Feeding Megacities With AI Grown Food, The Future Is Here | TBCY

Feeding Megacities With AI Grown Food, The Future Is Here | TBCY

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What is the ideal profile of a CEO in the current  board? Someone who is in touch with reality,   knows about the big questions of this time  and for instance, knows about all the issues   that we see at world economic forum but  is also in touch with movements in society,   so that he knows to bridge. That is an ideal  CEO and in the company it is someone who walks the talk and do that together  with her or his people and is engaged. Welcome to another episode of the Brand Called  You, a podcast and video show which brings you   leadership lessons, knowledge, experience  and wisdom from hundreds of successful   people around the world. If you're new to the  channel please subscribe and hit the bell icon.   I'm your host Fritz Bussemaker and today I'm  delighted and privileged to have a conversation   with Professor Annemieke Roobeek. Annemieke, welcome to the show.  Thank you very much. Allow me to introduce Annemieke. She's a professor of Strategy and Transformation  Management at Nyenrode Business University.  

She's also the youngest female professor ever in  the Netherlands for technology and economy. Now   she does international comparative research such  as an EU project on innovation and sustainability.   She's a regular speaker with institutes like INSEAD  at Fontainebleau, is member of Supervisory Boards   like the Dutch ABN AMRO Bank, Royal Dutch Airlines, Energy Company Eneco but is   also an Entrepreneur and Founder of companies  like MeetingMoreMinds and GrwNxt. So again   Annemieke, welcome to the show. Thank you so much Fritz. It's very happy to to be in this program.  

Now, in my introduction I mentioned  you are the youngest female professor.   How did that help you or how did that  actually stop you from doing things?   A good question, when in 1989 perhaps you can  recall but that was really a time when the new   technologies came up and I started  already in the end of the 70s working   on the new techno-economic paradigm and  combining technologies and I was very active   in writing future scenarios and my  background is international relations,   economics and political science. So I could see  things much more from a systemic point of view   and I think that particularly at the  end of the 80s there was a time where   much more openness came for new insights and I got this first position of a chair of technology and economy in the Netherlands. Although  I was 29 but I had done already many things

and I think that it has helped me a  lot. I've never been afraid saying what   I have as a vision because I always can underpin  it with analysis and therefore I'm the researcher   but I'm also the woman who is on a mission  and wants to put concepts into action   and that actual research, that's what I very much started also with my first chair   as a professor for technology and economy but  later on also as a professor for metropolitan   affairs and therefore my love for mega  cities but also the complexity part   for which I had a chair at the University of  Amsterdam. I'm still at Nyenrode for strategy   and transformation management and I love  to have the combination of, on the one hand thinking and working on the big vision  but also to translate that into action,   so that entrepreneurs or NGOs or people in  society can work with it and therefore I speak a lot as well to sharpen my  mind but also to engage with others.   Did I just hear you explain what that mission  is you alluded to share that experience?   Yeah, well I think that if you look at  the red current in my career, you can always see that it is on innovation. So  don't be afraid of what is new but know what you   can do with it and how these new possibilities  can fit to big problems and therefore for me   innovation and sustainability are two parts of  the same coin. So even when I did my PhD in the   80s, I worked on, you know, what are these system problems in terms of sustainability but also   is mass production the answer or is it causing  so many problems or fossil energy is that an enabler or is that in fact causing  more problems as we saw and seen every day right   now with climate change. And I think that my  mission is indeed

to start a dialogue on these big issues and then  to ask the questions because that's the dialogue.   To ask the questions and to have the conversation  but also because you do research with your teams,   also to test out life, potential of the  solutions you have in mind and then how to do   that with other people because the questions are  too big to work on a solution on your own.   So what I'm hearing you saying is it's  great to have your head in the clouds   to be a thinker but you also have to have your  feet in the mud. You have to do it. Now, I was wondering as a  Professor of Strategy and Transformation   Management, at the moment we see the world   experiencing quite a big change, the world economic  forum calls this the fourth industrial wave. How   significant is this change according to you and  actually what triggered it, where did it come from?   Well I think the trigger is already going on  for more than 25 years and in fact we are already   in a transition for more than 25 years. You are an  expert in digital transformation yourself  

and you've seen that, you've experienced  that, you've been a catalyzer for that as well   but what makes it different right now is that we  are now in a period of time where many of   let's say transitions that go on already for 20-25  years come together in a very short period of time   and corona is only, it is a  kind of amplifier but it was there already.   All these transitions but when these things  come together then you get the big jump and   that's the transformation and that's why it  is so interesting. From a strategic point of   view you can  look forward but you know what was behind you.

So you know in what kind of transitions you  are and from a strategy point of view you   know when to jump and now we have to jump.  We have to jump in terms of climate change,   energy, type of productions, the way we  produce things, circularity, healthy society,   how we organize education, how we reorganize  settings of work, all ways of work. All these things   come together yeah and it's on a global scale  and that's the transformation you're in right now.   That sounds quite scary, you have so much changing.  I mean I can imagine that organizations,  

CEOs, I know you're a member of a number of  advisory boards. I would be quite scared and   concerned if I were them with all those changes.  So what do you see happening in your environment?   Well I think here also leadership comes  around the corner and here you see a big shift.   On the one hand for instance, I would  say the newly appointed CEO of Enaco , the   energy company where I'm on the non-executive  board and he is someone I would say with a new vision and the creativity  to work with partly the existing team to go for   a one planet plan that goes much farther than any  energy company in the world and at the   same time I also see companies and many CEOs  who think, oh well perhaps not now, perhaps in a   few years. Let's call it a transition and let's postpone. But in times of transformation   you can't postpone, then you're out because your  people know that you're not doing the right thing.   Because CEOs have to rely on their people and the  people who are all knowledgeable, you   can't say well these were people who know in modern companies,   the people who work there have  more knowledge than the CEO   and they feed the CEO and if the CEO is not  taking up all these signals that are there   already from a longer time, it's not the right  CEO. And if that CEO is not able to make the  

jump and oversee the systemic changes that have to  occur at the same time, he's not the right leader   because he cannot engage with the subject,  let alone with these people. If you are a CEO   and you're describing this situation  how often do you see CEO being   honest and realize, look I'm not the  right person anymore for this job. Not so often but there we also have  responsibility as non-executive members.   So the supervisory board also has a  role in this, that we have to, we are responsible for the long-term view  and we have to see whether the CEO but also   members in the board and the executive  committee whether they are capable of fulfilling   the tasks particularly in this period of time and  sometimes then you have to take harsh decisions.  

So what does it take, what is the  ideal profile of a CEO in the current board?   Someone who is in touch with reality, in knows  about the big questions of this time and for   instance knows about all the issues that we see at world economic forum but is also in touch   with movements in society, so that he knows to  bridge. That is an ideal CEO and in the company   it is someone who walks the talk and do that  together with her or his people and is engaged.   So it's not only, this is the strategy but  let's work on the execution and we need you   to make that happen and if that letter part is not  there or if the person is not able to connect then   it's not the right leader for this transformation  of time. So it is about engaged leadership,  

that's the future? Yeah and engaged leadership  is not only for the CEO, it is in fact engagement   is an extremely important capability or skill  for which you need to collaborate to network   to have an open mind to work across silo to  connect people in your company and outside and inside   from the different lines. And in fact to do that  in a 3D mode and I think that is what we asked. Very often you see that people in  the organization particularly knowledge workers and younger people know much better how to do  this. Whereas sometimes you think that people in   the higher they come the more they have to  learn how to do this. Now I read somewhere in   the article that you speak of a new role  which the organization needs, the Weber.   Can you please expand on it?  What is a weber, is that what you just described?   Well no, the the weber is, I developed the word weber when   I worked on networking already in the late  80s and the networks of networks   go over into ecosystems and that is something  what you see coming up in the 90s and then companies don't want it and now it is extremely in to talk about ecosystems but   what is essential in developing networks and  networks of networks into ecosystems is that you   have people in the organization, doesn't need to be  the CEO preferably not the CEO but that you have   several people in the organization  and sometimes also people from outside   who are able to connect, connect content  with people with human capacities.  

Who connect the ideas with the execution,  who can lead not one project but several   at the same time much more in a programmatic  way so that you can make that systems change.   And the weber is someone who is, what  I call a horizontal networking leader because   it is not a hierarchy, it is someone who needs to  work with the different levels in a horizontal way.   What makes it special, the role of the weber is  that the weber is not only let's say the busy bee   from working with a content but also with  a strategic view but he or she or the group has   direct access to the top because they have a  mandate, a mandate to operate and very often when   you compare it with just a project leader, then  a project leader may do one thing but here   you work on big questions with many  parties and then you need mandates   and not to go back for everything. And a very  important role of the weber and that's also why   he or she is also a diplomat is that he or she  can de-escalate and that means that the top   can go on and work with each  other but the execution is guaranteed   and that is very important certainly if you know  that more than 80% of strategy is never executed.  

And you learn this or is this more an  attitude, part of somebody's   character. Well, it's an interesting question Fritz  because when I explained it for instance,    during my lectures at Nyenrode then there  are always people so happy when they say, oh but   that's what I do but I didn't know the word for it.  So it is something that people do   who already are in that mindset of  networking and ecosystems and organizing the big changes. And I can imagine  by giving it the label you empower people, hey  

I'm being recognized for what I do. Yeah but at  the same time you have to learn some of the skills   and for instance, for one very large international  financial player based in the Netherlands, we did a program where we learned the  skills for engagement leaders but they are   partly based on what do you need as a weber.  So what is the networking? Networking is not   just giving your business card but working  with each other on something that has a meaning   and collaboration inside outside, sinking beyond  the silos and not to be afraid to do something   where you work together with others,  where your manager has nothing to say about.   So that's the empowerment  you addressed earlier but also being the connection between  the often very general lines of   strategy put on paper often by external  advisors and then reproduced by the CEO   and then doing the execution and what we did there  was empower people throughout the world. It  

was a worldwide project we did in the past three  quarter years but we empower the people with   management on my side as a co-host, as a real kind  of session just as we do now. But as a course to   engage people to come up with those let's say,  strategic projects that could be executed in   the different regions of the world but that would  add up to the execution of the entire strategy and   that was fantastic and it still is fantastic.  Already a question I had, I think you answered it.   No worries. In a sense I was wondering  about cultural differences you see   around the world different leadership styles.  How does culture play an impact?  

Yes, a good question because it's not one  size fits all, at the same time what   we did is that all the participants and these  were about 200 in this project from all over   the world, they got regional assessments.  So assessments where 80% of what   we tested was more or less the same. The 20% was specific for those parts of the world   taking into account the cultural  differences but also to award that   and not to say well everything is equal. We  think that it's important. So for instance, for the   asia-pacific, it is very important  to think less in hierarchies   and really to open up for collaboration but  they are so good in innovation and when you   then stress the innovative part then the  other elements come as well. Whereas for   instance, in the Americas you touch  up other elements and in Europe, the EMEA   part we know that collaboration is easier. It  is more or less a thing what we easier can do

and in the U.S. it's really the  top says that we think in tasks   whereas innovation is not a task,  it is a collective,  a challenge and these kind of things you  can test before and that's also what we did,   so that we were sure that we had the right people  in the project as the future engagement leaders.   Knowing the futures of this show probably  very interested in results of this research.   Is anything where people can read up online?  Yeah, well we are now writing some articles   but also some interviews are done and I would  say look at our website MeetingMoreMinds   and you will certainly learn more from it. Great and that's actually a nice bridge to   another part of your background because  so far we've talked about your role   as a professor, as an academic supervisory role  but you're also an entrepreneur yourself and well we happen to know each other from years  ago, when you founded MeetingMoreMinds   and I was found that a fascinating company  because it was so ahead of its time. Can  

you explain to the answer a little bit what  MeetingMoreMinds is? Yeah, well MeetingMoreMinds   is, it's a smaller organization, an advisory but  it's specialized in developing networks around   innovative or novel activities with more than  one business. So it really is about networking and   going beyond your own because the underlying  thought is innovation is a collaborative action   and you can learn from each other when you work  with each other, when you invest into each other. So MeetingMoreMinds was indeed having that  open mind and work with each other and that's also what we still do today. So we were  founded in 1999 and we see that our ideas   and also the evidence we  produced in the past decades   is really paying off right now because  it seems that the majority of let's say   business or even public sector things, this  is really what we need now, yes. But I think   MeetingMoreMinds was really the frontrunner  for networking and developing ecosystems long before it became on folk. But we know how  and why and what you need to do and I think   putting things in practice and not only staying in the ivory   tower is really what I am and what I would  like to keep doing. But also what I hear you  

say advising any entrepreneur out there, any  academic out there do both stupid and practice. I think that's what I very much like about  Nyenrode that they very much want us not only to thinking and lecture about academic concepts but also to be active in the fields. Feet in the mud. Now I know you've set up a number of   organizations. What was the latest endeavor,  what is the latest endeavor? That's GrwNxt and GrwNxt is in fact reinventing plant  science with artificial intelligence,   machine learning and image recognition and doing  that with the latest technologies and we develop beautiful growth modules that are really a duel  when you have the princes in your hotel reception   or in your hospital when people come in or in an office building and what you see is that extremely, in fact a new  a novel kind of greens with   many vitamins, minerals and proteins are  growing there just in front of your eyes and then   within meters you will get it on your plate and  then the nice thing is you don't need to eat much   of it because it is so rich that you get all  the natural nutrients inside your body without   any pesticide or anything else. It's pure nature  but grown in the most digital way as possible.  

I have to get my head around this, using  AI to grow plants. Can you explain to the   answer just a little bit and also to  me, how do you use AI to grow a plant?   Well with AI, we can detect much better what  the growth phases are a plant goes through. Very often in traditional plant science you say  well there are four growth phases and with AI  you have a lens where you see things much better  closer and why is that important because there are   dozens of growth faces and  what we can do with the latest led technology for   lighting combined with the nutrients to feed the  water in these hydroponic systems. We can make what   we call dynamic digital recipes, therefore we need  AI but we also have to learn the computer to work   with the input of the AI about the growth of the  plant and with the image recognition what we do   is that, we also can more or less virtually  see the growing of the plants and the health of   the plants and the happiness of the plants. When  you combine these technologies, you have a new   core to redefine plant science and that's  what we do in an integrated IOT system and that   IOT system is of course connected to the  cloud and in the coming decade you will see   many thousands of places where you have these  beautiful growth rooms, these growth modules,   looks nice and people get their food in  a very healthy way without distribution, without   damaging the earth with a very low food  imprints. It's very sustainable but it's also  

an answer to safety and security and that  is new and that was not possible 10 years ago   because now we can make the combinations  of the technologies from AI to light   but we see also that, I just got a  email before we had this talk   of someone working at airports, catering  for airports and he said this is so important   but now we can feed mega cities and we can show  people all over the world that healthy food   is just available, accessible and I think that's  extremely interesting to work on. It's   one of the big questions I had where I combined  many of the areas of science where I worked in   and this is feeding mega cities. It's combining my  knowledge about metropolitan affairs, my technology   part, my societal part and the complexity  part. It all comes together and we do it with  

in an ecosystem with many parties from the  green tech up to finance from the hospitality   up to the AI community and this is really  the collaborative action to give   the world something, I think we need. This is  where MeetingMoreMinds came that comes to life.   Well MeetingMoreMinds  was in fact the incubator   for codex and granex is the spit out of  MeetingMoreMinds yeah but we could never do this.   If we could not think big and if we could  not connect to so many parties and if we could not   get the opportunity to speak and to go on stage and to have the dialogues and to   sharpen the mind but we got as I said,  we got the AI for good award for the food track. The AI for good, that's been set up by the  ITU, the International Telecom Union of the United   Nations. Yeah, exactly. Congratulations, well done.  Yeah and it was a fantastic experience for   the GrwNxt team because we got a lot  of support from all these experts, from the universities but also from the big  companies, from the unknowns to the Google's,   the Microsoft's, also the Johns Hopkins University, really very interesting and also   challenging but we also got rewards  for our R&D efforts for the dynamic digital   recipes and for a totally new kind of robotic  arm we are now developing for our modules   and we call her the Ballerina and I think that's  also the feminization of technology. I am certain   you have touched upon so many topics where I'm  certain people want to know much much more about.

We're at the end of the show. So Annemieke, I'm really really honored and   want to thank you for sharing your insights  as an academic we need engaged leadership,   companies should look at what a  weber can do for their organization   and you've demonstrated some great examples as an entrepreneur, helping to   improve the world. So Annemieke, thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you. Thank you for listening to the Brand Called You,  videocast and podcast. A platform that brings you   knowledge, experience and wisdom of hundreds of  successful individuals from around the world.   Do visit our website www.tbcy.com to watch and  listen to the stories of many more individuals. You  

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2021-06-09 07:56

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