Case

Techleap

An immersive digital art installation on future-proof leadership

Techleap is a non-profit organisation that exists to help Dutch start-ups and scale-ups move forward. For the launch of BOLD - a sub-community within Techleap for the Netherlands’ 300 most prominent tech founders - they organised an event that presented a full day program covering 3 themes; attracting capital, internationalisation and DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion).

After winning a competitive pitch, Foster & Kin was tasked to program the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion element, focusing on the future of leadership and the disconnect between current leadership and the workplace expectations of Gen-Z. From the offset the goal was ambitious; instigating an epiphany that would drive behavioural change amongst business leaders.

Because art has the power to move people and inspire them to reflect, we began crafting a narrative that we could translate into an immersive video installation. Using nature as a metaphor, we built a 36 screen tree-shaped construction that tells a story that goes from monoculture (onedimensional, old world leadership) to biodiversity (a versatile, carefully balanced mix of perspectives).

The 10 minute installation starts with a reflection on today's dominant leadership style in business which is a consequence of a generation of leaders that is raised and educated in a time where creating shareholder value is the single reason for the existence of a company. This focus on profitability led to monoculture – not only in agricultural practices, but also culturally and ideologically – and the systemic exploitation of planet and people. This ‘survival of the fittest’ market dynamic resulted in competitive, outspoken, decisive and dominant leadership.

Interviews with young professionals display a huge disconnect between this style of leadership and Gen-Z’s expectations of the leadership and the workplace. Gen-Z wants companies to work from a mission that goes beyond creating shareholder value and expects modern, flexible and inclusive workplace cultures where everyone is heard. The change in leadership style needed to attract and retain Gen-Z talent is slowed down by a hostile frame in the media with headlines like 'The 37 year olds who are afraid of the 23 year olds who work for them'.

However, balanced leadership is on the rise. A type of leadership that combines traditional leadership values such as decisiveness and outspokenness with more connecting, nurturing values. Businesses that have installed balanced leadership organically transition into the modern, flexible and inclusive workplace cultures Gen-Z’ers want. As a result, these inclusive cultures have better business performance and higher likelihood to grow into new markets.

About the installation 

80% of the installation was custom animation, the other 20% consisted of interviews with Gen-Z’ers and business leaders who shared their views on the topic. Throughout the story we subtly move from a grey, dystopian atmosphere to a more optimistic and colourful world. 

Presented to 300 tech founders during the launch of Techleap’s BOLD community, the installation got raving reviews ranging from “Fantastic installation” to “This is an extremely important story to tell” to our favourite: “A real eye-opener”.

Executive Creative Director - Perre van den Brink

Creative - Anke Hofstra

Account Director - Fiona Salem

DEI Strategy - Nadine Ridder

Title Designer - Immanuel de Jong

Voice Over Recordist - Gijs Domen

Interviews produced by - Fonk Film

Line producer - Maxime Rozestraten 

Director of Photography - Tom Bakker 

Sound Recordist - Leonardo Fontana Balparda

Director - Perre van den Brink

Research - Anke Hofstra

Project Manager - Fiona Salem

UNI_VERSE STUDIO

Creative Director - Jeff Beukema

Production - Daan Schraauwers

Programming - Nikzad Arabshahi

3D Animation - Daan Dominic Scholten

3D Animation - Blaž Miklavčič

3D Animation - Jeff Beukema

Concept - Jeff Beukema

Concept - Luc Nagel

Set & Stage Design - Jeff Beukema

Set & Stage Design - Rowan Siriram

Music & Sound - Antfood