Innovator in the Spotlight

Ayda Golahmadi EngD trainee Smart Cities and Buildings

Improving indoor air quality in schools in the Netherlands

My research is focused on improving indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools in the Netherlands as part of the ECOS-IAQ project.

Business Model Innovation in an Exponential World

The Eindhoven Engine Academy offers a training and mentoring journey for ‘Business Model Innovation in an Exponential World’. If an assignment is clear and we know what we would like to develop, systems engineering is the right route to follow. But what do we do if we do not really know how the innovation should look? Or even worse, we do not fully understand the problem and therefore have no idea what we can do? We call these wicked problems and they are more common than expected. Corona is the obvious one and shows us every day what it means to live in a complex world surrounded by exponential events. We see the difficulty in coming up with integrated, systemic solutions for the different dimensions of the pandemic. But what about the Future of Work, for instance? Will we continue to work more remotely? What will the impact be on real estate (estimates range from 20 to 40% less demand for office space), on public transportation (the NS CEO expects the company to be more seriously strained and on mobility? How can we use exponential technologies to support a more creative and humane society?

Those wicked problems need another approach, another focus: not so much on developing the optimal solution but rather on optimally defining the problem and exploring all possible paths towards impact. This means that we think creatively and systemically about all of the dimensions of the business model within the exponential reality. It is not so much the technological innovation that makes the difference but rather the business model. Going back to the Future of Work, can we identify the business models that might still work in the near future (even though we do not know how this will look)? Companies and individuals need to take decisions, invest, develop and reorganize.

Eindhoven Engine: Walter Baets

Launch of seminars and coaching

To help with this process, Eindhoven Engine Academy is launching a combination of seminar sessions and assignment coaching (on a problem of the company or project) in order to support the design of innovation for emerging factors, for uncertainty. This process can be organized physically (corona-permitting) or virtually. The topics dealt with are understanding the exponential world, the tools for defining an impactful project, complex adaptive systems & wicked problems, organizing for emerging factors and exponential leadership. Between each workshop session, participants work on their assignment (their project).

First pilot

A first pilot is being organized with some Eindhoven Engine project volunteers and some of the Eindhoven Engine team members involved in the Future of Work. This process will help to define a demo project for the Eindhoven Engine, which we will then open up to all interested parties and facilitate in such a way as to create innovative crossovers. This demo project on the Future of Work will be announced to all in order to encourage participation.