Last Thursday we made a start for the European Local Makers Network (ELMN)! Let me tell you a little more about this initiative. I started a Meetup group a while ago with makers from the Amsterdam area. There is so much potential in this group! So when Makerversity Amsterdam hosted an open night for new members, we decided to tag along and speak about the things we could do as a group of enthusiastic makers. Psssst.. did you know that Makerversity Amsterdam membership is free for the whole month of April??

So we have lots of ideas for projects, knowledge sharing sessions and collective discounts now. I’m so curious what the future will bring!

We need some help in getting these things done. Do you want to co-host a session or help out with a certain project? Do let me know at annabel@annna.nl!

 

My three favorite apps

Since I got my new Fairphone 2… (I love my new phone!) I reinstalled the apps that I really like and thought of sharing them with you. Nothing in this post is sponsored, except for the link to Amazon & Audible. Just to be sure: I loved Audible before I discovered the possibility of a sponsored post by Audible, but I just wanted to let you know that this post is sponsored so if you register with them I get money, so is that clear, so if you want to support my business and goals you could click on this link, but also if you want really good audiobooks. Now on to the apps:

Headspace Meditation App

The Headspace app teaches you about meditation and guides you through meditation sessions. I find meditation very hard. I dislike sitting down and doing nothing. But the headspace app has cute little icons that explain what meditation is and how it can help you to get a calmer mind. If you know me, you know I need it.

Headspace – How It Works from Headspace on Vimeo.

And it is not unimportant to note that Headspace has Andy. Andy is the voice of headspace. (I want to say that he’s the voice in your head but that sounds creepy). He appears in little clips in the app to further explain some of the practices (you do not have to sit cross-legged on the floor in order to practice meditation). Andy also has a funny accent. And a funny last name. For a monk. Anyway, it’s not about his last name (its Puddicombe!) But his voice and accent make the app feel real personal to me.

It feels like a real person is talking to you, helping you, and guiding you trough the meditation session. Of course Andy Puddicombe is a real person, but a real person whose recorded voice is guiding 18,098 people through meditation as we speak. And, he was also a circus artist once. Anyway, it might seem strange, but I like to listen to this funny lad with his funny accent. It helps me to learn how to meditate.

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If you want to try out Headspace. The first 10 sessions are for free and then you can decide how much you like it.

Audible for Audiobooks

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Screenshot of my personal Audible app.

I looooove listening to audiobooks. Why? Because you can listen to them while your vacuuming, cooking, doing laundry, painting your new house (in my case), and while on public transport. I use the Audible App by Amazon. They give you the first two books for free and after that, you can decide if you want a subscription.

I love listening to books on my daily commute, because although I usually like people, I appreciate a distraction from all those random people who come so close to you on public transport. That’s not very mindful of me, I know. But while they’re all discussing the latest gossip on their phone, grinding their teeth or cleaning their nails (that’s the worst!), I can relax and listen to a book. I can assure you that it’s been a long time since I have read so many books!! My favorites so far:

“But Annabel! I can’t believe you hadn’t read -Fill in title here- yet?!”I know. Because there are so many things to do, I just didn’t have enough time to hold a book in my hands. But now I just listen to these books while I’m doing all kinds of tedious tasks and I’m really glad I did! I feel so well-read. And I wish you the same!

If This Than That

And then the last app of my current favorites: it’s called: If This Then That. Or IFTTT. Programmers would be familiar with this terminology, but it sounded like a mystery to me at first. I’ll try to explain it simply. I would ask the app: If I post any picture on Instagram Then you will post it as a visible picture on my twitter account for me.

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That’s why I have actual pictures on twitter instead of links to instagram! And then it can solve all kinds of other riddles. If I am close to my house, Then turn on the lights. If the weather forecast reports rain tomorrow, Then send me a message. If I’m home, Then unmute my phone. Simple, easy, works. Get IFTTT here.

This post is sponsored by Audible.

 

Hosting at the Beyond RCT Conference

Last Monday I was the day host at a conference about citizen-driven research called Beyond RCT. RCT’s are Randomized Controlled Trials, a method that is often used in medical research. The goal of the conference was to expand the scope of research, and to find ways to include findings by patients and non-medical professionals into research. In this way, by sharing more knowledge and understanding each other better, we should be able to find new ways of helping patients to feel better faster.

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Me, Nicole from Inspire2Live and Floortje as the stagemanagers/facilitators of the seminar. In the background you can see a bit of the beautiful decor of the Van Lanschot building, offered to the conference by the Van Lanschot bank.

I was just the host of the day, I announced the speakers, held the space, and with the help of my co-host Floortje van der Linden we guarded time and tried to keep all the activities within the time limit. In the afternoon Floortje and me organised a World Café session to facilitate knowledge sharing and discussion between participants. But although my task was small and mostly facilitating, I felt very proud and happy to be able to help out these ambitious, hard-working and brave people in their quest for better wellness and health for everyone.

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That’s me! During the wrap-up / final part of the conference. Thanks Floortje for the photo.

The conference was organised by Inspire2Live, Platform for patients and food and the Dutch research institute TNO. Want to know more about this subject? Read this article in de Volkskrant about patients as researchers of their own illnesses.

Unfortunately I was too busy to make some good pictures from the World Café Process, but in general I can say that I was once again surprised at how well this method works. We had 10 tables, and because the audience was so diverse (consisting of about 80 patients, scientific researchers, entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, and more) we were able to have very rich knowledge sharing sessions. Because the organisation of the conference had appointed table hosts for all the tables, we  will get a rich harvest from all the discussions. The organisations will send out summaries of all the tables & other conference outcomes to all participants.

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That’s my one picture of two of the ten tables for World Café!

I’m really proud to have been part of this movement for one day. I expect many ambitious outcomes for this tribe of people! It reminds me of the talk and book of Seth Godin about Tribes:https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_on_the_tribes_we_lead.html
I feel like I was present at the start of one of these tribes. Fabulously led by Gaston Remmers of Inspire2Live & Platform Patient en Voeding. I expect many great things of this group.

Oh yeah, and I want to say that I found out about Tribes through the book of Martijn Aslander and Erwin Witteveen, called ‘Nooit Af, Permanent Bèta’. I’m telling you, it’s a must-read.

 

 

Art of Hosting in Karlskrona

Last weekend I was in Sweden! And although I studied abroad in Sweden (in 2004/2005), I really didn’t remember much of my Swedish language courses. I did remember how to ask if we could pay by card in the train, but the Swedish answer was so long (and so Swedish), that I was forced to ask the salesman to repeat his answer in English. This much to the amusement of my fellow travelers by the way, who were from Mexico, Germany and Slovenia, and were headed to the same training as me.

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The Art of Hosting training in Karlskrona in action

The Art of Hosting training attracts many international participants, and participants from all walks of life. I do think that many of the people you meet at trainings such as this one are mostly honest, open and passionate individuals who care about the world and each other. When my partner identified my training weekend to his friends as ‘Hippie Camp’, I protested at first. But to be honest, it is a bit like hippie central. There is just a lot of hugging and sharing going on! And although that’s a little out of my comfort zone, I was very thankful that one of the organisers shared her house with me, so that I didn’t need to pay for an expensive hotel in the city. Also, whenever there were hugs, I was mostly grateful to share a hug.

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This is the (very Swedish) house I stayed in! Veeeery nice people, and lots of wooden interior walls and Knäckebröd.

Art of Hosting is a way to facilitate (host) meetings and conversations for groups of people. In this line of teaching there are very many useful models that you can use when you want a big group to share knowledge and inspire them to have valuable conversations. This monday, for example, I will be hosting a World Café for a conference on health & research.

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Me in Karlskrona, happy to arrive safely and trying to not fall off the dock
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When I recognized myself and my experiences in Karlskrona in this image, made by the ‘Harvesting team’ of the meeting, I knew that I was at ‘Hippy Camp’, and really it didn’t matter.
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The surroundings of the training facilities were very beautiful.
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View from the training room.

In this training, I learned many things about hosting groups, presenting to groups and learning with groups. We practiced:

  • Check-in & Check out
  • Harvesting
  • World Café
  • Appreciative Inquiry
  • Circle practice
  • Fish Bowl
  • Open Space
  • Collective story harvest
  • Rope game
  • Designing for wiser action

All of which I plan to use in future sessions with either my students or external groups. Furthermore we had teaching sessions on:

  • The 4-fold practice
  • Mental models
  • 2 Loops
  • Powerful questions
  • Graphic recording
  • 8 Breaths of design

I am so excited to put into practice all the new models and methods I have used! Are you curious what we could do together with Art of Hosting methods? Just invite me over for a coffee!

Pricing your handmade products – help!

Pricing products that you made by yourself can be very scary. Are you really going to charge this for something you made by yourself? It’s so easy to undervalue your own products and so scary to charge a higher price… I wanted to organize a meeting to support all of us around the city of Amsterdam who are going through this, and so I did, one event in Dutch and one in English:

Facebook Event Dutch
Facebook Event: Wat is het waard? – Prijs je product.

 

 

I figured it would help to all get together, bring our products, have tea and cookies, and I will set up a system where you can get everyone’s input about the price of your product. Hopefully you will feel better and more confident about your price, once you know what everyone else thinks of it!

 

Facebook Event in English: What's

There are many different ways to determine the price of your product; market research, determining your costs and adding a certain percentage, your own opinion, your moms opinion, etc. And there are so many values that customers attach to the price of a product! They think the price represents the quality of a product, if it is really handmade, and, if they will buy your product! Mostly, you are on your own, with your product, in your house. Let’s struggle with our prices together and help each other out here.

I hope to see you there!

Useful articles about pricing your products:

The Etsy Blog – A Simple Formula for Pricing your Work

Creative Live Blog – 5 Tips For Effective Wholesale Pricing

Anke Panke’s Blog – Wholesale (Nederlands)

Above all – Make good Art

While I was browsing the website of the really inspiring initiative of the Milagro Arts Center, which I found through Kickstarter, I stumbled upon this video of a speech of Neil Gaiman to the graduates of the University of the Arts in 2012.

Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012 from The University of the Arts (Phl) on Vimeo.

This is so inspiring! And I am not even an artist. But in the spirit of Neil Gaimans Speech, I am just going to pretend I was one of the graduates in the audience who listened to that speech. And you can do that too!

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.