Event report

September 25, 2022

Team building at FabCafe: How might we design a moment of belonging?

Netherlands Innovation Network Tokyo explores digital fabrication and design thinking at FabCafe Tokyo

On September 8th, 2022, the Netherlands Innovation Network Tokyo of the Netherlands Embassy in Japan visited FabCafe for a one-day team building program. 

The Netherlands Innovation Network (NIN) is part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and operates in multiple countries with a strong innovation potential. The office in Tokyo connects companies, research institutes and public authorities from the Netherlands with relevant innovation, technology and science organizations all over Japan.

On this occasion, NIN Tokyo reached out to FabCafe Tokyo to design a customized team-building program aimed at strengthening the ties among each of the members integrating the Japan branch.

The one-day program aimed at providing inspirational input about creative projects and digital fabrication tools, as well as a space for open discussion, personal connection and creativity to flourish. It was divided into a FabCafe tour, a digital fabrication demonstration, and a Design for Belonging workshop.

The day started with a presentation of FabCafe projects from around the world and a tour around the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors of FabCafe Tokyo, which comprise the cafe and different creative coworking spaces. Participants learned about the partner communities and startups hosted by FabCafe Tokyo, such as BioClub, Safecast and Magarimono

After the tour, a demo of the laser cutter and UV printing machine was given in the FabCafe. Each member of the team got a stamp of the logo of the Innovation Network to take home as a souvenir. The first half of the day ended with lunch for the team. 

The second half of the program consisted of a Design for Belonging workshop facilitated by Tomohiro Loeer, Design Thinking Consultant and Stanford University Innovation Fellow. Tomohiro has been inspired by the Design for Belonging framework proposer, Dr. Susie Wise from Stanford’s d.school, who has authored Design for Belonging and developed a framework aimed at creating paths to build greater belonging and reduce othering in your community.

The session started with the questions: “What does belonging mean to you? What are the key concepts and feelings you associate with belonging?”.

  • Source: Susie Wise, Design for Belonging

Tomohiro engaged the team to reflect on their personal history as Innovation Network professionals by using the Design for Belonging Journey Map.

After completing the Design for Belonging Journey Map, participants reflected on moments where they could design for belonging for their team partners.

During the second half of the session, participants brainstormed ideas to increase the sense of belonging of other team members within the team and gave them a tangible shape on spot through lo-fi prototyping.

Throughout the session, it was clear that the Netherlands Innovation Network team had already curated an inclusive team culture. It was great to see individual members reflecting on their journey at the Netherlands Innovation Network, empathizing with each other and finding out that belonging in a team can already be created through small changes. The Design for Belonging workshop is a simple yet impactful experience for teams to discover hidden opportunities they can leverage to actively shape their own culture.

– Tomohiro Loeer, Design for Belonging workshop facilitator

This was my first visit to FabCafe, and I will definitely go back! The whole day was well organised, the staff was extremely knowledgeable, and the food was delicious. I especially enjoyed the digital fabrication workshop. It was great to learn about the laser cutter and UV printing machine and to see them in action. We even received a stamp with our organisation’s logo as a souvenir.

– George van der Raaij, Rijkstrainee Innovation, Science and Technology, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

We had a delightful day at Fabcafe. This was our first team activity since COVID and it felt great to get out of the building again. The Design for Belonging workshop was not only very educational, but also a lot of fun.

– Eric van Kooij, Counsellor for Innovation, Science and Technology, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Contact us if you are interested in:

  • Design thinking or fabrication workshops for your team or your employees
  • Upskilling your workforce through hands-on learning
  • Connecting to vibrant creative and entrepreneur communities based in Shibuya
  • Implementing on-site, remote, or hybrid learning and fabrication programs
  • Testing new ideas, services or manufacturing processes through prototyping

And more!


  • FabCafe Global Editorial Team

    This articles is edited by FabCafe Global.

    Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this article with us.
    Contact us

    This articles is edited by FabCafe Global.

    Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this article with us.
    Contact us

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