Itai Talmi on his THNK experience

Itai Talmi 3
Article by: Itai Talmi
Itai Talmi on his THNK experience

THNK Class 1 participant Itai Talmi came over from Israel to help out with the Challenge Pilot. Here are his first impressions...


Paul Valery, the French philosopher said:


“The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.”


As I walk into THNK, I find a cheerful gang having a pleasant lunch together. Oh, just the energy I was hoping for after a long journey. The THNK characters (and they are characters, trust me...) are very lively and devoted to their mission of creating a new breed of creative leaders. They are very bright and professional individuals, each one has a unique background of achievements in his field. Definitely my kind of people. I meet my coach for the personal Quest part of THNK, the charming, discerning, Elly Van Gils. I was asked to assist with my expertise in an interesting pilot on the urban development of the city of Amsterdam.


Three busy groups of different individuals, an interesting combination of left and right-minded thinkers, are going through different phases of sensing, visioning, prototyping and scaling to come up with new concepts for the municipality. After a really needed lunch, I jumped right into the process.

Itai Talmi
The THNK characters are very lively and devoted to their mission of creating a new breed of creative leaders. — @BORNitaitalmi #creativeleadership Click To Tweet

I go through all the process findings and early results that are spread on a million sticky notes, diagrams, and sketches on the walls. Very interesting to see this field of reference, the polarization, the diversity, the no-judgment zone of free flow thinking. Great fun.

I mingle with the teams for a few hours and try to give them more angles. I add some of my experience from my previous urban development projects, ask some fundamental questions and try to be a reality check for their ideas. I hope I contribute. At least one group is inspired and even re-structure their concept into a fantastic new value proposition for a multi-functional retail center. Well done gang. They have an intermediate presentation to a group of people from the building industry and municipality tomorrow. They will do great I am sure.

In the evening it’s Forum time. In Forum THNK invites interesting people for interactive discussions. Karim Benammar, an eloquent speaker, philosopher, and thinker, hosts a roundtable with one of the highlights of my visit, one hell of an interesting man called Siegfried Woldhek, a famous cartoonist and the former CEO of the Dutch branch of the World Wildlife Fund. Siegfried explains his way of successfully scaling a project by engaging people with a compelling vision that moves you both emotionally and rationally. Siegfried’s metaphor for scaling change is engaging. He says it’s like sailing, not about driving a motor-boat. You need to know where the wind is blowing and how to navigate it rather than trying to motor something through yourself.

Itai Talmi
Scaling change is engaging. It's like sailing: you need to know where the wind is blowing and how to navigate it rather than trying to motor something by yourself. Click To Tweet

I’ll end with a short paragraph, an angle on the soul of creativity in my humble opinion. I can preach about this magic issue for hours, but take this for now: Creativity is living at that boiling and almost chaotic point of ‘becoming’ where what one does and who one is merge into a single intention of curiosity, exploration and discovery. The quest is perhaps best defined by Plato’s definition of an idea: to find the underlying pattern behind the surface manifestation of things. Whether the medium is an architect, or artist, brand development expert, social leader, or a corporate strategist’s spreadsheet, creativity functions to move others to experience the world, and their world in a new way. I’m a bit sad that I missed the first phases of this pilot project, as it looks it was highly intellectual, full of insightful and fascinating stuff. No worries, as I’ll get that and much much more when I’ll go through the program myself. My waking up has started. I’m awake. I’m alive. I’m at THNK.

Now I’m back to my base, the city of Tel Aviv. The city of paradoxes. And I believe where there is a paradox, there you find this pendulum movement of thinking and contemplating that results in really good authentic ideas. Thanks Elly, Robert, Mark, Karim, Bianca, Merel, Eduard, Berend-Jan, Dinesh, for your warm welcome. I felt right at home.

Vaya con dios my dear friends, and see you all soon again.

Merry Christmas!

Itai is one of the many inspiring leaders who participated in the THNK Creative Leadership Program.

To begin your own quest, join the THNK Creative Leadership Program, a 6-month part-time learning journey to help you realize your fullest creative leadership potential and scale your world-changing enterprise.