Joseph Kessels2

Joseph Kessels

You cannot be smart against your will

I may be driven by a deep conviction that people have more potential than their environment generally allows them to reveal. Companies, institutions and education could achieve so much more, if they gave free reign to learning and development. However it takes courage to provide this kind of space and removing the obstacles to autonomy, self-guidance and emancipation. What choice do we have? In a knowledge society, all available talent is needed, whatever it be. Making learning and development appealing has become an economic necessity. After all, you cannot be smart against your will.


Designing learning environments is a practical way of going ahead. The starting question is: what pushes your buttons? Posing such an appreciative question is just like opening the blinds which often remain closed in the day-to-day work environment. By actively taking part in the design you can influence and direct your professional life.


Study and research are essential to me. It satisfies my and my colleagues’ curiosity. In our collaborative research projects we jointly become smarter. In particular, research topics such as knowledge productivity, the corporate curriculum, social capital and the autonomous professional are suitable for such interactive approach.


Corporate social responsibility and sustainable development play an important role in my work. In developing these issues further I draw inspiration from the world of arts. Artists understand what it means to add value in an unconventional way. If their work fails to communicate and inspire, people will stay away. Managers and artists can learn a lot from each other.

It is my core task connecting people who create and design their own work and thus continue to learn in freedom, away from power and manipulation.