Philippe has been on the shiftN journey from the very beginning, more than 15 years ago. And it has been a very special ride, allowing him to work with exceptional people all over the world on some of the most intractable problems our societies are facing. Transitioning to new models and practices of value creation in the post-post-industrial society of the 21st century is his passion.
What drives Philippe first and foremost is a profound love for 'clarity in complexity'. This fascination is, as he readily admits, both a strength and a weakness. Too much clarity sometimes hurts! Over time Philippe has learned to harness his capacity for disciplined conceptual thinking. He has learned to recognise the amazing synergies of systems thinking with respectful dialogue and with the creative power of design.
Not surprisingly Philippe has an eclectic background. He started out as an bio-engineer. His masters thesis, in which he solved a tricky problem in indoor climate regulation of livestock units by going back to first principles, is still a source of pride. His love for thinking and music led him onwards to take on a masters degree in philosophy. More recently he added a Masters of Human Settlements, providing him with new tools and ideas to tackle the complex interrelationships between space and other dimensions of human society.
After his engineering studies Philippe joined the Royal Shell Group where he worked as a researcher and internal statistical consultant in the chemicals business. After five years, in 1994, he decided to establish what has grown into shiftN. In the early years of his path as a scenario planner and systems thinker he worked as a professional associated to the Global Business Network. Since he has enjoyed the privilege to work with some of the most gifted systems thinkers and futurists of our times.
Philippe likes to balance professional challenges with out of the box creative endeavours. He is a published photographer, a grateful aficionado of classical music, good books and wines, and a great lover of the outdoors.
Kris joined shiftN after a career of 22 years with the Royal Shell Dutch group. Kris’ work at Shell had an international scope with a focus on Europe. Positions held have been in marketing, sales, business analysis and business development for a wide range of products (chemicals, lubricants, electricity, natural gas).
Since the late 1990s Kris mainly worked as a senior project leader setting up new businesses and improving existing processes. In the final 3 years of Kris’ Shell career responsibility shifted to Operational Excellence. She defined and implemented a pan-European project with the aim to streamline and improve processes and systems supporting natural gas sales.
Kris is a clear-headed conceptual thinker, a hands-on problem solver, a committed deliverer and an energetic communicator. Kris holds an engineering degree in Chemistry and Agricultural Industries and an MBA in Marketing and Finance (KULeuven). Recently she has been expanding her skills as coach and counselor in existential well-being. At shiftN she is particularly strong in managing projects that involve delicate organisational change processes.
Apart from a keen interest in her fellow human beings, Kris is a nature lover who likes to MTB, mountaineer, rock climb and in general ‘be’ in remote and inhospitable places.
Jo is a strategic thinker with 27 years of experience in the agri-food industry. His expertise covers the transformation chain from agricultural raw material to industrial food production but he is especially fascinated by the major societal issues surrounding nutrition and health and the role of agricultural production.
With a PhD in Biology and a long industrial career in various global R&D, marketing and business management positions at Cerestar, he combines scientific understanding with strong business skills. Since 2001 he has been consulting independently through his organisation Bio-Sense and working in partnership with Giract, the leading ingredient strategy consultancy and ShiftN, the innovative systems thinking and futures consultancy.
Jo is particularly interested in creative processes that help to understand the underlying patterns and forces shaping markets and societies. Convinced that today’s challenges require novel approaches he co-initiated and managed ground breaking projects such as the Nutrition & Health 2020 and 2025 Fields for Food and Fuel collaborative scenario planning and the Nutrition & Health Open Innovation Lab. He contributed also as a partner in large EU-projects such as GoodFood and Food4Me.
Kim is a senior consultant with a mixed background in business administration and philosophy who has worked with shiftN in a wide range of projects as a researcher, facilitator and systems thinker. Kim has a keen interest in social science and the humanities and has developed a particular expertise in health-care related projects.
Recent projects with shiftN include an assessment of the employment of former patients in the mental health care sector (Antwerp region), a strategy development project for the Belgian Cystic Fibrosis association, a survey of patient associations’ experiences in Flanders and an analysis and reform of Belgian Mental Health Care services for children and adolescents.
Liesbeth joined shiftN in 2014. She has a keen interest in human beings. She studied work and organisational psychology, and later on clinical psychology (KULeuven). In her search for more and deeper knowledge, she immersed herself in psychoanalytical theories and completed the advanced studies of psychotherapy (KULeuven).
Liesbeth worked in different settings and positions in the (mental) healthcare sector: as a support worker, as a teamleader and as an expert in psychodiagnostic assessment.
She chooses to be involved in interesting, challenging and meaningful projects. She is compassionate, dedicated and creative. She loves making things by hand, reading and playing the piano. But with three young children at home, there’s little time to indulge herself.
Koen started his career as a classically trained musician. A career in the music world was the obvious choice, but what was happening behind the scenes at the music organisations was actually what fascinated him most. This resulted in him being at the head of various different arts organisations both at home and abroad for fifteen years, which created a deep understanding of the functioning of creative companies and their specific challenges.
He gradually came to realise that his true motivation was in the optimisation of organisations, or the fine-tuning and restoring of their dynamic balance, also outside of the artistic world. He broadened his work field and assisted dozens of organisations in a variety of sectors as an Interim and Crisis Manager.
The complexity inherent to any organisation led him to a systemic approach. This is a vision he has firmly kept hold of since that time and which guides him in his current engagement as an organisational coach. Today he assists boards and management teams with the development of their businesses from an integral vision. Leadership, change and organisational design are all recurring themes, but his biggest satisfaction comes from the interaction with people, the creating of an insight and the facilitating of change.
Koen is fascinated by the major societal challenges, both in his work as well as beyond this area. He draws inspiration from the many new initiatives which contribute to changing awareness throughout the world and which build on an harmonious society.
The meeting with shiftN felt like coming home, in all respects: a systemic way of working, social responsibility, contributing to change. And all of this seasoned with the love for classic music he shares with Philippe.
Merel is committed to leave the world a better place than he found it. Building on his training as a designer he wants to help organisations and networks to create meaningful, sustainable innovations, to contribute to a healthy planet that provides opportunities for all.
Merel’s style to problem solving is open, low-key and pragmatic. He rarely works from a template but likes to think from the bigger picture and from what he learns when he tunes into the softer dimensions of organisational life.
In 2015 he joined forces with shiftN to work on innovation projects within organisations and networks. The first role he took on is to manage shiftN’s community on social media. For product-related innovations, he continues to work via the C2C Platform.
Merel is a lifelong learner (and un-learner!). Besides a Master in Product Development and an MSc. in Innovation and Design for Sustainability, he followed multiple transformative courses at Schumacher College and is regularly attending summer schools, conferences, evening classes and hackathons.
In the past ten years, Merel had Belgium and the UK alternatingly as home bases. He conducted assignments for SME’s, local and regional governments, intermediaries, institutes of higher education and non-profit organisations in more than ten different countries. These experiences familiarised him with a wide spectrum of (societal) challenges in a variety of sectors.
Despite his international, digital and societal outlook, you will not easily spot him on a plane, on Facebook or in a rowdy bar. He prefers a minimalistic, mindful lifestyle. A (foldable) bike and tent give him real freedom. Music has been a lifelong passion. In recent years, Merel is also falling deeper in love with mountains, art and life.