Jeroen van der Schenk on stage at TEDx Athens 2018

What would happen if you take out all conditions and expectations out of ‘reciprocity’? Give and share because you believe in, and live, your purpose. Trusting on things to happen. Something. Somewhere. From someone…? On june 2, 2018 our colleague and Experience Engineer Jeroen van der Schenk shared his story about ‘reverse engineering’ the renovation process of a historic building at TEDx Athens 2018. Thousands of historic buildings all over the globe are in a state of decay. Simply because restoration of this cultural heritage is unfeasible from a financial perspective. In his story, Jeroen shares how he made the impossible possible and saved a historic building from being demolished.

TEDx Athens Storyline

…You can like historic buildings without being aware of their presence. It’s part of our everyday ‘ordinary’ life. You see it every day. But how would the world look like if we take away all historic buildings? How would Athens look like without cultural heritage? Without all those beautiful buildings, holding our history and reminding us of where we actually come from?

Just ‘time’ doesn’t make a building a historic building. Time just make bricks look old…

When you want to restore a building you usually start by making a list of things that need to be fixed. And then you put it in a timeline. Not really inspiring…. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of benefits in making a plan. It gives structure and insights. You can try to take out risks as much as possible. But it also makes you less creative. It makes you run from A to B without being truly aware of what happens in between. And when you have close to no money, you need to be creative. Another great benefit of not having a plan: you can never run behind. I love to work like that. Just start stumbling forward with a vision. Cross that bridge when you get there.

I decided to take a different approach. To ‘Reverse Engineer’ the plan by taking the desired experience and emotions as a starting point and work our way back to the renovation activities. What do I want people to feel when they walk by this building? What would actually make them want to be part of the renovation? I wanted them to connect and contribute to my purpose an make it our purpose. If you want people to participate it basically comes down to leadership.


I think we all have one or two leaders who made a difference in our professional career or life, right? Then ask yourself the question: what did they do that made the difference? Great leaders are EPIC leaders! Great leaders Empower people to contribute related to their personal passion and talents. Great leaders share their Purpose and Inspire people to connect to it. And great leaders will Coach you to get the best out of yourself.

We started to share our purpose. Inspire them by sharing stories about the history of this amazing property. I learned that just ‘time’ doesn’t make a building a historic building. Time just makes bricks look old. It’s the story behind the bricks that actually makes it worth preserving. It’s the story behind the bricks that creates valuable memories. That makes people feel something when they walk by. And it’s the story behind the bricks that will connect people to it. And put them into action….

Do you want to visit a TEDx event? Visit for events in your area!

About Jeroen van der Schenk

Jeroen van der Schenk - Performance Solutions

Jeroen van der Schenk

Jeroen van der Schenk has a background in the hospitality industry. Being truly terrified to speak in front of groups, he decided 18 years ago to face his fear by applying for a job as trainer/facilitator. Making the impossible possible, he discovered his love for challenges. He has a deep-rooted passion for disruptive business models and bringing the online and offline world together, in order to create meaningful connections. As a keynote speaker and “experience engineer” at Performance Solutions, he helps organizations all over the world to turn their business into a memorable experience. Though his position, he is transforming companies in a fun way by engaging people, empowering them to make a difference. He strongly believes that we live in a time where success is no longer counted by dollars and likes, but by how many lives we positively impact. To him, emotions are the most powerful currency and connections and experiences make the real profit.

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