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After 8 months working at a safe spot that matched my background perfectly, I decided to take a different road for my 2nd trainee spot. I started at Distributed Sensor Systems, a department that has a lot of expertise on autonomous and intelligent systems. Pretty new stuff to me as a geophysicist. I did not go there to do research, but to explore a new market for this department: Smart Industry! A big challenge as I knew little about Distributed Sensor Systems nor about Smart Industry nor about business development. But I wanted a new adventure from which I could learn a lot, so… challenge accepted!
And this challenge did teach me a lot. The first one being what Smart Industry is (or Industrie 4.0 as the Germans call it). It’s about industries with a high degree of flexibility to make personalized products by using the latest technological innovations like Internet of Things, Big data, robotics and so on. And I also learned how to make a proposition and how to use a business model canvas.
But the most teachable moments were a bit later when I had to organize the Smart Industry event! A big yearly event in the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. My task was mostly to set up the parallel sessions: come up with interesting topics and arrange speakers and facilitators. But there were so many other things to do as well: from making the program for the day, to promoting the event and from getting the registration system working, to fitting all the demos on the event floor. This clearly was something new for me! It was quite scary in the beginning, as a newbie in the Smart Industry world. What topics would the audience be interested in and which companies could I ask to give a presentation? I did not have the experience to do this! But after a bit of worrying, I decided to just dive in and I really enjoyed contributing to such a big event. It was a great experience to see so many people on the day participating in sessions, looking at all the cool demos (like a beer-tapping robot or a HoloLens) and interacting with each other! The event gave me plenty of energy to make up for some of the bumps in the road.
For me this really shows the added value of the traineeship. There are so many possibilities you can try as a trainee. You can learn a lot from all new experiences, it gives you a broader view on the organisation and you can figure out what you can and like to do! So Smart Industry challenge: check. Let’s move on to the next one!
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