Permanent Future Lab brings tech to the masses

    Rick Voll

    Meet Jurjen de Vries. Together with Samir Lahiri he is one of the driving forces behind the Permanent Future Lab, hosted by Seats2meet Utrecht CS. He very much feels at home there. “Sharing is part of my DNA.” On Friday’s #PFLab resides in the newly opened PopUp.

    Jurjen and I have know each other for quite a long time. Born in ’79 and ’82 respectively, we are pretty sure we must have met each other in the world of Bulletin Board Systems, without knowing identities.  Years later, together, we walked around in a 3D digital remake of painter Vincent van Gogh’s bedroom in the virtual world of Second Life. Today, we regulary meet and work at Seats2meet Utrecht CS. “I wouldn’t call myself a nerd – I enjoy soccer, I am very happy to be in a relationship and I frequently leave the house – I just love trying out new stuff, and spread the experience for the better.”

    What is Permanent Future Lab?

    Permanent Future Lab is not a company. It’s a movement. The central idea is that everyone should be able to benefit from the exponential developments in tech. “When someone shares the believe of abundant hardware availability, one can share a piece of hardware, ready to be used by anyone visiting the Lab. The tech sector is increasingly living inside its own bubble. The exponential growth of technology frequently results in people forgetting to explain to the outside world what they actually do. If you are a jewelry designer having a thriving business, chances are that you didn’t see the 3D printer coming. Potentially this could result in a Kodak moment, threatening your business.  We want to close the gap and connect worlds to get the best of both. When the jewelry designer can talk to a printer manufacturer suggesting that it would be interesting to be able to not only print plastics but bronze as well, new business models can emerge on both sides.” Five months after its inception, the Lab is full of gadgets. There’s so much interesting stuff that the inventory is refreshed frequently. From a Google Glass to a Brainwave Headset, it’s all there.  Even more important: many interesting new connections are being made.

    Serendipity Galore

    Currently #PFLab has two locations. One in a meeting space in Seats2meet Utrecht CS and in a pop-up space in the center of the biggest indoor shopping mall of The Netherlands, Hoog Catharijne. The PopUp is characterized by an impressive glass wall, making a direct connection between the hosts and the people passing by.  “In the Lab we have a DIY 3D printer, which was built by the mesh. Everyone could see us working on the project. Many offered their knowledge and support. Some lend a hand for 10 minutes, others stayed much longer. It’s the ultimate form of co-creation. One of the supporters, Rick Voll, a student was so impressed by what he saw happening in the PopUp that he decided to share a Google Cardboard, which he was selling with his start-up. From that moment on he became a regular. It’s all about Serendipity; ‘making discoveries that you are not in quest of’.

    “Once I was in a meeting to discuss the possibility of opening a lab in a museum in The Hague. A colleague came along and asked if it was ok to stay for work. Her being there, reminded me that she once told me she’s working on a book about museum cafes. You can imagine, new connections where born right there and then.” Genuine contact seems to be an important part of the process, The Lab originated from a serendipitous meeting between Jurjen and one other guy, Samir Lahiri. Samir had done everything to find a new job. Then he got to know Seats2meet where he started talking with Jurjen during a ‘Clean Up and Cheers’ event during which staff and co-workers collaboratively clean up Seats2meet Utrecht CS. Samir and Jurjen had a good time together, and they shared a passion. A passion for innovation. It would prove to be the beginning of the movement also known as Permanent Future Lab. You can read Samir’s full story. [DUTCH] It also mentions @DeBroekriem, soon to be interviewed for this magazine as well.

    A recent Dutch article shows that you can have many different perspectives on finding your way in Society 3.0. For Jurjen, it’s all about awareness: “A former employer of mine, Mobile Doctors, came to visit the Lab. We shared our knowledge and showed all kinds of possibilities,. At the end of the visit we were asked if it was possible to write some content on new technologies. New business opportunities emerged, for more people then just me. If I didn’t share that much, I would have to buy all the technology I love all by myself. Instead of doing it the old way, I now have early access to cool stuff and I don’t have to purely focus on the money to finance my passion. See the possibilities and just do it.”

    Feel free to follow Permanent Future Lab and/or Jurjen on Twitter!  The PopUp can be found in front of Claudia Sträter and Invito. (Radboudplein Hoog Catharijne)