It was 2004. I was an innovation manager at Alcatel, one of the most innovative companies in the world back then. Twice a year, we organized a bootcamp, where we invited teams of employees and we would help them to build their own company inside the company walls. After a few years, we saw a recurring problem: Once we announced the bootcamp, teams of friends/colleagues would enter the competition. But, in reality, these were often similar profiles. E.g. one team were 5 software engineers. They made an awesome product, but didn’t really realize you need complementary profiles to make a company work: you need a marketing guy, a sales person, … And they failed…
That’s what we wanted to change: We defined a talent program: a coaching program where everybody got to know himself better and understood what his talents were. And, in a next step, we helped them to come in contact with complementary talents to support them towards a more successful career. The program was a huge success: within 2 weeks, 40% of the teams enregistered to follow the program. Later, the program was introduced in many other companies like Barco, Swift, Vandemoortele, a.o.
Now, I have always been a fanatic programmer. In the mean time, I started developing software to assist in the process. In further years, we continued to evolve the process and the software, with the help of several freelancers. At the start, the challenge was daunting: the required technology was far beyond what was available. Going forward, we got the help of newly released libraries, like from Google and Facebook, which enlightened the task.
We had many workshops to align on the approach and to find the optimal way to implement it. We did some first experiments and, based on the great feedback, decided to incorporate MeetMatch in 2015. Meanwhile, with support from the government, we finalized the technology. Now, in 2017, everything is ready and we launched the product in the fall. The world is a very different place now. The good thing is that I think the world is now ready for a full AI solution to bring the right people together.