You must be thinking: who are those Young Agents of Change anyway? Meet the current Junior Analyst at NewForesight: Marlien Sneller! Motivated to increase the link between science and society, she took TU Delft’s master on Science Communication, where system thinking is the main approach for analyzing and facilitating innovation and knowledge sharing within and between organizations. At the start of 2018, Marlien joined the NewForesight team as a Junior Analyst and we asked her what life at NewForesight is like.
Why did you attend the Young Agent of Change event?
Because the YAoC event is all about making an impact. That triggered my personal desire; to positively contribute to the world through my career. NewForesight has a real ambition to leverage sustainability with a business case behind it. This makes it sustainable from scratch.
What was most memorable about the YAoC event for you?
I was really grasped by the Market Transformations theory. As it is very meta-level and standardized, you can recognize it everywhere in daily life or when you turn on the news. More and more I start to notice market dynamics and the barriers that withhold sustainability to be reached at scale.
What did you expect from the Junior Analyst program?
I expected that I would be able to work as a junior in a team, doing consultancy work and learn a lot in the meantime. That I can ask a lot of questions and learn from others. Many people here are good at things I want to grow into, so I am very eager to pick their brains.
Does the JA program live up to that expectation?
There is a lot of space to grow here. I am surprised that the focus is very much on learning and reading up on old projects, for example. I think there is a lot of room to develop the skills that I want to work on.
What do you think of the NewForesight-team?
From the first day, everyone has been so nice! Every colleague has complete different backgrounds, but all share the passion to create positive change in their own way. Everyone is driven, hard working and pushing themselves to grow. The added value of NewForesight I think is that the consultants are all very unique and not mainstream. Some are geeky, others have next level social skills, everyone has an extraordinary contribution to the team. This makes me feel very comfortable to bring my own unique skill set.
What is more difficult?
I think the difficult thing is that I want to learn so much and as I see so different types of projects pass by, I sometimes want to do too many things at the same time. So I need to remind myself to not want to do everything at once.
Ok, here’s a dilemma: Working on systemic sustainability challenges or working with the NewForesight team?
This is a difficult one. I am really driven by the theory of systems change and would not want to work in tackling issues at symptom level only. I could not let it go. But I am definitely sure that I only want to work with a dedicated team like this. For the complex projects we work on, such dedication is needed.
What would you still like to experience while working at NewForesight?
I could imagine putting Market Transformation thinking into practice in other sectors than food- and agriculture. I can see market transformation thinking being applied in fast moving consumer goods as well for instance. Something that has led to the new publication NewForesight is developing together with Nyenrode. I am excited to work on systemic sustainability challenges in an increasing amount of sectors at NewForesight.
What would you advise new Young Agents of Change that will be coming to the event?
I would advise being very critical about organizations in the sustainability field that you would like to contribute your energy too. There are many organizations around that just focus on symptoms and work without a clear theory of change. Try to connect with people that share your mindset and ambition and ask a lot of questions!