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Five PhD fellows recruited

During the second half of 2018 we began our search for five PhD fellows. About 360 applications landed on the desks of our selection committee. The applicants reached out to us via the vacancy on the Radboud University website or via our partners in this ambitious project. The origin of the applicants was quite diverse; we received applications from (amongst others) The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, USA, Germany, Russia, Poland, South Africa, China, Kenya, etc.

The selection committee interviewed 37 candidates for the FINDER program. These interview rounds were mostly set up following this scheme:

  • First interview with one or two members of the Selection Committee
  • Second interview with Selection Committee member & Academic partner
  • Third interview with Selection Committee member & Business partner
  • Fourth interview with Selection Committee member & Academic partner & Business partner

Writing assignments were given in between interviews to be discussed / evaluated during upcoming interview. Also, the three phases of training were discussed during these interviews:

  • Phase 1:
    Each ESR will spend their first 10 months of doctoral training at Radboud University. The intensive study of literature, attending taught modules of their doctoral program and interactions with their supervisory team will enable them to prepare for their industrial placement and data collection at Atos.
  • Phase 2:
    After 10 months in The Netherlands ESRs will relocate to Atos in Spain or Germany for 18 months. This period will be devoted to intensive industrial training and data collection. To enhance on-going supervision, the lead academic supervisors will visit ESRs at Atos premises, with other meetings organized by communication technology. ESR will attend training at Radboud University.
  • Phase 3:
    ESRs will spend the last 8 months (and more) of their doctoral training at Radboud University to focus on writing up their thesis and working on manuscripts for publication.

It is with great please that we introduce you to our PhD Fellows:

James Ellis is currently completing his Master’s degree in Globalization & Development Studies at Maastricht University, where his research centers around a Science & Technology Studies analysis of drone usage among farmers in South Africa. Prior to that, he has worked since 2012 as a broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, through which he has gained dynamic experience in leadership, management, strategic planning, and naturally, journalistic research. Furthermore, his rise through military ranks and recognition for quality work afforded him the opportunity to attend formal leadership, management, and entrepreneurship courses and go on to apply the concepts learned therein to a wide range of settings. After leaving the full-time military, he has pursued the establishment of an academic career in order to leverage his unorthodox range of experiences and lessons from around the world into current, ongoing management research in hopes of implementing unique arguments into the process of research, publication, and theory-building.

Barbara Voelkl is a PhD fellow in the FINDER working stream focusing on alternative business models in digital ecosystems. With BSc degrees in Psychology and Business Administration and a MSc in International Business, her research interest lies in the intersection between digitalization and human behavior. More specific, she is enthusiastic about revealing the cognitive and behavioral aspects of collaborative business models in and between new ventures and incumbents. After studying and gaining initial work experience in Germany, Norway, The Philippines, Japan and Taiwan, she highly values intercultural teamwork as well as a cross-cultural research context.

Tze Yeen Liew was a Research analyst at Holland FinTech responsible for curating and producing fintech-related insights for stakeholders before she joined the FINDER program at Radboud University. Tze Yeen holds a Bachelors degree in Finance, Accounting and Management from the University of Nottingham and a Masters in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford, where she also received the Queen Elizabeth Departmental Scholarship. Tze Yeen’s prior academic experience is diverse, stretching from corporate governance to migration policy. Her research interests encompass structuring and analyzing characteristics of learning networks that exist between financial incumbents and acquired fintechs.​

The profiles of the other two PhD fellows will follow.



Online financial decision making holds the future. And various fintech companies are jumping on board of this trend. But how do people come to decision making on these platforms, and how does new technology allow for more inclusive or even social investment decision making?

As part of the FINDER research agenda, Voleo Inc. serves as a case-study-in-point on this terrain. The FINDER program is proud to be working with this innovative fintech start up to explore some fundamental research questions that link technology, behavioural decision making and dynamic social networks.

Voleo is a Canada-based mobile fintech company that is transforming the retail investing space through its powerful, collaborative investing platform. Voleo has increased retail investor participation in the stock market by breaking down barriers to entry, facilitating trust and improving financial literacy. As an interesting example of successful scale up of fintech technology and entrepreneurial activity, the Voleo platform is being white-labeled by major financial institutions around the world as an innovative product to engage and retain a new category of investors.

In their press release on this FINDER cooperation Thomas Beattie, CEO of Voleo, stated, “Dr. Aalbers has extensive knowledge in the field of collaboration, and his team at FINDER are doing important work in researching and uncovering insights about organizational and consumer behaviour. There is a clear synergy between Voleo’s objectives as an emerging technology, its users’ objectives as part of a community, and FINDER’s goal of understanding social interaction in the digital age. We are especially excited to apply learnings from this study and equip our users with new tools in the coming years.”

From the FINDER program perspective, due to Voleo’s differentiated positioning in the online brokerage industry and their unique approach to social investing Voleo was top of mind when deciding upon the final configuration of consortium partners for the FINDER research scoping. The welcoming spirit to work close with some of our FINDER PhD fellows, and the willingness to help them understand the business side of things make Voleo in a valued research partner. We are looking forward this collaboration.

To find out more about Voleo, please visit their website:

Read all about Voleo being selected for the FINDER project in their press release:

Paying it forwards: Building next generation platforms to succeed in next-generation banking ecosystems

By Remco Neuteboom (orriginal post on, July 2018)

To reinvent themselves, banks need to leverage customer data within innovative business models. For that, technology platforms must evolve. This requires banks to become more agile and develop the right partnerships.

Successfully meeting these four transformation challenges and opportunities for the future of banking – responding faster to customer’s demand; optimizing costs radically; creating new revenue streams with open platforms; providing predictive security and compliance – will impact the banking business models, organizational strategies, and resources. It will also impact the very foundations of banking technologies.

Bringing legacy tech into the digital era

For decades, banks have built bullet-proof information systems that combine powerful and reliable technologies. They have pioneered mainframes, payment systems and high-performance computing for high-frequency trading.

However, systems for loans, savings and other banking activities were usually built in isolation. Now, based on dated technologies, these systems often fail to provide the agility and scalability banks need in today’s fast-moving landscape.

Banks have already launched a wealth of modernization initiatives. Motivations vary: catching up with digital innovation, experimenting with the cloud, developing mobile banking, or even improving customers’ digital experiences.

And while success has been plentiful, increasing competition from the global tech players and FinTechs means banks must accelerate their efforts.

Preparing for a paradigm shift

Adapting to the new era requires a quantum leap. To embrace the challenges of a digital world and take a winning position within it, three core principles will be essential for banks:
◾Become wholly customer-centric, ensuring 360° omnichannel engagement with clients, smart devices and machines.
◾Provide intelligent data-driven orchestration, enabling adaptation to market changes and evolving customer demands in a real-time, prescriptive way.
◾Adopt open platform foundations, providing the best financial utility services.

The road ahead
To thrive, banks will need to create the right partnerships and convene the largest ecosystem to enrich their offering, monetize their data and turn it into profit. Banks should begin building new supporting architectures today. Modernizing legacy IT and fully embracing the latest cloud, automation, big data and mobile technologies is only the start of the journey.

More disruptive technologies will emerge. While some may only appear as dots on the horizon today, they will turn out to be transformational in the years to come.

To learn more, read Look Out 2020+ for Banking.

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About Remco Neuteboom

VIEW ALL POSTS BY Remco Neuteboom

Global Head of Digital Transformation in Financial Services

Remco Neuteboom is the Global Head of Digital Transformation in Financial Services with Atos. Remco is responsible for the development and delivery of Atos’ Financial Services vision. The strategy is powered by the ‘Digital Customer Experience’ – which comprises of Omni-Channel Customer Management; Customer DNA and Targeting; Digital Marketing; Digital Customer Advisory; Next Gen Branch; and Mobile Payment and Wallet solutions. Remco has over eight years’ experience in customer engagement, working with a number of banks & insurers. As well as this, he has more than 16 years’ experience with digital business transformation and has spent the last decade working in financial services.

Collaborative Fintech network: within and beyond the boundary of the firm

Companies that want to sail a different wind, typically have an improvement in mind. And whether this improvement is now a bare necessity – things do not go well, things must change – or rather originates from an ambition to innovate, in both cases, it comes down to rendering ideas to make things work for the better. Only if you know where and whom those ideas within the organization originate from and how they spread, management can actually redeem their potential. An analysis of the organizational network can help to show if ‘something’ or ‘nothing’ happens to unearth new insights to the benefit of the company, and also when it comes to getting these ideas dispersed in and adapted by the company.

Organizational network analysis (ONA) is a systematic approach and set of techniques for studying the connections and resource flows between people, teams, departments and even whole organizations. The underlying idea is that employees and their interactions can be seen as nodes and links that allow for both visual and mathematical illustration. Organizations can be approached as a set of communication net­works as much as they are a bundle of resources or contracts, and people in a firm exchange information and knowledge of many different kinds with each other. Some of it may be irrelevant to the firm’s performance, but even so communication can help people form closer connections which can help them get their job done.

Through organizational network analytics, managers can gain a bird’s-eye view of existing network structures and communication patterns, which are often in stark contrast to what they believe them to be or how they would like them to function. Who are connected to each other? How often do they interact? About what?

“The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us

to notice what we never expected to see.”

– John Tukey, 1977

In management settings, organizational network analysis has been effective at providing leaders with insights to help diagnose and solve the problems that often hamper important collective-process outcomes such as organizational structure, decision making, performance and innovation. nieuwe figuur

The degree to which organizations are able to reap the benefits of the social capital represented by the networks, depends to a large extent to the degree to which resources can be accessed and mobilized through them. While the potential of leveraging an organization’s networks to render innovative activity can be substantial, the barriers faced within the organization to do so can be equally large. Organizational boundaries, such as organizational divides between different functional or operational domains, business units, are hurdles for the free flow of knowledge inside the organization. Management can and must understand the connections present in a firm before it starts any form of intervention to boost innovative activity within or across a business unit, for instance. Actual innovation contacts can be more difficult to find. The formal contacts are most visible, and the informal ones can be relatively easily uncovered. The latter two also help management find and nourish the innovation sweet spot. Insights in individual differences, and the rationale behind these differences are a first step in assessing the ideation climate of an organization.

Zooming in on the individual with ONA

Connections among people and the overall network configuration should be what a manager who minds a company’s long-run success keeps in view. Organization network analysis can be of help to identify idea connectors, for instance: those individuals that are core to getting others together around a new idea, establishing a buzz around new ideas and to attracting genuine managerial attention. The underlying analytics can help to assess if there are parts of the internal network to which their ties do not extend, for instance. Knowing of such omissions, management as well as employees themselves, can take the necessary steps to remedy them.

Ongoing ideation is a necessity. So are the analytics to take pulse of its presence.