Bea World Festival
Human Dimensions
Corporate Anthropologist

Walter Faaij

The Anthropology of Events: Designing for Corporate Rituals

November 29 — h. First session: 9:45 - 10:15 / - Second session: 11:30 - 11:45

Tribal behaviour is a key element in the nature of events. In this keynote, you will learn to understand your event as a ritual that strengthens your culture. Walter Faaij will help you create a team, or design an event in which people feel safe and cared for. He will help you interpret the unwritten rules, looking for new ways to build a culture or create a movement. Corporate anthropology studies contemporary organisations and companies. Within these organisations you’ll find some wonderful and interesting rituals, symbols and unwritten rules, defining and influencing the way an organisation works. Building strong tribes, communities, teams and events becomes a whole lot easier by understanding the way culture is shaped and altered. 

Take aways

This session will provide delegates with:

  • The inspiration to look at one’s corporate culture from a different perspective; 
  • The insights derived from corporate anthropology into leadership lessons;
  • The knowledge to understand the ways and workings of a culture, and how to steer and change it;
  • The grammar to design and build strong rituals and meaningful events.


Walter is a corporate anthropologist, culture consultant, keynote speaker, specialised in corporate culture, culture change, inclusion and sustainability. He is the founder of Green Culture Lab and tutor in the MA Sustainable Citizenship programme (Utrecht University). He has exotic research roots in Greenland, where he conducted research on the social impact of climate change. Walter has extensive experience in ethnographic research in public and private environments, guiding culture change trajectories, mergers and reorganisations, executive coaching, market research and feasibility studies, as well as facilitating sensitive and brave (stakeholder) dialogues within or between organisations. Change is deeply about people. Walter speaks regularly on corporate culture, anthropology and sustainability. He is unrelentingly curious and has yet to figure out exactly why people do what they do. He likes to visit exotic destinations like Greenland, Svalbard, Mongolia or Iraq. Through Green Culture Lab he helps companies and organisations anchor sustainability into their DNA. For sustainability is all about culture: building cultures of sustainability.

Walter in a few Tweets

  • In my session I expect you to find the curious anthropologist inside yourself. 
  • In my session you will learn to observe like an anthropologist and better understand why people do what they do. 
  • Breaking down borders means to accept, enjoy and optimally use the differences between yourself and other people. Especially when they’re really different. 
  • The key to the evolution of events is in understanding people. 
  • The nature of events is to build cultures of sustainability and cooperation. 
  • Collaboration in events means enjoying each other's differences in curiosity.  
  • Collaboration in events means playing your part in the absolute confidence that the other will also play its part. 
  • Collaboration in events means jamming with dear friends and complete strangers. 
  • Collaboration in events means carefully designing the interaction and decision-making processes. 
  • “Co-creation” makes me think of the fun of building a better world for tomorrow. 
  • “Co-creation” makes me think of reciprocity – balanced giving and taking – so that we can recreate societies. 

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