MIcompany redesigns its training portfolio under the brand GAIn®
A new three-year technology track is introduced with a focus on Cloud infrastructure, model operationalization, and app development.

Artificial intelligence is seen as the next general-purpose technology with endless opportunities to make life easier, safer, and healthier. However, to grasp these opportunities, key processes in organizations need to be changed. This asks for a multidisciplinary approach driven by both data science and technology on the one hand, and business and leadership on the other hand. To support this approach, MIcompany has developed GAIn®: the Global Artificial Intelligence Network. GAIn® is an open standard for AI skill-building at multinationals. Last month, GAIn® was launched during a special seminar with keynote speakers from eBay and LeasePlan together with a movie in Ted Talk format.

 

 

Photo 1. Marnix Bügel – founding and managing partner van MIcompany – about the power of education

 

Education as an accelerator for AI transformations

Education has been a powerful weapon for societies to increase GDP, diversity (inclusion), democracy, and more. Marnix Bügel – founding and managing partner of MIcompany – argues that these major effects can be translated one-on-one to organizations for their AI transformations. Bügel: “We believe in education as a key driver for the progression of AI and Data within organizations. With GAIn® we developed an answer for the increasing demand on global solutions for AI skill-building of multinationals like eBay, Nike, Heineken, and Ageas”.

 

 

Photo 2. Helen Rijkes – principal of MIcompany – about the vision an design of GAIn®

 

The goal of GAIn® to raise productivity is steered by its values

The GAIn® portfolio is being led by Helen Rijkes – principal of MIcompany. Rijkes: “The GAIn® portfolio consists of 60 badges organized into 10 programs with different star levels (see figure 1). By obtaining all badges in a star level you can obtain the star-certification – thereby demonstrating that you mastered all relevant techniques in that star level. The GAIn® portfolio is aimed to build all the skills within organizations to radically change key processes with AI on a global scale. To realize this goal, GAIn® is based on five core values.”

 

  1. Multiple target groups
  2. Skill integration
  3. Lasting breakthroughs
  4. Top practitioners
  5. Global scalability

 

 

Figure 1. The GAIn® portfolio consists of 60 badges organized in 10 programs

 

Figure 2. A description of 4 of the 27 tech badges

 

Figure 3. The T-shape that is developed for the three target groups: AI engineers, data scientists, and business teams.

 

GAIn® is a multidisciplinary portfolio

To identify and change key processes within organizations, GAIn® is designed as a multidisciplinary portfolio. There are learning paths for all relevant stakeholders within the organization. Hence, collaboration is strengthened through the use of the same vision, methods, and techniques. Furthermore, this collaboration is endorsed by a common two-day Foundation program that precedes all follow-up programs (see figure 2). This Foundation program aims to create one language in the organization. There is a special executive version of the Foundation program for the C-level in companies. This version focuses specifically on leadership challenges in creating value with AI. After the Foundation, there are eight continuation programs each with its own star certification organized into three learning tracks: one for data engineering, one for data science, and one for business. The Data Science and Business tracks are based on over 10 years of experience at MIacademy (see more about MIacademy at the end of this news item). The technology track for data engineers has been developed in the last two years. In total, the GAIn® portfolio consists of 27 technology badges focussed on Cloud infrastructure, model operationalization, and app development. In figure 3, we have included as an example and description of 4 of the 27 technology badges. The importance of model operationalization was stressed during the launch seminar by Heiko Eich (see photo 4) – International Asset Manager of LeasePlan. Eich is responsible for hundreds of models to make reliable predictions of the Residual Value of over 10.000 car types which can be leased in 99 types of contracts in 21 countries.

Photo 3. Allard de Boer – manager Global Analytics at eBay Classifieds Group – about skill building at a global scale through a train-the-trainer setup.

Photo 4.  Heiko Eich – International Asset Manager LeasePlan – about model management & operationalization on a massive scale.

GAIn® builds an integrated skill set in all programs

All programs integrate four key areas relevant to grasp the full potential of AI. The four key areas are:

  1. Impact & Opportunity: which focuses on designing the use case, aimed at realizing impact
  2. Leadership & Change: which focuses on setting strategic priorities and building a data-driven culture
  3. Machine Learning & Statistics: which focuses on developing analytics and advanced modeling skills, including model management
  4. Data & Technology: which focuses on strong data, ETL, and deep technical skills, including bringing models into production

 

“For each role in the organization, we think it is essential to develop a basis in all four areas. After all, use cases – to realize impact with AI – are developed in cross-functional teams where understanding each other is key.”

Helen Rijkes – principal of MIcompany

 

Besides the basis in all areas, AI experts and leaders also require a deeper understanding of one of the areas, the so-called T-shape. This T-shape is built with GAIn in a different direction depending on the target group (see figure 4). The strongest T is built for AI engineers with over 50% of the education focused on the Data & Technology competency area. This strong T is driven by the rapid technology development to implement and scale AI solutions. For data scientists, there is obviously a spike on Machine Learning & Statistics (41% of the education is in this competency area) and for business management on Leadership & Change (30% of education in this competency area).

GAIn® focuses on lasting breakthroughs

Developing an AI solution is one thing, but implementing one that will then create real lasting value often proves to be a big challenge. Therefore, all GAIn® badges have a key focus on creating impact. This is done by working with real-life datasets and challenges, and learning which steps are needed to get your idea implemented. For example, in the badge Structured Opportunity Identification you learn how to identify the key projects that will bring the most value to the company. The badge Model Operationalization focuses on implementing the technical solution in such a way that it can be used in the business process, including putting the right feedback loops in place to monitor and improve.

 

Content is developed and monitored by top of the field practitioners

90% of the badges are developed by experts with extensive experience in transforming blue-chip companies. For example, one of our partners at MIcompany, Wouter Huygen, leads the badge on Use Case Leadership. It brings together more than 10 years of transformation project experience, in a module full of real-life challenges and how to deal with them. Or Dorthe van Waarden, who leads the Advanced Analytics department of MIcompany, and has developed the Model Management badge. In this badge, the knowledge gathered from many modeling projects is integrated into a best practice approach on how to make sure your analytical models are correctly monitored and improved, and what pitfalls you might encounter. For the three-year Technology track, top experts on Cloud infrastructure, model operationalization, and app development have translated their knowledge from many use case projects and transformation challenges into hands-on training badges, ranging from automating data pipelines, to Cloud containerization and Cloud infrastructure as code. The other 10% of the badges are created by top scientists of leading universities from different countries such as Israel – on Baysian and complex networks, The Netherlands – on advanced Econometrics, and Germany – on creating shareholder value with AI.

 

GAIn® is globally scalable through its standardization and certification

All badges are standardized and certified based on years of hands-on didactical experience. This means that all badges follow a similar design in theory versus casework, where they use high-quality standardized material and end with an exam to test the required skill levels. When you pass the exam you receive the accompanying badge certificate. By training and certifying employees on the right skills you immediately accelerate the AI transformation. But to do this on a global scales requires the ability to scale up quickly. Therefore, GAIn® is an open standard portfolio. This means that all companies and individuals that are certified by GAIn® can use the GAIn® material to train organizations themselves. For big multinationals, this offers the possibility to have inhouse certified trainers who can quickly scale up capability building across global units. eBay and Heineken, for example, are currently using this train-the-trainer concept to obtain worldwide impact. Allard the Boer (see photo 3) – manager of Global Analytics at eBay Classifieds Group – explained the possibilities of the train-the-trainer concept to scale their program from Australia to Canada during the launch seminar.

 

Join the more than 30 organizations who adopted GAIn®

GAIn® certificates are already issued for a wide range of companies such as eBay, Heineken, Ageas, KPN, Proximus, Aegon, Israel Discount Bank, and the Authority for Financial Markets (AFM). In 2019, more than 2.000 GAIn® certificates were issued to over 30 companies. All badges can be provided in house or there is the possibility to join the open course calendar (www.micompany.nl). If you are not sure which badges or programs are most appropriate for you in AI skill building, we offer a Development Scan. This scan consists of a 45-minute questionnaire that gives insight into individual knowledge levels in all key areas.

 

Photo 5. Geertje Zeegers – partner of MIacademy – handing out GAIn® star certifications.
About GAIn®

GAIn® is a certified training modules (badges) portfolio to develop AI skills. GAIn® is an open standard. This means that all companies and individuals that are certified by GAIn® can use the GAIn® material to train organizations themselves. For multinationals, this offers the possibility to have inhouse certified trainers who can quickly scale up capability building across global units. eBay and Heineken, for example, are currently using this train-the-trainer concept to obtain worldwide impact.

About MIcompany

MIcompany is an AI and data company with offices in Amsterdam (head office) and Tel Aviv. MIcompany has 70 employees, who all have an analytical background in mathematics, econometrics, or computer science, and were among the best in their studies. MIacademy is the training school of MIcompany. GAIn® is an initiative of MIcompany.

About MIacademy

MIacademy has been training people capabilities since 2006. It provides training solutions for AI and Data skill-building for blue-chip companies including Booking.com, bol.com, Nike, eBay, Israel Discount Bank, Lease Plan, and Max. MIacademy uses GAIn® in their skill-building.

For more information

For more information about GAIn® see www.globalartificialintelligence.org, our movie or contact:

Helen Rijkes

Principal MIcompany

e: hrijkes@micompany.nl

Marnix Bügel

Managing Partner MIcompany

e: mbugel@micompany.nl

Geertje Zeegers

Partner MIcompany

e: gzeegers@micompany.nl