AK Value of the month (May): Learn, Develop, Grow


Well, May is here for good so it was about time to move on with the next of the AK values in the list; this time, the value of the month is “Learn, Develop, Grow“, which may be further defined as follows:

We embrace change in our business with a view on learning and developing ourselves and our mission. We know that inside each team member there is more potential than we even realize. We work to constantly unlock that potential, both in ourselves and our co-workers. Everyone is open and looking forward to feedback.

Let me try to express my interpretation of this value here, decomposing the value in its three components:

  1. Learn: Working for AK provides a lot of learning opportunities; ranging from seminars & webinars publicly available, to project-funded training schools, hackathons and related events.  On top of that, there are already a number of trainings taking place inside Agro-Know (which are to be described and elaborated in another blog post), as well as larger-scale training such as the Lean AKademy. Everyone is encouraged to participate to such events and attend publicly available learning opportunities which are relevant to what we are working on in Agro-Know. One also gets to learn from other activities, such as Workshops & Conferences; not only through the presentations taking place but also through discussions (both formal and informal) during these events.
  2. Develop: Using the learning (and training) opportunities mentioned above, it is up to each one to use it for progressing at both personal and professional level. Combining with the experiences gained from our every day work, participation in events and communication with colleagues and collaborators as well as the internal potential of each one of us, everyone can develop further, increase his/her skills and competencies and re-define his/her position in the company. I could describe my case as an example here: Started some years ago as a domain expert in (organic) agriculture, continued as a metadata annotator and validator, got actively involved in metadata management workflows and metadata integration processes, while I also got involved in linking vocabularies and defining small-scale ontologies. Apart from that, I was shortly a project manager of a few projects (thankfully this was only for a short period!) and I was responsible for the dissemination planning and activities of several projects; this led me to being responsible for several AK-related outreach activities, like the AK blog that you are currently reading, the AK twitter account and the AK Facebook page, always with the help of some colleagues who also like to share using social media. I am also sure that I have been involved with other activities that I cannot recall right now…The involvement of a single person might be confusing at some points, but it seems that there is a constant flow and adaptation, which usually acts as a safety net.
  3. Grow: Through the processes mentioned above, each one of us grows; not only physically but also professionally. Starting from a person who is constantly being trained in new processes and tasks as soon as he/she joins the team, we soon find ourselves in a well-defined position which includes a high number of tasks and activities that fit the specific person while at the same time leaving outside the ones that simply do not fit. We become better at what we are doing, helping also the rest of the team members to develop and grow, by sharing our feedback and experiences so that we all grow as a team as well.



The process is much more complicated than three steps but what matters is the outcome; a constant evolution of each team member and improvement in several aspects with the help of the team. According to the U.S. President Harry S. Truman, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”. This is something that AK takes seriously into consideration, by providing the opportunities to everyone who wishes to evolve through a family environment, without asking too many qualifications from the newcomers. Each new team member is allowed to develop his skills within the company and define his role, leading him/her to further develop and redefine his/her role in the company based on what he/she is actually interested in doing.


It would be interesting to see what other AK team members have to say about the value of the month: In the comments to this post feel free to speak out your thoughts about the value of this month, express ideas, comments, give examples or even just upload a photo/picture that represents the way you understand the value.

As always, your contribution is not obligatory, but we would like to see 18 different comments (and even more, if possible)! Let’s try at least to perform better than the previous time…  😉


  1. I like very much how you described this value, Vassilis. Living and working in these exciting times requires constant learning and professional development. The Agro-Know environment is very responsive and supportive of this. My colleague and I have numerous opportunities for staying informed and learning, which is almost a requisite in Agro-Know.

    I personally find it very valuable that I can use some of my professional and personal time to engage in learning experiences like the ones offered by Coursera, Udacity, FutureLearn or TED. Another example is the Europeana Creative Challenge experience, which was not only rewarding in terms of outcome, but an enjoyable learning experiment for me and the team. At the moment, Giota and I are preparing for ECSITE, a 3 day conference in the Hague, an exciting opportunity to connect and learn from a community of over 400 science centres and museums from over 50 countries.

    But besides these specific occasions, the past almost 5 years of my work in Agro-Know have been a continuous learning and growing experience. I was happy to be able to blend this knowledge with a postgraduate MSc degree here in the UK, which convinced me even more that learning is a lifelong, personalised journey.

  2. We live in a constantly changing environment, in a country that is struggling to change the paradigms that lead it to bankrupsy. I think it’s time for all of us, to redefine the traditional notion of having one skill (or a limited set of them), working in one job for 35 years and getting a pension from it. Why? Cause it’s not working for us anymore… “Learn, develop, grow” is an expression of the attitude we need to embrace, in order to progress as human beings but also to be able to live a secure life for us and our families. Competition in our broader workplace is fierce, as lots of people with skills and degrees, compete for the same opportunities.

    Living in Greece, also means that we have to try harder to prove ourselves to our European colleagues, that are affected in many cases by the propaganda that is spread across Europe for all the countries that have reached an economic deadend. We have to learn, continue learning, not for the job security this may bring, but as a stance of life. Learn new things for our work, ourselves and our lives. Lifelong learning, or “lifelove learning” as I prefer to call this… We have to be aware of the development process that happens either way, without us noticing, so that we can guide it to the right direction. Once we have mastered those two, growing will come inevitably, thus allowing us to become more successful workers, friends, parents, etc.

    But (there’s always a but), we need to do all of these with respect to each person, to his/her needs and wants, as well as learning pace and abilities. Pilling up knowledge and reading anything just for the sake of it, is a greater waste than not reading anything at all, from my point of view…

  3. Working in Agro-Know is a continuous challenge, but also a unique experience at the same time! It provides to all its family members the opportunity to learn (through various internal and external training opportunities that Vassilis has mentioned above), develop and grow both personally and professionally.

    In fact all these three (learn, develop, grow) are kind of a prerequisite for working in AgroKnow and in any other company these days! The competition out there is really hard and we have to constantly embrace changes and update our skills, taking always into account our needs and dreams of life!

  4. In general a picture is worth a 1000 words. I wrote below some words, not 1000 🙂 that are kind of interesting, a picture at the next value 🙂
    “If you are not willing to learn no one can help you, if you are determined to LEARN no one can stop you.”
    “DEVELOPment is like varnish, it is meant to preserve and enhance, rather than rot and replace.”
    “Change is innevitable, GROWth is optional”


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