The ARCADIS Global Shapers program is difficult to predict. You do not know exactly what to do to get in. You do not know where it will take place and what you have to do when you get there. Explaining the program to your grandmother is a bit difficult as well. However, you want to participate because you know it will be good.When the application challenge requested me to send a message as our CEO from the future, my first question was about what way to do it: how to send a message from 2030? A hologram (Hi Richard!)? Telepathy? Email? Email… Yes, email! If you think about it, the Internet is in our daily lives for about 15 to 20 years. What was the first way to communicate through it? Email. Throughout these years, we have had ICQ, Messenger, Myspace, Facebook, Whatsapp… But email remains there (and honestly I cannot see my job without it).
Ok, now I have a way, then comes the hard part: what to say? This was the hardest, but the best part, because imagining the future is always fun. Will drones deliver my pizza? Will I watch the World Cup straight from Mars? Will I finally enroll in that yoga class? More important than all this, will we live in a more sustainable, peaceful, and fair world? How will our lives be, what new challenges will we face?
I think it was at that time, while making these reflections that I began to understand what the Global Shapers program is all about. Here I need to make excuses for not being able to answer that exactly (sorry grandma), because you can only understand it if you effectively participate. But being in the program, even if still in the virtual phase and waiting for the face-to-face meeting, I can say “challenge” is for me the word that best sums up what it is. Global Shapers challenges you even before it begins: prepare a compelling application; find time in your busy schedule. Find a way to talk to people from Asia, America, Europe, Australia and the Middle East (at the same time!). Solve online challenges; and write a blog for the program website!
None of this is achievable without effort and hard work, so if I can give some advice for the next generations of Global Shapers I would say: give the best of you, listen to what your colleagues have to say, believe in yourself and take the opportunity to learn from others. Be a part of it. I can’t imagine what next challenges ARCADIS Global Shapers has in store for me, but I am sure the outcome of this whole process will be great. A wonderful life experience, a constructive challenge. If you think, what is life but a wonderful challenge, right?
André Trafca, ARCADIS logos Brazil, Generation 2015.