Slowly but certainly moving towards 100

Continuing this project next to my regular work (since my sabbatical ended almost a year ago) is quite a challenge, and especially updating the website. Since the summer holidays started, I now have a bit more time to address my adventures the last half year. In 2016, I had 12 encounters up till now.

12 new encounters 2016

At the top row, you see three encounters I had with designers in practice (from left to right: Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken, Less or More and Onmi) about their approaches and visions on design and design research. Moreover, I had the opportunity to have five inspiring encounters with researchers who were visiting the Computer Human Interaction conference in San Jose, CA, USA (from the 2nd row on the left to the right and downwards: George Khut, Dag Svaenas, Gerrit van der Veer, John Zimmerman and Marko Teras) about the direction HCI and design research is taking, and how this relates to social, cultural, philosophical, technological and economical developments in our society. Moreover, Pierre Lévy and I had the pleasure to have an encounter with Veronique Hillen, Dean of Paris, on design thinking and design education (3rd row on the right). I met Gbolagade Ayoola, professor emeritus of Agricultural Economics and Policy and founder and president of Farm & Infrastructure Foundation, in Eindhoven and we discussed amongst other things  the differences between Nigeria and Europe e.g. regarding the role of policy and technology to offer people equal rights. In August, I had a meeting with Maarten Konigs & Hans Robertus from the Holland Branding Group (4th row in the middle) to discuss participatory processes to explore the identity and branding of groups and neighbourhoods to offer people a frame and source of inspiration to act upon. Finally, I explored with Roel Freeke, the director of Necker van Naem, about the role of data, tools and social interaction to support governance and democracy processes. So the counter has reached 79.


2/3 of 100 encounters done, 33 to go

2015 was an inspiring year, during which I met 67 inspirators all over the world. In 2016 I’m planning to have the last 33 of my intended encounters, in order to write and finialise the book about my quest.67 Encounters

This summer I started with encounter nr. 50 in Ireland. After my visit to Ireland and the USA, which I briefly described in previous posts, I went to the UK and I had several encounters in the Netherlands.5 encounter NL & UK

I welcomed Thecla Schiphorst (left) at the TU/e for an encounter. Thecla is Associate Director and Associate Professor in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Given her expertise in dance and computing, we explored the potential of embodied interaction and the what is needed to invite people to trust and develop their senses. Wednesday November 4, I had an encounter with Galahad Clark (second on the left), the founder of United Nude and Vivobarefoot, to discuss the possibilities of the transformation economy for companiers like Vivobarefoot, which aim for new values using nowayds technology, and the pitfalls of current paradigms. With Marco Bevolo (middle), who is a consultant in the cultural, creative industry and editorial sectors, I explored approaches towards innovation in public sector, the social and philisophical aspects of it, and the role of design and prototyping in this area. With RAAAF [Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances] (photo, second on the right) we explored the relationship between architecture, art and philosophy, and how a new perspective on architecture can influence society and set new values. Finally, December 22, I had an encounter with Wim van der Meeren (right), CEO CZ Insurance, about the challenges of Health care system towards the future, the potential of tachnology and the importance of craftsmanship for a healthy system.

Successful trip to the States

September 27 till October 9 2015 was another intense period fo encounters in the States, this time on the East Coast. Together with Ambra Trotto I was in New York and the Boston area to visit 7 insiprators.

USA East coast encounters New York In New York, I discussed with Fabrizio Tondolo (left), Global Medical Affairs Lead at Merck, the tension between the transformation paradigm and current practices within health care and more specific the parmaceutical take on this. The second encounter was with Richard Sennett (middle), the author of the magnificent books “the Craftsman” and “Together”. It was an inspiring, yet demanding and stern encounter about the essence of craftsmanship and collaboration. At the end of the trip in New York I had to pleasure to have an encounter with Rhea Alexander (right) from Parsons, about strategic design and management, and the challenges design faces in multi-disciplinary collabroration and the move towards a transformation paradigm.

USA East coast encounters Boston areaIn Boston we visited Harvard and MIT. The trip started with an encounter with Joanna Aizenberg (top left), Professor of Materials Science at Harvard and Leader of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, about new, bio-inspired synthetic materials and devices and the collabration between engineering and design to develop these. Thereafter, Mary Tolikas (top right), the Operations Director at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University discussed with us which attitude and organisational approach is beneficial for innovation, collaboration, and technology translation. On Thursday October 8, we visted MIT Media Lab, where I had an inspiring and insightful encounter with professor Hiroshi Ishii (bottom left), Head of Tangible Media Group and Associate Director of MIT Media Laboratory. We discussed the potential and pittfals of tangible interaction, as well as related topics such as approaches to education and research. Last but certainly not least I an encounter with Jorrit de Jong (bottom right) Academic Director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Kennedy Harvard Business School, about his Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and the potential of design in this field.

A focus on business and government in Ireland

From August 11 till August 22, I had a fantastic time in Ireland, which was a combination of holdaiys and work. I had six extremely inspiring encounters, of which the first three where in Hook Head, a magnificant place in Ireland, and the last three in Dublin.

Ireland encounters

I started with an encounter with Michael Cruz Restrepo, the senior brand experience designer at Vlieger and Vandam (photo upper left), who approaches branding for a performance perspective. The day after I had an encounter with John Mulholland, who is the senior Innovation Director at Prophet in London, UK (photo middle top), and who shed his light on the possibilities and difficulties of companies to move towards the transformation economy. The visit to Hook Head was concluded with a encounter with Andrew Kiernan, who was until a few months ago the Global Director of United Nude. Our encounter explored the challenges of connecting business organisations, branding and the fashion world to the values, ethics and type of collaboration within the transformation economy.

On my Dublin trip I visited the City Council and I first had a meeting with Ali Grehan (photo bottom left), the City Architect at Dublin City Council who is working on the City’s innovative housing programme. Thereupon, I had an encouter with Councillor Andrew Montague (photo bottom middle), former Lord Mayor of Dublin, who proposed the Dublin Bike Scheme in 2004 which was launched in 2009 and credited as one of the most successful public bike schemes in Europe. And finally, I had an encounter with Peter Finnegan (photo bottom right), Director Office of Economy & International Relations at Dublin City Council, who is responsible for Economic Development, the Digital and Smart City Agenda, City Promotion and Branding, Innovation, International Relations, Research and Access Programmes.

Encounter 50 next week in Ireland

August 13, I will have my 50th Engaging Ecounter with Michael Cruz Restrepo in Ireland. Although I initially indicated that I wanted to meet 50 inspirators, I decided to extend the research and see if I can try to double the amount of Encounters. So the target will now by 100 Encounters. In the upcoming months I will go to Ireland, the East coast of the USA, the UK and the Netherlands to meet again a variety of inspirators and explore with them potential futures. Below you see the 49 inspirators / inspirator teams that I’ve met so far. I’ve placed a short biography of them all online, in case you want to read more about who they are.

50 Encounters -1


One intense day at Philips Design

Monday August 3, I had three encounters at Philips Design. I started with an encounter with Paul Gardien, vice-president Philips Design (photo upper left), where we looked at the shifting role and profession of designers in relation to the building blocks of the knowledge economy (platforms, epics (user stories) and knowledge) and what might be needed for the transformation economy. At the start of the afternoon I had an encounter with Jos Stuyfzand, global creative director for Philips Design HealthTech (bottom photo). We discussed the changing eco-system of healthcare, where applications based on data become important, but also ownership, trust and service. And we explored the new generation of designers: critical, responsible professionals who collaborate and will temporarily become part of the systems they co-design. And last but certainly not least, I had an encounter with Reon Brand, senior director foresight & socio-cultural trends at Philips Design, and an expert in the  transformation paradigm (photo upper right). We discussed the difficulty of unraveling the building blocks of the transformation economy, and we explored important concepts such regeneration (instead of sustainability), mindfulness and the fabrics of society. We will need time and small wins to demonstrate the principles of the transformation economy.

Philips Design encounters

A series of encounters in NL

A few weeks ago I started a new series of encounters in the Netherlands. During the last 2 weeks I met three strong and inspiring “networkhubs”: Zuzanna Skalska, head of trends at 360inspiration; Sietske Klooster, a design-choreographer and initiator of De MelkSalon; and Jorge Alves Lino, director Designhuis Eindhoven and managing director STRP Biënnale.
Zuz Siets and Jorge

In the upcoming week I will have an encounter with John Helmes from Microsoft Research in Cambridge, and Paul Gardien, vice-president Philips Design Jos Stuyfzand, global creative director for Philips Design HealthTech, and Reon Brand, senior director foresight & socio-cultural trends at Philips Design, and Simona Rocchi, senior director design for sustainability at Philips Design.

CAPS was truely inspiring

July 7 and 8, I was invited by Marta Arniani (thank you Marta for giving me the opportunity to be part of this vibrating event) to be part of the opening panel at CAPS, the international event on Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation in Brussels. and to bring my Engaging Encounters studio. In the end I had four intense and inspiring encounters about the shift towards a more sustainable society based on different values and approaches than are current Western society is based on.

Nicole Dewandre
With Nicole Dewandre (advisor for societal issues to the Director General of the Directorate General for Communications, Networks, Content and Technologies (DG CONNECT) at the European Commission) I explored how the ideas and concepts of  Hannah Arendt could offer handles for our current society and transformation.
Alain Ruche & Joss Tantram
With Alain Ruche (Senior Advisor on cultural matters, Office of the EEAS [European External Action Service] Secretary General) and Joss Tantram (Founding Partner of Terrafiniti) I discussed how the principles of complex systems can be used in our nowadays society and how we can move towards a sustainable world. And how valuable is a mechanistic perspective on the world?
Guy Janssen & Kolja XXX
With Guy Janssen (governance advisor and a political economist) & Kolja Ehmling (Management Consulting Professional) I explored (through continues playing and making) the challenges for moving towards co-governing communities and building collective awareness platforms.
 Lee-Sean Huang
And with Lee-Sean Huang (Community-Centered Designer and Creative Director) I explored new business models in the realm of social innovation, and the role of young and upcoming designers in this process.

trailer movie for the Engaging Encounters project

I just finished a short trailer that gives an impression of the Engaging Encounter project. Hope you like it.

I have met over 30 inspirators by now, and there are still 10 encounters planned for the upcoming 2 months. Moreover, I started with the analysis of all colledcted material. So I won’t be bored during the summer 😉