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Great minds thinking alike, but differently

‘It started as a hobby project,’ says TMC Employeneur Yicong Chen. ‘I met the people from Ideeënlab at a Hackathon – a gathering where people interested in computer technology pitch ideas, discuss new technologies and look for original solutions to common problems.’ Yicong started visiting Ideeënlab’s space regularly, to look for inspiration and to admire their devices. When she joined TMC, she was struck by the similarities between Ideeënlab and TMC’s Entrepreneurial Lab, and decided to bring the two together. Last week, Ideeënlab and TMC met in an informal, very inspiring pizza session.

‘We began by having a pizza – always a nice way to break the ice. And after we’d got to know each other, there were three presentations.’

First, Viola van Alphen talked about her work as curator of ‘Manifestations’, an event that explores future technological and societal developments, such as the possibilities of virtual reality and artificial social intelligence. Like Ideeënlab and TMC, Manifestations will feature at the next Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven – ‘so there might be ways in which we can support each other,’ says Yicong.

After Viola’s presentation, designer Pim de Bilde talked about his VR-chair Project. ‘Visitors to the Dutch Design Week will sit in a chair and put on Virtual Reality goggles,’ Yicong summarizes. ‘The chair then follows a pre-defined route through a small space. The challenge of the project lies in the kind of content that will be presented to the visitor, and in how to synchronize the content with the driving of the chair.’

The third presentation was given by Benjamin Jurg, Manager of TMC’s Entrepreneurial Lab. He described the work going on at the Lab, and the ideology behind it.

‘Everyone was really intrigued by the projects we discussed, and by the ways in which they might influence one another,’ Yicong says. A follow-up session is currently being planned, which is something Yicong applauds: ‘The people at Ideeënlab always have interesting ideas that combine technology and design. Sometimes, if you’re developing technology, a touch of design thinking can be really useful to turn a piece of tech into a satisfying consumer experience.’

Yicong is all in favour of combining technologies: ‘If you work alone, it can be quite challenging to come up with good ideas. I’ve found it helps to discuss your plans and challenges with your colleagues – especially the ones working in a slightly different domain. They understand the way you think, and speak the same language, but look at your work and your dilemmas from a different perspective. Often, this provides insights you wouldn’t have been able to come up with by yourself. Even the smallest suggestion can shed an interesting new light on a project.’ In the future, Yicong hopes to continue bringing original thinkers together: ‘I myself have learned a lot from it, and I hope others will, too.’

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