“It’s a consultancy with impact and a purpose!”

Managing partner and international marketing strategist


Managing partner Alfons: “We do what we do to contribute to a better life for many”

From a bachelor’s degree in Human Geography to specialising with a master’s in international development studies, Alfons van Duijvenbode has known his direction in life from early on. Characterising himself as harmonious, ambitious and inspiring, he has been striving for purposeful work during his entire career. “We do what we do, because we want to contribute to a better life for many.” Who is Alfons as a person, what is his role in Globally Cool and what does the company mean to him?

“Mutual respect and mutual listening are the foundations of harmony.” – Gautama Buddha

Ambitious, curious, perfectionist, responsible, all adjectives most people would use when asked: “How would you describe yourself?” Well, not our Alfons. He labels himself as a harmonious person and the more you get to know him, the more you’ll understand why. “If I look at the world, I don’t see many good things arising from conflict. There are people that have adopted the conflict model: whenever there’s friction, there will be energy – and something good will come out of it. I’m not that kind of guy.”

Peace, respect and harmony

“I’m more inspired by Buddhism. In the sense; a peaceful world, respect for everything and everybody and living in harmony. I like that philosophy and I try to apply it in my personal life. Of course, I can get frustrated – people can get under my skin – but that’s especially when I feel people are not listening to reason or are applying unfair practices.”

Always looking for common ground

Being diplomatic and avoiding unnecessary conflict has helped Alfons build trustworthy bonds with his peers, protégés and clients for years and all over the world. “By and large I try to be harmonious, also at work. I always weigh my own opinions with those of others and try to look for common ground. Surely, I provide my opinion with supporting evidence or arguments – and I often think I am right (giggling) – but I don’t try to force things.”

Desire to create impact as a driving force

When choosing his professional orientation, Alfons had two choices to specialise: spatial planning or development studies. He chose the latter, where he’d learn about the ongoing issues of developing countries and how to contribute to their advancement. “There is so much more meaning in that! Going back to describing myself as ambitious – in my life I’d like to contribute in a meaningful way. I don’t want to waste my time on bureaucracy and paperwork. I want to create an impact!”

Globally Cool is a company with meaning

Alfons lives with a mission and throughout the years he learnt and built as he goes, inspiring people and generating a positive impact wherever in the world he found himself. In 2010, he joined forces with Joost van der Kooij and Onno Roukens. Together they laid the foundation of the business we now know and love as Globally Cool. “Globally Cool is a company with meaning. We do what we do because we want to inspire people and help professionals in (primarily) emerging countries to develop and grow. To improve economies and hence – to contribute to a better life for many.”

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel

“Technically speaking, what makes us unique is that there are very few organisations like us, doing the kind of work that we do, for the clients we have. In the world of development corporations, projects are usually executed by individual professionals or by big contractors. Organisations like ours, with 15 to 20 professionals, are hardly found. Something else is the wide scope of services we provide. Over the last 25-30 years the mantra in companies has been: specialise, specialise, specialise! But that’s very unlike what we do. We don’t specialise, but approach projects from a rather holistic point of view. We try to help organisations from A to Z.”


Helping grow exports

The main area in which Globally Cool operates is international trade and international marketing, helping countries, sectors and organisations grow their exports. Quite broad, which Alfons explains: “It takes both market orientation, organisational auditing, strategy formulation and implementation of activities in the (digital) marketing and business matching field. That’s where we want to contribute with our solutions and experience. That’s also where we want to build capacities and empower organisations and what makes us different from others – who focus on either one or the other. We have it all.”

Globally Cool inspires

“From a cultural or even more emotional point of view, what makes us unique is how we operate – how we do business, how we manage our relationships. We always try to inspire; we try to surprise. We don’t come up with common solutions, but always try to go above and beyond. And because that’s what our clients experience, they enjoy working with us. Clients who have been satisfied become like friends, they know what they can expect, trust is built, flow of projects is very pleasant and more informal. That’s what our clients experience and that’s why they enjoy working with us.”

A look to the future

Alfons is optimistic for the future: “I am looking forward to seeing the company continue to grow – expand our services and come up with solutions for enterprises and business support organisations; especially now when they are faced with having to redefine their role in international business. Hence, the direction in which Globally Cool is headed is quite clear and encompasses two main areas for growth: e-commerce and sustainable business development.”

Globally Cool is currently engaged in a project called Green E-commerce, which entails sustainable e-commerce strategy development for interventions in developing countries. All at macro, meso and micro level. “This is typically where both e-commerce and sustainable development come together. We review current practices and provide frameworks and practical recommendations for support functions by the ecosystem of support actors. The objective is to transform e-commerce in emerging countries into a more sustainable long-term alternative.”

“We will also continue to go the extra mile with women led SMEs, giving them the extra push to grow their business and get connected to international markets. Our consultants do this by training local business advisors who then will continue to coach these SMEs long-term. Personally, I am really looking forward to being a catalyst with Globally Cool and grow with our core group of clients, our expanding customer base and our growing team of Globally Cool consultants and associates. It really warms my heart to be surrounded by such a great team of enthusiastic professionals. Happy to be Globally Cool!”

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