M-BEES & M-BEPS Symposia – 7-8 June

On 7-8 June, Maastricht University’s Department of Microeconomics and Public Economics will host the 13th Maastricht Behavioral and Experimental Economics Symposium (M-BEES) and the 6th Maastricht Behavioral Economic Policy Symposium (M-BEPS).

M-BEES will center around the question if and how economic experiments can inform economic theory and vice versa. M-BEPS will focus on Behavioral Economic Policy and will bring together researchers in behavioral and experimental economics as well as policy makers and practitioners interested in how behavioral insights can inform policies in government and business.

Keynote speakers during these symposia include Gerhard Fehr (CEO & Executive Behavioral Designer, FehrAdvice & Partners AG), Daniel Friedman (University of California Santa Cruz), Nagore Iriberri (University of the Basque Country), Camelia Kuhnen (UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School) and Imran Rasul (University College London).

M-BEES/M-BEPS are firmly linked to the topics and members of the SBE-SDDG spearhead “UM Behavioral Insights Center”. The center is a community of scholars from SBE and beyond who employ and develop insights into behavioral regularities to enhance the effectiveness of public policy and company practice, addressing a broad range of societal challenges in Sustainable Development, Digitalization and Globalization. M-BEPS will also act as the official launch of the UM Behavioral Insights Center.

To find out more about these events and to register: http://researchers-sbe.unimaas.nl/m-bees/

How to prepare for changes that are yet to come

Society is changing at an ever-increasing pace. Globalisation, technological developments and an ageing population mean that different skills are needed in both our professional and personal lives. Employment growth areas increasingly show that leadership, teamwork and problem-solving skills are more in demand now than ever in the face of an automative and digital society. So, what does this mean for us in our day-to-day lives, and how can we best prepare ourselves for changes we don’t even know about yet?

These questions and themes were discussed at the UMIO Insights event on Tuesday 2 July, where more than 60 business professionals, entrepreneurs, academics and researchers came together to engage in these conversations and participate in a shared pursuit for knowledge and learning.

It is the second edition of this successful annual UMIO Insights event. As refreshments were served, participants had the opportunity to meet and catch up with old and new colleagues, who between them represented a broad reach of organisations from the corporate to government sectors, SME’s to non-profit and education sectors. The introduction from Marielle Heijltjes, UMIO’s Executive Director and Trudie Schils’ plenary session, set the tone for the breakout workshops which followed. Participants could choose from one of three engaging and interactive teaser sessions including; Coaching Leadership, Sustainable Employability and Digitalisation. Academic research underpinned each one led by, Lukas Figge, Martin Lammers, Gordon Miesen, Damien Nunes and Dominik Mahr.

Unlocking potential

For any company that wants to develop a sustainable competitive advantage, unlocking the full creative and human potential of its employees is key. To achieve this, it is important that people feel connected, competent and autonomous in their job and in their relations at work. Research has shown that managers and leaders play a crucial role in providing the right conditions to exhibit leadership behaviour, such as support, mentoring and coaching to promote growth and development of the people in the organisation.

Coaching Leadership is a particular leadership style that contains a specific and learnable set of competences, including establishing trust & intimacy, coaching presence, active listening and asking powerful questions. Learning these skills enhances the learning ability and flexibility of the team and organisation. By supporting colleagues to find their own solutions, this reduces the dependence of others and by spending less time solving other people’s problems, more time is available for impactful and engaging work.

Changing the perception

The concept of Sustainable Employability is a complex one. People are getting older and have to work longer. Retirement age is rising.  We are also living in a shrinking labour market. Navigating these challenges successfully requires a certain approach and mind-set. Self-development, being agile and looking at the building blocks required to influence the situation can help to create a positive and sustainable outcome. After all, what we all want out of our working lives is to be happy, motivated and inspired now and in the future.

Digitalisation and technological developments are society’s ever-increasing pacemakers. For business, it is important to keep a distinctive competitive position. Reflecting on how we might improve our productivity by applying digital technologies can help us create our own future realities. Understanding how these technologies impact us and how we can, in turn, harness this power, is an important part of the journey towards equipping ourselves with the right skills needed for the future.

Striving for continuous self-development and learning was a shared feeling amongst the participants of the UMIO Insights event. Betty Adjadi, a Researcher at Data Human Interaction Lab, was encouraged to hear how the University was involved in researching this area and asserted that taking part in this UMIO Insights event was definitely helpful for her work.

“I am very interested in education and learning. Based on my own experience, lifelong learning is always my passion and I think it’s true of everyone here. I realise that when I have the right balance, I am happier and more creative.”

Lifelong learning has always had its place in forward-thinking organisations, and investing in learning and development is shown to pay off. The Research Centre for Education and Labour Market (ROA) at Maastricht University affirms that a well-trained workforce is related to good business outcomes. Employers can better profile themselves with a positive learning culture. So, the pursuit of knowledge, constructing our own future realities, engaging in active and ongoing learning, both formally and informally, are bold and empowering objectives of the globalised society we inhabit in the 21st century. If you want to change your way of thinking, change the way you see.

So what’s next?

If you would like to find out more about how you can better equip yourself or your organisation for a successful future incorporating any of these themes; Coaching Leadership, Sustainable Employability or Digitalisation, then please take a look at these opportunities.

Coaching Leadership

Coaching Leadership management course


Sustainable Employability:
• UMIO is co-creating a unique learning journey around the topic of ‘Sustainable Employability’ together with a consortium of industry leaders. If your organisation is interested in joining our consortium, please contact Gordon Miesen at g.miesen@maastrichtuniversity.nl.

Leadership down to a fine art

The highlight of the Maastricht art scene is TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair), the annual March event that draws hundreds of high-end dealers and collectors and thousands of visitors to the city from all over the world. This year, the same week saw another – smaller – group of international visitors break new ground: the first cohort of the Executive Master in Cultural Leadership.

Rachel Pownall, João Correia, Susanna Serlachius and Anna Dempster

Pownall and Dempster were pleased with how much the participants contributed to the discussions. “It’s a really diverse group from four continents, most of them with more than ten years’ experience in different fields – which makes for very sophisticated conversations.” Besides leadership and management skills, EMCL seeks to cultivate new perspectives. In Dempster’s view, Maastricht, as a regional cultural centre and counterpoint to metropolitan London, provides the ideal environment “to breathe, to explore and to think.”

Owning history

Compared to London, Dempster says, “Maastricht is a lot more tranquil and serene. There’s art everywhere but also lots of green. That and the ecclesiastical architecture invite contemplation.” The students shared that feeling. “It’s beautiful, and I was amazed by how welcoming everyone was. It felt like home”, says João Correia, who flies in for the modules from Brazil.

An adviser in the cultural sector, Correia works with artists, collectors, museums and educators. In his native São Paolo, he advises a charity that works with more than 6,000 art teachers every year. “Brazil has an amazing arts scene but it’s deficient on the business side. In this programme, I get insights from arts, museology, collection management, education and more, so I can go back and make a difference.”

Correia enjoyed the novel perspectives of his fellow students and the speakers. “For example, professor Sir Charles Saumarez Smith said that, when taking over the directorship of a museum, he writes a book about it to learn about it and take ownership of its history – that really surprised me.”

São Paolo to Helsinki

The notion of owning the history of a museum also appeals to fellow participant Susanna Serlachius. She is the chair of Serlachius Museums, which house a formidable fine arts collection her family has built up over five generations. After a successful corporate career, she now wants to establish the collection on the international scene.

Serlachius particularly appreciated the in-depth conversations with industry leaders as well as students: “So many different backgrounds, from artists to bankers, and so many different ways of approaching things. I can’t wait for the next modules.”

As the artists, collectors and aficionados of TEFAF return home and hotel prices return to normal, the first cohort of EMCL students are also leaving town – and taking with them new knowledge, skills, perspectives and connections.

Original text by: Florian Raith, Paul van der Veer (photography)