Jeroen de Mast, Holland Innovative en JADS, © HI
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Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS) and Holland Innovative will cooperate in supporting companies in the field of data science.

With the cooperation agreement between JADS in Den Bosch and Holland Innovative, based at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, both partners can complement each other in their educational offerings. JADS wants to make Data Technology and Data Science usable for the industry and Holland Innovative serves the high-tech manufacturing companies with project management, product and process development and reliability engineering.

Data science plays an increasingly important role in society. Companies have an enormous amount of data at their disposal but often struggle with the question of how this data can be used to create structural value. Both parties think they can play a role in solving that dilemma.

Jeroen de Mast has been appointed as the academic director at the JADS on behalf of Holland Innovative. In this role, he will set up a programme Data science for Smart Industry. The first batch, a pilot, will start in June: a 17-day course that will help participants in the transformation to Smart Industry. Other components of the product range include ‘Data Tasting’ events to get acquainted with the possibilities that data technology can offer, ‘Data Maturity scans’ to determine how the customer organization is already designed for this and to gain insight into what the roadmap to a data-driven organization is. Professional education programmes are also offered that aim to train professionals in the business world and thus develop the necessary competencies to make decisions on the basis of substantiated data analyses.

Learn all about the new programme here.

De Mast, originally a mathematician, is the scientific director at Holland Innovative and also Professor of Statistics and Actuarial Science at Waterloo University in Canada. For one day a week, he will work at JADS to help professionals who want to get their data science education up and running. And while most other courses at JADS focus on entrepreneurship and start-ups, De Mast’s main focus is on intrapreneurship: the art of weaving innovation into an existing organisation.

“That is a completely different playing field compared to that of start-ups”, says De Mast firmly. “Where a start-up will always try to cause a disruption, within existing companies it is much more about incremental changes. No less important and certainly no less innovative, but dependent on completely different forces. That’s why we think this course will reach a specific new audience.”

“Where a start-up will always try to cause a disruption, within existing companies it is much more about incremental changes.”

Like any JADS programme, it also crosses the fields of research, education and impact with partners from the field. “In our programme, we try to help students – yes, that’s how we call them, even if they often have years of professional experience – to boost their business processes based on data analytics and data engineering in combination with entrepreneurship. This could lead, for example, to new insights and new processes around supply chain management.”

The big challenge with intrapreneurship lies in the necessary leadership, says De Mast. “How do you get things done in a large, cumbersome organisation, where do you start, how do you bind executives into a shared vision, how do you translate vision into strategy and execution, things like that are important. But also: how do you deal with the inertia that is irrevocably lurking? As the only training course in the Netherlands, we deal with these questions in relation to developments in data science. We can be of service to a great many professionals in innovative companies.”

“We can be of service to a great many professionals in innovative companies.”

De Mast has already explored how much interest there is and on that basis he is optimistic. “I see more of a risk that we will have to say no to applicants than that we cannot attract enough of them.” For the first pilot group, the limit is 20 students, from there De Mast wants to work in manageable steps towards the ultimate goal: a full Master in 2021.

It is precisely the industry that has already done a lot in operating excellence in recent years, says De Mast. “Many organisations are already quite well developed in this respect. A number of them are already linked up with data-driven programs. So they will be receptive to what we want to offer them. That will be the fundament to build on.”

All training courses for professionals cover one day a week, with theory in the morning and plenty of practical examples in the afternoon. The pilot year starts with a four-day bird’s-eye view on data science, followed by nine months of work on a graduation project in which the students explore a case from their own company and, where possible, solve it using data science. De Mast: “The great thing is that the candidates can take a manager from their own company with them for the first four weeks. In this way, we create extra commitment for the student, but we also provide a better fundament for the case that the student has to investigate.”

“Many organisations are already linked up with data-driven programs. So they will be receptive to what we want to offer them.”

Because De Mast works in Waterloo as well as for Holland Innovative and JADS, new opportunities could eventually arise from this. “Four months a year, the complete Fall semester, I’m in Canada. I also teach there, do research and supervise PhD students. There is enough interest with them to do at least part of their PhD research in the Netherlands, so who knows what can arise from that.”

JADS and Holland Innovative
Hans Meeske (Holland Innovative) and Arjan van den Born (Jheronimus Academy of Data Science) at the signing of the agreement between JADS and Holland Innovative, photo © HI