Circular City
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Moving from a linear to a circular economy means minimising the waste and pollution by reducing, recycling and reusing. The City of Amsterdam aims to redesign twenty product- or material chains. The implementation of material reuse strategies has the potential to create a value of €85 million per year within the construction sector and €150 million per year with more efficient organic residual streams. Amsterdam set up an innovation program on the circular economy; www.amsterdamsmartcity.com/circularamsterdam. By converting waste into electricity, urban heating and construction materials, the Amsterdam Electricity Company generates 900 kWh per 1000 kg of waste. 75% of the sewage system is separated for waste and rain water and the silt which remains after treating waste water is converted into natural gas. Share your innovative concepts and ideas on circular economy here.

Highlight from Melchior Kanyemesha, Programmanagement + Energy Lead at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

Wat vind jij? Verdient serious gaming een stevigere plek in het aanpakken van transities?

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Serious gaming is een mooi hulpmiddel voor samenwerking en
besluitvorming in de energietransitie. In de afgelopen jaren hebben we
voorbeelden gezien van spellen die complexe vragen begrijpelijk kunnen maken. Neem bijvoorbeeld de HEAT tool van Alliander, het WE-Energy spel van de Hanzehogeschool Groningen, de sustainability DNA game van de Ceuvel, het Klimaatspel Plan Zuid van de Gemeente Amsterdam en het participatiespel van de Hogeschool van Amsterdam. Stuk voor stuk interessante serious games die ingewikkelde processen van verduurzamingsopgaven eenvoudiger maken.

De Hogeschool van Amsterdam en Amsterdam Smart City zoeken samen hoe we de meerwaarde van serious gaming voor energieprojecten kunnen verhogen. Enerzijds omdat we ons afvragen of de potentie wel volledig wordt benut. Anderzijds omdat opvalt dat structurele toepassing, of op grotere schaal, uitblijft. De zoektocht staat nog ver aan het begin, maar we gaan graag met anderen hierover in gesprek. En daarom vragen we jou om met ons mee te denken.

Voor wie zijn serious games?
Serious games zijn er genoeg, maar ze verschillen in de inhoudelijke focus, schaalniveau en doelgroep. Sommigen gaan uitsluitend over energie, anderen ook om andere aspecten van gebiedsontwikkeling. Daarbinnen kan het gaan over een hele regio of een bepaalde buurt. Omdat de energietransitie gaat om multistakeholder samenwerking, hebben meerdere doelgroepen baat bij het spelen van een serious game over dit onderwerp. Denk aan beleidsmakers en (nuts)bedrijven, die bijvoorbeeld moeten samenwerken om een warmtenet te realiseren.

Een doelgroep die hier niet kan ontbreken is natuurlijk de bewoner. Voor hen lijkt de toegevoegde waarde van serious games nog wel het grootst. Juist vanwege de laagdrempeligheid van een serious game is het bij uitstek een middel om mensen te helpen complexe informatie te begrijpen. Hoe meer je speelt, hoe beter je het begrijpt. En het begrijpen van een onderwerp is een belangrijke voorwaarde om mee te kunnen denken, praten en besluiten over een onderwerp. Een belangrijke reden om dit soort spellen extra serieus te nemen. Bovendien biedt een spel de mogelijkheid om gelijkwaardig met elkaar in gesprek te gaan. Verschillen in sociaaleconomische status zijn eigenlijk niet van belang. Sterker nog, spellen bieden juist gelegenheid om in elkaars schoenen te staan. Het helpt om elkaars perspectieven te begrijpen, of je nu bij de gemeente werkt, bij een netbeheerder, een woningcorporatie, of je huurder bent of woningeigenaar. Zo zijn er nog wel meer voordelen te benoemen. Voordelen die ook kunnen gelden voor andere transities dan de energietransitie.

Kansen
In de praktijk lijken we deze voordelen niet voldoende te benutten. Serious gaming voor de energietransitie is weliswaar op verschillende plekken ontwikkeld, maar in beperkte mate, en niet structureel toegepast. Daar komt bij dat we er ook weinig van weten. Welke spelmechanismes werken en welke niet? Wanneer zet je zo’n spel het beste in? Bij het ophalen van ideeën, de daadwerkelijke besluitvorming, of ook in de evaluatie? Zijn er eigenlijk ook risico’s? Zijn er redenen om serious gaming absoluut niet te willen gebruiken in het energieneutraal maken van wijken?

En dan nu de vraag aan jou!
Om de zoektocht kracht bij te zetten vraag ik namens Amsterdam Smart City onze community om hulp. Hoe kijk jij aan tegen serious gaming als middel om te werken aan transitieopgaven? Zie je de toegevoegde waarde van zo’n game voor buurtparticipatie? En van welke voorbeelden zouden we moeten leren – of wellicht als netwerk moeten door ontwikkelen?

We zijn benieuwd naar je ervaringen! Laat je reactie achter in de comments!

Melchior Kanyemesha's picture #CircularCity
Beth Njeri, Digital Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Building back better with a systemic approach

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As the world grapples with vaccinations, variants, and how to return to "normal", it’s a good time to reflect on whether or not we are fully equipped to prevent future shocks.

Building true resilience means addressing the systemic issues that make our world increasingly fragile, by understanding the deeper structures and mental models at the root of a problem to create lasting solutions.

Check out our article done by Metabolic last year about building back better.

#circulareconomy

Beth Njeri's picture #Citizens&Living
Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

Barcelona and Madrid: Forerunners in e-governance

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Barcelona is one of the oldest examples of a city that deploys technology as part of its government. Sensor networks have been producing an array of data on transport, energy usage, noise levels, irrigation, and many other topics without having much impact on the life of citizens or solving the underlying problems.

In 2015, Francesca Bria, chief technology, together with mayor Ada Colau started to reverse the smart city paradigm: Instead of starting from technology and extracting all the data we started aligning the tech agenda with the agenda of the cityshe said.

One of the first challenges was using technology to increase ordinary citizen’s impact on policy. A group of civic-minded coders and cryptographers created a brand-new participatory platform, Decidem (which means We Decide in Catalan). For more information watch the video below.

Spain offers more inspiring examples. The city of Madrid has also created a participatory citizen platform, not for chance called Decide Madrid, which is in many respects comparable with Decidem, as this short video demonstrates.

The most important features of both platforms are:

Active participation in policy making
Citizens are stimulated to suggest ideas, debating them, and vote. In Barcelona, more than 40.000 citizens have suggested proposals, which form 70% of the agenda of the city administration. The most frequently mentioned concerns are affordable housing, clean energy, air quality and the public space.
The Municipal Action Plan of Barcelona includes almost 7,000 proposals from citizens. Decidem enables citizens to monitor the state of implementation of each of them to increase citizen’s engagement.

Debating
Decide Madrid and Decidem emphasize the value of being informed as starting point for deliberation. Citizens can start discussions on their own and participate in threaded discussions started by others.
As soon as citizens feel informed and have exchanged opinions voting can start. Both Decide Madrid as Decidemhave a space where citizens can make proposals and seeks support. Proposals that reach enough support are prepared for voting. These votes generally are advising the city council.

Policy preparation
Decide Madrid enables citizens amendment legislative texts. The public is allowed to commend any part of it and to suggest alternatives. This also might result in discussions and the suggestions are used to improve the formulations.

Data governance
Decidem and Decide Madrid are also data portals that show data that have been collected in the city, partly on citizens themselves. Decidem has the intention, because of its participation in the European project Decode to enable citizens to control the use of data of their own for specific purposes.

Hybrid solutions
As not every citizen has a computer or is skilled to use the Internet platforms, both cities combine virtual discussions and discussion in a physical space.

It is not only the traditional rivalry between Barcelona and Madrid that has inspired the development of two comparable systems, independently from each other. It is also the fact that the Spanish people had to fight for democracy until rather recently. Democratic institutions that have long existed in many other countries had to be reinvented, but with a 20th-century twist.

The community of Madrid has developed Decide Madrid together with CONSUL, a Madrid-based company. CONSUL enables cities to develop citizen participation on the Internet quickly and save. The package is very comprehensive. The software and its use are free. CONSUL can be adjusted by each organization to meet its own needs. As a result, Consul is in use in 130 cities and organizations in 33 countries (see the map above) and reaches out around 90 million citizens worldwide.

In contrast with e-Estonia, the topic of a former post, the footing of Decidem and Decide Madrid is enabling citizens to make their voice heard and to participate in decision-making. Both cities offer excellent examples of e-governance. e-Governance reflects the mutual communication between municipal authorities and citizens using digital tools to align decision making with the needs and wants of citizens. Instead, the intention of e-Estonia is to improve the efficiency of the operation of the state.  Both aims are complementary.

I will regularly share ‘snapshots’ of the challenge of bringing socially and ecologically sustainable cities closer using technology if useful. These posts represent findings, updates, and additions to my e-book Humane cities. Always humane. Smart if helpful. The English version of this book can be downloaded for free below.

Herman van den Bosch's picture #Citizens&Living
Zéger Nieuweboer, Founder / Teacher at Learning is growing.nl, posted

The birth of a new green cooperative

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In  the city of Arnhem a new green cooperative is founded by the students and teachers of the course "Organic Growing in the City". The new cooperative is two years old and has 54 organic urban growers as members. You will watch the green cooperative growing in the future years.

Zéger Nieuweboer's picture #Citizens&Living
Henrike Slob, Marketing Communications Lead at Impact Hub Amsterdam, posted

CIRCO | Call for partners

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Impact Hub Amsterdam is officieel CIRCO Hub van Noord-Holland. Dit betekent dat wij CIRCO Tracks voor MKB’ers gaan organiseren om innovatie binnen diverse circulaire thema’s te versnellen.

Heb jij een suggestie voor een goed thema of onderwerp? Dan komen we graag met jou in contact! Denk aan producten in bijvoorbeeld sectoren als bouw, textiel, plastics en voedsel.

Wil jij voor jouw bedrijf en/of branche een stappenplan en nieuwe visie omtrent circulaire ondernemingskansen ontwikkelen? Neem contact op.

Meer informatie over CIRCO en contactgegevens vind je op onze website > https://bit.ly/CIRCOhub

Circo Hub Noord-Holland is een initiatief van Impact Hub Amsterdam, Circulair WestNoorderwind en Natuur en Milieufederatie Noord-Holland.

Henrike Slob's picture #CircularCity
Leonardo Passos, social entrepreneur , posted

Collaborative Economy

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What is the collaborative economy?
Collaborative economy - also known as shared economy or collaborative consumption, is a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human, physical and intellectual resources. It also includes the creation, production, distribution, trade and shared consumption of products and services by different companies and associations.

Collaborative economy is when we can exchange services. Multicurrencies. There is always someone who has some job or service offered on offer. In times of crisis, it is necessary to think of a creative creative futures (futures) strategy. Creative economy in essence.
What is economics anyway? In my opinion, a set of values, beliefs, experiences that is beyond the tangible, I can say, of what is material. What I can consume. And the intangible is the exponential, everything I have of possibilities for the future.

Adopt this idea for Motivation
Write to Motivation!
motivaco@gmail.com

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Beth Njeri, Digital Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Urban mining and circular construction – what, why, and how it works

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When the functional lifetime of an object is over, its highest possible value should be retained. This shortens supply chains, increases resilience, and safeguards the environment from manufacturing-related emissions.

Currently, the construction sector is optimized for a linear supply chain. This is mainly due to a lack of information on harvestable materials and their reuse value.

Learn more about urban mining and how it can help us move towards a circular economy.

Beth Njeri's picture #CircularCity
Marije Wassenaar, Program Manager New Business Innovations at AMS Institute, posted

A pebble can start a ripple effect

The time to make a change is now. The world is in motion: COVID19 lockdowns changed our perspectives on life as we know it, the cities we live in are exposed to devastating nature extremes this summer and the IPCC report fast-forwarded our sense of urgency. Do you have an awesome idea that can make an impact, then join the AMS Startup Booster to fast-track your idea. Deadline for applications is extended till September 12.

Are you wondering if the AMS Startup Booster can help you turn your business into a successful business. Then please get inspired by the stories of Mublio and Swugo.

Mublio bootstrapped their business and a year later they're selling their first product! Their first product is tailor-made, affordable, built-in cupboards to make efficient use of the space underneath your stairs.

Swugo wants to help reduce CO2 emissions in our urban environment and attribute to getting Amsterdam car-free by electrifying bikes. The Booster helped them to gain access to a European Mobility accelerator where they have extended their potential client base to other European cities.

Marije Wassenaar's picture #Mobility
Beth Njeri, Digital Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Rethinking ownership for mission-driven ventures

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Mission-driven ventures are a big part of the transition towards a circular economy. However, unlike conventional startups, these ventures face an important challenge: how can they prioritize purpose over profit, while also overcoming the hurdles of venture-building?

Part of the answer lies in rethinking ownership, to welcome investment without compromising long-term impact. Metabolic has recently written an article explaining the concept of "steward ownership" and we'd love to hear your thoughts!

More of a webinar person? Take a look at this Fresh Talk instead: https://lnkd.in/dNJDXVSY

Beth Njeri's picture #SmartCityAcademy
Beth Njeri, Digital Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Transforming the food system through impact-driven ventures

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A sustainable food system is critical to our social and planetary well-being.

New initiatives have a big role to play, and Metabolic's newest venture, Fresh Ventures Studio, is looking to help build promising companies to solve systemic challenges.

Fresh Ventures is a venture-building program and startup studio based in The Netherlands. They co-found companies with experienced professionals and entrepreneurs to address systemic challenges in the food system.

If you're an entrepreneur looking into building a venture that responds to the world's sustainability challenges, sign up with Fresh: https://www.freshventures.eu/

More about its establishment and purpose from this article.

Beth Njeri's picture #Citizens&Living
Pakhuis De Zwijger, Communicatie at Pakhuis de Zwijger, posted

LIVECAST: De sociale rekening van de energietransitie

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Wie betaalt de rekening van de energietransitie eigenlijk? Nu komen duurzame subsidies nog vooral bij hoge inkomensgezinnen terecht en voelen gezinnen met een lager inkomen duurzaam beleid relatief veel harder in hun portemonnee.

In Amsterdam Zuidoost is de energietransitie al volop aan de gang: het warmtenet wordt uitgebreid en burgerinitiatieven voor bijvoorbeeld alternatief gas ontstaan. Maar tegelijkertijd blijft isolatie vaak achter, stijgen energierekeningen en zijn er bewoners die de informatie niet begrijpen of vertrouwen.

Sociale gevolgen van de energietransitie
In deze LIVECAST gaan we in gesprek over de sociale gevolgen van de energietransitie. Hoe maken we de energietransitie rechtvaardiger, zodat het voor iedereen voordelig is om mee te doen? Een gesprek over klimaat en ongelijkheid aan de hand van voorbeelden uit Amsterdam Zuidoost.

Note van ASC: Like als je vindt dat meer mensen dit moeten lezen. De populairste berichten lichten we uit in onze Weekly nieuwsbrief.

Pakhuis De Zwijger's picture #Citizens&Living
Beth Njeri, Digital Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Reimagining our relationship with land through regenerative agriculture.

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The term regenerative agriculture is popping up more and more often in news and articles. Often mentioned as the key to agricultural green transition, important for carbon sequestration purposes… but what is it exactly?

Regenerative farming, or farming in line with nature, also known as restorative agriculture or eco-agriculture, is a nature-based solution, and it is significantly different from organic farming.

Learn more from this article.

Beth Njeri's picture #CircularCity
Beth Njeri, Digital Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

How to create a sustainable bioeconomy

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Today the bioeconomy is everywhere: We see it in the clothing we wear, the packaging that comes to our house daily, the house we live in, the food we eat, and the energy that fuels our life.

For the bioeconomy to truly be sustainable and circular, it must meet certain conditions:

• Using fundamentally renewable biological feedstocks
• Maximizing the varied types and cycles of biological resources
• Contributing to the biological cycle

Learn more from this article.

Beth Njeri's picture #CircularCity
Beth Njeri, Digital Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Organic vs regenerative farming: What’s the difference?

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The long-term use of the industrialized agricultural system, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers has degraded the crucial foundation of agriculture which is soil.

To change this narrative, the key lies in regenerative farming. This is not only beneficial for increasing biodiversity and (environmental as well as economic) resilience, but the regenerated soil can also be used as carbon sinks, storing carbon both above and below ground in their greenery and in their root systems, and helping reverse climate change.

The benefits of regenerative models do not end here, check out this article to find out more.

Beth Njeri's picture #CircularCity
Beth Njeri, Digital Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

14 questions to guide entrepreneurs towards deep and lasting impact

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To achieve a circular economy, innovation is key. One of the key ways to get here is through entrepreneurship. To be effective in this journey, entrepreneurs need to know how to navigate what creating a deep, transformational impact really means.

• How do we decide where to focus our attention?
• How do we design solutions and organizations that provide the best chances for success?

14 questions to maximize impact
Chis Monaghan, Co-Founder at Fresh Ventures Studio, a Metabolic spinoff, developed these 14 questions to serve as a simple checklist for anyone looking to maximize the impact of a particular initiative. Fresh Ventures is a venture-building program and startup studio based in The Netherlands.

Beth Njeri's picture #CircularCity
AMS Institute, Re-inventing the city (urban innovation) at AMS Institute, posted

Vacature: PR & Content Officer 

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PR & Content Officer

Afdeling: Communicatieteam
Functie: PR en Content Officer (fulltime, 36-40 uur)
Locatie: Amsterdam
Arbeidsvoorwaarden: €2.920 - €4.012 bpm op basis van een 40-urige werkweek. Daarnaast een 13e maand. De definitieve inschaling is op basis van werkervaring en achtergrond.
Duur: Jaarcontract, verlenging voor onbepaalde tijd mogelijk

We zijn op zoek naar een creatieve en enthousiaste PR & Content Officer om de zichtbaarheid en positionering van ons mooie Amsterdamse instituut verder te ontwikkelen. Vind jij het leuk om de resultaten van onze onderzoeks-, onderwijs- en ondernemerschapsactiviteiten het juiste podium te geven?

Zijn PR, corporate storytelling en content marketing onderwerpen die jou aanspreken? Weet je hoe je wetenschap vertaalt naar boeiende en toegankelijke content? Gaat je hart harder kloppen bij het lezen over onze thema’s en zit je nu al vol creatieve content ideeën? En wil je graag werken in een omgeving waar duurzame innovatie vorm krijgt? Reageer dan nu.

Over AmsterdamInstituteforAdvancedMetropolitan****Solutions
AMS Institute is in 2014 opgericht door Wageningen University & Research en de TU Delft, samen met het Massachusetts Institute of Technology en is gevestigd in hartje Amsterdam op Marineterrein Amsterdam. Onze missie is het vinden van interdisciplinaire oplossingen voor  grootstedelijke vraagstukken.

Wij geloven dat we door het bij elkaar brengen van verschillende ideeën, talenten en  (kennis)achtergronden, we steden duurzamer, welvarender, veerkrachtiger en rechtvaardiger kunnen maken. Vandaag, en in de toekomst. Wij noemen dit: “Re-inventing cities”. Dit doen we door middel van vier hoofdactiviteiten: onderwijs, onderzoek & innovatie, ondernemerschap en partnerships.

In samenwerking met kennisinstellingen, publieke & private partners en burgers, testen en ontwikkelen we onze oplossingen in de praktijk. We doen dit samen met de gemeente Amsterdam en zo is de stad ons Living Lab.

Functieomschrijving

We zijn momenteel op zoek naar een PR en Content Officer, die succesvol laat zien met welke innovatieve oplossingen we bijdragen aan de stad Amsterdam. Je focus ligt op PR, content en het creëren van een corporate story, met nadruk op stedelijke uitdagingen, innovatie en impact. Daarbij breng je ook de overkoepelende samenwerkingen en de link tussen bedrijfsleven, Amsterdammers, onderwijs & wetenschap in beeld.

Bij een organisatie met 1001 verhalen is er bijna een onuitputtelijke bron van content. Met jouw creativiteit en expertise weet jij proactief de contentagenda te bepalen. Je hebt oog voor de onderwerpen die spelen in de media en de manier waarop deze onderwerpen verbonden kunnen worden aan de stedelijke opgaven van de stad Amsterdam en onze activiteiten op het gebied van onderwijs, onderzoek & innovatie, ondernemerschap partnerships.

Ook weet je de juiste invalshoeken, samenwerkingen en distributiekanalen te vinden om bij te dragen aan het vergroten van de bekendheid en het verder verbeteren van de positionering en reputatie van het instituut.

Het AMS Communicatieteam is een klein, enthousiast en dynamisch team, dat bestaat uit vijf personen: een Communicatie Adviseur, een PR en Content Officer, een Project Communicatie medewerker, een Studentassistent en het Hoofd Communicatie. Je rapporteert aan het Hoofd Communicatie. Hoewel teamleden zich elk op hun eigen verantwoordelijkheden en activiteiten concentreren, zijn de resultaten altijd het resultaat van een gedeelde teaminspanning.

Verantwoordelijkheden

De PR en Content Officer is verantwoordelijk voor:

·       Het aansturen, ontwikkelen en uitvoeren van onze PR-activiteiten en Content Marketing plan in nauwe samenwerking met het Hoofd Communicatie.
·       Het bepalen van de inhoudelijke verhaallijnen voor de urban challenges waar we aan werken – dit in nauwe samenwerking met onze expertteams (Research & Innovation, Education & Data Science Team)
·       Het creëren van aansprekende content voor onze eigen kanalen, zoals onze website en socials (inclusief monitoring & rapportage).
·       Onze reputatie bewaken en kansen signaleren voor proactieve PR en storytelling. Je vindt het leuk om journalisten mee te nemen in wat we doen.
·       Het coördineren van mediaverzoeken en het adviseren en begeleiden van onze experts bij persverzoeken.
·       Het identificeren en onderhouden van relaties met belangrijke media en journalisten, evenals het opbouwen en onderhouden van relaties binnen ons netwerk van zakelijke partners, stakeholders en influencers.

Je profiel

·       Je hebt een relevante academische opleiding, aantoonbare ervaring in PR en hebt passie voor technologie en stedelijke innovatie.
·       Je hebt uitstekende schriftelijke en mondelinge communicatieve vaardigheden in zowel het Nederlands (veel van de interacties zijn met lokale pers), als in het Engels (de voertaal op al onze corporate kanalen).
·       Je hebt een goed begrip van wat nieuwswaardig is en weet de juiste invalshoeken voor diverse doelgroepen.
·       Je duikt graag de organisatie in om content die het verschil maakt te ontwikkelen.
·       Je hebt ervaring met het onderhouden van relaties met externe media en weet perskansen te creëren voor onze experts en activiteiten.
·       Sociale media heeft voor jou geen geheimen. Je weet hoe je social media in kunt zetten als geïntegreerd onderdeel van de mediamix.
·       Je voelt je verbonden met de stedelijke uitdagingen van de stad Amsterdam en woont bij voorkeur in (de buurt van) Amsterdam.
·       Ervaring in illustrator/InDesign of videoproductie, zijn een pluspunt om dat vleugje extra creativiteit toe te voegen waar we altijd naar op zoek zijn.

Wie ben jij?

·       Een enthousiast en positief persoon, een echte aanwinst voor het team
·       Creatief en proactief in het naar voren brengen van ideeën
·       Een zelfstarter met veel energie
·       Resultaatgericht, nauwkeurig en efficiënt

Ons aanbod

·       Je komt te werken in een innovatieve werkomgeving en een enthousiast team van     professionals.
·       Wanneer we (hopelijk snel weer) meer op kantoor werken, dan hebben we een fantastische locatie op het Marineterrein Amsterdam.
·       Je salaris is gebaseerd op de VSNU CAO met een maximum van €4.012 bpm op basis van 40 uur - en een jaarlijkse 13e maand. We bieden je een jaarcontract, met de intentie om en bij goed functioneren te verlengen voor onbepaalde tijd.

Aanvullende informatie

Voor meer informatie over deze vacature kun je contact opnemen met Debby Dröge, Head of Communications, e-mail debby.droge@ams-institute.org. Voor meer informatie over de selectieprocedure kun je contact opnemen met Martijn van Beersum, HR Officer, e-mail: martijn.vanbeersum@ams-institute.org, tel: +31 610598900.

Sollicitatieprocedure

Heb je interesse in deze vacature? Je kunt solliciteren door je motivatiebrief en cv te delen met: martijn.vanbeersum@ams-institute.org.

AMS Institute staat midden in de samenleving en streeft ernaar om de diversiteit van onze samenleving terug te laten komen in haar organisatie.

AMS Institute's picture #CircularCity
Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

Startups: Between the Curse of Becoming a Taker and the Prospect of Being a Maker

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For centuries, entrepreneurship was linked to art and craft and rewarded by personal fulfilment, satisfied customers, and a good life. The term entrepreneur is still associated with giving direction, shape and content to new activities based on personal motivation and skills and thereby creating socially approved value. A description that applies to the self-employed, business entrepreneurs, franchisees or intrapreneurs and includes both commercial, institutional, and artistic activities.
However, there are two problems. Overcoming them opens the way to become a better business.

The plunder of the earth

Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz has warned that the creative power of entrepreneurship can easily become destructive. A 'maker' becomes a 'taker' once creating value becomes making money in the first place. Indeed, for centuries, companies have robbed resources around the world, destroyed nature, traded millions of slaves and exploited domestic workers, creating the divide between rich and poor countries.
The creative power of entrepreneurship can also be aimed at sustainable prosperity, for their employees, the country, and the world. In that case, the “purpose” of a company precedes the pursuit of profit. Unfortunately, still a minority of all companies are moving in this direction while others pretending.

The decline of engagement and passion within the workforce

There is more. In developed countries, the blatant exploitation of labour has disappeared. Instead, the majority of employment relegates into low strain jobs. Research by Gallup and Deloite has shown over consecutive years that over 64% of all employees worldwide are not engaged or passionate. Find John Hagel explain this in a short video. The reason is clear. 20th century companies have organized their production according to principles of scalable efficiency and have top-down planning and control.  Room for initiative is therefore neither expected nor desired. Moreover, detailed protocols and regulations limit employment for people at a distance from the labour market.
In a rapidly changing world, companies must be adaptive and innovative. They therefore need flexible, interdisciplinary teams with a high degree of self-government and less pay differentials. According to recent research in 17 countries, this type of organizations (8%) outperforms in all respects.

Summarizing, to become a better business requires a double challenge:
·  Replacing the dominance of the pursuit of money with a social and environmental purpose.
·  Mobilizing the entrepreneurial and other capacities of their whole work force by forms of self-organization and shared leadership.

Why focussing on startups?

As only a limited number of companies meet these conditions, employees consider starting their own business. In the US alone, approximately two million workers give up well-paying jobs every year and become self-employed. 127,000 starters were registered in the Netherlands in 2018.  Of them, only a minority will become a startup, which means that they will successfully commercialize a promising technological innovation and grow rapidly on an international level.

Start-ups are potential engines of growth and innovation. In the US, their steady growth is compensating for job losses in the rest of the economy. Dutch startups created 20.000 of jobs in 2018 and 2019. A recent reportoffers excellent documentation of the identity, growth and potential of the 4,311 Dutch startups in 2019, most of which have fewer than 10 employees. 34% of Dutch startups can found in the Amsterdam metropolitan area.

The hope is that start-ups will rise to both challenges by nurturing their social and environmental purpose end fueling the commitment and passion of each employee, and thereby become a better business.

Yet, like any other businesses, startups risk becoming takers rather than makers, trading their social and environmental purpose for the pursuit of money and losing the engagement and passion of their employees. Fortunately, they can prevent this.

Eleven ways to become or stay a better business

1.  Embrace self-organization and shared leadership.
2.  Involve all employees in the continuous strengthening of the social and environmental purpose of the company.
3.  Enable all employees to become shareholders or even better co-owners.
4.  Cherish diversity within the employees.
5. Secure shares in a foundation while enabling shareholders to support the purpose of the company.
6.  Cap the profit to a level that guarantees the continuity of the company.
7.  Ban greed, cancel bonuses, or at most pay a limited and equal allowance to all employees.
8.  Place surplus profits in a foundation that spends money in accordance with the purpose of the company.
9.  Being a fair taxpayer who refrains from tax avoidance practices.
10.Create a supervisory board to monitor the purpose of the company.
11.Focus the founder/director/CEO role on monitoring the purpose of the company and the commitment of all employees and on fueling the discussion on how to deal with changing external conditions.

Rapid societal changes require a reinventing the concept of entrepreneurship. Because of their flexibility and commitment, startups are apt to embrace the dual ambition of pursuing a social and environmental purpose and of mobilizing all employee’s engagement and passion.

My next post will look at how cities can help start-ups to settle, grow and become better businesses. The history of entrepreneurship, its growing distance from ‘makership’ and its possible revival by start-ups is documented in chapter 4 of my e-book Humane cities. Always humane. Smart if helpful. The English version of this book can be downloaded for free below.

Herman van den Bosch's picture #CircularCity
Zéger Nieuweboer, Founder / Teacher at Learning is growing.nl, posted

Green food walking trail in Arnhem

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Green consumers engage green growers in the green food trail around the city of Arnhem, The Netherlands.

Zéger Nieuweboer's picture #Citizens&Living
Anne-Ro Klevant Groen, Marketing and Communications director at Fashion for Good Experience, posted

FASHION FOR GOOD MUSEUM LAUNCHES AUDIO TOUR

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From Wednesday July 28th, the Fashion for Good museum features a new audio tour narrated by Dutch rapper Dio. In the tour, visitors can listen to Dio explain the rise of fast fashion, why sustainable fashion is so important for people and planet, and what kinds of natural materials can be used to create the fashion of the future. The tour is in Dutch and is free to all visitors to the sustainable fashion museum on the Rokin in Amsterdam.

The Fashion for Good Museum audio tour is made possible with the support of the Kickstart Cultuurfonds.

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Anonymous posted

Ready to meet the winners of the No Wast Challenge and their ground-breaking ideas?

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Ready to meet the winners of the WDCD No Waste Challenge? Earlier this evening, a total of 16 ground-breaking ideas were selected for the top prize, representing a wide range of strategies for reducing waste and its impact on the planet. Each winning team will now gain access to €10.000 in funding and an extensive development programme designed to launch their ideas into action.

“The quality and range of entries we’ve seen in this Challenge is remarkable,” comments Richard van der Laken, co-founder and creative director of What Design Can Do. “In a turbulent year, it’s particularly inspiring to see that the creative community is willing and able to break away from decades of linear thinking and bad design. I’m hopeful that others in the industry will follow their lead.”

Revolutionizing the the taking and making
The winners were determined by an international jury who reviewed every project from a list of 85 high-potential nominees.  Among the ideas to take home the top prize are solutions that focus on the production process – aiming to revolutionise the taking and making of all the things we use and eat. Sustrato (Mexico), for example, combines traditional craft, contemporary design and waste from the pineapple industry to develop a range of sustainable bioplastics. Modern Synthesis (UK) makes use of a similar waste stream, this time from apple farms, to feed microbes that grow fully circular fibers for the fashion industry.

Adressing the underlying problem of consumerism
Meanwhile, other winners are unified by their desire to uproot entire value systems. These projects are looking to prevent waste by addressing the underlying problem of consumerism. Reparar.org (Argentina) for example, is a service which connects individuals to local cobblers and repair shops, working to promote a culture of care and the right-to-repair. Similarly, Project R (Japan), is a community centre that empowers citizens to learn about circular techniques and lifestyles. Together, these winners suggest inventive ways for us to reconcile what we want with what the planet needs. In doing so, they also help to redefine design as a tool that can be restorative and regenerative, instead of merely productive or destructive. Congratulations to all!

ABOUT THE NO WASTE CHALLENGE

What Design Can Do and IKEA Foundation launched the No Waste Challenge in January 2021, calling for bold solutions to address the enormous impact of waste on climate change. The competition was open to innovators everywhere, and offered three design briefs tackling different aspects of our take-make-waste economy. In April, the open call ended with an exceptional 1409 submissions from creatives in more than 100 countries. As part of the No Waste Challenge award package, sixteen winners will now enter a development programme co-created by Impact Hub, which will propel their projects through 2022.

Learn more about the No Waste Challenge at: nowaste.whatdesigncando.com

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