Yes, you can change the world, but you cannot do it alone.

Climate-KIC summer school student Tessa Leferink reflects on her learnings from The Journey 2016.


A couple of weeks ago my Journey at Climate-KIC came to an end. I learned that five intense weeks can be summarized in one lesson alone: Yes, you can change the world but you cannot do it alone.

Starting with 35 individuals

At the start of the Journey we were 35 students, from 20 different nationalities whom together have lived in over 200 cities. Our ages ranged from 20 to 29 and studies from behavioural economics to ecology and from mechanical engineering to sociology. Besides our differences in background, there were in my opinion two main similarities. First of all, quite simple: we all possessed motivation. Everyone had decided to participate in a summer school of five weeks and was dedicated to learn. A second similarity was that we were all interested in entrepreneurship and climate change. These two shared traits resulted over the Journey in a total of nine not only green, but also feasible business plans and corresponding pitches.

Teamwork makes the dream work!

These nine ideas were developed by nine teams. Each team had their own characteristic way of working and thinking. They were formed on a combination of rational try-to-find-a-mix and plain gut feeling, which worked! I have had the pleasure to work in an amazing and particularly loving team where, like our dear coach Robert put it “we all felt comfortable and could thus perform at our best”. That is how teamwork should be: based on mutual confidence so that everyone can flourish in their own way, great ideas can bloom and impact made.

Ending with 1 group as a knot

I keep visualising this Journey as a knot of 35 separate threads, representing our life paths which intertwined for a brief period. On one side of the knot are the loose threads of the 20+ years prior to the Journey, and on the right side are the threads yet to be spun and life paths to be walked.

After an emotional goodbye, we swarmed out over Europe again to our respective homes or holiday destinations. I am, however, very confident that smaller knots will keep being made out of the 35 threads, to represent impactful teamwork between individuals within this group or others out there in the real world. My team and I, for example, are meeting up in October to discuss further collaboration and put some ideas into practice!

Upon reflecting how this tight knot was made, I believe it were the two mentioned similarities: motivation and shared interest. The intensive program of the Journey was an excellent pressure cooker to show what teamwork can bring.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Dear team, dear group, dear coaches, thank you for sharing this amazing Journey with me – when in doubt I will look back at these five weeks and know that shared goals can bring gold. Or like one of my fellow students Rishi would say: “To sustainability and beyond!”

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