Written by:  

Lex Geurts

Increasing our collective brainpower

We are living in a digital era, where change and innovation take place almost daily. Keeping up with the latest developments can be difficult. Using shared knowledge, experience and expertise (our collective brainpower) is key to staying competitive.

For us, sharing knowledge is important for several reasons. Content is key when you are a consultant, and sharing knowledge helps this content to grow. Sharing knowledge enables Itilians to grow and develop. It also breaks down silos and increases involvement. But as important: sharing knowledge connects us with our customers so that we can truly understand their challenges.

Cloud diner-edit


Hence, we put a lot of effort in sharing knowledge. We organize numerous activities, both within our organization as well as outside of it. One example is the roundtable dinner. During this session we get together with a small group of customer executives and discuss a relevant topic, such as; data science or cloud governance. By hosting this discussion in a confidential and informal setting, participants can talk openly about their views, challenges, and experiences to learn from each other.

We also organize several hackathons per year. Each hackathon revolves around a data science use case. The data is often based on a real-life anonymous customer case. Hackathons are open to data scientists from both inside and outside our organization, and where possible we invite customer analytics teams as well to explain the case and, of course, participate. In a friendly competition, teams are challenged to solve a case using techniques such as image classification or clustering. These events are a great way to not only share and increase knowledge, but also to meet new like-minded enthusiasts.

Internally, we have developed a summer school program to learn and develop our skills. The summer school is a collection of educative sessions, where Itility employees can pick up new skills or improve existing ones. The program is very diverse and includes both soft skills and hard skills, as well as topics that are both very specialized and have a broad application. Trainings are often hosted by our own colleagues. The summer school motivates continued development, which not only benefits us but, also our customers.

We also work with several startups and innovative initiatives. Some examples include projects at WUR, TNO and Amber. We use our experience and resources to help these initiatives succeed, while at the same time gaining a lot of new insights. These insights are carried over to other projects where they can be used to help customers initiatives.

Some organizations have a strong reflex to guard and centralize information. And of course, you don’t want confidential information to fall into the wrong hands. But without actively sharing knowledge you run the risk of isolating teams and holding back innovations. If you want to increase your collective brainpower, don’t hesitate to start connecting with customers, colleagues and peers. When it comes to knowledge, sharing is multiplying!

 


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