What’s ahead in 2017

The new year just kicked in, and I’m very looking forward to what it holds. It brings with it quite some news on the professional side of things for me, so I figured this might be a good occasion to briefly update what I’m currently working on, what projects are in the pipeline, and what topics currently concern and interest me the most.

Starting with the latter, like many of us, 2016 got me thinking a lot about reasons, explanations, solutions, and alternatives to the frightening, saddening, and worrisome developments our society took. From the role of digital media and publications, to political discourse and systems, all the way to the potential (and threats) of ‚smart‘, connected and collaborative futures, there are many aspects I spent my time thinking – and writing about. Even though I’m not quite sure what the right and most constructive response to all this is, I decided to share more of my thoughts in this year over at my medium channel. The challenges need all of our brains (and hearts) to be addressed, and I recon sharing my thoughts more openly is one first step toward that direction.

Apart from that (semi-private) writing exercise there are quite a few projects lining up this year already. Here’s a brief overview:

Client Work

  • Strategy consultancy: I’ll continue working as an independent advisor on digital strategies, cultural transformation and innovation in organisations, companies, and public institutions. While I spent a lot of my time last in Berlin, this year, I’ll expand my regular local focus a little more. Current and (very) recent clients and projects include the Open Knowledge Foundation’s prototypefund, various projects and conferences with the Fraunhofer UMSICHT, research, strategy and product dev for an international lifestyle brand, an automotive manufacturer and a public infrastructure provider.
  • Trend Research: For betterplace lab’s (a Think Tank on digital trends and shifts in the realm of international development) upcoming „Trendradar“ I’ll open and advise the section about IoT for Development with an op-ed on pitfalls (and more pitfalls), of praising the IoT as the saviour for development + pointing at some best cases and interesting projects to learn from in this realm. To be published in Q2 2017 (I believe).
  • Matternet: I’m very looking forward to advise the GIZ (German Development Agency) on an ambitious project to implement hyper-local production networks in emerging markets. The project draws heavily on my learnings from my own company knowable and I love the idea of make some more use of those ideas!

Own projects

  • ThingsCon really grew up fast last year. From an annual conference toward an international network of practitioners and experts of the Internet of Things, 30+ events in 2016, including Brazil, China, Italy, UK, Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, and more to come), I’m still amazed by this wonderful network of people. Pursuing an „ethical and responsible IoT“ put forward as its mission we’ll double down this year by more events, a research initiative (ThingsCon Lab), a foundation, and a lot more.
  • .process, a conference I co-founded, dealing with innovation processes in tech, art, and society, is looking at a coming-of-age in 2017. After a fun and quite successful kick-off last year, we’re now looking forward to .process v2. While still in its planning phase, we’ll double the program (to a full day), row the formats and scope (with hands-on workshops), and reach as well. We just announced this year’s theme (play) and date (June 3) – and you can learn more over here.
  • FutureLab: I am excited and honoured to have been selected as one of this year’s fellows of the FutureLab Europe program. It brings together innovators and activists from all over Europe to (re-)think European futures, and prototype them through their own projects. Together with my friend and colleague Max Krüger  I handed in a project that focuses on connecting European cities and their values through participatory interventions. It’s all very much in draft stage at this point, but things a gains steam rapidly: Next week I’ll head to Brussels for a few days to kick things off and meet the rest of the crew, including various foundations and policy makers.
  • forrrest: Lastly, but maybe most importantly, I decided to give all thos big and small projects and interventions a proper home in the future. Together with some dear colleagues of the past years (most prominently, again, Max), we just laid the basis for growing our own network of ideas, projects, and clever minds. Called forrrest, this is an undertaking to explore collaborative and open futures through research, prototyping, and strategy work. Again, draft stage, but things are taking shape quickly: forrrest.cc

Exciting! Even more so, since I decided to go back to academia later last year to pursue a Master’s in Philosophy, Politics & Economics at the University of Witten-Herdecke. It’s a great resource for deep reflection on all those practical ends I have been dealing with over the past months, and certainly a reason for my extended writing appetite.

So long, off to a better 2017!