The Nanquanu Institute

Nanquanu's approach


“Climate change will kill billions of people this century”, James Lovelock, emminent biologist, said. Nanquanu believes a holistic approach to foster collective wisdom is needed more than ever.


“Non-Western cultures are not failed attempts of being modern. On the contrary, every culture is a unique answer to a fundamental question: ‘What does it mean to be human?’. Collectively, they form humanity’s repertoire for dealing with the challenges in the ensuing millennia. Every culture has something to contribute, and has to have a place at the council of human wisdom and knowledge.” - Wade Davis, anthropologist, writer

Nanquanu puts a considerable amount of effort into fostering collective intelligence from a interdisciplinary, and even transdisciplinary perspective. This means that Nanquanu seeks to contribute to the growth of holistic intelligence. This is a form of intelligence that integrates different types of ‘specialistic’ intelligence, such as social, logical, artistic, technological, mystical, economical, bodily and philosophical intelligence. Nanquanu believes this perspective is essential to contribute to long- lasting fairness, harmony and creativity. Moreover, the development of many, if not most Coli-systems is of a highly interdisciplinary nature. Fostering intelligence in this way, therefore, requires contributions from different types of people and insights from different cultures. Nanquanu actively pursues this diversity. For example, Nanquanu pursues a contributor network of different cultures and nations and establishment of physical offices all across the world. This does not mean that each contributor focuses on strengthening all these aspects in him or herself (while they are facilitated to expand their horizon if they choose so). Everyone has his or her limits. The collective of Nanquanu contributors, however, ideally balances these intelligences within itself. This also does not mean that each single, isolated Coli-system supports holistic intelligence. Such a system may support a very specialistic type of Coli (and be incredibly useful for that purpose). However, Nanquanu puts considerable effort into applying the collection of these systems in such a way that they contribute to more holistic intelligence.



Aka Jelle

“With regards to technology I have always considered myself lucky. I was fortunate enough to start exploring programming from a very young age. Thanks to my 7 year older brother I learned to code in Pascal just when I was learning to write my first words in school. The idea that you can take matters in your own hand and wield the power of machines yourself never stopped amazing and pleasing me. While still in high school in the late 90’s I started programming professionally and really never stopped. After the bubble burst I went to university to take courses in computer science and math, but what struck me most were the courses on interaction design and psychological ergonomics. There’s an actual living, breathing human being in front of the computer! This convinced me that any technology should first and foremost serve human beings and collaborative intelligence is right up this alley, providing a beautiful synergy of people and machines.”


Nanquanu approaches the scouting process of contributors in an unusual way. Nanquanu does not work with closed ‘job’ or ‘curriculum’ descriptions. Nanquanu does not consider people merely as a means of production. Nanquanu wants to know who you are, so that it can match you with an activity and place is natural for you. An activity that is aligned with your heart. Therefore, Nanquanu turns the situation around. Anyone sympathetic to its mission is kindly invited to share with Nanquanu anything that motivates, fascinates and inspires him or her. This may include a description of relevant traits: in what circumstances can you work best? This is regardless of what that is and whether it is clear in advance how this can lead to a contribution to Nanquanu’s mission. As soon as a relevant project or process within Nanquanu comes up, we will approach you with a proposal for collaboration. Nanquanu may even change some priorities, to align them with the contributor’s ‘passion-and-traitprofiles’ database gathered at a certain moment. (Of course – only if they are sufficiently in line with Nanquanu’s mission, process and projects).



Aka Veerle van Harten

“The mission of Nanquanu to create a more creative, sustainable and fair world really inspires me. With my background in sociology I strive to contribute to this mission by help building a socio- technological system for effective recruitment and team formation. One of the things that fascinates me about Nanquanu is that it has been one of the few workplaces that doesn’t work with a closed job description, but actually forms one in collaboration with you! Furthermore, Nanquanu seems to understand that people are not merely a means of production, but that each and everyone of us is unique and we can all contribute to make the world a better place if put under the right circumstances.”


Nanquanu’s Coli-systems will typically contribute to its twofold mission. An example is the development of a crowdsourcing system to exchange tips while going through a learning process in an unprecedentedly effective and attractive way. This system is a single key to free two birds at once: the system is (1) used within Nanquanu to help contributors learn how to build new Coli-systems even better, and (2) applicable to any learning process outside Nanquanu. The second point allows the system to increase the learning capacity of society in general and, moreover, can be applied to a wide range of specialised areas. For example, the Coli-system could help sustainable energy researchers reach crucial breakthroughs much more quickly.


Nanquanu also needs capital to realise its mission – not as a goal, but as a means to an end. The two-birds approach also holds the key to the pursued primary revenue model of Nanquanu. As soon as a Coli-system acquire worldwide adoption comparable to Wikipedia or Twitter, this can be used to earn money which is primarily invested in the mission of Nanquanu, allowing it to become a self-reliant social enterprise.


Nanquanu has a “multi-stage rocket” approach towards efficient growth, integrating both idealism and practicability. These stages are:

Stage 1 “Enterprise Program”: development of commercially viable Coli-systems with professionals and “privileged” apprentices. Privileged apprentices and professionals can work the most quickly, creating the necessary resources to invest in stage 2.
Stage 2 “Internal Growth Program”: a group of Nanquanu’s workers applies and (further) develops Coli-systems to realise the internal growth part of the mission: scouting and educating apprenctices to create Coli-systems for improving the same process! Stage 2 will produce Coli-systems that will accelerate progress in the following stages.
Stage 3 “Underprivileged Program”: Invest in scouting underprivileged apprentices. This requires a lot of research: complex socio-economical factors make it difficult for these apprentices to participate. Coli-systems that can be applied for this stage will be developed. Stage 3 allows these apprentices to join forces with Nanquanu, accelerating the following stages.
Stage 4 “Pure-iversity Program”: Invest in launching pure scientific projects: a group of Nanquanu’s workers applies and further develops the now stream-lined Coli-systems to collaboratively tackle problems in pure science, free from any commercial obligation. Stage 4 will stream-line the Coli-systems even further, paving the way for stage 5.
Stage 5 “Societal Program”: Launch societal spin-offs: subgroups of Nanquanu’s professionals and apprentices apply and further develop Coli-systems to contribute to the part of the mission concerned with world-improvement. The latter includes finding solutions to urgent societal problems, such as the need for sustainable energy.

During all these stages, each Coli-system is, when feasible, also applied to the application areas launched in the other stages. Remember: Nanquanu frees several birds with one key!!



Aka Alexandra Huisman

I have interest in a rather wide range of topics, but it is primarily focused on physical and mental health issues. More specifically, the way we deal with negative experiences and the consequences and impact this can have on our lives, and that of others. If we know how deal with these experiences constructively, we can transform a challenge into a chance to develop as an individual, but also as a collective. Those who study the present ecological, societal, economical and political developments on a worldwide scale, knows that humanity faces an enormous challenge. Nanquanu offers and promotes exactly what is needed so strongly: directed and intensive collaboration and “collearning” of many creative and talented individuals for the well-being of the greater whole.


A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximizing profits for external shareholders. Source: Wikipedia.




“I started hobby-programming at a young age. At school there was neither time nor expertise to guide me. This changed after joining Nanquanu’s pilot. I was first trained in the programming language Scala. This was big step forward into a new professional world. In Scala there was so much more possible; I couldn’t imagine! I had to let go of my normal thinking patterns, and get so much more creative! The thing I love most about Nanquanu’s pilot was contributing to real, big, projects. First, working on exciting and important projects is for me far more important than money. Second, you learn much faster when there is something serious you can create. I liked helping educating other workers. I want more people to benefit from Scala!” At the time of writing, Kip just started college, majoring in computer science. He is among the best students of his year, working weeks ahead of the curriculum.


“Did you know that 1-on-1 guidance is still the unrivalled method to assist people’s learning process?”

The principles of Nanquanu’s internal way of working include the following:
Role fluency. Nanquanu’s contributors formally change roles depending on the context, for example from paid professional to apprentice, regardless of someone’s age or experience. This can happen within an hour, and back and forth!
Reciprocal adaptation. Nanquanu adapts to the unique possibilities and limitations of contributors where feasible, not forcing them into working related dogmas. For example, if Stephan stutters, he may exclusively use textual means to communicate online.
Personal approach. Contributors of Nanquanu are regarded to be valuable as persons, and not as mere means and products of a mass production process.
Highly structured. Work and project management in Nanquanu is highly structured and streamlined by using dedicated (online) collaboration tools.
High frequency guidance. In Nanquanu’s apprentices will typically get 1-on-1 feedback on assignments every few hours.
“Benevolent” Hierarchy. Responsibilities and authority have to be earned based on proven skills, but are practiced with a great respect and flexibility towards others.
Virtual and physical. Nanquanu allows its contributors, including those ones who are paid, to work from any place they like, at a future physical Nanquanu office, or any mix in between that is optimal for them to reach optimal creativity and productivity.



Aka Arthike

“When I heard of Nanquanu I was very enthusiastic. Nanquanu is trying to build a multi-disciplinary “army of creativity” which is going to build new Coli-systems for all of us. Learning could be completely different using these systems. I do not understand they are not here yet, secondary school is still so old-fashioned. Young people like me already see the change coming, and can’t wait until it is here.” Next year, Pulli will start studying bio-technology at a university.



Aka Jesse Nortier

“The way Nanquanu unites learning, creation and finance is transparent, fluent and beautiful to me. I think it is an exemplary approach to the support of personal development that not only benefits the individual, but also and especially the ‘larger whole’! A lot of Nanquanu’s basic principles, in my opinion especially the aspect of ‘role fluency’, are such healthy, simple and elegant approaches to roles and hierarchy in an organisation; it amazes me they are not more widely used. Nanquanu is an initiative I gladly support, knowing that all effort (both mental and financial!) put into it is effectively emphasised by the organisation itself, due to the recursiveness of its mission!”


Nanquanu considers scouting contributors who are predominantly in the role of apprentice as an essential part of its mission. Learning is a central activity of apprentices. Therefore, these contributors play a crucial role in fine-tuning the internal learning environment, and therefore collective intelligence of Nanquanu.
Simply scouting promising apprentices and putting them together in a big room with bean bags and super-foods, and shouting “be creative!” is a naive approach. For example, finding motivated and talented apprentices is not too difficult, however, mostly they initially lack persistence, discipline, expertise, planning and/or communication skills. These traits are specifically essential in an organisation that partially operates online.
Acquiring these traits requires dedicated training, guidance and structures. Nanquanu is based on an intensive two year pilot in which the latter have been developed, tested and improved, up to the point they are highly effective and inspiring.



Aka Isa Dawie

“I come from a warm family in which the community is very important. I can’t bear if people feel bad because of my wrong- doing! Next to communication, I love technology. I was delighted that Nanquanu is striving for exactly that, creating a community that is intended to do good with technology. Within Nanquanu, I want to focus on scouting, and guiding others to acquire general working skills. I also struggled with these – and sometimes still am! I received time-management training within Nanquanu’s pilot. This was also very beneficial for my (regular) school-work! Contacts within Nanquanu are also valuable to me in general. For example, I became more aware of my daily choices, and started buying organic food, and became vegetarian. I come from a family of hard working immigrants, and finding our way in a new society is not always easy. Nanquanu-contacts helped me find high quality schooling I would not have been aware of otherwise!”