"THE FUTURE IS ECOSYSTEMS".- DEEPAK MEHTA, ECOSYSTEM DEVELOPER, MCA – MARITIME CAMPUS ANTWERP
Deepak Mehta is the Ecosystem Developer for MCA, believing that we are solving the easily solvable problems and are left with the wicked problems that have no single solution and require cooperation to solve. Building an ecosystem helps strengthen the maritime sector by increasing its innovation readiness, but also attracts cross-industry innovation to the maritime sector. That is why the future is ecosystems.
Deepak has many side-gigs that all work from different angles on the same mission: Empowering everybody to become problem-solvers by embracing the innovator mindset and giving access to technology. Deepak does this by engaging the general public to embrace technology to solve societal challenges (Team Scheire) by bringing scientists and stage performers together at Arenberg Theater to trigger the public to debate on the societal impact of science and technology (Project Curious). Also by democratising and growing the innovator’s mindset and skillset (HackBelgiumLabs), by providing recycled IT equipment to organisations that increase digital literacy (PC Solidarity) and by having innovators inspire future innovators by talking about the emotions behind their accomplishments (TEDxAntwerp). Engaging a diverse cross-section of Antwerp and always looking to reach more of the unusual suspects.
The smartest city will be the city that supports its citizens in overcoming any challenge by nurturing innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Antwerp offers a great environment for innovation and entrepreneurship. The challenge is in empowering all parts of society.
The idea that every problem has one solution is very contextual: what works in a city such as Antwerp, may be useless in rural India or a city such as Shanghai. By diversely empowering citizens to come to their own solution, you will have a wide range of solutions: the context will determine which solution is best and where. There is not only one way to innovate. Antwerp offers a great diversity in potential innovators.
The new normal is very much about sharing, exploring and being creative: very much as in kindergarten. That is why Deepak strongly believes in involving youth in innovation, since they are still closest to that kindergarten mindset and can ask naively bold questions. Innovation is unfamiliar terrain for many professionals, so youth often has an advantage when flanked by experts.