Today, one week ago, I boarded a plane. Flying from Cape Town to Amsterdam. To be back home after the first 5 months of my 80 experiments adventure.
Today, two week ago, I got a message from Thessa who works at the Dutch Consulate in Cape Town. She asked if I was free for a cup of coffee. I like good coffee — and I got curious — so an hour later I found myself in front of a hugely impressive building. No idea how much impact this could probably have on my future plans!
After being questioned about why I didn’t get in touch myself — since the consulate is the official representation of my country here — and me saying sorry, we were of to a good start.
Because I had my 3 Hill Hike for charity that weekend, I decided not to take on any more experiments before flying back to Holland for the pitstop I’m making right now.
An hour later, I found myself outside again. Realizing I agreed to a 3 day experiment starting after the weekend.
Huh!? Why? The opportunity was cool. And I got really, really, really curious when the consul general offered me I could stay at her place in Oranjezicht. The place is supposed to be amazing.
On Monday morning I ringed the doorbell of my new office, and first explored the building.
You don’t really need to be an expert to notice there’s a lot of historical art around. It was beautiful and strange at the same time, to come across Dutch art so far away from home.
Funny sidenote, the doors were so low, I only banged my head twice in 3 days!
Whenever I start a new experiment the environment I work in is completely new for me. I don’t know the people. I don’t know what they are working on. I don’t know who they work for. I don’t know why they exist…
To become familiar with everything usually takes me about half a day. The only way to do it is by asking a lot of (sometimes stupid) questions. It’s always a challenge, but I like it. I can just let my curiosity go and be like a little kid in a candy store.
After my morning of sniffing around, I settled down at a desk. With my red-white-blue cup of coffee, a laptop, and a stack of paper. Off to work. But honestly, it took me another half an hour to not be distracted by the amazing painting right in front of me!
In the next two days I wrote a plan — yes, like a old school civil servant — how to approach inviting over five Dutch startups to Cape Town in August of this year. The idea is to connect them to five South-African startups that work on relevant local problems. For 10 days, we form five teams that each work on a challenge. By the end of the 10 days, we have them present their progress to a external panel, which decides who wins the first #cocreateSA Startup Challenge.
The perks of traveling in the way I do, is that you end up at unexpected places. This time: The private residence of the Consul General, Bonnie Horbach. I was speechless by this view over Cape Town:
Besides sitting behind my laptop typing, we went for a sunrise morning run on Signal Hill. If you happen to follow my #PhotoOfTheDay on Instagram, you know I’m in love with sunrises and sunsets. And Cape Town is an incredible place to be for that.
After three days I handed in my plan. They were happy with. So happy, that maybe it will even be my ticket back to Cape Town in August!
But I don’t want to jinx it, so I’ll keep that to myself for now…
Bonnie, Thessa, Tessa, Claude, Bas and Tim, thanks for inviting me over to the Dutch Consulate. #CocreateSA is a very cool initiative and I admire how you guys do things differently (the reason I wrote a plan is because I chose to, not because they didn’t give me the creative freedom to come up with something else).
Ps; Bonnie, can you tell Lilly I’ve been to the flower garden? It was beautiful! And I’m sorry 😉
So, currently I’m in Holland for a pitstop. If you’re curious what I’m doing here, check my now-page
If you have ideas for my next experiment, feel free to reach out in any way.
And if you want to follow along, Instagram is probably the best way to do so.