There is an omnipresent will to innovate here
Désirée van der Geest arrived at ING in September 2017 with many years of HR-related management experience under her belt. As HR Expert Lead she is closely involved in the development of the campus, a new open-innovation platform initiated by ING.
Désirée’s previous roles included Employer Brand Manager at Deloitte and seven years as HR Manager for McDonald’s: “Exciting and challenging HR positions that have got me where I am today. It was very refreshing to be approached by ING for the role of Expert Lead connected to Community Talent & Learning within HR. I immediately sensed the energy and dynamism when we met up in person. The company is bursting with ambition and there’s an omnipresent will to innovate and utilise new technologies. The agile way of working also appealed to me. I thought it would be really interesting from a personal development perspective.”
The campus: an innovation hub
One of the ambitious projects Désirée is closely involved in is the campus that ING is setting up in conjunction with other companies (corporates and scale-ups), the city of Amsterdam and various universities. The campus will be a physical and digital hub where people can work together on solutions for a better world. Old ways of thinking and working will be cast off to allow new approaches and business models to be devised and developed. The campus will revolve around three areas of expertise: data science, behavioural science, and engineering & technology which includes artificial intelligence, blockchain and user experience design.
“There are ten of us in the ING project team, and my specialist area is research and education. One of the objectives is to attract, develop and retain talent, which is a universal bottleneck. There is simply a global shortage of talented professionals in certain fields. The campus will help us to expand the talent pool and share expertise.
This means that interested professionals have the chance to work for multiple partners and can put their knowledge to good use in numerous projects. Meanwhile, we can experiment with things like new types of contracts and new ways of learning. Our own people can benefit from the campus too, because it opens up new development opportunities for them and they can participate in innovation projects.
In my role, I have a lot of contact with universities including UvA, VU, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, TU Delft, University of Twente and CWI Amsterdam. I love working together with these partners; they never cease to amaze me with their innovative way of thinking. It’s very inspiring!”
The campus is just one of the projects Désirée is currently working on. “In our Community of Expertise Talent & Learning we work together to develop a vision, set our goals and think about what we need in order to achieve them. The great thing is that you carve out your own path within the broader framework and indicate where you can add value. It’s nice to be valued for your expertise and contribution rather than for your role. I’m really happy that I made this move.”
Désirée studied natural sciences, business and public administration at the University of Utrecht with a specialisation in process optimisation and marketing. She has young children and loves doing fun things together as a family. In addition to playing tennis, she also enjoys going to the theatre and for meals with friends, plus she has “dozens of interests and plans that still have to be brought to fruition at some point”.