The first of February was the moment of truth. The CityBattle Zwolle was about to kick-off at 13.30 o’clock sharp.

The Windesheim Honours team also included two Honours programme students. The fact that we already knew that we were going to form a team, means we had a lead. We were briefed on what the day would bring us the week before. The central question of the day was “How can Zwolle deploy the power of the city in order to enhance the quality of living together for everybody?” Every team needed to choose a movement. We chose the movement “From a hidden city to proud of Zwolle and with eachother.”, but decided not to elaborate on it yet in order to stay open for the energy of the day.

No time to be nervous

After a lunch together and an introduction to the day by the organizers, everybody was ready to take off. We had  half an hour to prepare a pitch of thirty seconds in which we told the other teamswhy we chose our movement. Thirty minutes really seemed short, an what was even shorter was the thirty seconds to had say everything. We needed to stay focused on our main points which were: we are proud of Zwolle; the power of Zwolle is the people; and from social cohesion to social innovation. Henk and I were designated to do the thirty seconds pitch. There was no time for me to be nervous, we just had to rock itand make it to the next round. And we sure did, our team was with five other teams chosen as best to go to the next round. Secretly, we heard afterwards from the organizers that we won that round by far!

One of the winning teams

The goal of the next round was to deepen our idea and to come up with three concrete ideas. We were reinforced by people whose idea lost and saw potential in our idea. Our group split up and the pressure cooker started ticking again for thirty minutes. My table came up with the idea of having a ‘wijkweek’ or in English a neighbourhood week. This week will take place four times a year, in which every neighborhood has to organize an event. The best wijkweek will be chosen through social media and win. The fact that there is competitive component will induce pride and togetherness. The other tables came up with the idea of the ‘Zwolsche Zwam’, which is a sort of chat box spread around Zwolle where everybody can complain and applaud Zwolle. The other idea consisted of making active use of the potential of social media. We had five minutes left and still had to combine all these ideas. We didn’t write a pitch, but Henk nailed it anyway. However, when the voting for the best ideas was presented, it was a close call. Only three teams won, and rapapa rapapa…. we were one of the winning teams!!

With a smile on my face

In the last round we were connected to a commercial agency that helped us creating a visual presentation. After our last presentation, we all left feeling fulfilled. I think back to the day with a smile on my face, there was connectedness, a group feeling, innovative ideas, and lots of energy. I hope we can hold onto this energy when we have our meeting with the organization and municipality to discuss our ideas!

Keep you posted!

Christel