How not to stress out when you're innovating

While DORP is a great innovation programma, it requires the participants to give it their very best. This ten day exercise in creativity and innovation demands a lot and, like all hard work, induces stress. This is why students from NHL Hogeschool Leeuwarden came up with the Chill Hill, a project focused on relaxation. Because relaxed people are happy people, and we love happy people. 

Happy people have more cognitive resources to act environmentally friendly, and acting environmentally friendly has been proven to enhance your mood. It's a win-win right? 

The base of the project is just lying down and relaxing, but the project group is trying to add so much more to the experience. Visuals, sound, smell, you name it. For example, the team will project visuals, created by a local art student, on a canvas above you as you lie down. While the visuals are playing above your head they will play calm music and to top this off, you will be laying in an area that is sprayed with pleasant smells.

The project's benefits are great for the DORPelingen, but Jazz, one of the project members, even wants to go further "We would like to expand in such a way that companies will be able to implement this as well, reducing the daily stress of their employees." 

Day 2

Every story has its setbacks. This one is no exception. Chill Hill encounteres theirs quite early. It’s very hard to have people look at pleasant images when there is nothing to project the image on. No canvas, no images. A lack of materials makes it just a bit harder to execute the project. Later that evening, by simply sharing their problem with the other DORP participants, they find a solution in a piece of tarp. 

A drawing and some good ideas, that's all there is. For now.

Day 3

It's Sunday morning and there's a new fragrance in the air. That you can smell when you get nearer to where the Chill Hill is going to be. It's the fresh scent of mint and other herbs, that students are extracting using lukewarm water. When a chill session starts, the now scented water will be sprayed on pillows, which should give the sensation of being engulfed by freshness.

Scented water, tarp and great plans aside, there's still a lot to be done. Most of the Chill Hill is still an idea. Ideas are great, but by now the team should start building an actual area where people can come to relax and re-energize. But they're not quite there, yet.

In the evening, they still struggle with how the Chill Hill should look. Should there be candles in the area to make everything more cosy, or should they get some puppies, maybe?

A talk with the festival managers that evening at least sorts one thing out, and that's the aim of the project; to alleviate stress for the people that make the festival work. Also, they get the advice to keep things simple. No candles, no puppies, just the the three basic ideas of soothing scents, easy sounds and fluffy pillows to lay back on.

Day 4

The team now has a location and a clear goal. What remains is the decorations of said location. And so, they venture into Leeuwarden to find pillows and rugs at local thrift shops. Some of this fluffy interior is already provided by fellow villagers, but there is more space that needs to be covered. A few hours later, loads of rugs, pillows and blankets are being carried into the Chill Hill tent and are being placed around to ensure a soft floor to lay down on. 

With the decoration about done, the hardware has to be set up. Beamers, laptop, speakers and more have to work properly, to provide the audience soothing stimuli. The scents are also being tested, as the team is looking for a design that makes the scents spread as strongly as possible. The other Villagers also need to know where to go for their sessions. Pretty signing is hand made, so everybody can find the Chill Hill.  

Peter, one of the project members talks with a few other villagers who want to participate. As they are musicians, it is clear what they can add to the experience. Playing sweet, relaxing music. Because the best music is live music. The musicians store their instruments in the Chill Hill tent, only to take them out a few hours later and show their skills at a bonfire at the end of another great DORP-day.


On the fifth day, there's another part of the plan that needs attention. Different people require different ways to ease body and mind. After some light hearted arguing, they agree on having two different types of relax sessions. The first is a 'natural' session, which is focused on sounds of nature, acoustic music and images of natural things, like trees waving in the wind. 

Different people require different ways to ease their body and soul. 

The other session will be a more adapted session. With music especially created for this setting combined with visuals especially made for relaxing.

And then, there's still the issue of scent and how to extract it. Soaking it in water barely gave any scent to the water, so a new technique is tried and tested. Citrus fruits have been squeezed to get some the juice out of it, and being put out in the sun to dry, hopefully leading to a better scent dispersion when they are hanging in the Chill Hill tent. Because the team is not sure about the effectiveness of their smelly experiment, they buy some incense sticks as well. Just as a back up.

Ready or not, here the test comes

The Chill Hill is far from completed when the first test is scheduled. The scents are not the only problem. The visuals with soothing images are barely visible on the white canvas of the tent. And so, without the promised imagery and natural scents, the team opens the tent for a first test round.

"This was honestly so lovely"- Chill Hill guest 
"I almost fell asleep..." - Chill Hill 
"This seemed like a success, right?"  - Peter
On of the first people to chill in the hill


Like everybody, this team is also struggling with the immense heat the Wednesday brings. Even laying in the Chill Hill makes people sweat as if they are running a marathon, and that doesn’t help people relax. And it also doesn't improve your work ethic. Everybody moves slowly, today.

The problems with the visuals still remain to be solved, but not much effort is put into it. The team seems to be saving their problems for another day and rather prepare for moving to the entire project into the volunteers area, where volunteers of the festival can come and chill out. 

With little productivity today the team might face some troubles after moving later, because they promised to offer chill session with visuals, smell and sounds. Smells and sounds are covered, but visuals are still a problem.

Day 7

So, visuals. That's still a problem. Even in the new tent, the visuals are not very visible and the antique beamer takes up quite a lot of space. However, there is a new canvas, that does help. The Comp-A-Tent people were kind enough to loan some of their biodegradable material to use for projecting the visuals. 

Now all the team needs is better material to project visuals with, because the current beamer disappoints a bit in quality and is too big. Someone from the DORPradio team has a laser beamer, Kristina remembers and she sets out to fetch it. A few minutes later she returns, with said laserbeamer. It’s small, almost looks like a portable phone charger, but once they turn it on the visuals appear sharp and clear on the white canvas. Just as the team finishes up with decorating and setting up their Chill Hill area a volunteer comes in and gazes around. "This looks pretty cosy. Can I chill here for a while?"

Around four in the afternoon, the team gets to meet a few accelerators that are invited into DORP, to help the projects and offer new ideas and fresh insights. The team gets the advice to do some workshops before marketing the project and to approach health institutions with their concept. It's up to the team to process these ideas in feasible plans for the future.

Day 8 - Showtime

The gates of Welcome to The Village open today and the visitors are entering the terrain. The volunteers stress out due to all the final preparations and they can use some time to chill. The chill area is the new hot spot, as all the crew and volunteers of the festival find the blankets, rugs and pillows very inviting. Some of the volunteers are so tired that the moment their head hits the pillow, they fall asleep. Nice. “Sleep is for the weak” some people might say, but here at the festival this is most definitely not true. Sleep is for the hard workers, who deserve a quick energizing nap. The Chill Hill team happily invites the volunteers to come over and enjoy a little quality time. Relax sessions are held every now and then without a schedule, but the area is always open for people just need a moment, before rushing back to work.

This post will be updated daily, for the duration of DORP.

- Story by Tom Jalink