After the afternoon warm-up on Wednesday, and& went all-out on Thursday as the summit & festival really started. A full program of speakers and artists was waiting for a crowd which managed to sell out all Thursday tickets around opening time. Here are the highlights from our track.
Moderator Bart Schols. © Lissa Van Eesbeeck
The kick off at Pieter De Somer Aula, call it and&'s main stage if you will, was for a KU Leuven alumnus. Nowadays, Sofie Vandebroek is COO of IBM Research in the US. She adressed how innovators around the world are applying high-impact technologies such as AI and Blockchain to make for a positive impact on our lives by solving the hard challenges. MIT professor Carlo Ratti followed by showing how the projects of his Carlo Ratti Associati design office and the Senseable City Laboratory, think of self 'driving' boats, could transform the city of tomorrow. SPACE10-founder Carla Camilla Hjort addressed how our everyday lives might look. She pointed out that space in cities will be scarce and that, earlier than you might think, we will all start sharing our tools which are still individually based today.
Dynamic duo Koen Kas & Jasna Rok. © Lissa Van Eesbeeck
The future of health was all the rage when professor Koen Kas and young fashtech entrepreneur Jasna Rok took the stage and grasped our attention by launching the question "Before you die?", a motivation to make you strive and the duo helped us realise what for. Professor Chantal Mathieu then opened our eyes about Diabetes Type I and how we're just about ready to end it.
Meanwhile, at M Museum, Smells Like ... saw multiple Leuven MindGate members line-up. One of the Cross Over Contest's winners was Haystack's Ludovic Depoortere and he took the stage to talk about sensory marketing and Lydia Vandam from the museum itself talked about the contemporary mission of M Museum these days.
The stage was set for 20 pitches of startups and interesting keynotes and talks by big industry names. © Leuven MindGate
and& was also all about showing Leuven to the world. Showing off our entrepreneurial talent is a perfect way to do this. Starting at 16h00, a selection of the crème of the crop of Belgian startups presented their businesses, innovative technologies & services to an audience of investors, CEO’s, media & entrepreneurs. The present audience decided who won the € 50 000 worth of prizes.
The evening featured keynotes by Omar Mohout & David Dessers (professor & author & tech-jack of all trades), Pieterjan Bouten (Co-founder of Showpad and In The Pocket), Burton Lee (Stanford University) and Dixie Dansercoer (Flemish polar explorer) and, of course, several pitches by the 20 participants. The winners were Turbulent and Inga Wellbeing.
Hiroshi Ishiguro holds his highly anticipated talk in front of a packed Pieter De Somer aula. © Leuven MindGate
One of the more highly anticipated appearances at and& was professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, aka the man who made his own humanoid robot twin, explained that, sooner or later, we'll no longer think it's strange to have robot companions and that it's really difficult to travel with a humanoid robot in your suitcase. Professor Bram Vanderborght enjoyed the already warmed up crowd and showed that robots can also learn from the human body.
Meanwhile, Leuven MindGate member VOKA invited a fascinating range of speakers coming from very different backgrounds at the MTC venue right next door. Wendy Geeraert (CEO of Co-Libry & Enginity), Bert Van Wassenhove (CoFoundry), John Hucker (fintech builder), Felix Petersen (Managing Director Europe at Samsung NEXT) and many more reflected on how to build the startup ecosystem of the future. At the same time, Fredo De Smet & Thomas Vanderveken invited people at M Museum Forum that embody the future of media & tech. This Media Fast Forward resulted in stories, people & ideas, both online and offline.
The audience at Media Fast Forward in M Museum. © Maxikamera
Shigeru Ban makes his appearance. © Leuven MindGate
Another highlight of day two at and& was We Are Still Human After All. Lucy McRae made her second appearance after already featuring on the opening night yesterday. She continued along that path by discovering how our bodies will increasingly merge with technology. World renowned architect Shigeru Ban, on the other hand, explained his pioneering architecture especially sparked by natural disasters. He has managed to create several humanitarian architectural structures in areas hit by disasters, which were made of paper and built on a foundation of beer crates. Tiffany Pham started her talk with a touching hommage to her greatest inspiration: her grandmother, and how it kept her on her path on becoming the founder of the award-winning worldwide platform Mogul.
During the entire day, dozens of other speakers and artists managed to amaze and captivate over 1000 participants. The tone is set.
Lucy McRae in her second talk of and&. © Lissa Van Eesbeeck