Four days of quickfire presentations and stimulating panel discussions about the crowd economy and its impact on established markets began last night with a reception at BNP Paribas Fortis in Brussels for speakers, VIPs and guests.


Maris Sefcovic
, VP EU European Commission Energy Union highlighted the synergy between the conference’s topics and the focus of much current EU attention – funding for small and startup businesses, entrepreneurship, crowd innovation, smart cities, mobility, energy and the challenge of employability. Here is a link to his full speech.

Digitisation and big data generation, and a transformation of business models that is breaking down traditional silos have impacted on all of these aspects of daily life.

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In particular the EU is encouraging city mayors to create plans for smart cities with sustainable goals, even if their own national government is not. There are 71,000 cities where mayors work for 600m people. Perhaps there are opportunities to create city planning and development templates that can be used globally?

As for education of the next generation, what’s the value of a degree if graduates can’t get an appropriate job with one? Where is the innovation in the education system to help them? This is one of the most visible challenges in Europe.

While the audience considered these points we were entertained by international concert cellist Gjilberta.

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And then Yvan De Cock, Advisor to CEO BNP Paribas Fortis informed us that all the topics being discussed this week had one thing in common – change! To highlight contemporary change in business methods and attitudes to business De Cock praised the Wave exhibition that has toured the world and is now being hosted in Brussels by BNP Paribas Fortis for two weeks.

The purpose of Wave is to inspire people and challenge traditional thinking by highlighting the ingenuity that crowds of people around the world have displayed to come together and find new solutions and create mutual value at more levels than just financial or transactional. He hopes that CSW Europe 2016 attendees will be inspired to find solutions to their own challenges through empowerment and collective intelligence.

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CSW Europe 2016 is running until Friday November 25 with themed days focussing on key elements of the crowd economy landscape. Join us for four full days of presentations and debates. Here is a full agenda and tickets are available here for each individual day.