Suzanne Verdonschot


Curiosity as a starting point

I see my role as facilitating learning and innovation in work contexts. I often choose research as an approach. Research is a great way of working to get things moving. Especially because you then use the power of curiosity; knowledge starts to flow when people have questions. At the moment I guide organisations and teams that are curious about how they can develop a small innovation or a successful experiment into a large-scale movement. In addition, I do a lot of research to determine the impact of learning and change interventions on performance and strategic goals. I regularly publish the insights from these kinds of projects in articles, research papers and books. 

From a single breakthrough to widespread innovation

A major innovation does not start with a major plan of action. You rather book results with small experiments by people who want to participate. In my PhD research, I discovered that several small breakthroughs ultimately lead to innovation. However, a question about which not much is yet known is how you can develop those little 'beginnings' into the big movement you are after. If one team succeeds in greatly increasing customer satisfaction by organising its own work process more intelligently, how can you get more teams involved? If a group of colleagues finds ways to do their own work with more energy, how can they inspire others? In other words: how can we 'anchor and sustain' these small changes, how do you get them 'in the DNA of the organisation', how do you 'scale up' or 'secure' them - to name but a few of the desires that I often hear around me. I support teams and organisations with these questions. And I do research into them. 


The impact of learning

Whether you organise a learning trajectory for a team, or set up a large-scale change in the organisation, you always hope that such interventions will bring about something. But do they really? Do those involved learn something new and does it help them to act more effectively in their working practices? Do the interventions lead to an improvement in the service or products for the customer? These are relevant questions about the impact of learning. Especially if you want to work on improvement and innovation in practice, it is important that new learning also leads to doing something new. This can be found out by investigating the effects of learning trajectories, training courses and change interventions on the day-to-day practice and the strategic goals. Over the past five years, the research group I lead has carried out more than 30 impact studies. The tools we have developed can be applied in many contexts. We design the impact research in such a way that it not only measures the impact, but also helps to increase it. Whether it is a large-scale study into the strategic impact or an intermediate evaluation that leads to concrete follow-up actions. 




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