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Partnerships at eye-level and the co-creation of innovative solutions between diverse stakeholders need to be grounded in a common language. This allows for a common starting point and facilitates communication.

Here, we provide you with our perspectives and understanding of approaches – in a nutshell. For deeper insight, have a look into our toolbox or join us live. In addition, you will find some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Yanuz, the team or our change agent training.

Yanuz is grounded in the concept of mutual continuous learning. So, please let us know what you miss or share your own views and ideas with us.


Our capacity-building and learning pathway starts with an introduction to change agencies course. The course presents an introductory overview towards our YANUZ change agencies and communities of practice approach and implementation. It aims at participants of all backgrounds who wish to become a change agent, or who seek to gain an understanding about our approaches and instruments. Course participation is also recommended to communities of practice members. It results in a course participation attestation that is recognised for the change agent certificate.

The YANUZ change agent course results in a certificate and allows to enter the YANUZ change agent accreditation process.

The programme aims at prospective change agents but also change facilitators or change managers already active in the field. It allows to deep-dive into the YANUZ change agencies and communities of practice approach. It allows to reflect on the implementation of our change instruments and underlying healthy lifestyle concepts. It develops skills in change facilitation and any associated tasks for successfully initiating and sustaining communities of practice towards healthy lifestyle.

The change agent mentor and trainer programmes aim at experienced change agents who seek to support other change agents and to facilitate their learning and facilitation process. Their capacity-building includes additional mentoring and training skills rooted in the YANUZ capacity-building and learning principles.

The capacity-building and learning pathway is complemented by a continuous professional development programme that facilitates the YANUZ (re)accreditation and YCARUS registering process.

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What are entry recommendations for a Yanuz training?

The YANUZ capacity-building programmes have been purposely designed to avoid learning siloes and to be inclusive. They are accessible to anybody who love to engage in cocreation and learning processes towards social change, from students to senior professionals.

Our programmes are mission-oriented and context-driven so that they can be tailored to be relevant for everyone working in or for healthy lifestyle globally. And, although there is a content-focus on healthy lifestyle, the learning also suits (prospective) change agents from other industries, especially from education and community development.

Yet, participants are recommended to have experience in healthy lifestyle, because we believe that YANUZ Change Agents shall come from inside a local community of practice and engage with promoting healthy lifestyles at the local level at a regular basis. Participants of the change agent certificate course are recommended to have prior experience in change facilitation or communities of practice approaches or to first participate in the introduction course to change agencies. Participants of the change agent mentor course are recommended to have good theoretical and strong practical experience in change facilitation in the field. And participants of the change agent trainer course must have both strong theoretical and practical experience in the fields of training concerned.

How am I assessed during a Yanuz training?

A basic premise of our capacity building programmes is to be congruent to the principles of emergence, openness and cocreation based on our complexity-oriented learning approach. This entails the implementation of an assessment for learning instead of an assessment of learning approach. It means that all assessment strategies promote learning and an active engagement of the learners.

Therefore, we focus on a formative assessment approach that occurs on a continuous basis throughout the capacity-building and that encourages our learners to really engage in the learning process.

For it, our trainers and mentors provide the learners with multiple opportunities of group and individual dialogue for supportive feedback and reflection related to the new skills or knowledge acquired. This helps them to deeply dive into the learning. It assists in the development of independent learners and results in deeper thinking and long-term retention of the learned concepts.

This is complemented by a variety of self-assessment opportunities in which the learners assess their own work to improve performance as they identify discrepancies between current and desired performance. Self-assessment is an essential component of cognitive and constructivist theories of learning and motivation. It is important for the knowledge construction and conceptualized in a cyclical, ongoing process of self-monitoring, self-evaluation, and identification and implementation of instructional correctives.

Do I earn a Yanuz certificate?

The demand for the recognition or formal visibility of learning is acknowledged through the YANUZ certification and accreditation system. Becoming a certified change agent and being registered as an accredited change agent demonstrates the ability to facilitate and to apply adapted approaches to successfully bring about social change.

Once our capacity-building programmes are completed, participants receive certificates as printed documents and through blockchain technology. The digital certificates can be shared with a single click to more than hundred social media platforms, and they are embeddable on websites.

The YANUZ consortium certificate is currently carried by the COP4HL Knowledge Alliance Consortium which is composed of seven higher education institutes, seven businesses, and three public authorities from seven EU member states.

How does the Yanuz accreditation work?

YANUZ certified change agents become automatically accredited for two-years and they are registered through the Yanuz Change Agent Registry and Uniting System.

YCARUS is the independent register of YANUZ accredited change agents, change agent mentors and change agent trainers. It transparently tracks the certification and accreditation process outcomes. It recognises knowledge, skills, and continuous professional development and makes them visible.

During the two-year period of initial accreditation, the change agent can commit to continuous professional development activities to maintain their accreditation for another two years. For it, they must earn 20 continuous professional development credits. Then they enter the (re-)accreditation process.

Change agents who do not wish to participate in the YANUZ certification process can still become YANUZ accredited and registered on YCARUS. For application, they enter the YANUZ accreditation process.

The (re)accreditation requirements are based on education and practice. The minimum requirements for (re)accreditation are laid down in the YANUZ accreditation form. Applications are reviewed quarterly by the accreditation committee. The deadlines for submission are 31 March, 30 June, 30 September, and 31 December of each year. Before an application can be reviewed, the accreditation fee must be paid. The certificate course fee already includes the accreditation fee.

What is our understanding of a Yanuz community of practice?

We have experienced that a community of practice (COP) is one valuable enabler and excellerator to facilitate and drive social innovation. It builds the social innovation ecosystem to enable social change.

Communities of practice describe a social learning pathway where people voluntary commit to improve a common concern around a complex social challenge. Its members interact regularly to learn and to co-create innovative solutions.

The COP is determined by an active and open learning environment that allows for eye-level exchange and a participatory approach. It leads to action towards social innovation that is openly shared and can be applied in practice. For us, the COP is an instrument for education to anticipate contemporary challenges and gives a structure for lifelong learning.

What is a Yanuz change agent or change agency?

From our point of view, change agents are persons who are able to encourage people to engage in successful change assignments and who are skilled to facilitate change processes.

Yanuz Change Agents come from inside a local community of practice and engage with promoting healthy lifestyles at the local level at a regular basis. They are equipped to facilitate change processes and the implementation of innovative solutions through communities of practice under the specific circumstances of their local environments.

Due to the various roles of change agents to take in the running of local communities of practice, we support the mindset of change agencies.

A Yanuz Change Agency is made by a team of change agents that have the complementary knowledge and skills to commonly – and sustainably – facilitate their local community of practice towards social innovation for a more healthy local society.

What is a Yanuz social innovation makerspace?

A Yanuz Social Innovation Makerspace serves as a tangible environment for co-creation and collaborative learning. It creates a learning environment that differs from typical class-room settings.

It includes furniture and technical equipment that invites for innovation and collaborative practice where students and COP stakeholders build up their capabilities together, at eye-level.

A makerspace provides a safe and engaging ‘feel-good-place’ for practical hands-on experience with new technologies and innovative processes to design innovative solutions for the local community.

How do we understand social change?

For us, in its broadest sense, change means to make things different or to become different. Striving for social change is an eager goal that involves the alternation of the social order of a society. This assumes interconnected sustainable change in social institutions, social behaviours and social relations.

In our context, social change determines the learning pathway towards the complex challenge of a more healthy society. It refers to mid- to long-term developments in society at large that are often accompanied by disruption.

This includes more citizens enjoying a (more) healthy lifestyle but also their social environment holding (greater) capacity to enable and value healthy aging. 

How do we understand social innovation?

For us, social innovation is the process of commonly developing and deploying novel ideas and effective solutions towards social change. This includes out-of-the-box-thinking to meet social needs, create social relationships and implement co-creation towards healthy lifestyles.

Such social innovations can be products, services, programmes or models addressing unmet complex societal challenges more effectively.

From our experience, social innovation requires an ecosystem in which all stakeholders collaborate from a multi-actor approach. This innovation ecosystem must have a special emphasize towards collective ownership and active involvement of the end users in all phases of the social innovation process.

What are complex problems?

Complexity refers to a dynamic and constantly emerging set of processes that interact with each other and develop by these interactions. It means that complex problems are specifically determined by greater social complexity. They are subject to constant change in time, emergence and self-organisation qualities.

Complex problems include the ability to approach them from multiple – sometimes even competing – perspectives. There is no single (right) solution but multiple possible solutions to complex issues.

Complex issues need to be clearly distinguished from complicated and simple problems.

Simple and complicated issues are characterized by knowing the outcome in advance. Thus the steps to follow can be clearly defined. Both the outcome and the process is reproducible.

Whilst a simple problem – for example making coffee – is realtively simple to resolve, the complicated needs considerably more effeot and expertise, for example when it comes to rocket science. However, for both one can create protocols and rules towards the criterium based outcome.

Complex issues on the other hand – for example raising a child – are characterized by the inability to define the outcome(s) completely. There are no defined standards or exact protocols to follow, because complex problems are subject to emergent processes.

What is meant by collective ownership?

For us, an important aim of a local community of practice is to create collective ownership. Collective ownership means ownership of all members of the respective local COP for the mutual benefit of all.

Collective Ownership encourages everyone to contribute new ideas to all segments of the COP, but also to make use of its outcomes in their specific social context.

How do we understand a complexity-oriented approach?

From our point of view, a complexity-oriented approach is based around an underlying (onto-epistemological) philosophical shift from a conventional Newtonian (linear, cause-effect) perspective to a systems perspective that embraces non-linear causality.

Learning and researching then always have their roots in the anticipation of complexity, and thus they are embracing the emergent and dynamic characteristics of complex issues. To think and work consistently from a complex ontology we define as a complexity orientated approach.

What does Yanuz mean?

Yanuz is an open resource to co-create innovative solutions concerning the complex societal challenges we face today. Our focus lies on establishing a (more) healthy society.

The Social Innovation Learning Space Yanuz is named after the ancient Roman god Janus who in myth symbolized change and transitions. However, with its unique form of writing, it creates and emphasizes its very own, sustainable identity.

The colour blue represents both the sky and the sea. It is associated with openness, freedom, intuition, imagination, and inspiration. Blue also with depth, trust, confidence, and wisdom. It is said that the colour blue has positive effects on the interplay of the mind and the body.

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What does Yanuz offer?

Our Social Innovation Learning Space is a purpose-oriented platform that embraces the diversity and mutual learning opportunities of the variety of stakeholders involved towards establishing a (more) healthy society. Yanuz acknowledges the importance of international alignment but the need to implement action into practice at local level.

We offer applied tools, guiding principles and field-tested practices, together with consulting and training opportunities. We provide community to build and share experiences and an access point towards trusted collaboration and reliable partnerships.

A unique feature of our complexity-oriented learning space is its specific focus on the role of education in the process towards social change.

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