I’m Starting an uh . . a StartUp.

Since I transitioned from Butterfly Works last July, (now on the advisory board), I have been reflecting and exploring envisaged futures.

One might think that I have been doing what I love, already for years, which is sooo true, innovative education projects in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Kenya and Uganda  and yet there has been this niggling feeling. A feeling that, I want one big idea to unify, what I love, what I’m good at and what I find important into one program. A sort of personal ‘Theory of Everything‘.

In my search, I wrote my manifesto,  drew up my conditions, (a social enterprise, scalable, globally relevant) talked to lot of people, started the THNK program, did nothing (when the most reflection happens), hung out with my children (most inspiring) and came up with 5 promising concepts.
Still I kept flip flopping as to which of these concepts I REALLY wanted to do. Plus people were asking me, so what are you doing now? To which I could only answer ‘ I’m Starting an uh . . a StartUp’


Back to the drawing board. While drinking coffee with Lino Hellings, she advised me: ‘Do what you love the most and even if no one else cares, you’ll still love it’
What I love the most is the creative thinking, design research and helping others to explore their creativity. As I wrote in my manifesto I see creativity as close to divinity.

Wow!  So simple.
For years, I had been choosing what to work on, as a social innovator, on the basis of: What does the world need? and what doesn’t exist already? I had been doing things that were 60 – 70% of what I love. not bad, but now I’m taking a different starting point. Creative Thinking is the leading ingredient, What I also love contributing to is, the resilience of young people in disadvantaged circumstances and I love the potential of amplifying it all via the internet. I drew the diagram above to investigate the intersection of these 3 main ingredients and plot my concepts. My start-up will at the middle point, where the star is.

The working titel is Creative Mobs, where design thinking meets flash mobs, and on December the 12th I’m holding a Co-Creation workshop at Thnk in Amsterdam to take this concept to the next level.


I actually spend quite a lot of my time composing texts. For the most part these texts are part of product creation at Butterfly Works. Here are some interviews with me and articles where i reflect on our work practice.

Interview at the European Lab for Culture
title: Inspiration by example

Interview with Sophie Koers for the book ‘Practical Idealists’
title: Serious Toys (Dutch)

WE Magazine – collective action
Title:  To engage means to Create

Review: Using 10 Tactics in Cambodia

Slide Share presentation from Better World by Design
Titel; Designing Solution Networks

Article: Butterfly Works in 2020 (Dutch)


I am a social designer, who has co-founded two idealistic organisations, NairoBits and Butterfly Works. I have deeply co-created 7 learning programs which are currently used in 16 countries in 3 continents. My current title is research and developement director at Butterfly Works, social design studio.

Butterfly Paper No. 1

Social Design Studio


University College Dublin, Ireland
Bcomm Economics

Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy, Netherlands
Design (graphic / web / interaction)

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Youth participation and NGO’s