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“learn fast, be curious, and dive in the unknown”

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Want to start a career in Innovation? Here is some advice we would like to share with you

At KIN Center for Digital Innovation, we find it essential to share our knowledge and insights and look beyond the hype of digital innovation. One key way is through the KIN Business Network. One of our members is ING Labs, and I interviewed them to learn more about them, and why they joined the Business Network. You can find the first part of this interview here. In this interview, Olivier Guillaumond, Global Head of ING Labs & Fintechs gave some excellent advice for students and professionals looking to start a career in innovation, that we would like to share with you. 

Do you consider yourself a specialist or a generalist?

Olivier: Everybody has a different background and expertise. However, in the field of innovation, the pace of change is so high, it is impossible to be an expert in everything. So, although we believe we are all experts, in this specific business line, you really quickly need to become a generalist in everything. In the end, it is about being able to learn fast, which will be your most important skill. You can’t stand still in one expertise, or you are at risk when this expertise is less of a hype and you become less relevant. In this environment, it is a critical skill to keep in reinventing yourself and be able to adapt. 

Being able to learn fast is good advice. In what ways do you keep up with trends? Do you follow courses, read books/ articles, learn from the people around you? How do you make sure you learn fast?

Olivier: “I would not say to choose but to take all of the above. It is about learning all the time, every day and benefit from all the channels that you have. If you have time, taking courses is very important. It’s about taking all the opportunities that you have to learn and do a deep-dive on a topic that you think is very important. I believe it is essential to keep yourself appraised by reading the research that has been done and take the time to understand the findings. It’s not about learning as much as possible but also using that knowledge in practice. By doing this, you will appreciate the practical ideas of things. Learning by doing, reading, asking, it’s all about being curious.

Having the right diplomas is important. But the world is all about opportunities, especially when you just graduated. Then you don’t want to restrict yourself too much. You want to go to the unknown. As innovation professionals, it’s about jumping to the unknown and daring. For students, it is the perfect time to embrace this.”

That is great advice; learn fast, be curious, and dive in the unknown! 

Interested in learning more about innovation? For professionals, we have our executive programs ​Digital Innovation & Transformation​ (DIT). Are you looking for a way to develop yourself or employees in the field of digital innovation and Transformation? Please contact us to find out more. 

Olivier Guillaumond has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics and an MBA and has worked in consultancy, co-founded a company, and now works at ING He is Global Head of ING Labs and Fintechs  and responsible for all the ING Labs in Amsterdam, Brussels, London and Singapore.