What Kaospilots really is?

Adapted from an article written by The Changer, a German platform for social impact careers

BusinessWeek has recognised Kaospilots as one of the best design schools in the world, and Fast Company has named it in its Startup Leagues Big 10, preparing you for the fast moving startup economy. Moreover, The Changer mentioned it as one of the best alternative schools for changemakers. What could explain such repercussions?

The Kaospilots is an international school for creative business design and social innovation. Originally founded in Denmark in 1991, more than 600 students have passed through the doors of this alternative business school – over a third of which have gone on to found their own businesses or NGOs. The methodological focus is on learning by doing, constant reflection and iteration, and collaboration. They acknowledge the role of human nature in making business decisions and interacting in the work environment. Rather than trying to suppress them, they guide their students to make productive use of their own and others’ values, beliefs and dreams in all of their tasks.

The students work with real world challenges not just theories and essays. They develop ideas, concepts and business plans for clients. They create prototypes, facilitate workshops and make graphic recordings. A KaosPilot is trained to communicate their ideas, design strategies and implement campaigns for actual projects and products.

On their fourth semester the students spend in an external classroom, the so-called Outpost, in Cape Town, South Africa. The purpose is to get to know a new landscape and to develop and implement their tools in business projects in an unknown territory.

In Switzerland, Kaospilots is based in Bern and the curriculum is based on the same education which the school in Aarhus/Denmark is offering as a 3 years program. In addition to that, students in Switzerland go through the Council Guide Training, which is a personal development training and a teaching on how to move as tribe. Below, a description about the Swiss school by the headmaster Matti Straub:



Steer your company like a tribe, start with purpose – Matti Straub

This video is an interview given by Matti Straub, headmasters at Kaospilots Switzerland, about leadership, management and the importance of find out what is the core of our adventure while leading communities, organizations and businesses.

It was recorded during the event “Next: organizing a future lab for managers“, hosted by Hernstein InstitutDwarfs and Giants, Evolution at Work and Beratergruppe Neuwaldegg.

What is your opinion? What does help a whole organization to grow? Leave us a comment below.

Meet the KaosPilots: Lanlan Jin – Team SUI 4

David from Team SUI 4 catches up with Lanlan Jin, the Northeastern Chinese-born who just made radical changes around what she’ll be doing in Switzerland… Initially here to do a masters in health science she realized a lot of the systems lacked innovation and were built on rigid mindsets. We had a chat about what she was doing before joining the school, what the future needs more of and her learnings at the first edition of KaosDays in Bern.


Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetWho are you and what defines you?

I guess I’m in the constant process of figuring this one out. At the present, the things that define me are the cultures I’ve been immersed in (Chinese, American, Japanese) as well as my passions (arts, social equality, thinking). I’m always open to change while preserving my values of being a compassionate and kind human being.


Tell us a little about your history; where you grew up and what were some memorable moments.

Long Story short: China -to- USA -to- Japan

I was born in the Ice City of Harbin, in Northeastern China. When I was 11 I moved to California, and went to many different schools in different parts of the USA. My favorite part of high school was when I had the opportunity to ride and take care of a horse for one year. After finishing a BA in Biology in Portland Oregon, I decided it was time to get away from Academia and the USA for that matter. The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program allowed me 2 years of financial freedom travelling and some of the most meaningful working as well as personal experiences of my life, especially making me realize the importance of community. While not without challenges & pains, I consider time on JET to be the “best times” of my life so far.


How did you hear about The KaosPilots school? How was that introduction?

In August of this year I arrived in Switzerland to do a Master’s in health science. This seemed logical after I had been traveling around a lot & seeing health as a common problem in various parts of the world. However the program turned out to be much more rigid and less innovative than it was advertised. The more I learned the more I realized that I didn’t want to contribute to this “system” the way it was already built. I was spending some miserable days wondering if I should continue or not when I met Asanda from Team SUI3 at Turnhalle. We had an awesome conversation. After meeting other awesome people at KaosPilot to learn more about this education, the adventure now begins.


What were you doing before joining Team4?

Trying to survive boring 10hr/day lectures.


What were your first impressions of Switzerland?

My first visit here was a year ago when I did some WWOOFing. First impressions were: beautiful nature + architecture, serious-faced people and cows.


The future needs more…

smart people who are happy to be human.


What were some highlights for you after participating in the Creative Project Design: KaosDays? What made it a new experience for you?

The sense of inspiration and community was in the air – I was surprised at the good ideas that people could come up with given the short time frame. Also the freedom to throw interesting ideas whether they were “right” or not was very new and liberating.


What does ‘leadership’ mean to you?

Leadership to me means being aware of the various paths to a solution yet being confident in going on a path that’s right for the team & circumstance.


Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Being happy :).


What have you been dreaming about?

Starting several projects here in Bern! Ideas are being incubated.




Meet Kristoffer Maximilian Rasmussen (Team SUI 2) from Denmark

picture_kristoffer (3)

English version below

Bitte erzähle uns, wer du bist und woher du kommst?
Ich bin Kristoffer aus Dänemark, ausgebildeter Journalist mit einem Background in Werbung und Marketing.


Was bedeutet es, KaosPilot und Teil der Schule zu sein?
Im zweiten Jahrgang in der Schweizer KaosPiloten Schule zu sein, bedeutet, dass ich eine neue Schule mit gestalten und mit entwickeln kann. Das ist ein cooler Gedanke.
Die KaosPiloten-Ausbildung bietet zudem viele Herausforderungen. Aus diesem Grund ist es für mich sehr sinnvoll, an dieser Schule zu sein.
Ich denke sogar, dass die KaosPiloten-Schule alle 10 Jahre zumachen und an einen neuen Ort ziehen sollte, so dass die Studenten immer dieses ‘Entrepreneurial-feeling’ haben. Diese Freiheit, zu machen was dir in den Sinn kommt und was niemand vor dir gemacht hat, ist unaustauschbar. Du gehst nicht in den Fusstritten von jemandem anderem.

Wieso ist, deiner Meinung nach, diese Art von Ausbildung wichtig?
Am Ende geht es darum, dein eigenes Potential zu erkennen. Dies ist wichtig und wird meist in ‘normalen’ Ausbildungen nicht gefördert. Es sind nicht die Lehren über Kreativität die die Studenten kreativ machen. Es ist der zur Verfügung gestellte Raum, in dem du dich selbst sein kannst und dein eigenes Potential erkennen kannst, welcher uns kreativ macht und uns inspiriert. Mehr von dem sollte es überall geben. Read More

Meet Sidsel Andersen (Team SUI 2) from Denmark

picture_sidselWhat does it mean to be part of the KaosPilots for you?
I am a Kaospilot because nothing else makes sense.

Why do you think this type of education is important?
It means that everyday I am expanding myself; soon I am covering the whole world. It also means that I am starting to have many sets of glasses that I can take on and off, and which make me able to see things from many different perspectives that I have never seen before.


Where does the education fit in the way you see the world?
Today it seems like the world is turned upside down. The most important thing in school is not Math, language nor being smart and having lot’s of knowledge. The most important thing is human competencies, self-awareness, a meaningful life and life values that fit to who you are. The question is what is most important? Is it to raise a brain in a certain field OR is it to raise holistic and healthy citizens? If you are interested in the last part, KaosPilots is something for you!

Where does the education fit in the way you see the world?

The world is changing and the earth is struggling, whether we choose to care or not.  We are parts of a bigger system, we are both individuals and we are a collective in the same time. As kaosPilots we explore this coexistence and asking ourselves “What am I here to do”?

What do you expect from the time in Capetown?
I except to be challenged! Learning to see everything in a new light and to discover to work in a different way. Being in Cape Town is a beautiful opportunity to engage in a completely different culture than the Swiss one. I think the African culture could inspire and improve the western culture a lot.


Meet Roman

8334170308_648ea8f234_bMeet Roman Stähli from TeamSUI1, he grew up between the Swiss cities of Bern and Thun surrounded by the lovely river Aare. Before he joined Kaospilots he did an apprenticeship as an electrician and worked as service technician for a Swiss company in Europe. He is also a dedicated ice hockey player, playing since the age of Seven. His other love is music, a self proclaimed Blues, Soul and Rock’n’Roll fanatic who prefers his music good old vinyl or live music way.

Read More

A day at the KaosPilots Switzerland

I get asked a lot (normally, several times a day), how it is to work at the KaosPilots and how a regular day looks like. Well, here is a roundup of last monday:

Entering the school and see all the students and staff again, first you say “Hello”:


KaosPilots love coffee, that’s why it looks like this in front of the coffee machine in the morning:


Once you made it to the machine and grabbed a cup:


When the students tell me how their parties looked like over the weekend, I’m like:


This is when I feel…


Not very often I join the students for morning practice. When I do, I think it looks like this:



How it actually looks like…


In the kitchen area over lunch:


When it comes to doing the dishes, this is the general reaction:


We often welcome friends, clients and partners at the Innovationvillage. When we show them around that’s the most common reaction:




Most of the time our guests don’t want to leave again, so they’re like:


Oh yeah, between all the action I do work as well. This looks either like this:



Or like that:


You see: Life is pretty awesome over here. You should come and check it out. We are looking forward to welcome you.


See you soon,


P.S. If you come over and bring ice cream, everybody goes like: