Becoming Stronger

stronger apart

10 years of friendship & discovery. What a JAM! As brothers in visual thinking we created our own unique brand of experience and learned how to set up a creative business, while at the same time making baby steps to support the acceptance of visualisation at any free thinking level. We aided people doing business by balancing our design skills with our pasion for drawing, and we got pretty good at it. We pioneered the process of design thinking… before it was called design thinking in our own visual way, which in my mind makes us true visual practitioners!

We evolved from making naive gut decisions to a system of shared responsibility, while at the same time learning how to slowly stick your head out to become real entrepreneurs. We saw friends & partners come and go. As did we see numerous iterations of our thinking. A tireless quest of trying to capture a unique market value that could be held true to all who live in JAM.After 10 years we have experienced first hand that what we do is not about the end result…it was always about what we do in between… what a process…what a clichee. When one of the three first partners left in 2009, the remaining three started working along side of each other and saw an opportunity for growth. Time seems to have flown by after this. In between our own process of building a company, of roughly 16 people in 2014, we have created families and have grown through much together. For all of us this decade must have been the one where we found out what we are supposed to be doing… and shared in the experience of doing it!

But… with experience comes wisdom. And listening to the people around us made us realise that we as partners needed to get back to basics to ensure a sound foundation that would keep us real during the next 10 years. Looking into the mirror and really asking yourself if this is what you should be doing has been one of the most difficult things I had to do in my life. It meant opening up to a life without JAM. A vision that at first scared the hell out of me, but after some deep personal reflection it became something to think about. What finally made the decision of breaking up a reality was the simple fact that the development of JAM would be served best by moving onto separate paths. A path of strength that would lead to a strong company in a new place and a path of discovery, listening to the new sounds of visual thinking.

When going through the motions of change, or growth in this matter, that is where you find out if what you are doing is truly what you should be doing. When committing to a reflective moment like this it takes all of your friendship to push personal ambition and sincerity to its edges and hope to find that what you want as a person is complementary to the wishes of your partners. The process was guided by Jelle Bartels and Ivo Valkenburg of the Next Step Factory. After an extended period of searching we, the partners in JAM, have found that we will become stronger people when we function apart. A harsh conclusion to a hopeful process that was initially started to get us beyond “our bullshit”. What we found was that friendship got in the way of our sincerity. It created a barrier to be truthful about how you feel… and this makes making decisions a slow and tiresome task.For any partnership, that is meant to survive,  all its partners need to be willing to keep looking at a shared future. In the moment that willingness to bend or conform to another gets in the way of personal happiness… its is time to start stirring up the waters!

So… I will keep you posted on what we shall I be doing next, check out the JAM website and the facebook page to see what they will be doing at the new Amsterdam based CAMPAS of freedomlab.

I end with with a quote:

Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation…
even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind. 

– Leonardo

Let’s start making some waves again!

Visually yours,… Dennis