Mindlab as a starting point for open conversations about social safety, leadership and more

14x Mindlab @TU/e, 14x food for thought

July 19, 2022

1,252 TU/e employees saw the Mindlab theater performance on important themes in the academic world. What effect did Mindlab have on them and what are the follow-up steps in keeping social safety high on the agenda?

Click on the photo to watch the video about Mindlab. Video: Focality Media

A wake-up call. Confrontational. Recognizable. Impressive. Emotional. These are just some of the reactions to the Mindlab theater performances held at our university in July. Mindlab wants to get the conversation going on social safety, leadership, Recognition & Rewards, scientific integrity and the balance between research and education. After all, it doesn’t end with the performance: this is just the starting point for being able to speak openly about these important themes within academia.

“That doesn’t happen here anyway, said my colleagues beforehand. But it happens everywhere and, after seeing the Mindlab performance, they realized that too,” says Rianne Conijn, assistant professor in the Human-Technology Interaction group (Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences).

The performance by Theatermakers Radio Kootwijk attracted over 900 TU/e employees to the Blauwe Zaal across 10 live sessions. They immersed themselves in Mindlab for an hour and a half, followed by a discussion in the University Club.

In addition, 12 teams from services and departments attended in-depth team sessions with a coach after the performance. We recorded the reactions to the performances in the video below.

Mindlab – and now?

A common question (and rightly so) is what’s next for Mindlab, say HR policy officers Sandra van Dongen and Corlien van Dam. “Because it doesn’t end with these performances,” says Van Dam. “These serve as a catalyst, a starting point for open conversations about the themes mentioned. Of course, there has to be a follow-up, but that’s not one fixed trajectory. We offer personalization to teams and have coaches ready to guide them. We also offer training and tools, such as the active bystander training.”

Sandra van Dongen says that the 265 notes that were deposited in the suggestion box will continue to be reviewed and analyzed after the performances. “We’re looking at the recurring themes and will create follow-up steps for these. But we also don’t want to take too much of a leading role in this. It has to happen at the pace of the groups and the teams; we want them to feed us so we can meet their needs. Our email address, mindlab@tue.nl, will therefore remain open for any questions that people may have.”

Conversation is exactly what is needed

Vice president of the Executive Board Nicole Ummelen

Engaging in conversation is exactly what Nicole Ummelen, vice president of the Executive Board, is hoping for. "We’ve seen that Mindlab brings forth many things: recognition, emotion, energy, conversations afterwards, questions, ideas. This is exactly what we hoped for. It hits close to home and makes it easier to talk about undesirable situations or the ways in which these are experienced. And first and foremost, this conversation is exactly what is needed. You can write all you want about values, vision and agreements - and we certainly do that - but everything hinges on being able to live these and share them. The follow-up will therefore primarily consist of further discussions in a smaller circle in one’s own department or group and will concern Mindlab and social safety in one’s own environment. From this, we hope to learn more about what we can do better and thereby increasingly pursue a common course to promote social safety together. Because we have to do this together!"

Mindlab in figures

A total of 1,252 TU/e employees saw the Mindlab performance, either live or online.

  • 60

    key figures (deans, directors, confidential counsellors, etc.) watched a sneak peek performance of Mindlab in December 2021

  • 276

    TU/e employees were present at three online performances of Mindlab in February 2022

  • 916

    TU/e employees visited the 10 live performances of Mindlab in July 2022 (428 academic staff and 488 administrative and support staff)

  • 12

    teams (from IMS, IE&IS, EE and CE&C) that had in-depth team sessions with a facilitator from HRM to discuss Mindlab after the live performances

From our strategy: about social safety

People are the heart and soul of our university and we want to provide them with a safe place to work and study. An environment in which everyone feels physically, mentally and emotionally safe. Collegiality and respect for one another, regardless of position, experience or background, is of great importance to us.

Social safety is a matter for all of us. All students, employees and guests at TU/e are jointly responsible for a safe and positive studying and working environment. If you are faced with an unsafe situation or undesirable behavior, you can turn to various persons and bodies. This guide for employees can help you to find your way. There is also a social safety guide for students. In addition, students can always contact 24 students who serve as confidential contact persons.

Social safety falls under the theme of Resilience within our Strategy 2030.

Brigit Span
(Corporate Storyteller)

More stories about social safety @TU/e

Keep following us