Shift October 23, 2018

7 things we've learned at Shift 18

Thomas Smolders

Resident Writer

On October 18, the offices of In The Pocket were crowded for the sixth edition of our annual boutique conference Shift. All day long we listened to interesting keynotes, panel discussions and workshops. These are seven things we’ve learned at Shift!



1. Use technology to spark debates

Our method is not to predict the future, but to be a radar for potential futures

Koert Van Mensvoort, Next Nature

The opening keynote was given by Koert Van Mensvoort, a Dutch artist, philosopher and scientist. Three different domains, which he perfectly combines in his Next Nature projects.

With his design-and-think tank he uses technology to spark debates on important social topics. He for instance created a cookbook for cultured meat and launched a fictional company that produced personalized sneakers crafted from genetically modified stingray leather.



2. Everything is ready for the breakthrough of AI

In order to really start with the development of artificial intelligence, there are three conditions that have finally been fulfilled. In a talk given by Gitte Vermeiren and Xavier Geerinck from Microsoft, we learned that there is not only a need for good algorithms, but also enough data and strong computers to process them.

Our own AI Lead Kenny Helsens gave a keynote about his AI Model Canvas, a handy template that allows companies to learn how they can apply artificial intelligence in their business. Keep an eye on our website, because soon the Canvas will be available for download!



3. Use AR as a feature

Many companies are wondering about how they can apply augmented reality in their business. Often they look at the development of a separate AR application, but our AR Lead Kenny Deriemaeker argued on Shift that it’s more useful to use AR as a feature.

With that in mind, we at In The Pocket developed our Roadmap to AR, a fast-paced & hands-on track, tailored specifically to discover opportunities and use cases in the exciting world of Augmented Reality.



4. It’s time to care about social cooling

The Dutch technology critic and privacy designer Tijmen Schep came to warn us about so-called 'social cooling'. This principle examines what happens when there are multiple chilling effects; situations in which rights, such as free speech, are threatened by the possible negative results of exercising these rights.

Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter or the services of Google can cause such effects. According to Schep, we must therefore always pay attention to the fact that platforms need to provide the psychological security so people dare to speak, because otherwise we end up with a totalitarian state.

Tijmen wants to take matters into his own hands and therefore developed Candle, a range of smart ànd ethical products. By using open source platforms, he’ll soon help users to build a smart home that does not share their data with the cloud.



5.Every large-scale agile transformation is different, but some challenges are universal

In the late afternoon we organized a panel discussion on agile in large corporations with Peter Jacobs (CIO ING Nederland), Jurgen De Smet (Co-Learning) and Thomas De Rycke (Agile Transformation Lead Proximus). Three experts who know better than anyone how to convert a huge tanker into a fleet of small ships.

'We had a tremendous amount of people talking about IT, and no one doing IT'

Peter Jacobs, CIO ING

One of the main takeaways from the panel discussion is that the importance of continuous delivery cannot be overstated. The most sought after benefit of an agile transformation is time-to-market. Faster time-to-market is only possible if your development teams have the capacity to continuously roll out tested code in a production-ready state.



6. Belgium is a great country to launch a company, but difficult one to grow

The panel discussion with CEOs was, as expected, very interesting. No surprise there, with Bart De Smet (Ageas), Kris Vervaet (Medialaan / De Persgroep Publishing) and Dominique Leroy (Proximus) sitting on our sofa.

Bart De Smet told about fintech startups such as Lemonade, which claim that they’ll disrupt the insurance market. "For the moment, their financial performance is bad. We checked their IT, and concluded that we can build such a service in 4 to 6 months.'

Dominique Leroy in her turn told that she believes Belgium is a complex country. ‘It’s a great country to start a company, but a difficult one to scale up.’



7. Reality 2.0

During her closing keynote, Helen Papagiannis gave a lot of examples of how companies can apply augmented reality. She showed how brands like Sephora and The New York Times are already implementing the emerging technology, and what the possibilities are in other businesses.

She concluded with a quote that summarizes it all: 'We augment our reality, and therefore our augmented reality shapes us. We can and should make a better reality.'

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