The Perspectivity Story of Arjan

Arjan de Jager shares his story 

Prototyping and a participatory approach and application of data science in analysing and solving complex problems … yes, that makes my heart beat faster.

I have an academic background in Informatics (both technical and administrative). After my studies, I have contributed to proper use of ICT products and services working in different positions in “softer” sectors such as development cooperation, education and health care. In these sectors, it is striking that ICT (and nowadays data analysis) was and is often a catalyst of change. That makes ICT such a wonderful field for me.

I have worked for companies, government institutes and NGOs in the Netherlands, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Mali and Surinam. My work generally focuses on the intersection of organisational change, policy, strategy and computerisation.

Lately, I have become fascinated by the ‘new’ data science. With Garage2020, an organisation with the ambition to stop current youth services through new technology such as virtual reality, robotics, data analysis, I have conducted an analysis and based on that we have developed applications that, amongst others, support the – often complex – decision making processes by a group of youth services professionals. One of these applications, the app “Extra Teamlid” (extra team member) has won several prizes in the Netherlands, such as the E-health award during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven (2018) and two categories during the Spin Awards (2019).

I like to work on projects where ICT and/or data are used to realise change, preferably as disruptive as possible. In 2020, I will amongst others work with Fairphone, a social enterprise with the ambition to realise change in the telecommunications sector. The Fairphone is a smart phone that is produced with ethically sourced materials (tin, tungsten, gold, etc.) and has a modular technical design to lengthen its lifetime. Fairphone will never surpass its competitions in terms of sales but that is not the goal. Fairphone wants to increase the awareness for sustainable and ethical production in the smart phone industry and inspire other companies to also develop modular phones with ethically sourced materials.

Next to this, since 2011 I have been teaching for on average two hours a week at the Virtual University of Uganda for the MSc programme ICT4development. Normally I teach at a distance (from my house in Amsterdam), but now I am able to spend more time in Uganda for, for example, coaching students and supervising graduation projects.