“I’m experiencing that the feeling from Global Shapers is still alive and kicking”

Thomas de Groot,  Arcadis Europe

Part I – November 1, 2017 

My experience of the Global Shapers program

This year, Global Shapers 2017 took place from the 14thto the 18th of October in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 16 colleagues from Spain, France, Belgium, Czech Republic Germany and the Netherlands had the honor to represent continental Europe at the event. And a memorable event it really was! In total 99 Global Shapers from all regions had the opportunity to connect with each other, to have a little fun but most of all, to work on relevant topics for our company. The idea of Global Shapers is that young professionals, who barely know each other beforehand, from different regions, background and cultures gain experience and get to know each other by working in a dynamic an intercultural and stressful environment. To do this, six workflows where created where the Shapers had to work on themes like Digital, Sustainability, Culture and Future Strategy. Alongside these projects, there was a also a Branding team that was responsible for all design, communications and social media during the event, and a team that was responsible for a Grand Finale where all the deliverables had to be presented to an audience, consisting of the Asian leadership team, the colleagues from the Malaysian office and members of the Executive board, including Peter Oosterveer.

As challenging as it sounds to work with colleagues you hardly know and have different cultures and professional backgrounds, to me it was remarkable to experience the amount and quality of the content that was created. But more important, how fun it is to work in such a dynamic environment, to connect with all those colleagues working on different but sometimes also very similar fields, and to learn from our leadership team.The next challenge is to take our learnings, inspiration and deliverables back to our home offices to create a so-called ‘ripple effect’… 



Part II – November 22, 2017: 

The Ripple effect 

This was exactly my feeling when I wrote this blog a couple of days after I returned from the Global Shapers adventure. As you can see, with no idea how the ripple effect was going to evolve in the coming period. Three weeks later, I’m experiencing that the feeling from Global Shapers is still alive and kicking. Through social media I keep on getting updates from fellow Shapers around the world, presenting their experience, questioning each other, blogging about their workweeks and having fun conversations through Whatsapp, Yammer, Facebook and so on. Furthermore, I will be giving my office presentation to my direct colleagues and I have had really valuable conversations/ discussions with colleagues that I gained from Global Shapers.

But the best experience was last Tuesday, when the new global strategy ‘creating a sustainable future’ was launched. When diving into the strategy, the deliverables from Global Shapers where easily recognizable. First of all, when diving into the people & culture strategy pillar, the feedback from GS2017 was clearly there (People first!). Secondly, both themes from the innovation & growth pillar, digitization and sustainability, where certainly influenced by the work from GS. The digital case studies from #digital are mentioned at the strategy hub, and a first mention of Spot On! – the sustainability tool platform, from #sustainability – is made. It is also very exciting to see Laura, Mike and Sami, as shapers commenting on sustainability at the strategy hub. Peter Oosterveer mentioned Global Shapers during the Capital Markets Day Conference, where the strategy was presented, great reference I would say…

Until now, the visibility of GS2017 is very high, and the ripple effect is certainly there. However, if it’s up to me, we’re definitively not done yet! TO BE CONTINUED… ?

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