Meet Simon Uytterhoeven
Tell us, who are you?
I am Simon Uytterhoeven, born and raised in Leuven. After eight years of living in Brussels with my partner, we recently decided to move back to Leuven. We have an 18-month-old boy, and our second son is due next year. I like to maintain my social life with the necessary food and drinks, of course. To burn off all those calories, I go for regular walks and cycle rides.
I started off at the VDAB and worked there for 8,5 years. Since I first graduated in social work, I started as a mediator. Here I ended up in data and AI via project work and various opportunities.
Where did your fascination for AI and data come from?
Ever since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated with electronics and technology. I used to unscrew things, just so I could see how everything was wired on the inside. (laughs) Also during my Business Administration studies, topics regarding data and AI were often discussed. At VDAB, I frequently assisted my colleagues with digital issues, and I often gave little training courses to make them e-aware. And because of this interest I came into contact with data and AI more and more throughout the years.
You transitioned from a huge corporation to a start-up. What prompted this decision?
My previous employer, VDAB, is a great organization to learn from, so to speak. It was a workplace culture in which anything was conceivable and permitted, but you had to arrange and create it yourself. That’s naturally the ideal way to learn from colleagues who have been in the field for a long time. But, within a larger enterprise it is also difficult to change course once in a while. So, I was looking for an environment that allowed this and where there were young profiles like myself with big dreams. I needed an ‘out-of-my-comfort-zone’-change and wanted to work more pragmatically. That’s how I met Stefan at my former job and chose to put my trust in MbarQ.
“I needed an ‘out-of-my-comfort-zone’-change”
What exactly will you be doing within MbarQ?
As an AI translator, I stand on the business side within the AI and data team of MbarQ. The goal is to create a strong link between strategy, management, business and the end user with the AI and data team, who develop the services. Together with the business we look for use cases, prioritize them on the basis of feasibility and impact for the customer, and then translate them to the data and AI team in order to develop them together. I also make sure that this team has everything to be able to finish the smart product or service. You must first really comprehend the end customer to meet their demands and expectations. It is critical not to get lost in all of the technology in order to offer enough value for your end user.
In addition, I am very eager to put my shoulders to the wheel of the company, to help put the business-driven approach to AI on the map and to make the company grow further.
“It is critical not to get lost in all of the technology in order to offer enough value for your end user.”
At MbarQ we do not speak in bits and bytes, but the language of the customers. This ensures that the customer is fully included in the story and is naturally more pleasant to do business. The goal is always to create sufficient value for the end user. You must be willing to think along with the consumer and identify the best options. We have a diverse workforce that allows us to take all kinds of projects and deliver swiftly. In short, we make sure to understand the customer well and work step by step to create the right solutions.
“At MbarQ we do not speak in bits and bytes, but the language of the customers.”
Within the team, we really listen to each other. You can always share what you think, expect or prefer to see differently. My coworkers like sharing their experiences and information, which helps you to learn rapidly. This is where everyone’s down-to-earth approach shines through, and I believe that’s one of MbarQ’s team’s strengths.
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