From the beginning of September up until now, shareNL has functioned as my personal training ground. I could put the skills I learned during my study International Lifestyle Studies into practice, working on several trend research- and concept development projects. Of course this immediate change from being a student to being a full-time intern came with some challenges. After all, real business cases never turn out the way you read in your text books. However all of those bumps along the road and 'firsts' I experienced in the past 5 months taught me some very important lessons. With the slogan 'sharing is caring' in mind, I will share these lessons with you in my story as an intern.
Something to bring to the table
In a small team your talents and efforts get noticed and are highly appreciated.
I actually started at shareNL as a communication and marketing intern, hoping that I would be able to add some more trend and concept-focussed elements to the job. Luckily my intuition was correct on this! Because of how small the team is, I was immediately an important part of it and my efforts were being noticed. I got the freedom to handle tasks the way I wanted to, using familiar methods and trying out new ones. This resulted in an optimal situation where both me and the team members learned a lot from each other. Mainly, this feeling has helped me see how educational, and without a doubt, fun it is working in a smaller organization!
Networking is learning
Talking to people is the most fun way of educating yourself.
Networking has always been something that I struggled with. While I know that it is very important to maintain a network when working in a relatively new industry, I never felt comfortable doing it. To change this I made an agreement with myself to actively practice 'networking' at shareNL. I went to events and attended meetings, but I learned most from doing interviews. During my trend research on Artificial Intelligence, I interviewed several experts on the topic. These conversations did not only teach me the basics of AI. Because of them I also got to know people with shared interests who motivated me to dive deeper in the world of technology. Networking turned out to be a way of learning, one that works surprisingly well for me.
Endless possibilities of sharing
The sharing economy is not an old trend, it is a timeless opportunity.
I partly chose to do an internship at shareNL because of their focus on the sharing and platform economy. Such trends, that have the potential to change our living environment and society for the better, interest me. Apart from the fact that the sharing economy belonged to this category, I did not know much about it yet. In school we would even label this trend as an older one, but there is actually no expiring date with the sharing movement. Sharing goes further than meals, cars and homes, and there all still many unexplored opportunities. Why not include sharing in new construction, the organisational culture of a business or in projects in developing countries?
Suits don’t change the world
A down-to-earth approach goes a long way.
During one of my first days at shareNL, a Japanese delegation came to visit our office to experience Amsterdam Sharing City. We joked around how this was 'quite a good day for me to start', and it really was. Up until then I had not realized how many international organizations and governments shareNL worked with. This had simply not occurred to me because of how down-to-earth the team came across. It pleasantly surprised me that in every situation, the founders Harmen and Pieter would hold on to this same approach. No matter what business title a person had or how big organization they were part of, the shareNL meetings would always take place on our comfortable couch in the corner of the 'home' (office).
That concludes this blog on some of the first lessons I learned at shareNL. And more to come since I will continue working at shareNL on the side of my study. Hopefully we will meet in the near future at the shareNL 'home' to work on the next level of sharing economy!
The thumbnail image is a photo by Emmett Sparling