Dare to be Different

by Sonja van den Bosch

Dare to be Different

Lately, I’ve been researching how to solve business challenges in different and unique ways that have a far greater benefit for the wider community. As businesses we have the power and opportunity to make a real difference, not just for ourselves, our staff and our clients, but also for the wider community. We just have to rise to the challenge and step up to this responsibility.

During my research, I came across the beautiful story of Humanitas Deventer, a retirement home in the Netherlands, who were struggling to hire more much needed staff, because of the government cut in funding. Gea Sijpkens, the CEO of Humanitas Deventer, didn’t let this discourage or stop her and by thinking outside the box, she’s been able to come up with a solution that benefits both her retirement home and the wider community.

So, what did she do?

life-begins-at-the-end-of-your-comfort-zoneGea came up with the brilliant idea of offering students free rent (The Netherlands is also struggling with a shortage in student housing) in exchange for them spending at least 30 hours a month with the residents. She didn’t have money to hire more staff, but she obviously had something else (in this case accommodation) in her business that was of value. What a brilliant way to not only solve a business problem, but also make a real difference, I take my hat off to Gea for this.

Who are the real winners?

bringing generations togetherThe real winners out of this might actually be the elderly and the students. Rather than a generation gap, these old and young people have become very close and are learning from each other living side-by-side. The elderly don’t only talk about death, sickness and old age anymore, but also about parties and girlfriends and some of them are learning how to use the internet. Whereas the students are learning how to appreciate the small things in life instead of rushing from one thing to the next.

I invite you to watch this short video below, it will definitely put a smile on your face.

Hopefully it will also inspire you to think about the following two questions:

1. How can we creatively solve our business challenges, while making a bigger positive impact on the wider community?

2. What resources other than money do we have available to do this?

It has definitely been the topic of conversation within our leadership team over the last few weeks.

If you would like to read the full story and see the full video (it is worth it), please click here


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  1. Lovely ‘Sonja. Thought provoking. Brought a tear to my eyes.

  2. What a difference Gea’s idea makes bringing these two generations together. Love it.

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Inspirational marketing is about being true to yourself, being aligned with your core values and doing something you truly believe in and are passionate about. It is about creating meaningful relationships with everyone you encounter. It is about thoughts from the heart.

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