Ambitious networks, TREEs, APIs & government – our ‘The Year After Tomorrow’ event highlights

Last night, we were proud and excited to host our partner & customer event The Year After Tomorrow. Here are some of my key insights of that wonderful night.

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February 9, 2018

We were also proud to host the presentations of some of our most impressive customers. Jan Manssens, Director Strategy, Growth and Innovation in the Enterprise Division of Proximus shared the EnCo story, an API toolbox and ecosystem that was ignited during one of our tours. We loved his statement that they were determined to turn their weaknesses into an opportunity with this internal start-up. Also great to see how both he and Jan De Witte, CEO of Barco, were completely aligned concerning the evolution of software eating the world AND the importance of APIs for shaping our Day After Tomorrow.  That’s exactly why Barco keeps making its hardware carriers smarter, because in the future, their real value will lie in how the analytics and insights behind them will translate into emotions. The flamboyant Dutch Insolvency-judge Erik Boerma, too, was a true inspiration for how transformation is possible, even in deeply traditional areas like the judicial system. “Justice should not digitize laws and rules”, he explained, “but help people solve their problems”.  “A lot of judges will have a hard time accepting that we are not God, but servants”, he continued “but there is no other option in these times of extreme customer centricity.”

Nexxworks Partner Peter Hinssen closed the session with the highlights of the speech he had given the day before at the Flemish Parliament, to inspire them about the need for radical change. “Do you think that you would still exist today, if you had any competition?”, is what he had asked them boldly. He shared the 6 Big Questions he had confronted them with, to help them on their way:

  1. How can we make the leap from being government-centric to citizen-centric?
  2. How can we stimulate entrepreneurship in Belgium to scale: we do stimulate the start-ups, which is great, but we still lack the right capital, infrastructure and skills to help them grow.
  3. How can we help our education system match the speed of society? For instance: if you look at how kids consume content today, how can you expect them to listen 8 times per day to a whole hour of linear content?
  4. How can we turn our current sick-care system into a proactive and personalized healthcare and become world-champions in the matter? We don’t have the same sense of urgency as the Americans because our (insurance) system is pretty comfortable comparing to theirs, but that does certainly not mean we should not move forward.
  5. How can we become world class in mobility? Brussels and Antwerp are some of the most congested cities in the world: let’s turn this problem around into an opportunity.
  6. Last, but not least, how are we going to make sure that politicians start to think beyond their legislative appointment and towards our Day After Tomorrow?

The conversations that followed at the networking event were just as stimulating and inspiring. Among other things, I learned from China Evangelist Pascal Coppens - who helps organizing our Day After Tomorrow Tour in China – how the speed of innovation is so exponential in China, that the government cannot keep up with the regulations concerning these new services or products. Now, this is where it gets interesting: whenever boundaries are crossed, they do NOT react in a top-down manner with repressive rules but sit down with the concerned companies to formulate the rules TOGETHER. That way, innovations are never repressed by the government, as they often are in Europe, but merely “channelled” to protect the citizen. A perfect match with point 1, 2 and 6 of Peter’s, I’d say.

So, that’s it for now. A big big thanks to all you who were so kind as to join and support us. Let’s keep the conversation running!

Laurence Van Elegem
Laurence Van Elegem
Laurence has more than 10 years of experience in marketing, communications and disruptive innovation. Passionately curious, she is fascinated by the impact of technology and science on the way we work, consume and live our lives.
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February 9, 2018