Is a leading technology region in Europe. Located in the Southeast Netherlands, with Eindhoven at its heart, this top technology region of world standing creates solutions for the societal challenges of tomorrow

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Gateways to Innovation - Lorna Goulden

Lorna Goulden is not your ordinary tech-savvy super-woman. A conversation with her introduces you to a world in which information and accountability collide.

A native of the UK but long-term resident of the Netherlands, Lorna has an unusual gift that is a combination of a sensitivity to human interactions and a technical proficiency that is driven by a desire to bring innovations to life. Her focus is not simply to find or create the next big thing technologically but to make sure the pieces we already have access to are brought together to provide the most relevant user experiences. She is driven by what she calls a ‘value model’, using her skills and experience to uncover hidden value potential of technologies. As she puts it, “if you get the value model right then the business case that follows will be far more sustainable.”

Beyond successful, Lorna’s career has put her at the crossroads of business, technology, and human experience for many years during an age of unprecedented innovation. She has not only witnessed revolutionary changes around the world she has also developed new ways to read and respond to the “triggers, trends and signals” of change. She believes the pace at which the technology is evolving is so rapid that the “new social language has not yet developed” and it requires “new social etiquette and skills”. While we have increasing access to new technology, it is not always clear how best to apply these developments to their best use and we nearly always underestimate the eventual impact. In order to do this, she says we must “learn the new language of each technology. ”In doing so it is possible for businesses to create value that not only increases efficiency, but offers new products and services, as well as improves the user experience.

In her pursuit of this end and to increase the general quality of life for her community, Lorna founded the Eindhoven Internet of Things Meetup in August 2015 and has become the community manager of the local effort to establish The Things Network in the greater Eindhoven area. Inspired by The Things Network movement in Amsterdam, and their mission to crowd-source an open, free-to-use citywide Internet of Things with a LoRaWAN technology, Lorna seeks to take the current technology and apply it at the level of her own community here in the Brainport region. Since its founding, the group has grown to more than 800 members each bringing their unique expertise and creativity to a project that has the potential to transform our community and influence human interaction in ways we have only begun to imagine.

The Brainport region’s unparalleled assemblage of skill sets makes it the ideal place to accomplish such a task. Lorna calls the area a “living lab”, where such places as Strijp-S and the Singularity University, the High Tech Campus, the Tu/e, Designhuis and the Design Academy, offer an opportunity for cross disciplinary collaboration that can be found nowhere else. Eindhoven’s location within Europe and its world position also make it ideal for travel to multiple sites. The infrastructure of the city as well as hubs such as the High Tech Campus and the TU/E offer competitive environments that spark open innovation and attract top talent from around the world.

Lorna’s visionary acumen appreciates the unique opportunity to bring together the creative potential of Eindhoven and its pool of expertise with a common goal to use their skills to better their community. With access to Eindhoven’s exceptional resources, the Internet of Things Meetup group is building their own network gateways to extend the range and give more people in the community access to this free data network. Applications for this technology are still to be discovered, within a range of possibilities, including the simple connection of sensors and things and the tracking of various types of information and data for multiple purposes. The Eindhoven Meetup brings together experts from a wide range of fields, varying cultures, languages, and perspectives. By sharing ideas and combining expertise, this community is able to draw on a vast breadth of knowledge to reach one common goal. Lorna describes the experience of working within this group as real life “collision diversity” quoting urban strategist Boyd Cohen who maintains that this is what makes a thriving and interesting city. Lorna hopes to ultimately connect their City IoT network not only within Eindhoven but also to outlying villages and nearby cities.

The ability to combine the business, technical and social applications of technology continues to be a challenge. The Internet of Things Meetup and The Things Network community offers a platform to confront this experiment. The future of the Brainport region will continue to be shaped by Lorna Goulden and others like her who challenge the status quo and seek to take Eindhoven to the next level of innovation.

For further reading on cities and collision density click here.

Written by Rory Williamson © Brainport Development

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