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TMC’s Masterclass: a practical example of Employeneurship

‘All of TMC’s Employeneurs excel in their own fields,’ says Arnold Oostenbrink. ‘Part of my job is to help them excel in other fields as well.’ Arnold is Director of TMC’s High Tech System Cell. Together with a team of enthusiastic colleagues, he also is responsible for TMC’s Masterclass: a two-year program for a select group of promising TMC Employeneurs. Recently, another successful Masterclass was concluded – a great opportunity for a quick recap.


The participants of the Masterclass are selected based on their growth-level. ‘We think of it as a reward for consistently doing a great job,’ Arnold explains. ‘It’s a form of recognition. If an Employeneur performs exceptionally well, and we see that the Masterclass could be beneficial, we offer them a place on the next Masterclass to learn skills that will help them reach even greater heights.’


Throughout the program, the members get a lot of coaching and guidance – ‘But we expect them to act independently and use their entrepreneurial skills as well,’ says Arnold. ‘We teach them to see and think from a multidisciplinary point of view, to fill the gaps between their own fields of expertise and the other disciplines they work with. Our Employeneurs learn a lot from this program. The knowledge and experience they gain can be used both in their daily work and in their later careers, because the higher up you get, the more a multidisciplinary point of view becomes a necessity. This is also true for domain experts.’


The Masterclass is divided into three phases. ‘In the first phase, we teach the Employeneurs about different fields: Physics, Mechanics, Electronics, Software, Mechatronics and System Creation, to name just a few. We reserve two-to-three intensive days per discipline to guide them through the basics. The idea is to make them understand how, for instance, electronics engineers or software developers look at a certain phase in a system’s development or at its production process.’


The second phase of the Masterclass is all about business. The participants get the opportunity to learn more about topics such as project management, business cases, marketing, and value engineering. 


In the third phase, the members get the chance to put everything they’ve learned into practice: in project teams they work at developing their own product. In the latest Masterclass, one group of Employeneurs developed an innovative system for use in the bee-keeping industry – the bRemote project. Another group tried to develop a new type of drone to be used specifically for filming waterskiing. The drone project turned out to be too complex to finish – but it proved to be a very useful experience nonetheless.


‘Sometimes, the projects that experience the most difficulties in achieving ‘product-readiness’ are the ones from which you learn the most’, says Arnold. ‘This, more than anything, is what we aim for with the Masterclass. It’s nice if the participants have a finished, successful project at the end of the Masterclass, but it’s not something we demand. The most important goals of the Masterclass are to broaden the participants’ minds, and to offer them a practical experience of Employeneurship. I’m very proud to be part of that. The Masterclass really demonstrates to all of our Employeneurs that there is nothing that prevents them from developing themselves and achieving their goals!’


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