With numbers skyrocketing all around the globe, COVID-19 continues to catch us in speed. At Otherwhere it is our number one priority to at all times provide a positive and safe experience for all of our clients, teams and collaborators. This is why it was a no-brainer for us to move the already planned Team&Space sessions to (hopefully) safer times in 2021.
Patience is a virtue, as 2020 keeps reminding us in so many ways.
This also means you'll have to wait a bit longer to discover Circularium, with whom we partnered up to bring Team&Space to your team and organisation. What is Circularium all about? We had a chat with Gerd, one of the initiators behind this new hub in Brussels on circular economy.
Thanks for making time for us, Gerd. Could you describe yourself in five words?
I am Gerd De Wilde. Five, right?
Together with Jonathan you have founded Makettt. What were your objectives?
I wished to create a structure that would empower me to apply my ideas and vision... through which I could fully be myself! A structure that aspires to help society and the economy towards a smooth, inclusive and sustainable transition, hence the name Make It Towards Transition.
Team&Space will be hosted by your latest project Circularium. What is it about?
Circularium is 20.000m2 of real estate in Kuregem (Anderlecht), which will serve to host circular economy projects and neighbourhood activities. It is a place dedicated to social and economic innovation, whilst not forgetting beauty and fun.
What can Circularium bring to the local community?
Many things. At the moment we have mainly been a hideaway playing ground for kids. Next week, we will host a holiday camp for kids, who will be able to discover the herbs and vegetable garden made by our neighbours. Currently, we are also hosting a pop-up shop selling affordable winter clothes, where locals are lining up every day. And this is just the beginning. One of our spaces will be fully dedicated to local/neighborhood projects.
How can all actors involved in Circularium benefit from being together in this space?
That is for them to find out. We select and place all projects with great care, making sure they can be at least compatible, even better complementary, and hopefully mutually beneficial. However, you can’t always predict exactly how things will go!
In your opinion, what makes a great team?
A great team is a team where each team member knows their strengths and weaknesses. Where everyone is stimulated in their talents and where team members can truly complement each other. Where there is as much joy, respect and care as there is ambition. It is a team that truly makes you feel stronger and better together.
In what way is this global pandemic affecting you? And your work?
On an emotional level it’s not affecting me that much, being able to work on Circularium is a blessing in that sense. We signed the project one week before the first lockdown. This was important to me as I realised quite soon how this pandemic was going to speed up certain processes, how it was going to accelerate the transition we are trying to support.
At that very moment D’Ieteren, a multinational player in the increasingly challenged car industry, became our first customer. It's exactly this kind of operators we would like to assist in making a transition to different, more wholesome kinds of activities. It couldn't have been a more timely project to start off with!
Short-term, COVID has obviously made it much harder to organise anything that involves bringing people together... I guess you guys know about that! Companies and even start-ups are much more hesitant to invest or expand. So yes, it is more challenging to get things going at Circularium than if there would have been no pandemic. More long-term I believe our society can benefit from the fact that people, companies and governments are now forced to make bolder choices. If these choices will lead to a greener and fairer society and economy, then we can all be better off!
What do you like to do when not working?
Dancing, hiking, swimming, reading, working on my DIY electric motorcycle. And keeping my permaculture forest in shape.
Can you give us an inspirational quote?
‘Wees de brug, niet de overkant.' Something like 'be the bridge, not the other side'.
If you could be otherwhere, where would that be?
I would love to go to Shenzhen!
Thank you, Gerd! And good luck with Circularium and Makettt.