Suzanne Verdonschot web

Suzanne Verdonschot

Netherlands, Germany

Serious things, such as renewal, should be made enjoyable

The most interesting project I’ve worked on so far is a project for a major supermarket chain. One store was more successful than the other, and it was not obvious what the reason for this was. The managers (and if I’m honest, me too) wanted to know what the success factors were. To find out, we went onto the shop floor, to analyse with the people their work and their approaches to it. We deliberately made the process a lot of fun, and made tangible products as well: books, posters, etc. That generated a lot of energy and provided the opportunity to look at the reality from new perspectives. Ideas were put forward for more smart and better ways of working and learning in the supermarket.


I facilitate people’s learning at work so that they’re able to come up with clever solutions. In doing so, I often choose inquiry as an approach. It’s a great way of getting things going and it allows me to use the power of curiosity effectively: what do you really want to know? Besides, research allows you to build on what is already there. In every workplace there happen wonderful things but we don’t always see them in the bustle of everyday life. By mapping out what is already there, or looking at it differently, new ideas immediately come up. Often, they’re there already -I don’t have to think of them.


My PhD research also relates to this subject: how do you design processes in your workplace that allow people to be ‘knowledge productive’? I can apply the principles that come out of my research directly in my work as a consultant.


In future I want to retain that combination. Carrying out research near where people actually do their jobs, together with the hands-on setting things in motion.