The Knowmads Dictionary
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The Knowmads Dictionary

What’s a check-in? What does ‘speak from the I’ mean? Soft skills? Social entrepreneurship? Creating your own education??

We’re happy you’re here because we’ve compiled the most extensive dictionary of Knowmadic terms to date. If you’re thinking about applying for the 6-month program or recently entered the program, this will help you to understand our lingo.

The Basics

Knowmad: Read the article covering the definition here.

Creative business school: A school that fosters and develops creativity as a means of entry into the business world via entrepreneurial action. (Read the full article here)

Alternative education: Education carried out in a non-traditional setting that addresses the social, emotional, and academic needs of its students

Tribe: Your ‘class’ you go through the program with. Your friends and support network of people from around the world.

Tribe leader: A member of the Knowmads staff who keeps the program on-track and incorporates your feedback.

Co-creation: A process where we create an outcome by combining input from different parties. In this context, you will be co-creating your curriculum with your Tribe and Tribe leaders.

Creating your own education: See above.

Check-in: Where everyone shares how they’re doing, in order to move forward together with everybody fully present. Typically done at the beginning of the Knowmads day, followed by a check-out at the end of the day.

Holy Monday (or sometimes Wednesday): A day to process and reflect on what you’ve learned the previous week, set goals and receive coaching.

Facilitation: Not just giving a workshop. Facilitators guide a group through a learning process to meet the group’s objectives effectively.

Soft skills: Interpersonal (people) skills that enable you to interact and communicate effectively. They include listening, empathy, networking, conflict resolution, creative thinking skills, time management, and teamwork.

Hard skills: Job-specific skills like programming and data analysis.

Social entrepreneurship: Forming a business designed to take on a status quo of social inequality, and offering a value proposition to replace it with a new equilibrium “that releases trapped potential or alleviates the suffering of the targeted group. [This creates] a… new equilibrium ensuring a better future for the targeted group and… society at large” (Martin & Osberg 2007). A term originally coined by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, the definition of social entrepreneurship was expanded upon here by the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Changemaker: Someone who actively creates a positive impact in the world by changing current paradigms.

Learning by doing: Learning through experimentation, trial and error, and not through textbooks. Also called ‘action-based learning’.

Coach: Helps you along your developmental road to achieve your goals. Your Knowmads coach is personally assigned to you.

Five questions: These form the guiding framework of the program and each has its own related topic.

  • Who am I?
    Personal Development
  • In what world do I want to live?
    Sustainability & Social Innovation
  • What do I want to contribute/change?
    Personal Leadership
  • How do I create the organisation/project to get it done?
    Entrepreneurship & New Business Design
  • How do I bring it into the world?
    Marketing & Creativity

Nature quest: A rite of passage in some indigenous cultures. A quest into nature alone, typically without food, accompanied by an intention. A time for you to sit in contemplation with yourself and let the answers come.

Group dynamics: How people in a group interact with each other.


Welcome home: Our slogan. It means the space is your home as a Tribe for the next 6 months, and you can do with it what you like. Make breakfast in the kitchen, paint the walls, come in on the weekends for your projects, etc. You get a set of keys too.

Speak from the I: Speak for yourself, not for the whole group. You will be reminded to ‘speak from the I’ if you make a statement like ‘we made good progress today’.

Trust the process: Relax and don’t try to control everything. Your genius idea or life purpose doesn’t have to come to you today. If a question is germinating in the back of your mind, the answer will come eventually.

Go slow in order to go fast: Determine your direction, purpose, motivation, and process before you go into action. Linked with ‘trust the process’, it involves examining the why and how you do things, instead of doing things just for the sake of it. When you return to action, you will be much more effective.

Head-heart-hands: The main systems of you as a human being pursuing your potential: the brain (intellectual component), the heart (what are you passionate about?) and the hands (what you are actually physically doing to get there). We believe that these three need to be in alignment for a happy and meaningful life.

Most Popular Subjects

Likely you’ll come across the names of these subjects as you design your program and hear about them from alumni. They usually appear in the curriculum of every Tribe.

Nonviolent Communication: A technique for communication that de-escalates conflict by understanding and meeting needs

Art of Hosting: A technique for problem solving through harnessing the collective intelligence of a group

Spiral dynamics: A model that describes human and societal development

Theory U: A change management method that describes a learning/growth process

Facilitation Skills: See Facilitation.

Power to Flower: A process model to follow when you are creating something, that mirrors the Creatiespiraal (creativity spiral)

Circling: An interpersonal communication technique that helps you find what’s true to you and express it effectively



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