Last September, I started the new Responsible Innovation minor. The minor is a cooperation between the universities of Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam. For five months, I followed a total of six courses in three cities and I met people from the different universities. The things we learned in the different courses had to be combined in a group project. Multidisciplinary project groups explored three different topics: Whole Genome Sequencing, Google Glass and Maasvlakte II. The project I worked on was Maasvlakte II.
I worked on this project with a student of international studies from Leiden, a student of Aerospace Engineering from Delft and one of philosophy from Rotterdam. Personally, I am a student of Technology, Policy and Management from Delft. As you can imagine there were many differences in our group. This diversity was very instructive, but sometimes difficult to. The subject of our project was very broad and we had to choose a focus point. Each group member had their own initial ideas about it. In the end, we coalesced around an interesting focus point and faced the next challenge of dividing up the tasks. Each student has his or her own competences, and we had to strategically combine them as we worked towards a single final product. I want to tell you more about our final product.
Maasvlakte II is a big project in the extended port area of Rotterdam. It will increase the accessibility of Rotterdam and will have a positive impact on the Dutch economy. Our project was not only about extending the port area of Rotterdam, but about creating a sustainable port too. We realized that sustainability cannot be achieved by one port itself. That is why the Port Authority of Rotterdam (our target stakeholder) wanted to sell the idea of a sustainable port to the rest of the world. The question is, how to sell the idea? Each port has his own issues and structure which makes it difficult for every port authority to implement the idea of Maasvlakte II.
Our final solution was to work with sustainability labels. All the port authorities will achieve a sustainability port mark based on a set of criteria. A port authority which a low score on the set of criteria will get a bad label, which will have a negative impact on their image. The goal is for port authorities to be stimulated to improve their score and to operate more sustainably. The Port of Rotterdam will get a silver label, because of the low score of the old parts of the Port of Rotterdam. If the Port Authority of Rotterdam were to improve the old part of the port, they would earn a higher label.
At the final day of minor we introduced our idea to Tiedo Vellinga, director environmental monitoring Maasvlakte 2, and his reaction was very positive. We took this reaction to be an indication that our project offered a genuine example of responsible innovation!