Sergej van Middendorp

Willem de Zwijgerlaan 33

3941GA DOORN

The Netherlands

sergej.van.middendorp@milesahead.eu | +31681430728

Purpose

My purpose in work is to combine leading edge research with everyday practice so that we can make the world a better place. I am researching, developing and consulting in human and organizational systems and I work with a constellation of partner organizations to achieve this purpose together.

Skills and abilities

Strategic thinking, (disruptive) innovation, management consulting, change management, organizational design, knowledge management, culture change, training and facilitation, program management, project management, entrepreneurship, consultative selling, research, product development, public speaking, persuasive writing, enterprise architecture, enterprise software.

Work experience

(2006 – today) Founder and director – Miles Ahead Business Jazz BV

As a management consultant to (global) enterprises and startups, I analyzed client organizations, translated business strategy to IT strategy and enterprise architecture, led the transformation of the organization and culture, and implemented software systems. I co-founded and led v-work strategy (2006-2008), now part of e-office as work21, and PerfectArch (2008-2013), now part of Product-Foundry. These two consulting associations integrated strategy consulting, enterprise architecture, and implementation services.

As a product developer, I created several approaches, frameworks and tools for management consulting and change management. For example jazzinbusiness, a workshop format with a live jazzband to help leaders understand complexity in innovation, collaboration and knowledge sharing. And workplace analytics, to generate a real-time view of how work actually gets done in a large organization as a starting point for redesigning the workplace.

As an investor and leader in two software startups, Coena (2008-2014) and Product Foundry (2013-2014), I helped establish business plans, invested in business development, led the consulting practice and co-developed our products, helping to grow our team to sixteen people in three countries over the course of six years.

 

(2001 – 2006) Project manager, team leader, strategist – e-office

As a strategist, between 2002 and 2006, I was responsible for translating the e-office vision into strategy, understanding how that strategy aligned with the roadmaps of our key business partners IBM, and Microsoft, guiding research into the ‘digital workplace’, developing products and services to implement our strategy, supporting marketing and sales to change our positioning from a collaboration company to a portal specialist, and providing consulting services to customers that helped them assess the value of portal implementations. In addition, I helped design architectures for portal infrastructures, and supported our project teams in implementing the portals successfully. As part of this role I was the chairman of portal platform The Netherlands, and we established a portal consulting team of five people. In 2005, we were elected the IT company with the best vision by an independent jury and the leading Dutch IT journal.

As a team leader, between 2001 and 2003, I was responsible for the e-office Lotus Notes team. A team of 20 software developers, architects and project managers delivering services and projects to our large Lotus Notes customer base. I helped establish this team as a formal organizational unit, help it regain profitability after the dot.com crash, and helped design and implement governing structures for managing the team’s goals, activities and results.

As a project manager, between 2000 and 2001, I was responsible for the on time, on budget and on quality delivery of projects to e-office customers. Together with small teams of developers and architects we implemented Lotus Notes- and Java based solutions, mostly in the financial- and professional services industries.

 

(2000 – 2001) Consultant, project manager – infolook (a joint venture with e-office at the time)

As a project manager, I helped infolook’s clients implement knowledge management solutions based on Lotus Notes, Microsoft IIS, and Reuters data and information services. I was also responsible for the development of a partnership with Autonomy Software to create a solution for integrating Lotus Notes, Factiva and Autonomy.

As a consultant, I helped infolook’s clients develop solutions for the integration of their internal knowledge with the external information sources of Dow Jones and Reuters (now Factiva).


(1998 – 2000) Consultant, project manager – Bestdata (acquired by Unit 4 in 1999)

As a project manager, from August 1998 onwards, I was responsible for managing the timely implementation of our system in around 20 client projects beating the Y2K deadline. In this I worked closely with our consultants, our product development team, and our custom development team.

As a consultant, in the first half of 1998, I helped Bestdata’s clients design and implement our IBM AS/400 based ERP system.

 

 (1996 – 1998) Assistant to the F&B manager and Project manager – Amersfoort ZOO

As a project manager, between 1997 and 1998, I helped develop the business plan and attract financing for a 3,5 mln. EUR investment in a new theme area in the park (De Stad der Oudheid). As a result of this project, Amersfoort Zoo raised their visitor numbers from the 500.000 range to the 700.000 range.

As an assistant to the Food & Beverage manager, between 1996 and 1997, I was responsible for the catering operations of the ZOO on a day to day basis and developed and sold event catering to business clients.

 

Education

(2008 – 2014) PhD Candidate, Fielding Graduate University, CA, USA

I am finalizing my doctoral dissertation, which examines the process of systems design and tries to understand how the improvisational dynamics and the metaphors used in design conversations relate to the systems that results from those conversations. The aim of the research is to increase the skill and the awareness of systems designers so they are better able to make their intentions for the system actually find their way into the resulting system itself.

(2008 – 2012) Master of Arts (MA), Fielding Graduate University, CA, USA

In my masters program, I studied organizational improvisation, human development, value networks, and systems theory to better understand how we can create a ‘groove’ in a value network, just like a jazz band creates a groove in their performance.

(1997 – 2002) Master of Business Administration (MBA), Henley Business School, UK

In my MBA I specialized in the strategic use of information and for my dissertation I designed a process and a toolkit for planning e-business strategy in the Financial Services industry, which I applied to a case study of Fortis (now BNP).

(1991 – 1996) Bachelor of Hotel Administration (BHA), Hoge Hotelschool Maastricht, NL

Specialized in facilities management. Practice internship in Paris, Management internship as a consultant and market researcher.

(1983 – 1990) VWO, Revius Lyceum, Doorn

Majored in Dutch, English, French, Maths, Economics, Business economics, and History.

 

Academic awards

2014 Research fellow, CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution

As a research fellow, I am focusing part of my doctoral dissertation on understanding how the communication theory of CMM can be applied to understand the impact of new media systems on our lives.

 

Publications

From 2004 onwards, I have authored and co-authored several articles in magazines, industry newspapers, and professional journals on topics ranging from portals, business value from information systems, value networks, the digital workplace, and organizational improvisation. Over the past few years, I have also presented my first few academic papers at conferences and gave guest lectures at Nijenrode Business School, Henley Business School, and Nijmegen University.

 

Volunteer work

Co-founder and treasurer, Institute for Global Integral Competence e.V.

A collaboration between practitioners and researchers who develop training and education for cosmopolitan communication.

Team manager and coach for the local soccer team

I have helped coach my daughter’s soccer team in the 2013-2014 season and am a team manager for my son’s and daughter’s soccer teams this year.

 

More about me

I live in Doorn, The Netherlands, with my wife Thekla, our daughter Sterre (13) and our son Stijn (11). I enjoy literature, music, opera, movies, running, fine food and wine.


Attachment 1: Some example projects

Management consulting

As an independent management consultant, I was involved in and/or leading in more than 40 client projects over the past ten years. The following six examples represent the coverage, range and depth of these assignments.

Integral workplace at a global OEM company

A global OEM company wanted a stellar workspace in their new corporate headquarters in Amsterdam. It had to fit their functional hierarchy, organizational networks, unique ways of working, and company culture. We analyzed all these with our self-developed method and tooling and then designed them their multi layered workspace which was then developed by a multi-disciplinary team.

Digital workplace and CIO office at an international tax lawyer’s office

The managing partner at a big four tax lawyer firm wanted to become more strategic about information technology. I helped them design an evidence based digital workplace, established an IT strategy to implement it, and established a CIO office to make IT more strategic. I fulfilled the CIO position ad-interim and implemented the first elements of the workplace until a permanent CIO took over.

Planning for complexity at a global offshore engineering company

A globally operating deep sea exploration company approached us to help them understand how they could redesign their strategic resource planning to better fit the increasing complexity of their commercial, operational and technical environment. With our team, we analyzed the organization and developed a new planning strategy and system and helped select a supplier to provide the software to support it.

Fostering the adoption of social software

Market leader for social software in the enterprise Sitrion (formerly Newsgator) wanted to help their Fortune 500 clients gain more benefits from their investment in Sitrion's software product. We helped design an adoption program, guided the first pilots, applying it with three clients, and trained and certified the first Sitrion business partners to apply the adoption framework to their customers.

A data sharing architecture and standard for e-Mental Health interventions

The Dutch Healthcare Breakthrough Fund wanted to foster collaboration between patients, caregivers, mental health institutions and e-health software providers. We helped them design a data sharing architecture for e-health interventions, convinced the market leading e-health providers to support the new standard by implementing the design, and are guiding the implementation of the first version of this new data standard.

What buttons to push to increase the return on IT?

After we helped them to successfully implement IBM's portal technology to consolidate 20 disparate CRM systems, Rabobank wondered what they should do to improve the return they would get from the new system. We adapted the information orientation survey to match Rabobank's corporate culture, measured their information orientation, and designed an adoption campaign around the right buttons to push.


 

Product development

Over the course of my career, I was often challenged to translate leading edge research into practice. One of the best ways of doing this, I have learned, is to develop a product, or a framework that embodied the knowledge of the theory and research, but which makes it applicable in practice for good consultants. Some examples illustrate what I mean.

Proof of value: making intangible benefits real

e-office customers wanted to make business cases for portals. I found Alinean, an American IT portfolio management software startup who based their product on good research and worked with their Dutch partner to create business case templates for portal implementations. After we applied these to Heineken, Achmea, AON, and others, the open question remained how we could prove the value of the knowledge sharing and other intangible benefits of portals. I found the research in intellectual capital and value networks provided answers to these questions and worked with thought leaders like Verna Allee and Karl-Erik Sveiby to give more body to our portal business cases. We applied proof of value in about 15 customer cases over the course of five years.

Workplace analytics: getting a real view on how work gets done

Many of our clients wanted to design an integral workplace, where the physical office and the virtual office supported more flexible ways of working. However easy it was for them to envision the new world of work as an ideal to strive to, it was very difficult for them to get a realistic picture of how work actually got done. I worked with workplace designers innvire to adapt the work of Tom Davenport to a workplace analytics framework, and over the course of five large workplace redesign projects we created workplace analytics, now a flagship product for innvire, the company of my partners in this development.

Jazzinbusiness: an experience of improvisation to change business

How can we give more feel and depth to business strategies and visions aimed at flexibility, innovation, change and complexity? How do we make these abstract concepts concrete? These were the questions that started me developing jazzinbusiness. By asking a jazzband to show how they improvise music in real-time and by helping business audiences to apply these ideas to their strategies and projects, we were able to make the complex tangible as an experience. We performed jazzinbusiness workshops in about 25 cases. Always making a big impact on the participants and the collective mind of the organizations we worked with.

Embodied Making

How can we apply improvisational principles to everyday work in organizations? How can we create systems that are as flexible as a jazz band? How do structures come to life? These were some of the guiding questions leading the development of embodied making, an agile design method. Embodied making builds on the work of jazzinbusiness and joins it with architecture and communication theory to build the bridge to organizations and systems. By sharing stories, finding forces, and shaping solutions designers, using embodied making, are able to create more flexible systems.

Business Elements

How can we design a system that supports real-time collaboration and data structures that can be unique for each instance of a product, an experience and an interaction? We used the latest converging trends in IT to design a system for business that completely reverses the paradigm from specification based on infinite variety based on simple elements. The result is a real-time, instance based, system with a radically different user interface, integral analytics and a new language to model business concepts. Product Foundry continues the development of this product.