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Competences Lab


Admission requirements

This course is only available for participants of the Honours Program Tackling Global Challenges by the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs in The Hague.


“Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them could not stand being laughed at.”

This course trains you to become more effective in making decisions and getting things done through an investigation of those values, assumptions and habits that will strengthen your empathetic, ethical and expressive qualities. The first part of each class focuses on analytical, ethical, and empathetic reflection, while the second part builds professional and personal skills. To be effective in school, work and private life, students must be able to activate a range of functional skills, such as project planning and financial management, as well as personal skills, such as creative thinking, presenting, listening and negotiating. These skills will help you to navigate the complexities of life.

Course objectives

After this course you will be able to:

… assess, reflect and report on your professional development … train and apply planning, budgeting and creative thinking techniques … assess, reflect and report on your personal development … train and apply negotiation, listening and presentation techniques … explore new ways to handle pace, information, and unpredictability … use basic financial planning and tracking skills for projects … present and structure a story by using video … differentiate between appropriate negotiation strategies


Date 2016 Time Place Subject
Wednesday, October 5 16.00-19.00 Living Lab Introduction
Wednesday, October 12 16.00-19.00 Living Lab Empathy
Wednesday, October 19 16.00-19.00 Living Lab Presenting
Wednesday, October 26 16.00-19.00 Living Lab Negotiating
Wednesday, November 2 16.00-19.00 Living Lab Creative thinking
Wednesday, November 9 16.00-19.00 Living Lab Values
Wednesday, November 16 16.00-19.00 Living Lab Planning

Mode of instruction

Interactive lectures and workshops

h3. Course Load
Total study load 140 hrs by attending lectures and workshops, preparing for seminars, writing an individual essay, writing a group report and reading literature.

Assessment method

Assessment and grading method:

  • Individual essay assignment 40% of final grade

  • In class assignments and blogposts 20%

  • Group report 40% of final grade

  • Obligatory attendance of the lectures and workshops (Pass or Fail)

  • Rounding off grades to 0,5 decimales is subject to class participation and daily reflections.


Blackboard will be used. The coordinator will enroll you on Blackboard.

Reading list

Not yet been fully:

  • Björn Bjerke, Understanding Entrepreneurship (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2007), Chapter 4 (“To understand entrepreneurs”).

  • Carol Dweck, “Mindsets and human nature: Promoting change in the Middle East, the schoolyard, the racial divide, and willpower”, American Psychologist, 67:8 (2012): 614-622.

  • Karim Benammar, Reframing or the art of thinking differently, (Amsterdam: Boom, 2012), chapter 4 & 5 (pp. 55-75).

  • Roman Krznaric, “Empathy and Climate Change: Proposals for a Revolution of Human Relationships” (2007).

  • Jeremy Rifkin, “The Empathic Civilization: An Address Before the British Royal Society for the Arts” (2010).

  • Aristotle, Rhetoric, Book I.2.

  • Amy Cuddy, Peter Glick, and Anna Beninger, “The dynamics of warmth and competence judgments, and their outcomes in organizations”, Research in Organizational Behavior, 31(2011): 73-98.

  • Alison Wood Brooks, “Emotion and the Art of Negotiation”, Harvard Business Review, 93:12 (2015): 56–64.

  • Deepak Malhotra, “Control the Negotiation Before It Begins”, Harvard Business Review, 93:12 (2015): 66–72.

  • Erin Meyer, “Getting to Si, Ja, Oui, Hai, and Da”, Harvard Business Review, 93:12 (2015): 74–80.

  • Thomas Nagel, “The Fragmentation of Value”, in his Mortal Questions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

  • Melanie Mitchell, Complexity: A Guided Tour (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), Chapters 1 (“What is Complexity?”).

  • Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Modernity (Cambridge: Polity, 2000), especially Chapter 2 (“Individuality”).

The order of the literature varies and is subject to change, please check Blackboard for the latest update.


The Honours coordinator takes care of registration in Usis.


Teachers: Gijs Deckers & Iris van den Berg
Coordinator: Sjoerd Louwaars