The Think Train Trip

While everybody was on holiday these days, I crossed paths with an interesting group of people that was on a different kind of journey…

This group of young travellers came together from different countries (Sweden, Netherlands, England) – hungry for adventure, thirsty for knowledge, and their baggage full of different kinds of backgrounds and experiences – sharing a passion for improving healthcare. They met for an expedition packed with challenges. And they found what they were searching for.

Photo by Fernanda Torre / Centre for Gender Medicine

The Think Train drove on high speed through Amsterdam and Stockholm, creating innovative solutions for different health organisations – in 99 hours projects. What holy (holi-) days of brainstorming, exchanging, inspiring and producing – with the ultimate goal of changing European healthcare for the better.

“It’s all about building bridges between healthcare organisations and young entrepreneurs to have an impact on healthcare and people’s health”, Thijs Sondag said who is the initiator of the not for profit Think Train and its Ambassador for the Netherlands.

At Karolinska Institutet, the Think Train team was working on a case provided by the Centre for Gender Medicine . The challenge was to find innovative approaches to promote a gender perspective in medicine and research. Crossing the train’s path during the final presentation in hour 99, I was impressed to see the range of solutions, products and ideas, created out of the box by an interdisciplinary group of young minds. While listening to them, I couldn’t help but observe Karolina Kublickiene from the Centre for Gender Medicine who could not stop smiling and saying “wow”. 

I asked Thijs if this was like a consultancy train, but he soon made me understand that it was not: “We are more like construction workers”, he explained, “building solutions together with the organisations – instead of just building them for them. After this first pilot journey, we want to continue developing this network organisation further.”

Photo by Fernanda Torre / Centre for Gender Medicine

“What’s the need?”, I asked Thijs. “There are so many great ideas out there and organisations with big potential, but ideas often die because they turn out to be too difficult for the organisations to implement”, he described. That’s where the Think Train comes into play…

After the final presentation, I met Lisa-Marie Larisch, one of the Think Train Ambassadors for Sweden, wearing a beautifully happy and satisfied smile on her face. A few months ago, organising the first Think Train mission was only one of the sensational things she was juggling with in the circus of life as a Public Health master student in Paris.

I can only imagine the hard work, sweat and tears that especially the Ambassadors of the project invested to make these amazing travels happen.

“Anything is possible”, Lisa summarises her first experience with the Think Train before the group gathers to enjoy the nice summer evening in Stockholm.

Find Lisa’s and Thijs’ contact info, as well as more info about the Think Train here.

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