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“The Graphic Arts industry is on the verge of reinventing itself”


More than ever, the Graphic Arts industry is facing major changes and enormous challenges. It’s time to break new ground. This requires inspiration and creativity, innovation and collaboration. The VIGC (Vlaams Innovatiecentrum voor Grafische Communicatie) is now taking the lead in this journey and challenging everyone in the sector to the very first Graphic Arts hackathon in the industry. “Take part – and help reinvent the future of our industry.” VIGC joins forces with EY The Factory to organize this international and fully virtual innovation event.  

Graphic Arts Industry Hackathon

Two-day Hackathon

For several years now, the VIGC Congress has been the meeting point for the graphic industry in Flanders and the Netherlands. Industry-leaders and stakeholders come together to share and create knowledge. This time, despite the Covid-19 circumstances, will be no different. In fact, VIGC director Jos Steutelings and his team seize the opportunity to expand the event into “The week of the graphics industry”. For the first time, a virtual edition of the Congress will be preceded by a two-day hackathon in collaboration with the innovation specialists of EY

Let sparks fly  

“We want to bring people together and ask them to think about a future-proof industry”, Steutelings summarizes the hackathon mission. The participants preferably come from all walks of life and disciplines in the industry: production companies, manufacturers, and suppliers. External stakeholders, such as training courses, governments, and clients are also welcome. Jan De Clippeleer, Executive Director at EY, adds: “They can also be technical as well as commercial people, from large companies, SMEs and startups. Precisely if we manage to bring all stakeholders together and establish cross-connections, there is a good chance that sparks will fly and something new will actually emerge. ” 

From challenge to tangible solution 

De Clippeleer has extensive experience – and successes – with hackathons in all kinds of industries. Nevertheless, he is particularly looking forward to the VIGC Hackathon. Jan previously worked for nearly 30 years at Agfa, more than half of which in the graphics division, and was on the board of VIGC for several years. He explains: “A hackathon is an extremely stimulating method to come up with creative solutions for a challenge. You work together in teams over a defined time span, in this case, 48 hours, on a specific theme or a clearly defined challenge. 

VIGC and EY will also provide guidance and coaching. The aim is to arrive at a tangible solution in that short time. This may be a prototype, but also a mock-up or a piece of software – with an appropriate business model. “The latter is important, De Clippeleer emphasizes: “In the final judging, attention is paid to both the innovativeness and the ultimate applicability of the presented solution.” 

Jan De Clippeleer –
Executive Director EY
Jos Steutelings –
VIGC Director

Virtual innovation 

The organization of the VIGC Hackathon cannot escape “the new normal”. Where previously, the hackathon teams gathered in the EY wavespace™ Antwerp to put their heads together, the participants will now work together remotely. “This happens via plenary virtual meetings, small ad hoc meetings via Teams, ZOOM or Skype, for example, and via all kinds of chat channels such as Slack,” says De Clippeleer. “We have had very good experiences with virtual hackathons in recent months and it appears to work excellently!”

He cites as an example the Belgian “HackTheCrisis” hackathon. “End of March, we went on a quest for innovative solutions for the impact of Covid-19 on healthcare, in companies and in education. More than 600 participants took part in this virtual online hackathon. Prominent figures such as ministers Jan Jambon and Hilde Crevits also paid us a visit online. Within 48 hours, 33 very tangible solutions were devised. A beautiful example is the live streaming platform for Belgian artists that is now actually operational via!” 

Join the VIGC Hackathon! 

De Clippeleer and Steutelings are convinced that there are more than enough creative and innovative players in and around the sector to make the VIGC Hackathon a success and to help the industry move forward. “Especially now, everybody in the industry is looking for ways to build a sustainable future with new technologies, new services, and new business models. This hackathon is the way to bring all ideas and knowledge together and reinvent our industry!” They, therefore, call on everyone to register for participation: “You can register as a team, but also as an individual. You can participate to help conceive new solutions, but you can also participate as a mentor or coach and act as a soundboard for multiple teams. This hackathon is very interesting for everyone passionate about Graphic Arts. ” 

Week of the Graphics industry 

“The week of the graphics industry” starts on Monday, October 12 with the kickoff of the hackathon. Judging will take place on Tuesday 13 October. The three nominated projects will be presented to the public on Thursday 15 October. This will happen during the virtual edition of Het Congres, which once again has an inspiring speaker program led by presenter Francesca Vanthielen. For more information on the week of the graphics industry, click here.  

Original article by Ed Boogaard on 

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