MSc Sabine Janssen

Sabine is an Innovation Programme and Project Leader at UMIO with an ambition to grow the innovation engine within professionals, teams and organisations. What the Service Science Factory does: “We help businesses to better understand their customers and translating this empathy into viable business strategies.”

 

Sabine loves training teams and leading projects in the field of strategy by design, which represents a human centred way to innovation. This way of thinking is rooted in Design Thinking and lean start-ups, the DNA of our innovation success formula at Service Science Factory (SSF). SSF is part of UMIO | Maastricht University and leads the expertise area of service design thinking. Sabine has a background in International Business and Consultancy. As Head of Service Science Factory, she enjoys to futurise UMIO’s own business strategy in a co-creative way and optimally capitalising on the superpowers in the team.

 

Sabine is involved in the MaastrichtMBA programme as one of the instructor at the EuroMBA Online residential week on Entrepreneurship Expedition through Design Thinking in Maastricht.

WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION WITH MAASTRICHT?

I love the city, the international character, connectedness to our neighbouring countries Germany and Belgium. Fun fact, you can take the bike and you will be in Aachen in an hour; you can take the canoe and just go to Belgium. This is great; try it out while you are here! The city matches my character, I love to travel, the international vibes and there is a Mediterranean touch to the Dutch culture. Good wines on the menus, great restaurants; I believe the highest density of restaurants per inhabitant in the Netherlands.

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT UMIO?

I am an innovation project leader at the Service Science Factory, the innovation hub/ heart of UMIO and we support businesses to strategically move their company to the next level, elevate their business strategy by becoming more customer obsessed, boosting entrepreneurship, using Design Thinking. I love my job, as it is super dynamic and we are able to help companies on their way to become more customer obsessed and co-create the way forward to a future proof business model.

 

Next to being a project leader, I am also one of the trainers on Design Thinking and corporate startup for both tracks of our MaastrichtMBA programme, MBA modules at partner universities such as Stellenbosch, and many in-company training programmes for organisations in the region and internationally.

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE WITHIN THE MAASTRICHTMBA PROGRAMME: BOTH THE EXECUTIVE AS EUROMBA ONLINE TRACK?

I am really proud, thankful and honoured to be one of the trainers for you in this programme. I hope to inspire you with a mindset, methodology and toolbox that is relevant to adopt in your daily work. One of the target is to adopt a more customer centric company strategy. We will embark on a journey together, a journey where we will learn how to strengthen the discovery and empathising muscle of your organisation. We take the time to not only understand the business challenge from your customer’s point of view, but also understanding the context around the problem, before you start to explore the solution space is what will helps you to launch more holistic, successful innovations to the market. The mindset of fail forward and experimentation, that is natural to the startup world, is also something that we will look into as a way to increase the success rate of your innovations.

YOU WILL BE ONE OF THE INSTRUCTORS FOR THE NEXT EUROMBA ONLINE RESIDENTIAL WEEK ON DESIGN THINKING CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR LESSONS DURING THIS WEEK?

Zooming into the programme, what is the aim for the week? Strategy by design is all about design thinking. Both on a strategic level, but also putting your feet in the mud and do it. We want you not only to be able to lead your company based on Design Thinking, we want you to be able to do it and experience and understand the true value of it, and hopefully become the main ambassador of Design Thinking within your organisation. So, in this week you will not only learn about this problem solving approach, you will also put the knowledge into practice and learn with and from your peers. This experience will help you not only to retain the knowledge better, but also equip you to train others. The mindset and methodology and toolbox of Design Thinking offers you to help you strategise and implement a more customer centric strategy.

 

The second part is Entrepreneurial skills, the most important skill for the 21st century. Peter Hinssen refers to this era of the “never normal”. The ability to scan and capitalise on opportunities in a rapid way is key to survival of the company. Entrepreneurial competences is as important for corporates as for start-ups. In the programme you will develop your own personal development plan, how to boost your entrepreneurial skills based on an assessment highlighting your personal strengths and development points for you as entre/ intrapreneur. The value of Design Thinking in combination with Entrepreneurship is great. They nicely come together in the discovery muscle, but also in moving from idea to impact, where empathy and agility is also key.

SINCE THE CURRENT CRISIS WE ARE FACING HAS LOCKED DOWN THE WORLD, ORGANISATIONS CHANGED RAPIDLY. HOW DO YOU DESIGN THINKING CAN GIVE A CONTRIBUTION TO A SOLUTION DEALING WITH THIS CRISIS?

I am sure you have heard the phrase “Never waste a good crisis”. Impossible changes, suddenly are possible and implemented overnight. Louis Vuitton Group provides a great example here right at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. They changed their perfume production factories overnight to provide hand-sanitising products to the French healthcare system free of charge, right from the start. The company does not only provide huge value to society, to unburden the immense pressure on the health care system and government who were facing disruptions in supply; they also trained and acted on their discovery muscle by doing so.

 

Another great example is the hackathon we did to help companies in the region to combat and prosper during- and post-COVID. More than 120 Master students adopted the design sprint methodology to help companies. Furthermore, great social initiatives were ignited during the crisis to help elderly people get their groceries and fight loneliness. You will execute Design Thinking on a strategic level. But also putting your feet in the mud and do it. We want you not only to be able to lead your company based on Design Thinking, we want you to be able to do it and experience and understand the true value of it, and hopefully become the main ambassador of this theory within your organisation.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF PROFESSIONALLY?

I am proud of the great team we are part of, not only our amazing SSF team, but the entire UMIO club. Together we help advance so many professionals and companies in their strategic journeys to future proof their organisations. The great connections we are able to make internationally are invaluable aspect of joy in my work. We learn so much from working together with so many great people and companies and we love to bring these inspiring lessons from businesses and practice into our training programmes and innovation projects. Innovation sparks at work.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE SOMETHING PERSONAL WITH THE READERS?

Ok, I tell you 3 things, you have to guess what is not true about me.

 

  • I don’t like chaos. Chaos is the antidote of innovation to me.
  • I have a dog, yet my father grew so fond of him, taking care of my dog during my sabbatical, they couldn’t part afterwards, and now I basically only see my dog when he comes to me on a little holiday.
  • I dove in the Great Barrier Reef, when I realised my finger I had a little wound on my finger and that it was bleeding and then I saw a shark.. I am so glad I did not faint and that I survived!

 

The answer to this is that only the first bullet doesn’t apply to me, yet bullit 2 and 3 are true!

 

One of my great passions in life is that I love to travel, explore new places. I love to do new things, get out of my comfort zone and love to stimulate others to do so as well. As the greatest growth and often fun is to be found there. So don’t forget to enjoy the ride of this challenge ahead.

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