After studying mathematics and philosophy, Gerrit was considering doing a PhD. By chance, he visited the Open House day at the newlyfounded Hertie School of Governance and talked to some of its students. Katri, Kerstin and Ivan were different… and very persuasive. Gerrit ended up enrolling and graduated with a project for the OECD in China and a double degree from Berlin and Paris. Now the triangle was complete for the Friedrich Ebert Foundation fellow: Mathematics, Philosophy and Politics.
The public policy context of the school was challenging. »I hate writing footnotes; you do not do that in mathematics.« For Gerrit, it was not the footnotes that were important, but the numbers – he ended up developing innovative Excel prototypes for policy papers. In addition, he made the most of his internships in ministries: »They initially gave me a boring job, but I secretly developed an Excel prototype. My boss was also a mathematician.«
After graduation, consultancy work projected Gerrit around the world in catenary arches, from Tel Aviv to South Africa and from Dubai to Bucharest. Gerrit was often working from 8 am until 11 pm. But eventually family life drew him back to Berlin and made him recalculate his working hours. Now, he says, »I am available 20 hours a week or not at all.«
People believe too much in formulas and numbers; my duty is to demystify them.
The aim of Gerrit’s work has always been to produce social change. Previously, he was involved in subcultures and in organizing music events in abandoned buildings. He analyzed »Generation Y« as part of a project for the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung. Today, he is a board member of the Archive for Youth Cultures and develops strategies for part-time work culture. He says: »I am a part-time social entrepreneur; I don’t go to meetings after 4 pm«. Gerrit works on e-participation with Partou because he believes that the social aspect of people working together brings about change on an everyday level. He also spends some of his spare time on educational role-playing games. »People believe too much in formulas and numbers; my duty is to demystify them«, says Gerrit. As Pythagoras wrote, all is number.