Our Future in the Making

How personalised & digital fabrication is shaping the way we learn, produce, live and work.

DaVinci Institute Futurist Panel

8 December 2016 • 11am-1pm @ GE Garages Europe Brussels

Free Registration

Technological innovation has always had a significant impact on society – on the way we communicate, work and express ourselves. However, the current speed, scope and impact of technological developments is unprecedented. The enormous progress made on digital design, virtual collaboration, advanced robotics, the Internet of Things and big data is often hailed as the dawn of a new industrial revolution – the path to Industry 4.0.

These innovations will have a significant impact on the way we work. Smart manufacturing leads to more customised products, more automatisation and project-based global teams. At the same time, they will transform the way we live, interact and learn: wearable technology, mobile data, less routine jobs, more scope for entrepreneurship and micro-industry and global connectivity challenge our concepts of ‘work time’ and ‘leisure time’.

Is Europe ready for this future in the making?

Industry is one of the pillars of the European economy – the manufacturing sector in the European Union accounts for 2 million enterprises and 33 million jobs. While strong in some key sectors such as electronics, telecom equipment, sensor technologies and research, many traditional sectors and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are lagging behind.

How will these new developments affect our daily lives?

Industry 4.0 changes the concepts of work, workplace, health and safety, availability and flexibility. The increasing need for entrepreneurship, continuous training and cooperation require new skills, new attitudes and new time tables.

Join the discussion with industry leaders, policy makers, designers, entrepreneurs, thinkers and makers.


Ruby Gropas

Ruby Gropas

European Political Strategy Centre

As Leader of the Social Affairs Team at the EPSC, Ruby and her team published the EPSC Strategy Document ‘The Future of Work – Skills and Resilience for a World of Change’. Her research and publications have focused on different aspects of migration, European integration, foreign policy and human rights. She holds a PhD in International Relations from Cambridge University.


Alireza Parandian


Alireza is responsible for Corporate Business Development at Materialise. An additive manufacturing expert with a strong multidisciplinary background, extensive experience in facilitating the use of new technologies to create breakthrough product innovations and strong ability to bridge distant communities. Alireza is a critical thinker with passion for entrepreneurship and exploring new ideas.


Jan De Coster

Slightly Overdone Studio

Founder and creative director of Slightly Overdone Studio, exploring the boundaries of Human-Robot Interaction. Jan is artist, engineer, educator, maker and enthusiastic robot designer. Jan promotes the creative side of electronics and the design of interactivity in physical space. He believes that we need more robot-designers and that we should focus on their emotional side.


Meta Štular


Founder of the Culturemaker Institute and director of RogLab – an interdisciplinary production space and cooperation platform for collaborative fabrication with focus on 3D technologies in the field of design, architecture and visual arts. Meta is also a founding member of FabLabNet – a central European network of makerspaces aiming to promote the new models of work to education, society and policy alike.

Philippe Kern

Philippe Kern

KEA International

Founder and Director at KEA International – a creative policy design specialist with offices in in Brussels, Hong Kong & Shenzhen. Founder and co-chairman of CECCIA – China Europe Culture and Creative Industries Alliance. Philippe is an expert in cultural economics advises territories, organisations and people to unlock the potential of the creative industries.


Benita Lipps

DaVinci Institute

Benita is the Executive Director of the DaVinci Institute Brussels and the moderator of this panel. As a critical thinker and social innovator, Benita likes to bring together people from different backgrounds and sectors for new and engaging dialogues. The DaVinci Institute is a European think tank and consultancy fostering social innovation in science, culture and society through projects, networks and events.

Free Registration

Practical Information

The panel is organised as part of GE Garages Europe – a mobile FabLab where leading entrepreneurs, software developers, engineers, designers, and other innovators share their experiences and views on the future of work.

GE Garages Europe are taking over the Panoramic Hall at the Square – Brussels Meeting Centre from 5-12 December.



The Square – Brussels Meeting Centre

Panoramic Hall – Coudenberg Entrace

Coudenberg 3 • 1000 Brussels