Data Science & Artificial Intelligence. I’ve been fascinated with algorithms’ ability to extract information from data, ever since I was training as a mathematician at university. Later in my career, I have had the pleasure to add real business value with this information. Admittedly, this regularly did not involve complex algorithms – simple ideas often work well enough. As a professional, I always keep an eye out for promising new technologies, and for impactfull applications at the company I work for. I enjoy communicating about the potential of these technologies with stakeholders at all levels, from C-suite to operational level.
How companies and people work. When applying data science techniques in projects, I learn a lot about the company that I work for. There are rules, implicit customs, formal and informal processes, influencers, departments, KPIs, leaders, etc. Somehow all these factors form a functioning organism with a mix of cultures. It’s magnificently interesting to observe and understand this, and useful as well. It helps me, e.g., in projects to formulate realistic goals and a realistic path to completion. On a more personal level, my drive to understand people and companies yields a whole new set of fun skills to develop: coaching and motivating people, effective communication, and strategic thinking (just to name a few).
Leadership. Over the years I’ve gained a lot of experience, and have significantly broadened my interests beyond the technical domain. Regularly, I find myself in a position where people are looking at me for, e.g., instructions, inspiration, concrete solutions, or insights. It’s nice to be able to have impact on so many levels, but there is a danger here: I can’t do everything myself. I have to choose what to do, and how to do it. This triggered an (ongoing) search for my own ‘why’: a set of criteria that indicates what I find important. I’m convinced that with this firmly in place, I can make befitting choices with respect to what I want to do, and how I want to do that. A form of leadership that fits me. At the same time I also see other people around me, each with there own form of leadership and there own ‘why’. I find it immensely interesting to learn their ‘why’, and to see how their leadership style affects the people around them.