Music, people, culture, languages and communication have been my main interests for as long as I can remember. Growing up in a musical family where two of my sisters created a career as classical pianists, playing drums gave me a sense of purpose. So, my early adult years were spent on studying music at university level and working as freelance musician and drum teacher.
At first it was fun and rewarding. But something was missing in my career trajectory. Editing audio and writing music with software filled that gap for a while, paving the way for another university, and a bigger career change. This time, my focus areas were information systems management, marketing, human-computer interaction, usability and accessibility. In 2002, I completed my Master’s Degree in Economic Sciences, majoring in Information Systems Science.
In music it’s vital to actively listen and constantly interact with other people. And my Master’s studies provided a solid foundation in higher-level information technology and human-computer interaction concepts. To combine these experiences and to put my newly acquired skills creatively to use in real life, while improving my language skills, I decided to move abroad in 2003.
Since then, I’ve helped different companies, organizations and clients in Belgium, Denmark and Sweden with web accessibility, web communications, user interface development, product discovery, delivery, and process and quality improvement.
However, during the last 5–10 years the industry has changed so radically that I’ve felt the need to re-evaluate my beliefs, values, goals and focus in this highly complex new technology-driven landscape. It turned out I needed a change too — or, in other words, become more myself. That required redefining the meaning and purpose at work.
In my case, that means moving away from coding, towards working more with people to eliminate barriers, and to create positive change through inclusion. Discovering Web Accessibility during my early studies and working life, followed by Agile and Mindfulness almost ten years ago has a lot to do with this journey.
In fact, looking back and connecting the dots, a lot of my life has been about curiosity, change, transformation and personal development, in order to understand, learn and gradually become better and more effective at things that matter. I’ve failed miserably many times too.
But this is not about me. How we work together affects the outcome and value we create for clients, customers and end users. Switching from Waterfall to Agile was one of those transformative experiences that helped reveal some of the common obstacles and bottlenecks to value creation. But the strategy or process can only be improved if it is made transparent, and everyone involved is aware of it, wanting to be better and more effective, together.
And that’s where I want to help — and be at the service of others.
Originally published at https://www.akikoo.org on May 25, 2019.