Stories of Tesla #7: TNO

Let’s get personal!

During the Tesla Minor it is not all about the project, you will also get all sorts of trainings. The trainings are very diverse, from time management to working in teams. During the whole period of the Tesla Minor, there is a lot of room for reflection and learning. So, this week we had a training in which we reflect on ourselves and learned more about our personality! Before the training, we had to fill in a short questionnaire which was the MBTI personality test. Questions about whether you plan everything beforehand or whether are rather be working on your own came up.
During the training we did several assignments that made us think about which personality profiles there are and to which one we see ourselves. So, we had to draw our perfect holiday with a small group and watched for 10 seconds to a painting and tell what we saw. These assignments made us more aware about how we think and behave.
At the end of the training we received our results of the test and we discussed these in the project group. By taking this test everyone learned what personality profiles there are and which personality traits they have. By discussing the results we not only learned more about ourselves but also about our teammates. Hopefully, this helped everyone to understand each other better and improve the atmosphere and productivity in the team!

Strange places.

Walking through a random village we have never heard the name of, we wonder what got us here. As we stroll past some cows in a field, our destination comes into view: who could have known that the innovative company with that fancy story and exiting website operates from a shoebox sized garage next to a barren field. But then again, how often do you actually get to visit the places you come across on your research’ google-vaganzas?
During the Tesla minor, this is exactly what you try to do. Life’s too short to try and study everything yourself, especially when there’s people out there that already know everything you want to know. Therefore, during our projects we try to step out of our comfort zone and get the knowledge directly from experts in the field. You would be surprised by how many professors and CEOs are willing to talk to you, especially if you’re asking them about the things they are passionate about. So, here we are, into the shoebox!
Meeting with the CEO of the company we are slowly brought back to the spirit of the website, and then beyond. Looking at invention upon invention, carried by the stories of a spirited businessman, we are enchanted by his visions; this is exactly what we are looking for! Then, after a meeting of merely an hour another difference with any uni lecture; let’s talk business. We agree on general terms, some ‘my guy will talk to your guy’ and a handshake later we’re back outside.

Greeting the cows on our way back to the bus it’s quite clear: it would have taken days of desktop research to understand what we just learned, and even then we would never have had such a practical solution to our problem. Sometimes it is well worth it to step out of your comfort zone and meet an expert directly (next time my bike breaks down I’m just going to call an engineer) and we have Tesla to thank for this lesson. On top of that, you get to visit the most interesting places you never guessed would exist, all during school hours!

Let’s cook!

For the normal Tesla student, a Tesla week is filled with trainings, meetings, and project work. But for the students of the Tesla-TNO team, there are some additional tasks: cooking and eating!
With the three of us, we are developing a new challenge meal for our client TNO. This challenge meal is a high-caloric milkshake. By measuring the bodies response to this ‘challenge’ you can say something about your metabolic health. We already have developed several recipes to make this special challenge meal. However, before we can hand these over to our client, we first have to test them!
So – dedicated science students we are -, we spent some of our Tesla day to go to the supermarket and combine the necessary ingredients. While everyone was working in the offices, we started cooking (yes, everyone loved us very much at that moment). Besides having a lot of fun, we also made some important steps for our project as we managed to make several ‘theoretically’ edible challenge meals. Additionally, to include the Tesla group in this scientifically sound process, we dedicated one of our Friday afternoon presentations to actually tasting the meals. Here, all Tesla student were part of a taste panel and had to rate the shakes on taste, structure and heaviness.
Thus, taking this fun but useful experiences into account, I think it is safe to say that if you think a Tesla project is only consists of meetings and writing you are WRONG! Practical work and testing also plays a big part of various projects. So, if you want to get the most out of your Tesla experience: choose a project with practical aspect. Then, maybe next year YOUR group will be envied for cooking in the workplace 😉
Laura, Luuk and Roos (the only people who gained weight instead of muscles during Tesla).