This month, to congratulate INNOPAY’s Mariane ter Veen on five years with the company, we asked her to tell us more about herself and her work.

Mariane ter Veen | INNOPAY
Mariane ter Veen
Director l Lead Data Sharing
Mariane ter Veen is Director Lead Data Sharing. She helps organisations to fully embrace the opportunities of the digital transactions era by adopting a more open outlook, collaborating across ecosystems and creating new value.
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Mariane ter Veen joined INNOPAY as director in 2018. After successfully completing the first year of a bachelor’s degree in psychology, she switched to computer science and then went on to do a master’s degree in AI . “This combination has been a common thread running through my career. My main focus is always on how we can ensure tech works for people, rather than the other way round,” she says. She started her career in what was then called ‘knowledge management’ at IBM, where her last role involved helping software vendors with innovation. She then switched to consultancy, working mainly on multi-stakeholder IT programmes involving both public and private organisations, and gradually moved into a programme manager role. “I’ve gone from ‘knowledge management’ to ‘data sharing’ but it’s fair to say that through the course of my career I’ve always worked on topics relating to how information actually flows, and how you can make better use of it,” Mariane adds. “At INNOPAY, we specialise in helping organisations to harness the full potential of the digital transactions era by adopting a more open outlook, collaborating across ecosystems and creating new value. I help customers realise this within the ever growing complexity of their ecosystems.” Mariane lives in Amsterdam, which is relatively close to the office and also relatively close to most customers. She likes the fact that hybrid working has reduced the need to travel. Besides being better for efficiency, it means that she cherishes even more her trips to share INNOPAY’s vision and actively advocate for Digital Sustainability as a speaker at international conferences. 

What attracted you to join INNOPAY?

I actually first worked with INNOPAY in 2009, when I was programme manager of the innovative eHerkenning scheme project. Even back then, I remember being impressed by the deep knowledge of the people in the INNOPAY team. We kept in contact afterwards and they subsequently asked me to be programme manager for the iSHARE scheme project for the Dutch logistics. At that point, we decided that we had been ‘together’ for such a long time, we might as well get ‘married’! 

What do you like most about working at INNOPAY?

I believe in a world where digital sustainability fosters the much-needed trust so that we can unlock the power of data sharing and generate long-term value, transparency and equity for all. This will also enable digital transformation that truly addresses society’s pressing challenges, such as safeguarding democracy, promoting equality and combating climate change. And at INNOPAY, we are working on real-life use cases and helping customers to create and implement digitally sustainable products and services that have the power to actually make a difference in the real world. For me, it’s always ultimately about people: the customers I have the joy to work with, the international network within which we co-developed a vision on data sovereignty and digital sustainability and, of course, all my colleagues.

Based on the signs you see in the market, what is the current state of awareness of data sovereignty and digital sustainability?

I get the sense that things could move very quickly now. If we think about the awareness of ‘traditional’ sustainability, consumers are increasingly considering the climate implications when deciding how to spend their money, and businesses are starting to offer more environmentally friendly choices as a result. While it has taken us roughly 40 years to get to this point, I am optimistic that a similar shift could happen in the data sovereignty and digital sustainability arena at a remarkably faster pace. For example, people are increasingly distrusting of organisations that exploit their data and attention, and are actively seeking more agency; they’re looking for digitally sustainable alternatives – think of the rise of Mastodon as an alternative to X (formerly known as Twitter). 

What do you expect to be the one main game changer ahead in terms of digital sustainability?

Organisations are increasingly being held legally accountable for digital sustainability, whether under new or existing legislation. For example, the EU has introduced data laws aimed at a more human-centric data sharing vision, and consumers have been invited to join various class-action lawsuits challenging the illegal use of their data by the BigTech platforms under these new rules. Meanwhile, in the USA, regulators have accused various platforms of anticompetitive behaviour under the antitrust laws. Both of these approaches signify a dawning realisation that the current treatment of people’s data is not really a sustainable situation. This  combination of  top-down pressure from legislation and bottom-up pressure from consumers themselves means we’re rapidly moving closer to the tipping point for digital sustainability. So the window for products and services that are digitally sustainable is wide open. The final game changer will be when companies grab this opportunity and offer these sustainable alternatives. That will 
get us over the tipping point – and things could move fast. 

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