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COOPERATION | Arranging a dream marriage

Ten years ago I worked for TNO, an innovative, project oriented organization with focus on applied research in various industries (and government). At that time, there was already a scarcity on engineers and technical talent, from junior, medior up to senior level. The challenge was to get the right person on the right time in the right project. A difficult match to make. Furthermore market needs and innovation speed challenged TNO to become more entrepreneurial, and adaptive to changes but also more result and market oriented.

In the Brainport region with it’s strong network needs and solutions meet each other. TMC, with it’s entrepreneurship model knows how to attract technical talents with fitting skills and behavior. These Employeneurs could perfectly add value to the roadmap of TNO, the complex research projects but also to the cultural change of the organization. Thijs Manders, founding father of TMC showed courage by setting up 3 cells (TMC Chemical, TMC Mechanical and TMC Automotive) to serve the client in a maximum way. A need of the customer meets a core strength of the supplier. That was the moment I came in, Thijs appointed me, a TNO employee in that times, as cluster director-and TNO ‘let me go’.

TMC Employeneurs have the attitude and label of technically excellent, adaptive to change and highly intrinsic motivated. On the other side, they could contribute to TNO projects with innovative ideas and enable further growth and professionality. 

'I’m strongly convinced the difference in a long-term strategic partnership is made by finding the optimum fit of company cultures...'

TNO and TMC partners

I became the linking pin between two organizations and formed a strategic cooperation between the two. Customer and supplier became partners. Like a dream marriage in which both parties trust each other and are equally involved in each other’s needs and development with respect for individual space and ambition. They complement each other. TNO and TMC successfully joined together, from the research departments up to the executive level, in close cooperation with Human Resource department. Within the first year about fifty Employeneurs worked for TNO. This meant more innovation strength for TNO and more continuity and growth for both organizations.

Future-proof match

To innovate successfully matching the technical roadmap and challenges as well as bringing together clients/partners within the ecosystem is not enough. I’m strongly convinced the difference in a long-term strategic partnership is made by finding the optimum fit of company cultures and especially by empowering individuals using their strengths, connecting and influencing skills. If you can create that fit, you have a future-proof match. Organizations can grow faster as a result of their cooperation and partnership. 

Today, ten years later the same values still count for this long term and strategic partnership: personal and cultural fit, next to adding value to the business, market and organizational challenges at both sides.  We want the best for each other and help one another to reach our goals.


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