Adding entrepreneurial skills to engineering knowledge at Cauberg Huygen

Adding entrepreneurial skills to engineering knowledge at Cauberg Huygen

Consultants with vast amounts of specialised technical knowledge and experience but lacking entrepreneurial and business skills is a common problem in the engineering consultancy sector. They tend to overthink and overanalyse problems, but lack the right expertise to spring into action to resolve them. 

Engineering consultancy Cauberg Huygen asked RSM to teach its engineering-trained employees how to become more creative and find new business models, a skill in which they had no formal training. “We wanted to trigger our people to become more entrepreneurial and use this mind-set within the company towards our clients,” said Johan Blom, programme manager at Cauberg Huygen.

In the two-day, interactive programme, the engineers investigated business models, creating opportunities, effectuation, and a mindset for growth. The most important objective of leading faculty Thomas Blekman and Dr Ferdinand Jaspers from the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship was to change the engineers’ behaviour: to become more entrepreneurial and actively search for new business opportunities. 

Pitching ideas

“I learned new perspectives of entrepreneurship – and to be braver about introducing more ideas. I also realised I need to talk to clients and colleagues more about themes in the industry, to gather more ideas and share knowledge,” said engineer and senior advisor Joselien Dekkers. She said her team is about to pitch to seven city councils its idea for sustainability in new-built homes. 

“We learned a new way of thinking, and how to pitch ideas. I never thought I’d actually enjoy presenting like that. And the standing ovation implied that we did it well too!” said advisor and engineer Iris de Goijer. “We’re all entrepreneurs in our company because we’re responsible for taking on and executing our own projects. So we’re actually all intrapreneurs too.”

Bespoke scoring for assignments

After the programme, Cauberg Huygen’s consultants worked on projects  that encouraged them to be entrepreneurial. They presented the results and their experiences of their project at a close-out event which was evaluated by Thomas Blekman with a scoring rubric that was developed specifically for this purpose by RSM. 

RSM’s Learning and Development team, made sure that the programme also fit its role as the first module of Cauberg Huygen’s internal ‘MBA’ programme. Consultants and engineers will work with the project they started with RSM for the rest of the company’s own programme.