Jitske Kramer (1973) is a corporate anthropologist who travels all over the world to learn from traditional healers, leaders, surprising innovators and random passers-by. She is an inspiring speaker, entrepreneur founder of HumanDimensions. In 2013 Jitske was chosen as Trainer of the Year. She is known for being the bestselling author of Tricky Times, Deep Democracy, Jam Cultures (about diversity and inclusion), Work has left the Building and co-author of The Corporate Tribe (2016 Management Book of the Year). She brings worldly knowledge and experiences back to the world of organizing, cooperation and leadership through challenging keynotes and masterclasses. To improve the strength and results of individuals and groups (and to make the world a more beautiful place). She has the ambition to activate organizations to be wildly attractive to everyone and everything. In her stories, what is familiar gradually becomes strange. And what is strange becomes familiar.
What others say about Jitske: “Jitske Kramer is one of the most inspiring speakers in the Netherlands. She provokes you into thinking deeply and speaking out. She gazes into the depths with flair and courage. Looking for surprising new insights and their practical applicability. Unifying and forceful.”
As a speaker, Jitske Kramer’s stories take you on an exciting journey into human issues and solutions. To see what is really going on. With an eye for differences and similarities. Looking at things from a distinctive perspective. Without the autopilot. Daring to go off the beaten path. About dialogue, decision-making, power, inclusion, leadership, organization culture, change, sabotage and ranking. About sales, multidisciplinary teams, safety and international cooperation. Challenge the obvious. And ask questions. Every day. Beyond the concept of us/them. About connecting differences and saying a proper goodbye when necessary. Essential knowledge for effective cooperation, decision-making methods and collective change. It is her quest to understand how we can build strong cultures, safe for diversity and ready for change. In her talks and books she shares her experience and research into these topics.
Jitske Kramer studied cultural anthropology. She specialized in theater as an educational medium in Uganda. Back in the Netherlands, she started her career as a trainer/consultant, working in the field of communication and leadership development, developing her skills in psychodrama and voice dialogue. She has trained hundreds of people in all kinds of functional roles, in all kinds of sectors, with a specific focus on international cooperation. She managed the Bridging Cultures group of experts which focuses on intercultural skills and global leadership. In 2006, Jitske started to work for herself under the name of HumanDimensions, with clients both at home and abroad.
In her first book Normaal is Anders, Jitske outlines her vision on leadership in intercultural teams. Important focus areas are the dynamics of difference, in misunderstandings, differing perspectives and power struggles. This story takes her from London to Dubai to Jakarta. In addition to keynotes and master classes, she also supervises international teams. She also works as a consultant for organization development in factories in India and Germany.
Many of the questions asked by clients are about how to deal with and how to bridge differences. Differences between people (gender, ethnicity), between teams (combined teams, multi-functional teams) and between departments (mergers, reorganizations). From her experience with and research into these topics, Jitske has distilled eight principles that encourage an inclusive, open work culture. In an inclusive culture, every person is done justice, goals are attained and the full potential of the organization is utilized. She describes these principles in her book, ‘Wow! What a Difference’.
Around 2009 Jitske was gripped by the philosophy and methods of Deep Democracy. A decision-making method developed in post-apartheid South Africa, in which the wisdom of the minority is included in the majority decisions. Journeys to South Africa followed in order to learn the art of this method from the founder, Myrna Lewis. The book Deep Democracy – de wijsheid van de minderheid was written and has since become a bestseller. In 2012, Jitske started giving Deep Democracy training courses, which were very successfully received. To meet the demand for those courses, she now works with her own team of licensed instructors through Human Dimensions.
Jitske looks at organisations as an anthropologist. Cultural change is often seen as a difficult and rigid process. Not if you apply the knowledge and skills of anthropology. Of course, cultural change is an intensive process, but if you know how culture is formed and how you can research it, it becomes a lot less difficult. Jitske co-authored the books The Corporate Tribe (2016, management book of the year) and Building Tribes (2019).
The impact of the corona measures on society, organisations and teams is enormous. More working from home, more working online demands a lot from leadership. Remote cooperation is different from working together in an office. Jitske sees this period as a collective culture shock, a well-known phenomenon from anthropology. In October 2021, in a self-imposed challenge in ten days, she wrote the book Work has left the building, which became an instant bestseller.
In her latest boek Tricky Times (in Dutch, end of 2024 available in English), Jitske Kramer unravels the complexities of transformations and cultural change. We are in a period of transition. As with any major change, we have to let go of what is familiar without knowing exactly what the future holds. This is a confusing betwixt-and-between time, when things are neither what they were, nor what they will become. Anthropologists call such between-times liminality. Fascinated by the myriad changes impacting our world and universally fierce emotions they are arousing, Jitske set out to unravel the patterns of this liminal time. In clear language she describes the opportunities, the dangers and the lures during major changes. When wild stories confound, tricksters continually toy with truth and power relations shift.
Jitske has worked for many profit and non-profit organizations, in the Netherlands and abroad. These include: Ministries (Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Interior, Defense, Infrastructure & Water Management, Education, Culture and Science), universities (Nyenrode, Utrecht, Maastricht), Universities of Applied Sciences (Utrecht, HKU, Avans, Rotterdam, Stenden, NHL, HvA), hospitals (Radboud UMC, Antonius, Bernhoven, UMCG), Municipalities, the Dutch police, safety regions, corporations (Unilever, Suzlon, Nike, Jansen Pharmaceutica, CBRE, PHV Hilfiger Calvin Klein, Philips, Nationale Nederlanden, PON, Undutchables, T-mobile), banks (Van Lanschot, ING, ABN, Rabobank, DNB), the cultural sector (Theater Inclusief, Rotterdam Film Festival, Introdans), seminar specialists (Denk Producties, Managemenboek.nl, spreker.nl, Speakers Academy, Speakers Corner UK). And many more.