Jürgen Ingels & Stefan Dierckx launch an ambitious plan for digitalisation

Stefan Dierckx - Jurgen Ingels - Fastfwd Belgium
Stefan Dierckx - Jurgen Ingels - Fastfwd Belgium

28 April 2021 – Brussels

The COVID-19 pandemic once again underlined the importance of digitalisation. Whether it was about homeworking or digital meetings, e-commerce or tracing apps, never before did it become clear how much digitalisation was needed. Many companies and governmental organisations in our country have therefore accelerated their digital transformation in the past year. However, it is now important to continue on this path. That is why Jürgen Ingels (Smartfin Capital) and Stefan Dierckx (Projective, Exellys) now want to continue this digital acceleration on a large scale.

“Fastfwd Belgium will be the highway to a large-scale digital transformation of Belgium”

Together with 20 digital leaders from various sectors, they launch an ambitious digitalisation plan under the name Fastfwd Belgium. Fastfwd Belgium will support Belgian companies from the public and private sector in their digitalisation process. They focus on a broad and diverse group of partners in Flanders and Wallonia. Among others, Belfius, McKinsey & Company, Antwerp Management School, Kinepolis, Port of Antwerp, VDAB and Agentschap Digitaal Vlaanderen have already put their shoulders to the wheel of this project. This list will be further expanded in the coming months.

Blueprint for a digital transformation

Most companies are now aware of the importance of digitalisation. Yet, they often do not know how to start. According to Stefan Dierckx (Projective, Exellys), companies must learn to embrace digitalisation: “We see that companies that have paid a lot of attention to digitalisation in the past, are reaping the benefits today. Yet many other companies still have cold feet when it comes to digitalisation. How do you start? With Fastfwd we want to help them on their way with concrete tools, step-by-step plans and clear advice.

Fastfwd Belgium, therefore, wants to provide companies and organisations with very concrete and practical tools. Tools they can use and apply immediately. All these tools together should be a blueprint for digital transformation in numerous organisations. Both in the private and public sector.

“We don’t always have to wait for the government, ultimately it’s companies and government agencies themselves that need to take action. We have a great deal of digital talent and many clever digital companies. All the ingredients for a more digital Belgium are there. With Fastfwd Belgium we want to give a positive impetus to finally implement the digital acceleration in Belgium together”. According to Jürgen Ingels.

Digital Maturity Scan, Go & See inspiration sessions, Tool Top 50 and digital leadership

Concretely, Fastfwd Belgium, together with academics and partners, worked out some major initiatives for Belgian companies: the Digital Maturity Scan, ‘Go & See’ inspiration sessions, a Top 50 of the best digital tools and the stimulation of digital leadership.

The Digital Maturity Scan is an assessment tool that can be used to calculate the digital ‘maturity’ of a company. It uses McKinsey & Company’s Digital Quotient Model. Companies can perform this scan free of charge until the end of May. By doing so, they get an assessment of where they stand in the area of digitalisation and where there is still room for improvement. From June onwards, Fastfwd Belgium wants to provide at least 200 Belgian companies with a detailed report about their current digital status and their working points. In this report, each company can also compare its score with that of their sector, the entire Belgian economy and the Belgian digital leaders.

In addition, Fastfwd Belgium also focuses on so-called ‘Go & See’ inspiration sessions. Chief Information Officers and digital leaders from various organisations will share their experiences with managers from other companies. They do this by giving concrete examples and recommendations. Port of Antwerp, Kinepolis and Belfius, among others, will be taking part. Meanwhile, a total of more than 20 digital leaders are willing to share their experiences and knowledge during these interactive work sessions. In the coming weeks, these will be presented on the website and social media channels.

With the Tool Top 50 Fastfwd Belgium wants to list the 50 best digital tools that can automate business processes or make them more efficient. The tools are divided into different categories: HR, finance, sales, … For each category, Belgian alternatives will be offered, if possible. Fastfwd will bundle these tools in a book and of course in a digital format. The Tool Top 50 will be a golden guide of digital tools.

Furthermore, Fastfwd Belgium wants to promote digital leadership. Digital leadership starts with a digital mindset and corporate culture. By convincing the boards of directors of the power of digitalisation, it wants to put it higher on the agenda of organisations and thus accelerate the digital shift.

Cross-fertilisation between private and public sector

Fastfwd Belgium is ambitious and aims high. This is no coincidence – the need for digitalisation is high in Belgium. The project is not only aimed at companies from the private sector, but also at the public sector. Together with the Agentschap Digitaal Vlaanderen, Fastfwd Belgium will bring together players from the private and public sector to learn from each other. A government institution like VDAB already has a successful digitalisation project. They will share their experience with others during a ‘Go & See’ inspiration session. Federal and Walloon government institutions will also be involved.

With Fastfwd Belgium we really want to aim for a large-scale digital transformation. Today we see both in the public and private sector organisations that have a successful digitalisation process behind them. Only by bringing everyone together can we cross-pollinate and finally put Belgium on the fast track towards digitisation,” says Stefan Dierckx.

Partner list

  • Stefan Dierckx – CEO, Projective & Exellys
  • Jurgen Ingels – Managing partner, Smartfin
  • Geert Van Mol – CDO, Belfius
  • Sabine Everaet – CIO EMEA, Coca-Cola
  • Bjorn Van Reet – CIO, Kinepolis
  • Erwin Verstraelen – CDO & CIO, Port of Antwerp
  • Charlotte Gréant – General Manager, Start-ups & Scale-ups.eu
  • Paul Danneels – former CTO, FedNot
  • Barbara Van Den Haute – Administrateur-Generaal, Digitaal Vlaanderen
  • Ruben Schaubroeck – Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company
  • Tom Pluym – Partner, McKinsey & Company
  • Abigail Levrau – Member Management committee, Guberna
  • Steven De Haes – Dean, Antwerp Management School
  • Danielle Jacobs – CEO, Beltug 
  • Peter De Keyzer – CEO, Growth Inc
  • Jan Dobbenie – CIO, VDAB
  • Daan De Wever – CEO, Destiny 
  • Luc Hendricx – CEO, CIONET
  • Patrick De Pauw – CEO, Social Seeder
  • Joachim De Vos – CEO, Living Tomorrow & Tomorrow Lab