Wizenoze: The future of education has been saved
Wizenoze: The future of education
Can Dutch design shape the future of education?
Building a better world starts with giving our children the best education we can. But how do we design education that’s fit for tomorrow’s world? Dutch EdTech scale-up Wizenoze is on a mission to make learning more personal, effective and fun for future generations. How? By using artificial intelligence to harness the best educational content on the internet. Wizenoze is one of a handful of Dutch-based companies recognised by Deloitte as a “Future Winner”.
Founder Diane Janknegt and Deloitte partner Stephen Ward share how their partnership is increasing the impact of both companies on the future of education.
Education is not the easiest field to start a revolution. Where the future of our precious children is at stake, changes are made with the utmost caution. But tomorrow’s jobs call for new skills, so innovation is a must. Besides, advances in digital technology have a lot to offer to learners, says Diane Janknegt, Founder of Wizenoze. “First of all, digital learning helps them learn anytime, anywhere - which came in very handy when the Covid-19 pandemic forced schools to close their doors. Another advantage is that it gives learners a more personalised experience, with room to set their own pace and deep-dive into the subjects that interest them. Our platform uses artificial intelligence to guide learners to the best educational content on the internet, the world’s biggest library. Schoolbooks have had their day, with so much relevant and up-to-date content already online. All learners need is some support to help them find that content. The result? More fun, fit-for-tomorrow education and better learning outcomes.”
Stephen Ward agrees. ”More broadly, digital learning is a powerful tool to democratise knowledge, giving people even in the world’s most remote and deprived areas access to education and a better future.” Stephen, partner at Deloitte Digital in the Netherlands, is a sounding board for Diane since their paths crossed. He continues, “Wizenoze’s mission resonates with Deloitte’s
own to ‘make an impact that matters.’ This is what led us to include Wizenoze
in our Future Winners programme.”
“The Future Winners initiative is how my team reaches out to a select group of innovative Dutch scale-ups – just seven or eight companies – that challenge the status quo and have the potential to become unicorns,” Stephen explains. “As a consultancy firm, we feel we have a duty of care to stimulate innovation among our clients. And we forge connections between organisations – big and small, public and private, profit and non-profit – facing similar challenges. Our aim in doing so is to build an ecosystem where innovation can thrive.”
So how did Deloitte and Wizenoze started working together? Diane laughs. “We had won a business award from TechLeap that included a voucher to spend on Deloitte consulting. As a scale-up, you normally can’t afford their services, so we happily used it. After that initial contact, both companies decided to extend the services with a scaling assessment, which was done by Stephen’s team. A process that requires 100% openness, but we weren’t scared of that. It’s the only way to really benefit, and Deloitte’s confidential treatment of our proprietary data is beyond question. It was definitely worth it.”
Stephen continues, “We did a six-week analysis of Wizenoze, covering everything from infrastructure and skill set to operating model and professionalisation of roles. In our report, we identified obstacles to further upscaling and presented a transformation agenda with recommended actions in order of priority. We were really impressed, though, and enjoyed working with Diane and her team. So we decided to continue supporting them as one of our Future Winners.”
Onwards and eastwards
With Deloitte’s valuable input, the scale-up of Wizenoze has shifted
into higher gear. Earnings are reinvested in building a solid foundation in the
form of intellectual property. What Wizenoze is also investing in is expansion into new markets. And unlike most other Dutch scale-ups, their focus has shifted eastwards. Diane explains. “I’m determined to roll our product out to as many learners worldwide as I possibly can. Our market analysis showed that in countries in the East, there is great willingness to pay for education. With Wizenoze, schools can guide learners to educational content that’s much more engaging, affordable and always up to date. Creating a ‘leapfrog’ scenario where education levels in some of these countries – India, for instance – can catch up and overtake Western countries in just a few years.”
Stephen adds, “International scaling is one of the areas where Deloitte experts are supporting Wizenoze. And the Deloitte network is also helpful. I knew that Wizenoze had ambitions to venture into the Middle East market, for example, so I introduced them to a local Deloitte team that could put them in touch with the relevant ministries.”
In this accelerating growth stage, establishing the brand and the proposition
is more important and more challenging than ever. Diane, however, has the
conviction and drive to pursue an independent growth path for Wizenoze. “Being seen by Deloitte as a Future Winner has added a lot of credibility to our brand, giving our investors added confidence to stay with us on our journey.”
In Deloitte’s own branding, Future Winners also play a role, says Stephen. “We tread a fine line. We never push a company into situations that are not delivering on the promise of the Deloitte brand. Integrity and trust are key. That’s why we continue to monitor whether our Future Winners stay aligned with our purpose.”
No strings attached
Nevertheless, there are no strings attached at the outset, Stephen points out. “We work with Future Winners to make an impact that matters in society. We’re in it for the long term. We hope for accelerated growth and over time, as mutual trust and proven value builds, a client relationship could follow. But it’s not our agenda from day one.” Diane adds, “That’s precisely why it works. Both parties have to keep performing.”
Dutch EdTech Design
Wizenoze, with Deloitte’s backing, thus looks destined to become a global ambassador of Dutch ingenuity and Deloitte’s responsible business principles. “But there’s so much going on in the vibrant Dutch EdTech community,” says Diane. “We have a number of really innovative Dutch players.
Working together and perhaps with a little help from Deloitte we could roll
out our Dutch EdTech design internationally and make even more impact. We’d
love to brainstorm about ways to cooperate. Wouldn’t it be great if the
Netherlands could play a role in redesigning the global future of education?”