Edito of Le Grand Barouf 2017 by Damien Castelain,
President of the European Metropolitan Region of Lille

The digital transition impacting our region has raised hopes and concerns. A dialogue of the deaf seems to be the only communication medium emerging between the technological euphoria of Silicon Valley and the fear of a dehumanized world, subject to greater and broader controls.

In this country, digitalization is not exclusively a technical subject; it is also a social subject as well as, dare we say it, the main concern of our civilization. Digital questions are everywhere, they impact our everyday life, but they now live in the pages of specialised medias. What if the role of a public authority was first of all to put these questions back at the centre of the debate?

But how? By inventing, together, a common future, and especially by laying out a framework of basic values: digital technology must become a tool for a better understanding of the world rather that a swarm of gadgets that turn us away from it; it must give us the means for collective action rather than further entrenching us in our individualism; it must empower our capacity for action rather than demote us to obedient consumers. Finally, it must be the catalyst of a shared prosperity — and not facilitate the ongoing tearing apart of our society.

For the first time in Europe, a major city brings our digital concerns back in the public debate, and offers a place for improbable encounters for all those that will, one day, be part of our region.

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See you in 2018 ! Stay tuned !

Formats 2017


Test your ideas before scaling up


Make up your own mind in the face of different opinions

Trial for the future generations

Witness a future concept defending itself in court

Themes 2017

New solidarity

Communications channels have flourished, and while it has never been easier to take steps towards the other, we still witness great poverty and exclusion amongst certain sectors of the population. The potential for inclusion that the digital tools bring us is challenged in the wake of the gaps they widen. Technology is not neutral, and remains a tool for citizens. 

New economic models

The collapse of traditional oligopolies, the empowering of collaborative platforms, new exchange and finance systems, companies belonging to employees, open-source economic model: there isn't a single digital economic model anymore. Better distribution of wealth or simple redistributions of cards between economic actors?

Emancipated workers

While new economic activities are invented every day, many past and present jobs are meant to disappear with the arrival of robots and algorithms. Some think it is a blessing –finally free! – others are more pessimistic, and wonder how to reclaim common grounds in a post-payroll society. What if digitalisation helped us redefine our view of what work means?

Public actors and citizens

The State and its organisations, trade unions and intermediary entities have long held the monopoly for legitimate actions. Access to information has however become more open and fluid thanks to collaborative tools we now refer to as "civic tech", allowing each and every one to influence public policies. Citizens, associations or companies thus intervene more directly for the public good.

Héloïse Nio

VP of Thot

I first moved to Paris in 2012 to work as a radio engineer. In 2015, I decided to quit my job to create Thot, a language school that helps refugees and asylum seekers without formal education.

Diana Filippova

Connector OuiShare

I am a writer, strategic advisor and activist working on creating new models, values and practices for our common future. Deeply engaged in helping change the way we work, interact, innovate, create and govern, I aim at bringing autonomy, fairness, political participation and progress back into our systems.

Yann Orpin

President of the CCI Grand Lille

Yann Orpin is the President of the CCI Grand Lille. He is advocating for a disruptive CCI in order to be aligned with the digital transition: the CCI will adapt its offer to changes of its time.

Pierre Georgini

President and Dean of Lille University

Pierre Giorgini is an engineer and telecommunications specialist. He is the President and Dean of the Catholic University of Lille. He wrote "La Transition fulgurante" where he explains what the global transformations brought about the digital revolution. Previously, he was Director of France Télécom Research and Development, managing a team of 4000...

Emmanuelle Roux

Member of the French national council for digital

I live for digital innovation and fabrication, FabLabs, the future of education and the Internet of Things. I am an entrepreneur, coder, teacher, and mother of two.
I co-founded three FabLabs : The FacLab, the 1st FabLab inside a University in France (Paris area) in 2011 ; La Forge Des Possibles in the west of France (2011-2014) ; And zBis (La...

Patrick Braouezec

President of Plaine Commune

Patrick Braouezec is President of the Plaine Commune community, Vice President of
Paris Métropole and deputy of Seine-Saint-Denis.


ORLAN is one of the most notable and internationally recognized French artists.

She uses sculpture, photography, performance, video, 3D, video games, augmented reality and scientific techniques such as plastic surgery and biogenetics. These are just a means for the artist; the idea takes precedence, the medium follows.

ORLAN uses her body...

Charlotte Marchandise


After 20 years of activism and a long and dynamic career (from being an employee to manager and entrepreneur, from working in technology and social work to education), I got involved in local politics in 2014 as a representative of the civil society.

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