What is THNK?



THNK’s mission is twofold: we accelerate the development of creative leaders from across corporate, private, public, and social sectors and from all over the world. Together, we create innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing and inspiring challenges.











We declare commitment to our values through grand challenges that can only be solved by the dedicated teamwork of passionate creative leaders. We gave our dream a name: THNK. Taking the “I” out of think reminds us all to innovate without ego.




THNK c school design business creative leadership program

Dubbed by Stanford University as “the future of higher education”, THNK stands for creativity, business model innovation, and entrepreneurship for social impact.


While a ‘B-School’ professionalizes management and a ‘D-School’ does the same for product design, THNK is a ‘C-School’ that applies creativity for positive change at scale.


As a social enterprise that reinvests its profits back into its mission, we are a privately-owned and funded school. THNK’s core activities include:



(1) Creative Leadership Program

(2) Challenges

(3) In-Company Programs

(4) Research

(5) Supporting its community of THNK Leaders

Brief History of THNK


THNK was founded as a joint initiative by business and creative sectors, and in cooperation with the Dutch Prime Minister and the Dutch Innovation Platform. In 2010, THNK was officially established in the mayor’s residence, receiving more than €6 million of initial capital from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the City of Amsterdam and the Province of North Holland. We also received significant support from our launching partners, which include McKinsey & Company, Droog Design, Vodafone, Stanford d.school, and Philips Design.


THNK embodies the DNA of its first home in Amsterdam, the Netherlands: internationally orientation, entrepreneurship, creativity, and active citizenship. Our community of staff, faculty, and participants is truly international, with a reach that extends beyond 40 countries.


We launched our first program in March 2012. Currently, over 400 participants have taken part in our Creative Leadership Program, and thousands more have joined our in-company and online programs. At the end of 2014, we opened our first international locations in Vancouver and Lisbon. We are currently pursuing expansions to Shanghai, Aruba and Dubai. We also provide THNK programs at Stanford and Sao Paolo. Every THNK location will offer Challenge topics and leadership programs relevant to its city and region.


Creative Leadership Program



Our Creative Leadership program is a 6-month part-time executive program that helps leaders to realize their full potential and accelerate the growth of their enterprise. The program starts twice a year in March and September—with a group of 35 participants invited on the basis of their experience, leadership skills, and the quality of their growth plans. Participants include corporate innovators, entrepreneurs, and social change agents from all over the world, and are typically around the age of 45 with a minimum of 8 years of executive-level or entrepreneurial work experience. Each class consists of around 20 different nationalities, and the ratio of men to women is 50-50.


The program consists of four modules—four periods of 8-10 days. We combine business design thinking with innovation strategy, and leadership development with the nurturing of entrepreneurial mindsets.


THNK’s Creative Leadership Program is fully focused on learning-by-doing. Instead of lectures and academic study cases, we prompt our participants to work together on business concepts and open innovation projects to discover new avenues of perspective and potential.


Watch Wempy Dyocta Koto (Amsterdam Class 5) describe how THNK has helped him develop as a creative leader and innovator:


Learn more and apply








THNK Challenges are innovation projects that address large-scale, complex societal issues with a technology dimension, and lend themselves to enterprise solutions and collective initiative. Past Challenge topics include the future of education, smart energy, mobility in large cities, use of data to improve of food and healthy living.


Over half a year, participants engage in a single Challenge project, working together with influential, well-networked and resource-rich Challenge Partners invited by THNK to help scale social impact. These include corporations (e.g., Cisco, Shell, Tesco, Philips), creative agencies (OMA, UNStudio, Marcel Wanders Studio), NGOs (DOEN Foundation, Carbon War Room) and educational institutions (Stanford d.school and the University of Amsterdam).



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In-company Program



THNK’s in-company programs are for leading international organizations with a passion for innovation. Clients include Vodafone, Cisco, Shell, Kempinski Hotels, AES, and Booking.com. In-company programs are available in three different forms:



1. Front-line innovation

  • Creating a continuous flow of product and service innovations that collectively becomes a growth engine.


2. Game changer

  • Product, service, or business model innovations that result in new enterprises.


3. Innovation DNA

  • Holistic, multi-year transformation to embed innovation into the culture of an organization



All programs increase social relevance by encouraging clients to deliver products and services that make the world a better place. All programs are also accompanied by THNK’s online application called ‘Pulse‘ which provides tools to keep teams focused and track progress. In-company programs are lead by former McKinsey partner Rajiv Ball.



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THNK’s research focuses on Scaling – understanding the conditions and factors that help to make an innovative, socially relevant business concept take root and grow. THNK has developed several articles, a book, and a range of tools to explore the topic, and has partnered with Deloitte to access a rich database of tens of millions of fast-growing companies around the globe.

THNK aims to publish its innovation and creative leadership content online with open access, to benefit practitioners around the world. We offer a knowledge platform (THNKInsights.com) for this purpose.



Visit THNKInsights.com





Supporting a community of THNKers

THNK participants form a close-knit community. We support this worldwide circle of ambitious leaders, change agents, like-minded individuals, corporations and organizations, by fostering collaboration and co-creation. Collaboration manifests itself in many different shapes and forms, from knowledge development and Challenges to in-company programs, new business concepts, and individual growth plans. The THNK community also helps select and present participants for new classes, and is heavily involved with in-company programs, the research program, and new THNK locations.


Watch Rym Baouendi (Amsterdam Class 5) describe how the THNK community has helped her grow both personally and professionally:




Start connecting with the THNK Community





Advisory Board

George Kembel – Co-Founder, Stanford d.school

Reuben Abraham – Executive Director, Indian School of Business

Michael Tchao – Vice-President, Product Marketing, Apple

Dominic Barton – Worldwide Managing Director, McKinsey & Company

Esther Wojcicki – Vice-Chairman, Creative Commons

Ben van Berkel – Principal Architect, UN Studio

Marcel Wanders – Founder, Marcel Wanders Studio

Michael B. Johnson – Head, Pixar Moving Pictures Group

Maria Giudice – Director of Product Design, Facebook

Ravi Naidoo – CEO, IDAP, South Africa

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