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Skillslab - Professional and personal development


Admission requirements

Admission is conditional on submission for the minor Entrepreneurship for Society
A knowledge of Dutch is not necessary. You should have obtained your propedeuse before starting this minor.


“Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them could not stand being laughed at.”

This course trains you to become an effective 21st century skills professional.
Throughout the series of classes runs your own impact project which you will be working on in small groups. The classes aim to support the development of the impact project through personal development. We will explain, introduce, reflect and evaluate on both life questions as well as the progression of the impact project. We will investigate your values, assumptions and habits in order to strengthen your empathetic, ethical and expressive qualities. The classes alternate between analytical, ethical, and empathetic reflection, and the building of professional and personal skills.

Course objectives

After this course you will be able to:

… practice a growth mindset by identifying continuous potential for personal development … practice how to generate new perspectives on conventional wisdom to discover possibilities, creative thinking! … recognize the way that communication and presentation are mutually inclusive … connect traditional to new notions of (entrepreneurial) value … apply personal and theoretical reflection in writing … use mindfulness exercises to reduces stress … manage your target audience … plan and budget a pilot experiment … execute a pilot experiment … test your startup on the target audience


Nov 8/ 10h-13h: Introduction & Creative thinking
Nov 15/ 10h-13h Self-management and self-knowledge
Nov 22/10h-13h Presenting and presence
Nov 30/ 10h-13h Empathy
Dec 6/ 10h-13h Negotiation and reframing obstacles
Dec 12/ 10h-13h Values, eulogy and mission statement
Dec 19/ 10h-14h Presentations and reflection

Mode of instruction

Interactive lecture and workshop

Course Load

This is a rough breakdown of the course load:

  • 21 hours are spent on attending lectures and workshops;

  • 16 hours are spent on preparing for the seminars;

  • 8 hours to write an individual essay;

  • 16 hours to write a group report.

  • 30 hours are spend on the impact-project

Assessment method

Assessment and grading method:

  • Group report 40% of final grade

  • Individual reframe essay assignment 40% of final grade

  • Class assignments 20% of the final grade

  • Obligatory attendance of the lectures and workshops (Pass or Fail)

  • Rounding off grades to 0,5 decimales is subject to class participation.



Reading list

Stephen R. Covey, “Seven habits of highly effective people” (1989), chapters on Habit 1 and Habit 3.
Carol Dweck, “Mindsets and human nature: Promoting change in the Middle East, the schoolyard, the racial divide, and willpower”, American Psychologist, 67:8 (2012): 614-622.

Watch the following TED-talks:

  • Brene Brown on The power of vulnerability

  • Michele L. Sullivan on Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness

  • Ken Robinson on Do schools kill creativity?

  • Sebastian Wernicke on Lies, damned lies and statistics

  • Julian Treasure on How to speak so that people want to listen

Marshall Rozenberg “Nonviolent Communication” (2011) chapter 1 & 2.
Roman Krznaric, “Empathy and Climate Change: Proposals for a Revolution of Human Relationships” (2007).
Jeremy Rifkin, “The Empathic Civilization: An Address Before the British Royal Society for the Arts” (2010).
Karim Benammar, Reframing or the art of thinking differently, (Amsterdam: Boom, 2012), chapter 4 & 5 (pp. 55-75).
Thomas Nagel, “The Fragmentation of Value”, in his Mortal Questions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Melanie Mitchell, Complexity: A Guided Tour (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), Chapters 1 (“What is Complexity?”).


You have to register for both the minor and the course in Usis. Registration for this course only is not possible.


Gijs Deckers Wicher Schols


This course is part of the minor Innovation Cocreation and Global Impact. You can only take the course as part of this minor.