Challenge Phase



Each Challenge phase of a THNK Creative Leadership Program focuses on topics that have major societal and geographical relevance to the specific program location. All topics are open for innovative enterprise opportunities, are impacted by new technologies and are connected to vibrant communities such as cities.



These topics are a great exploration area for creative leaders to delve into, develop their innovation skills and draw inspiration from their own industries and sectors.


We provide a rich set of background materials, fact packs, and inspiration galleries – all to give you a deep inroad into the topic. You interact with topical experts from around the world and with the THNK Communities of Practice comprised of former THNK participants who are active specifically in the area of exploration, all of which have personally navigated through the Challenge process.






Innovation Flow

Throughout the Challenge phase of the Creative Leadership Program, participants explore deeper levels of knowledge on THNK’s four essential steps in the innovation flow. These include:


(1) Sensing

Exploring the topic combining rational analysis with intuitive gathering of insights.


(2) Visioning

Creating an innovative enterprise concept by thinking big.

(3) Prototyping

Performing rapid user testing to collect feedback and improve the concept.

(4) Scaling

Designing the concept to scale while remaining adaptable to an uncertain future.



Learn more about Innovation Flow








Learning by doing


We want to work with you to create real-life impact, and by doing so, give you experience and help in putting practical use to cutting-edge innovation techniques for creating new opportunities in emerging fields.


By tackling a topic that is both relevant, inspiring, and outside your immediate area of focus or expertise, you are guaranteed to become equipped with new analogies that apply your accelerator project. These analogies are also an important source of innovation. Experiencing the power of looking with fresh eyes at situations, you will become equipped with new perspectives on your own leadership efforts.




Positive contribution to society


Developing creative solutions to large societal challenges is in the mission of THNK. As a result, we commit to Challenge topics that are relevant and meaningful. We aim to collaborate with our participants to develop solutions that are truly innovative and have high potential.


We also seek out external partners to join us in this effort – not consulting clients, but genuine partners. Together we – participants, THNK and challenge partners – select from the concepts resulting from the Challenge process those that we will attempt to develop into new social or commercial enterprises.  THNK participants have the opportunity to take the lead in these ventures and obtain ownership.








At THNK, we want you to be able to solve the toughest, most complex problems, with lots of uncertainty, moving variables, and interdependencies.


The innovation skills we help you develop further have ever-deeper levels of mastery. We have developed a rich library of tools that fit different needs of the practitioner. Participants can select tools that help them with their need, each tailor-made by THNK for that purpose. All tools are digitized and integrated in Pulse – THNK’s IT platform for collaborative innovation which is also available to THNK participants.


view all tools





We are currently building a portfolio of THNK Ventures – these are the concepts resulting from the THNK Challenge efforts. The THNK Ventures are in different stages of incubation and are all open collaboration platforms.


One example is the “ontroerend goed” JV between THNK and Achmea. This concept has been developed by THNK in conjunction with the City of Amsterdam, BAM, Arcadis, UNstudio, OMA and Achmea. Building vacancy represents a big real estate challenge in western countries today. The impact is more than economic. Unused buildings mean loss of city life and attractiveness, and increasingly, crime, security and sustainability issues. Often a spiral of negative implications manifests, with many implications for urban life. We take an option on selected empty buildings for a very low base price, plus offer a stake in upside to be created. Next we will engage communities of elderly looking for tailored housing and care services to co-create with them a new housing concept, conduct the required renovation and sign rental contracts. After all, in their old age people want to live in a community that connects back to their origin.


We will invite such communities to create – with our support – the ideal living space, interior design, services and programming. We will work with them within their budget constraints. So their dreams come true. If successful this, it could become the standard approach for housing and care for elderly in the Netherlands and abroad.


view all challenge projects


Interested in becoming a Creative Leadership Program participant?

Simply fill out the form below to start a dialogue with one of our global advisors and discover more about pricing, availability and return on investment.