Having a great time at Tomorrowland, skydiving from a helicopter, visiting the pyramids of Gizeh. All of them: bucket list material. If you’re an open mind like we are, attending events like TEDx is one of those bucket list items as well. Only a handful of tickets, the best speakers in the world and an atmosphere that entirely shocks the way we see things and think about them are only some ingredients for the magical veil that hangs around a TEDx event. Especially when the event is hosted in Brussels and solely dedicated about “the Deeper Future”. As you may know, we hold strong to ‘practice-what-you-preach’ and that’s why our colleague Nick Vinckier went out and is providing you with his major takeaways of TEDxBrussels 2016
Open Agriculture & Changing Environments
Camille Richman kicked off the TEDxBrussels event by talking about the revolutionary work that she has been doing at MIT. Her work is currently focused on the development of the Food Computer, a desktop controlled environment farm that can be used to create and share climate recipes, modifications, and upgrades.
By creating a network of Food Computer users sharing their hardware, software, and climate data knowledge, the science behind modern agriculture technologies will be accessible to the masses in the future. Talking about disruption, right.. For those of you who want to experiment or learn more about Open Agriculture, find all about it here.
But there’s more if you think about it. Camille shows the world that you can actually change all the output of your resources by changing the environment. I truly believe that if you change the environment of your staff – replace grey walls, surround them young talent, get them out of their comfort zone -, the output of the team will benefit from this in terms of digital transformation.
Although he’s the founder of Clear2Pay, the name Jurgen Ingels may not ring a bell immediately. He’s responsible for the data revolution in the financial industry and from what we’ve heard, he’s planned to do so again.
Jurgen compares most data structure to spaghetti while it’s key to strive for a lasagna like data architecture, yet the most interesting thing about his keynote was when Jurgen started talking about the Law of Ricardo.
Ricardo’s Law or the theory of comparative advantage sets things in another perspective. In a fast-moving, disruptive world, every company is trying to shift the digital gears: banks try to become tech players. Instead of doing so, they should do what they’re best at and let tech companies do the digitization.
A big takeaway: outside-in innovation, building/buying garages and incubating/accelerating startups will only become more important in the near future.
We need more Europe
Speaking of startups: It’s never been a better time for startups to -well- start up in Europe. Our continent is trying to provide counterweight to the brain drain towards Silicon Valley and therefore supporting young entrepreneurs. And it takes two to tango, as a company now’s the time to start looking for startups that can help you transform digitally.
European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moeda explained that Europe is in a race for keeping the digital talent on this side of the ocean. A race which’s all about speed & scale, two elements Europa hasn’t been very great at due to its fragmented structure.
If we believe Carlos Moeda, Europe is at the tipping point: now is the time to start up and/or invest in European startups instead of relocating to the United States or shifting your angel money overseas.
It’s only innovation if it’s globally
Eileen Guo talked about the misinterpretation of innovation, especially when talking about social media as a new commodity. In countries like Afghanistan, internet penetration isn’t anywhere near Western levels so the way they communicate ‘digitally’ is way different than we’d expect.
Using BlueTooth to connect with one another, you can say that people in emerging countries have invented their own version of Tinder. Besides that, social media expert Guo told about the opportunities and the dangers of the Sneakernet: the transfer of electronic information, especially computer files, by physically moving removable media such as USB sticks or external hard drives from one computer to another, usually in lieu of transmitting the information over a computer network.
Which brings us to this final insight: the digital battle will not be fought in our countries, it will be won and lost in the emerging markets. Shift gears, build your basics here and get ready to scale abroad when the time is near.
Note: Summarizing an event with 20 top notch speakers isn’t an easy one. Everything that has been said during the day was truly inspiring, so forgive me for only writing down some of the things I found most remarkable.