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On January 26, 2013 at 05.39 I started to write, not a book but this blog. I started to write about Design Thinking, Human Centered Design. About empathy, creativity and prototyping. I shared everything I ever did with DT, everything I knew about DT and everything I wanted with DT. But maybe even more what I still did not knew, did and could do. And by writing and sharing I found my way in life…..and work. This is post number 1.367 and it is time; AGAIN. Just like that Saturday morning in January 2013 I feel this is a turning point.  And like Usain Bolt would not stop halfway at 50 meter I will not stop at 51.

A week ago I was in Riyadh at the Glowork Career Fair:

‘It is the number one female career fair and recruitment related conference in Saudi Arabia that is endorsed by The Ministry of Labor and the Human Resources Development Fund.

The Glowork Career Fair is a Saudi-centric, three-day program designed to empower women with all educational backgrounds and experiences. The program effectively aids women in becoming active agents in today’s booming workforce by enriching their job-hunting opportunities, soft, and personal skills.

The career fair is composed of three major parts

Conference, we invite the top 200 student from universities around the Kingdom to listen to speakers coming from around the world

Workshops, more than 40 workshops that aims to develop personal and soft skills for job seekers.

Exhibition, where more than 80 company gather under one roof to showcase their opportunities.’

The Dutch Embassy had asked me to give a lecture on creative thinking at the conference and a workshop on Design Thinking. After the lecture I met several women who were interested in the slides I shared. And two of them asked me if I had the time to discuss a project they were working on. So the day after we had coffee and I listened to their stories. And it was not their project that made the biggest impact on me. It was their personal situation. It made a big impact. When we walked towards the exit I saw this sign saying “Give A Shit” and asked the waiter to take a picture. I made their faces black. I don’t want put their lives in danger. They already took a huge risk talking and having coffee with me.

That night I couldn’t sleep and finally got up in the middle of the night. I threw away the format for the Design Thinking workshop I made earlier. Kill your darlings. Game over. I decided to make something the participants of the workshop could work with themselves. To inspire them and facilitate them with the tools they could use to change things. One part inspiration and supporting information and one part activation; a design thinking by doing workshop on Women Empowerment.

That night I found out about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and the 2030 Vision Statement of Crown Prince and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud:

The Design Thinking workshop was attended by 17 women and I started the workshop with this song:

Followed by:










The World’s Largest Lesson pt 2 – with thanks to Sir Ken Robinson and Emma Watson from World’s Largest Lesson on Vimeo.


That would be the Challenge for the workshop. I warned them there would be hurdles on the way ahead.GRLPWR_STEPAHEAD2018.015







So they needed:


I gave them background info I copied and pasted from the UN SDG site.



I showed them this ad about invisible barriers:









And changed “Always Coca Cola” into “Always Girlpower” and used Google translate to translate it into Arabic.


And that they can make a difference:


I felt welcome because of this quote from Crown Prince  Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud:


But that they were also supported by his 2030 vision statement. I showed some quotes and asked them from who the quotes were:


The last quote of part one of the workshop was:

Schermafbeelding 2018-10-09 om 06.36.21

I asked them from who it was. They replied in choir “Crown Prince  Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.”

But it is not.


We ended part one with:





We were halfway. So why stop:






After the break we started with part 2:

I asked them their definition of Design and we shared and learned from all the different perspectives on Design:


To support this mentality I showed them this:




And explained them that every design starts with a desire to change something:




That in this workshop we would be working with this challenge:


…using the Triple Diamond Model to work with:

Schermafbeelding 2018-10-09 om 06.56.27

They zoomed out, discussed what worked well and what could be improved.

We formulated ‘How Could We……? questions, Brainstormed and Prototyped……and ended with asking what was Good, Bad and Unexpected.

At the end I promised to share alle the video’s and material.

So here you are ladies. Let’s take it further.

Schermafbeelding 2018-10-09 om 07.08.47



Download the whole presentation here:




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