We already live in the ‘Matrix’ – Interview with Mary-Ann Schreurs, Vice-Mayor of Eindhoven

We already live in the ‘Matrix’ – Interview with Mary-Ann Schreurs, Vice-Mayor of Eindhoven

Mary-Ann Schreurs, Vice-Mayor, city of Eindhoven will open the Intelligent Sensor Networks Conference 2017, on November 08, at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, The Netherlands. She has a very clear and outspoken vision on the developments and expectations of the people of her city and region. “We must go from a data-driven economy to a innovative design for life economy,” says Schreurs.

Mary-Ann Schreurs believes in design as an important engine for our economy and being just the right tool for defying big challenges of the city. As the first Dutch vice-mayor of design she therefore introduced design in local innovation policy. Her goal is to improve citizen’s lives by using the methodology of design thinking in co-creation with the citizens itself and other stakeholders in the city. Before she became council member and vice-mayor in Eindhoven, she was co-initiator of (European) innovation projects linked to design.

“Since the end of the second World War Two we have been reduced to numbers instead of human beings,“ starts Schreurs. “Everything has been made secondary to the system, and everybody had to live accordingly to that vision. If you buy a car, you, the human, only have to press the right knobs to get what you want. The car will drive it self (editorial: which it does already for 25 years) we are no more than an extended arm of the IT nowadays. That is why we are already living in the ‘Matrix’.”

Second and more layers
“The smart companies with their very clever guys in California are able to let us buy the things we ‘think’ we need. We see that they know a lot about us, but we do not know what they know more. We as public see only the upper layer; the things that we are allowed to see. We as Europeans must regain our strength and get control over the data in order to get back behind the steering wheel of our daily lives. In this Eindhoven can play a major role, as we have the strengths of technology in combination with design. You can invent the greatest technology, but design helps to make it work in every day life, as it calls for cooperation on all levels. The designers of this new economy look at what people need and not at would be interesting for the manufacturers, we are breaking through a barrier that has been around for some 75 years,” tells Schreurs.

“We believe in open innovation, also in the procurements of our city, to enable big and smaller companies (or startups) to work closely together and thereby add specific qualities that were not combined before. In this new economy small new companies will play a major role, simply because they are more flexible and creative, and this also works in different cultures and offers a lot of added value for different cultures and contexts. This new economy is more and more aimed at service which the public really wants, because this makes living simpler but still gives them the power to steer it the right way.

Here in Eindhoven we are gaining experience with this view in for instance the innovative procurement on public street lighting, which is basically a smart grid for all kinds of interactive applications. But also in our procurement on the municipal buildings, consortia created the best solutions together in an approach that stays open for collaboration with new third parties.

We don’t just talk here in Eindhoven, but we are really doing it and involve our citizens. We are answering a crucial cultural question in co-creation; how do we want our city to be?”

Mary-Ann Schreurs Vice-Mayor, city of Eindhoven, will speak at the Intelligent Sensor Networks Conference, on November 08, 2017, at High Tech Campus Eindhoven. For more information about the conference and registration, we invite you to visit https://www.isnconference.com/

The interview was made by Jakajima, the organiser of the conference. For more interviews with speakers at Jakajima conferences, we invite you to visit Jakajima’s website.

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