My first ‘public mission’
In 1986, a discussion with the late Jean-Louis Thys, then Secretary of State for the Brussels region, left him convinced that by getting users, drivers and STIB field workers involved, they could double user numbers on the Brussels public transport network. The innovation I put forward and conveyed to the government and public service operators was based on one simple idea: public transport would be used more, and used more effectively, if the service was designed using input from the main stakeholders – users and field workers. That lead to an innovative management contract between the government and the public company, creating a new momentum in Brussels and later in Europe.
The mission that left the strongest impression on me
That was the global citizens’ debate that covered 24 time zones in 30 hours. The results showed that citizens’ expertise brings clarity, intelligence and a new outlook when decisions need to be made. Bringing the citizens of 76 countries together around the table and acknowledging the huge convergence in opinion was pivotal in confirming the value of humanity’s collective intelligence.