Piet Holbrouck completed his Master in experimental nuclear physics at the University of Ghent but preferred the hands-on working in industry, so started working in 1986 at OIP Optics as project manager on defence and space projects.
From 1988 onwards, he managed several space projects at Verhaert, growing its space activities up to 80% of the company turnover.
From 1998 to 2001, he led the Verhaert Group in its innovation in space activities and innovative product development as b2b service. He successfully endorsed and realised the development of Belgium's first small satellite for ESA in less than 4 years, half the normal duration. Launched in 2001, it is still operating and key to successful follow-on small-sat missions such as the Proba-V satellite.
Working with Goldratt's Thinking Processes on conflicts, contradictions and undesirable effects, he realized that problem-solving is one of the most needed disciplines - in business, society and personal lives, yet there are no professors in problem-solving.
He left the Verhaert Group in 2002 and started the development of a generic problem-solving toolbox, along a twofold path (the Non Zero Ratio mission):
(1) to develop a toolbox to solve problems using win-win rational thinking
(2) to provide management services using the acquired knowledge and expertise
About the services:
These essentially are in the fields of management and innovation, but can be applied to any challenge or any area with a high degree of uncertainty or lack of understanding (e.g. key problems in lean production environments).
Piet Holbrouck was Visiting Professor at University of Antwerp Management School in Product Innovation & Entrepreneurship from 2007 to 2010 with courses on problem-solving, decision-making in uncertainty and the monitoring of developments.
NON ZERO RATIO has provided services to companies such as OIP, Barco, InBev, ESSP, Media Lario Technologies, InnoGenetics (now Fujirebio), Owens Corning, ATG Europe, Verhaert New Products & Services and AB InBev.
About the toolbox:
In 2006, the problem-solving toolbox was given a name and symbol: NON ZERO RATIO (see What's in a name).
Piet Holbrouck is Affilliated Member of the ECCO (Evolution, Complexity and COgnition) Interdisciplinary Research Center, that is affiliated with Center Leo Apostel and the Global Brain Institute - all at the Free University of Brussels (VUB).
The NON ZERO RATIO toolbox will be rolled out through demo-cases that focus essentially on the high-end problems: the generation of paradigm-changing novel perspectives that are considered impossible. See e.g. this example of a suggested paradigm change derived using the toolbox.