Belgian companies join world-renowned research institutes for innovation

On Monday 18 February, the IC Institute, INNOCOM’s education and research institute, is launching its ‘Digital Leaders Competence Center’ (DL2C).

Leaders of Belgian companies from various sectors will join experts from research institutes such as Imec, INNOCOM and Singularity University – a think tank from Silicon Valley – in DL2C. The aim is to share expertise and experiences with each other and the research institutes helping to shape new technological innovations.

Leaders

More than 10 companies are actively participating in the Digital Leaders Competence Center’s launch. Two conferences, three roundtable discussions and a workshop have already been organised for the first six months of this year. The conferences will prepare the companies taking part for unexpected innovations and extensive automation, serving as inspiration for new ideas to be discussed in more detail in the roundtable discussions. The workshop will focus on practical development and implementation.

The IC Institute is using DL2C to appeal to company directors and senior management teams from various organisations. Jonas Van Riel, Managing Director of the IC Institute, explains this strategic decision: ‘It’s not just technology that moves fast; society is constantly evolving too. The lines between sectors are becoming more blurred, and small companies are disrupting big ones. We think change doesn’t just come from the bottom up, and managers need to take responsibility for safeguarding sustainable futures for their companies. They need to spring into action now, develop a vision for tomorrow and beyond, and implement it.’ DL2C encompasses all these elements.

Cross-pollination

The IC Institute wants DL2C to combine theory with practice. Experts from the research institutes, think tanks and INNOCOM will provide insights into what these new technologies can make possible. The aim of the initiative is to help participating companies bring these technologies to life, and convert them into practical projects and experiments. The visions and experiences that this leads to can be shared between and tested by the research institutes.

The conferences, roundtable discussions and workshop are open to Belgian companies from all sectors. Van Riel: ‘The main benefit comes as a result of companies from various sectors coming up with different ideas and insights together.’ He believes in the motto: We’re Stronger Together, and thinks this will lead to cross-pollination. ‘Something that’s already been introduced by a utility company such as Fluvius can also be useful for an HR service provider like SD Worx or a bank like KBC, and vice versa. We’re bringing these companies together with research institutes to look at technological innovation, so they can provide better and new services or launch different business models.’

Pilot projects

Simply sharing experiences, insights and thoughts isn’t enough; a new idea that has the potential to succeed also needs to be put into practice. And this is what the Digital Leaders Competence Center will help participating companies with. Senior consultants from INNOCOM will provide support to the organisations taking part, so they can keep developing their ideas further even after the conferences, roundtable discussions and workshop. The organisations will be able to take advantage of this support as they see fit, and for example choose to develop one main project or various smaller ones. It can be about challenging an idea, doing an experiment, or launching a feasibility study or pilot project.