FeedbackFruits is an Edtech company, founded in 2012 at TU Delft, the Netherlands, in a forgotten room at the Physics department. It was the experience of re-designing his master’s curriculum in Sustainability Technology that brought our CEO and co-founder Ewoud de Kok to suddenly realize: why does the communication in education have to be a one-way only system?
From this question FeedbackFruits has become a driver of the transformation to active learning at the best universities worldwide.
FeedbackFruits isn’t just changing education. We’re on a mission to create an environment for people to stay true to themselves. What does changing education have to do with staying true to yourself? Here are three stories that explain it.
A ringing phone on a working day: “Hello, this is Harvard!”. Being contacted by one of the world's most prestigious universities when we didn't even have a marketing team, showed us that our fascination with education was shared, and our values are a game changer.
“I am not needed anymore”.
When a CEO comes back from a long absence and is able to say something like that, they know their company is on the right track. This is what happened at FeedbackFruits, where the trust we put in each other is our best practice.
When we meet innovators, they want to create better courses, see their students engaged, and feel proud of their improvements. However, being an innovator might sometimes be misunderstood. Not by us. We will always care about those who care.
At FeedbackFruits, internationalization wasn’t really planned. We were focused on creating a change locally first. However, when higher education institutions such as Harvard approached us (at this time, we can’t even recall how they managed to find us*), we realized what characterised us: the care we put into our products. We stayed true to ourselves. We are bootstrapped from the beginning and always refuse investments to focus on our mission and bring that special care to our products.
*We weren’t even doing marketing. Only 1.5 FTE sales brought us to our first million.
Ewoud left on parental leave for 2 months. He completely disconnected and had no contact with FeedbackFruits. When he came back, the first thing he thought was “I am not needed anymore”.
While this could be an enthusiasm breaker, Ewoud realized the importance of trust.
By granting trust and freedom, you let people take over responsibilities which will lead them to reach their fullest potential. This is where unconditional trust became the core value of FeedbackFruits. Creating the environment for people to feel safe to make decisions and mistakes is creating the space for people to stay true to themselves.
As a leader, your main role is to defend the space for others to grow and stay true to themselves.
As an instructor as well as a researcher, you only have so much time in a week. The instructors that care for their courses give up some of their time for doing research (or at least their focus as a lot of these hero's time is spent at night). Many remarkable instructors whose visions were championed by the education department, are not understood by their research-only colleges. They sometimes miss a promotion or even get fired. At FeedbackFruits, we believe that the priority given to teachers and course designs should be restored. By developing people through education, teachers are helping our society to thrive. We want to allow teachers to create the space for students to thrive and learn.