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WorldClass - UNLEASH

Joep Arends, Senior Innovation Manager, Deloitte Netherlands

As part of our global WorldClass initiative, Deloitte is collaborating with UNLEASH to bring together the brightest young minds to develop new solutions to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This is the second year that Deloitte has facilitated the UNLEASH innovation labs, guiding ideas to actionable solutions. Over forty Deloitte professionals facilitate these labs, applying their professional skills to solve global issues. Read more from one of our facilitators from the first UNLEASH, as they explain their role and how it has impacted their development at Deloitte.

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During UNLEASH 2017, Joep Arends was a facilitator based at a folk high school near Fredericia, Denmark. In his role, he provided guidance for participants to translate their ambitious ideas into action-oriented solutions that would appeal to project investors.

Why were you interested in UNLEASH?

When I started looking into UNLEASH, the purpose, the diversity in expertise, and the number of people participating immediately struck me. You have all these different backgrounds coming together. Academics, entrepreneurs, AI experts, designers, people working in health, people from both developed and developing countries. All with the vision of coming here to solve these wicked problems. I wanted to be a part of that.

How does UNLEASH connect with your client work?

While the talents have some truly inspirational ideas, only a few have experience with working in an innovation process, transforming ideas into tangible solutions. If you put these people together with no guidance, chances are, that they will not come up with new solutions, that are specific, scalable and have the potential to create a real impact. At Deloitte, we have the experience, specific expertise and the tools, processes and systems in place to transform ideas into real solutions.

How did you apply your professional skills to UNLEASH?

As a facilitator, I made sure that the talents answer the right questions. Will their idea have a real impact? Is their idea really about solving a problem, is it specific enough or do they just like the solution itself? And of course, is it scalable?”

Why is UNLEASH important to Deloitte?

Deloitte is a part of a generation of companies that does not only focus on profit, but also want to make an impact in the world. UNLEASH fits our strategy and vision. We are a people company. A talent company. The more access to talent we have, the better. Even if we cannot hire all talents into our own organization, we need to connect and tap into the experience and talent in the world. If I can identify the right person with a very specific knowledge as needed, and I can bring that experience to the client, it will make a huge impact on the client. And even though the expertise isn’t in Deloitte, the client will still appreciate the role that Deloitte plays in that eco-system.

What impact did UNLEASH have on you?

I'm overwhelmed by the talents’ eagerness to learn. They are not just here to take their own ideas one step further and show how experienced they are. They are here to learn as much as possible from each other, and that gives them a truly open mindset. And most importantly for an innovation process, they are willing to challenge their own assumptions.

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