Soak up the sun or the knowledge? This was and& day three

05/05/2018

Day three of and& summit & festival also got underway with an abundance of sunshine, setting the stage for yet another day where Leuven would be the epicenter of health, high-tech and creativity. The art interventions had a busy day just like the summit & festival bars. Those who did brave the indoor venues were rewarded with multiple talks by today's top speakers. Here's what we remembered of and& day three. 

The future of tech & beauty & arts

Stefan Sagmeister opening up day three with flair, criticism and humour.
© Lissa Van Eesbeeck

With our and& breakfast barely finished, moderator Lisbeth Imbo took the stage for the first speaker of the day. Stefan Sagmeister, award-winning designer and storyteller, started by guessing our favourite shape and colour. The crowd's results unanimously showed that a brown rectangle was the least preferred shape and colour. "Then why do we have so many?" as he showed picture after picture of brown skyscrapers. Sagmeister managed to criticize nearly every form of architecture that forgot to implement beauty this way. "Beauty is a function in its own and buildings should be functional." We do hope he enjoyed our city, though. 

Up next was Andrew Keen, described as the 'antichrist of Silicon Valley’ & one of the world’s most influential no nonsense digital tech rebels. Keen recently published his book 'How To Fix The Future' in which he opens the debate on the 'dark' side of the digital revolution. At and&, he continued along that path my stressing how "digital evolution should always benefit the society".

Chris Dercon enjoyed a high attendance early in the day.
© Lissa Van Eesbeeck

Chris Dercon, former Volksbühne and Tate Modern director, mentioned that the first steps are being made in creating new organisations and buildings which will replace the museum as we know it today. The reason? Museums are obliged to absorb everything that's cultural; a solution not deemed very durable. He also didn't evade the elephant in the room as he resigned last month as director of the Volksbühne after months of protest. "I have to admit that we failed", he mentioned, sensing that Berlin had become 'too normal'.

Innovation & entrepreneurship

Johan Thijs, CEO of KBC & one of the best in the world according to Harvard Business Review, welcomed us to the future by explaining how banks should first: change their image and second: follow the customer behaviour. Not easy, as he made the comparison of buying a fridge online: "You click, you order, and the next day it is being installed at your house and they take the old one with them. Now, imagine doing this with your bank."

Next was Luc Van den Hove, CEO of imec, who was playing a home game. Luc explained how imec has managed to grow every single year and what evolutions have been taking place, what they're working on now and how they define the user perspective which is the focal point in everything imec does. 

Lisbeth Imbo and An Caluwaerts
© Joris

Telenet's Superwoman and Chief Corporate Affairs An Caluwaerts mentioned in a one-on-one with moderator Lisbeth Imbo that men and women are equally divided but that this equality is still not present in directory levels. ""What skills do we need?" She showed them all in a STEM oriented presentation.

Vibrant cities of the future

Daan Roosegaarde

© Joris

Another highly anticipated talk of today was Daan Roosegaarde, often referred to as the Leonardo Da Vinci of the Dutch polders. Daan introduced the audience to his work and how they all make a big ecological impact as well as a social one. He ended his talk with a scoop: Daan is working on a way how to remove all the space debris that's hovering around our planet. The only thing is that he "doesn't know how to do it".

Daan Roosegaarde showing the algae which make light when you touch them, which he used as a light emitting surface.
© Tim-Oliver Metz

Eve Turow Paul, millenial food culture expert, grasped our attention by questioning why young people are so food obsessed today? Turns out, it's one of the consequences the tech revolution has on the younger generations: from food to loneliness. The latter being one we've heard in more talks the past two days. She did confess her slight addicition to Instagram and concluded by saying "I'm going to have a Stella now."

Eve Turow Paul.
© Joris

Sex & Drugs & Tech

Chris Burggraeve published the results of the first ever Belgian consumer research about drugs.
© Tim-Oliver Metz

The rock 'n' roll definitely wasn't left out as Chris Burggraeve took the stage and unleashing the results of the first ever Belgian consumer research about drugs, conducted by him, upon the attendees. Chris held a statement on why Belgium should legalize and regulate cannabis. He compared the drug to smartphone and coffee addictions, among others. The results of the research could set the wheels in motion for a new cannabis law in Belgium by 2021.

The perfect beat of a vibrant city

Matthias Einhoff explains how Berlin constantly innovates when it comes to space in the center of a major city. 
© Tim-Oliver Metz

We jumped on our bike to catch the last hour of The Perfect Beat of a Vibrant City, one of the more intimate sessions in MTC, aptly moderated by Londoner and music journalist Gabriel Szatan. Two Berliners, Lutz Leichsenring, founder of the Creative Footprint, and Matthias Einhoff, director of ZK/U, gave their view on why Berlin is the city all young & creative people are flocking to. Turns out that embracing facilities, ecosystems, methodologies & techniques that actively strive for collaboration & open innovation is the way to go if you want to future-proof your city. All while keeping an eye out for gentrification by making this evolution more inclusive instead of top-down, which has been the case in many other European cities. A talk very applicable on modern-day Leuven, something that was clear from the start as several policy makers from the city of Leuven occupied the front row. 

We can only wait and see how they will put this new theory into practice.