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Majid Iqbal is the Managing Director of Structural, an agency that provides a new kind of analysis and design, for improving the quality of infrastructures and services while reducing their negative impacts. Majid is the developer of the language and methodology as well as the idealism behind 'Beautiful Contracts'.

His broader purpose is to develop new thinking and tooling for civil servants, scientists, and strategists to work on problems of unusual shape and size. He found this purpose after a couple of decades in consulting, teaching, sales, and product management, mostly in the United States and Europe. Over the past few years Majid has been an advisor to the Dutch Ministry of Defense where he founded a special unit focusing on solving structural problems and problem structure. That led to an initiative called ‘Design for Procurement’ that aims to transform public procurement by designing services contracts instead of merely defining requirements and issuing tenders.

Majid had founded a similar unit at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate to focus on developing new thinking for societal transitions. Prior to that Majid worked with PwC, Gartner, Carnegie Mellon and HP in various roles, from sales and product management, to teacher and consultant. He has written the book 'Thinking in Services' and taught graduate courses at Carnegie Mellon University (USA) and IE University (Spain).

Event role
Case study speaker & masterclass leader

Case study
'What went wrong at Schiphol Airport: a new kind of analysis of design'

Why has one of the most admired airports struggled so much this summer? Why didn’t years of investments in improving flow of passengers prevent this from happening? Even after accounting for the long-term effects of the pandemic the failure at Schiphol has been beyond wildest expectations. Aside from poor strategic decisions airport companies made during the pandemic, how else was the critical path from check-in to boarding already compromised? What aspects of the problem we are seeing today were actually unforeseen? 

The pandemic has exposed structural flaws in the designs of many infrastructures and services. London Heathrow airport has found itself in conflict with Emirates with the airline refusing to cancel flights during peak season. Years of efforts into improving the experiences of passengers and airport and airline staff go waste when the only solutions appear to be asking people to line up for more than four hours for security checks or canceling flights. There has to be a better way. 

The team at Structural has conducted an analysis of the failure at Schiphol, as part of a project funded by the Dutch government. In this talk Majid will show the problems at the airport through new lenses and invite you to comment on what you see. In seeing services as contractual sequences made of several types of promises we can identify a few structural changes that can harmonise an entire system.

'Finding the smallest possible changes'

This interactive masterclass is in the form of a simulation. The European Commission has funded an inquiry into the structural problems in European airports to avoid future meltdowns like the one at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. The inquiry is led by a design council whose members include senior service designers from industry and government, along with strategists, logisticians, lawyers, and accountants. The chairperson of the council is a savvy civil servant who understands the difficulties of attempting big changes when improving anything when several stakeholders are involved in serving entire populations. She has asked her team to study a post-mortem analysis of Schiphol case and identify the smallest possible changes that would lead to major improvements... more >

Friday, September 16, 12:30 (case study) & 15:00 (masterclass)

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