Put innovation, interaction and inspiration together and before you know it, you are at the Future Flux Festival on the RDM Rotterdam premises. In just a decade, RDM Rotterdam has been transformed from a derelict industrial complex into an innovative ecosystem. The tenth anniversary of RDM Rotterdam was celebrated during the Future Flux Festival with a display of new art, technology, music, workshops and stories from those behind its creation.
AN ESCAPE ROOM
With a little imagination, we could see RDM Rotterdam as a giant escape room. A few hundred ambitious, creative and resourceful individuals, boasting a great diversity of skills join forces here every day to work – in small teams – on innovative solutions for the issues facing both corporate life and society in general. Their aim: to turn their solutions into success stories that will enable them to ‘escape’ from the RDM premises and move on to the market.
Allard Castelein, president-director of the Port of Rotterdam, expects that many start-ups will succeed in outgrowing the RDM complex, ‘What will these premises look like ten years from now? Exactly the same, and yet totally different. Of course, this will remain an innovative ecosystem with an unchanged atmosphere and energy but with the new innovation that will emerge through changing technologies.’
HUNDREDS OF INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS
The Future Flux Festival offers a starting point for a large number of innovations currently being developed by talented professionals. A team from the Hogeschool Rotterdam offered a demonstration of the steel construction of what will eventually become a self-driven electric vehicle. ‘This vehicle is designed to drive on the Lijnbaan, behind a waste collector, to collect household waste’, explains one of the students, who admits that much work remains to be done. His team is waiting for the components required for the vehicle’s drive and wheel control. ‘And we may still need to modify the construction. We probably won’t need the central section, so we should be able to shorten the vehicle as a whole, which will offer an undeniable advantage on the Lijnbaan.’
Talking from an ‘orange bubble’, Wilco Stavenuiter from Tetrahedron explains to other young entrepreneurs that focus is crucial to start-ups. ‘We are looking to build a crane for the installation on high ground of new generation wind turbines. The crane does not necessarily need to stretch very far, nor lift colossal weights, but simply do exactly the job it is designed for, hence enabling us to propose a truly cost-effective solution.’
MEET WITH THE FUTURE
‘One of the greatest challenges is training the talented people who will be working on major innovations,’ says Ron Bormans, Board Chairman of Hogeschool Rotterdam,. ‘Yesterday’s future is today’s present and, as such is now seen as a logical consequence of past developments. However, ten or twenty years ago we could never have imagined what is going on today. Neither can we predict today’s future; however, we are faced with the necessity of training and preparing students precisely for that unknown future. We do so by, first and foremost, talking to them about the past and the present. To help them, we can apply the following maxim, ‘If you don’t know the future, then go and meet with it’. Here, at RDM Rotterdam, we create that future.’
Prior to the tenth anniversary of RDM Rotterdam, the city centre was buzzing with activity. One of these activities was organised by the Rotterdam Make It Happen brand alliance. Passers-by were invited to spend an afternoon at the Rotterdam Make It Happen container, located at the Schouwburgplein, to take part in an escape room game. Rotterdammer residents had to help connect the emergency generator and get it running again by cycling very hard. You can view this activity in the video below.
This is a shortened version of an article on the Port of Rotterdam website.