Dr. Thieu Besselink, The Netherlands, Founder and CEO of “The Learning Lab” in the category “Young Leonardo - Wisely Smart”
The new category “Young Leonardo – Wisely Smart” touches on the traditional category “Thought Leadership” but places a particular emphasis on work at the intersection between business, art, communities and societal innovation in learning and knowing in today´s economy.
Our Dutch colleague Professor Wim Veen made us aware of your far-reaching pioneering work as an innovator, philosopher and adviser, who combines academic fundamental research with practical implementation in a rather diverse context. The variety of aspects you have focused your important work on are truly holistic in the spirit of Leonardo.
This is underlined by your “Learning Lab”, which you maintain was started as “a place of inquiry and creation in a collective effort to understand and form ourselves and the not yet sustainable world around us, to contribute to it with audacity and respect, and to grow in what makes us human – our creative capacity for meaningful action.” And what is particularly “wisely smart” is your conviction “that with the end of systemic certainty in our society you cannot understand the increasingly complex world unless you participate in its creation” (cited in the proposal). The Leonardo European Corporate Learning Award attempts to be a companion to make these insights heard, better understood and consciously implemented.
We know that this work of yours is embedded in studies, research, teachings, writings in diverse fields of thought and action. This is true for your multidisciplinary PhD on authority and leadership in the open society as well as for your studies at the theater academy in Florence (for us an often underestimated aspect in the world of learning), your learning in piano and music technology and your philosophy and urban studies at London School of Economics. We were very impressed by how you succeeded in making all of this a source for meaningful initiatives to help business people and underprivileged learners alike.
The decision of the Advisory Board was based on the reasons briefly depicted here, and we sincerely hope you accept this laureateship. You will be part of a still young but powerful legacy honoring exceptional personalities, the outreach of which is now extended through the “Young Leonardos”. With such generous support, “Leonardo” creates a narrative to assist stimulating a mind shift in corporate and societal learning in Europe and beyond.
(Extract from the jury decision)