Happily Ever After


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Children speak the truth. In simple terms. In addition, children will inherit whatever today’s leaders decide to leave behind on planet Earth. What happens if we ask 10-year olds to reflect on the challenges of CEOs of our largest companies and key political leaders? This is the basic plot for the book “Nog Lang en Gelukkig” (Happily Ever After) by Princess Laurentien van Oranje and investigative journalist Jeroen Smit.

Smit and Van Oranje have interviewed amongst others Ben van Beurden (Shell), Wiebe Draaijer (Rabobank), Frans Timmermans( European Commission), Feike Sijbesma (DSM) and Ahmed Aboutaleb (Mayor of Rotterdam). The reflections from the children are fun and thought-provoking at the same time: “Maybe it helps to make a drawing about the future. A world without trees, for example. Show what could happen. And then work out what you have to do right now to avoid that from happening.” At Perspectivity, we call this scenario planning and there are complete books about this methodology, but Joran of 11 years old can describe it intuitively in a few sentences.

The book is a light and enjoyable read, which provokes some good questions of whether it is really that difficult to do what is right. Not if you ask a 10-year old.

Perspectivity did a similar project two years ago interviewing children about key concepts that we often use in our work. You can view the videos here: Doing it differently, Challenges of complexity.