(Preliminary jury member Oscar Kneppers on being a humble part of The Posse on a Mission to Celebrate Ideas and Empower People to be their Best to Change the World - the preliminary jury of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge)


Saying yes is usually very clarifying

Life can be pretty challenging when it comes down to making choices. Although I’m a confident decision maker in daily operations - saying yes is usually very clarifying - I generally have a hard time saying ‘No’ as a member of a jury, any jury. Saying no to ‘just another applicant’ might actually make or break a promising start-up, or even squash a real human’s dream. How to deal with that?

Ever applied for something you really wanted but were not sure you’d be able to ‘get into’ or ‘win’? It probably made you feel a bit insecure and sort of stupid right? As if you’re back in school, hoping for a good grade. Applying for a real big competition like the Green Challenge can make you even more nervous. A lot more.

What difference could €500.000 make?

Just think about it: what difference would €500.000 make?

Consider what it could mean: To grow your promising company without the endless hassle of raising money. To launch without having to deal with a lack of resources. And just consider the PR effect of having been on stage with people sucg as Richard Branson, Bill Clinton and the likes. Pretty amazing stuff, right?

Think about it for a second. Warm, fuzzy and nice right?

And now think about No.
About not getting the 500K.
Of not being in the top 5 nominees.
Or worse: not even being selected. At. All.

And now try to grasp that it’s exactly that what most of the applicants experience. Forget warm and fuzzy. Think cold and hard. You’re on your own.

I have been part of a many juries in my life. In some cases it was a local contest in app development or web design. Some were about brilliant students, about bright ideas or successful neighbourhood initiatives, others were competitions in big innovations or best business models. And over the last 3 years in my own company Rockstart we had to select 40 promising startups from more than 1350 applications from over 65 countries. You could argue I’m a seasoned professional jury member.

Rethink my evaluations

But I’m also a Green Challenge Pre-Jury first timer. And again, it felt like I had to begin again. New type of applicants, new territories, other business models and many new approaches to improve life on this planet. And it’s especially that aspect - building something for the greater good, for a better place for all, not just for the founders or the company - that draws heavy on me feeling responsible. To actually rethink my evaluations again and again. And again.

And that’s why a good jury is a responsible group effort. It’s not just a jury, it’s a Posse on a Mission to Celebrate Initiative and Empower People to be their Best. And by choosing the right stuff, the group always challenges your assumptions on what’s good, what’s right and how stuff should work.

Am I learning something? Oh yes. I’m learning to always be humble, be gentle in my verdicts and to reconsider my own approach to life. Because: What do I know? What do I really experience from real problems like hunger, poisoned air, infant mortality or deforestation? Not much, I consciously admit.

They stepped forward. And started.

So I’m very much aware that saying yes to these five finalists was saying no to the 320 super great initiatives that in a way are all winners. Because they actually did it: They stepped forward. And started.

Think about that.

Oscar Kneppers
Founder Rockstart