Last week Sogetit held their 20th anniversary for the VINT symposium where innovative topics have been discussed on stage for two centuries by now. Do follow their blog to get free updates on the latest innovative ICT developments. Below is a report from Jaap Bloem about this symposium which was about how different innovations and developments have disrupted business and society:

Visionaries had an easier job in bygone days. Take Jules Verne. It took more than a century before his predictions about space travel could be tested. In olden times, you could hardly be challenged, let alone mocked, about what you had foreseen. That is different today. Technological developments are happening so fast and are so embedded in everyday life that visionaries must be careful not to be overtaken by the facts.

Fortunately, there is one reliable handhold these days and that is called SMACT: Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, Things. SMACT ? in the sense of ?smacked? ? has amassed all the basic ingredients and currently acts as a powerful disruptive force. It is the perfect tried and approved basic formula for disruptive design. We see it happening all around us at this very moment. Self-assured challengers are overtaking the old guard, leaving them behind in a cloud of dust. Via the Internet of Things, the Cloud, mobile apps or another digital technology, new players are currently attracting hordes of people in this way.


?Design to Disrupt? is an imperative: think about it seriously, and do it! Put your shoulder to the wheel. But what exactly does this entail? It begins with what we call ?awareness?: recognizing that new opportunities are available. After a slow start and lots of deception in this 21st century, everyone now has the feeling that we have reached the tipping point. From this moment onward, we shall truly shift into overdrive. Earlier this year, Facebook bought the immensely popular Whatsapp for 19 billion dollars and also, a little later, Oculus VR, the maker of virtual reality glasses Oculus Rift for 2 billion. Real mediatization is now really taking off.

Sogeti had lined up four visionaries: Sander Duivestein, along with leading lights Gerd Leonhard, Arnout de Vries and Daan Roosegaarde.

In conjunction with Frank Smilda, current Head of the Police Intelligence Unit, Arnout de Vries of the TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) co-authored ?? in Dutch ? the book?Social Media: The New DNA ? An Investigative Revolution.?This text examines an extremely relevant social issue: that concerning Do It Yourself policing. Social media offer the new platform by means of which we can jointly engage in investigation: investigation is a democratizing force. Social media are entrenched in all layers of our modern networked society. They are ubiquitous and available to everyone, and have now reached the capillaries of the police organization (the ?DNA? of every police officer).

The digital detective and the modern Sherlock Holmes collaborate in this new world. The social media have made the role of the citizens more important, as they can also participate in the investigation nowadays.?Social Media: The New DNA?is all about this development. It shows how the detective and the amateur can reinforce one another through social media and thus jointly construct a more secure society.

Prior to writing the book, the authors performed intensive research into virtual communities. In conjunction with behavioral scientists, organizational scientists and technicians, specialist knowledge was converted into concrete co-creation innovations for a more secure society. The Netherlands is more or less champion of the social media and, for this reason, De Vries and Smilda have actually established a world standard with this book. They will never claim this accomplishment, but it is certainly no exaggerated honor.

Besides a multitude of examples from all corners of the world, the book also issues important warnings. Splendid detection results could be rapidly achieved through a Facebook crowd-sourcing campaign, as occurred with the riots in Vancouver a few years ago. But although civil investigation may sound ideal, it must not lead to persecution and ?taking the law into one?s own hands?.

But technology thunders on, as demonstrated by, the face recognition facility on Facebook, and one can also think of Maltego and Casefile produced by Paterva.?Nowadays, besides traditional traces, digital traces are also recorded at the scene of the crime. All kinds of forensic apps are also available, in order to make facial composites, for example, if the physical profile of the perpetrator is still fresh in the memory of the victim and/or witness.

The police cannot afford to ignore digital developments. This is approach is not yet self-evident, and they must be cautious about their methods. New technology should not disruptively interfere with police work. Accordingly, serious attention is currently being paid to overall design and a sound implementation of useful developments.

Sander Duivestein

It is important to remain critical when looking at this kind of development. What does it mean for our privacy? ?Privacy is dead?, said Mark Zuckerberg years ago. This may well be the case, but an increasing number of people are currently taking that into account. They seek cover, as do internet companies, mainly by means of better protection and security. At the same time, people are becoming more exhibitionistic: literally with ?selfies?. Sander Duivestein?had soon foreseen that 2013 would be the ?year of the selfie?: being snapped with Beyonc?, a funeral selfie with your grandma in her coffin in the background, making photos of yourself and friends while someone is preparing to jump from a bridge in the background etc. Such ?life events? must be immortalized of course. Barack Obama and David Cameron were also tempted by Danish premier Helle Thorning-Schmidt into having their picture taken in this way at the funeral of Nelson Mandela.


And what will it be like if everyone has his or her own camera drone flying alongside? The Hexo+ can reach a speed of 70 kilometers an hour and, with a few solar cells and new battery technology, charging will not be necessary. Ongoing mediatization has always run parallel to the societal and social impact of new technology. The media literally show us our reflection, almost as a caricature in many cases.

Companies are particularly affected by digital technology. The shelf life of a listing on the Standard & Poor?s index had fallen from 60 to 18 years, and will shortly settle at a mere 10 years. Under the leadership of Sander Duivestein, VINT performed research into the situation on the AEX index and encountered the same tendency there. Visionary economist Joseph Alois Schumpeter is apparently being proved increasingly right. ?Creative Destruction Whips through Corporate America? was the title of an Innosight Executive Briefing in the winter of 2012. His advice was: ?To survive and thrive, business leaders must create, operate, and trade without losing control.? But that is not so easy when ?the single biggest reason companies fail is that they overinvest in what is, as opposed to what might be?. That is also what business guru Gary Hamel has been telling us for ages. In unison with Aegon, we can conclude: ?Changing or vanishing, that is the choice?.

Gerd Leonhard ?(Download his?slides.)
Thinking out of the box is extremely different when you have been crammed into the box in the first place. According to Gerd Leonhard we are all about to experience what internet has done to the music industry. This should not be surprising, because ongoing medialization is an excellent predictor of what is actually already going on. We are living in an era of digital Darwinism, in which software is devouring the world, as it were. Technology is enabling the strangest things ? think of the film?Transformers?? but to arrive at the right application in order to be commercially successful, businesses will have to cross over the Valley of Death.


Technology as such is the invention, but what you are really looking for is meaningful and successful application: that is the true innovation. If you fail to build a bridge, you and your organization will land in the notorious ?Valley of Death?.

In this time of digital Darwinism, hyper-efficiency is the leading principle, based on peer-to-peer (p2p) communication and the sharing economy. The new question is, to paraphrase the existentially troubled mind of Hamlet, ?To disrupt or be disrupted?. With all the new possibilities that are constantly arising, companies must continuously ask themselves whether or not they can be eliminated by digital means.Uber (2009) and Airbnb (2008) are modern examples of this situation, as is the mobile bank Moven (2011).

Organizations must be capable of making a double VUCA handspring: they must be able to deal withVolatility-Uncertainty-Complexity-Ambiguity?on the one hand, and with?Velocity-Unorthodoxy-Collaboration-Awesomeness?on the other. A good example of this is the online and real-time translation service Skype Translator, which Microsoft has announced will appear before the end of 2014. For decades, direct machinal translation was a distant hope, based on a few hesitant experiments. But suddenly it has become a genuine prospect. The same applies to Voice control. We overtook WIMP (Windows-Icons-Mouse-Pull-down) quite a while ago, but ticking the screen and swiping will also soon come to an end, and more rapidly than we think.

According to Gerd Leonhard, the ultimate question about the best way to avoid disruption is: ?How do you become oxygen?? In other words, ?How do you become indispensable?? But to be able to supply a meaningful answer, you first have to know Why? So, indeed, the imperative is: D2D, Design to Disrupt!

Daan Roosegaarde
This techno-poet, artist, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed hippie with a business plan operates from the Netherlands and Shanghai:? Innovation is his passion and perhaps also his driving force. This is very clear if we combine two of his credos as follows: ?get the hell out of here with your opinion, we need a proposal?, because ?innovation is the longing to jointly discover something?. It is impossible to tickle yourself, you have to do that together.

We can enforce innovation by connecting, by learning from one another. To do so, we have to pass through three thankless stages: that of ?it?s impossible?, that of ?it?s not allowed? and that of ?it already exists?. Innovation never comes just out of the blue, you always build on a basis of existing reality. The process is never one of?copy-paste?but rather?copy-morph. The Smart Highway project, in conjunction with Heijmans, the Dutch building magnate, is a good example of such development. The ?Glowing Lines? pilot project has been executed on the N329 trunk road near Oss, and version 2.0 will soon be completed. The Smart Highway has immediately become a much-discussed export product, which is the reason why Daan Roosegaarde has now established friendly relations with Jet Bussemaker, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science.

There is worldwide interest in the frequently simple but invariably effective innovations devised by Studio Roosegaarde, which include roadprinters that print out children?s drawings on the road, a park in Beijing that functions as the largest smog ?vacuum cleaner? in the world and makes so-called ?diamond rings? by subjecting the thus accumulated sludge to high pressure, shirts as bicycle lighting, and a chair that gives an electric shock as soon as the occupant utters the words ?Yes but ??

Normally we would do everything to keep you on our internet pages, but we are pleased to make an exception for Daan Roosegaarde.?Visit his website, surprise yourself, enjoy it, be happy!

Looking for more on the other speakers? Read the other part of the VINT symposium report.

Text by: Jaap Bloem, source: VINT symposium

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