German native Sabrina Nagel gives business advice to startups at New Zealand incubator ecentre (which works with companies including Precept Health, The Story Mint and Unleashed Software) – and is a fresh convert to the mashup of tech, art and party that make up three-day “TED for mobile” MLove (June 27-29 2012, Berlin).
Innovation is born of serendipity – and MLove’s organisers are all about bringing speakers and attendees from various backgrounds together for that to happen. Here are my top ten highlights from the confestival:
Chester Santos, memory expert – seeing is remembering
My absolute favourite. If you can see it, you can remember it – the power of visualisation is strong and the more senses you involve, the more connections in your brain can be formed and thus it’s easier to recollect. If you imagine something unusual, it sticks better. Chester got us to remember words using a story-telling technique and the whole room was able to memorise it within three minutes – magnificent!
Jonathan MacDonald, co-founder, “this fluid world“
He captivated us with African drumming then challenged us by saying we are expressing for the sake of expressing, instead of for the sake of meaning. “What happened to communication over last few 100 years?” We could all use mobile to help the community filter out the noise, discover the path that is most true to them, use it to focus on what is most important and to enable them to be courageous.
Ramzi Rizk, cofounder & CTO, EyeEm – what info overload?
Ramzi claimed that we’re not suffering from information overload – rather, we have no effective way of filtering information. Don’t take something straight from one medium to another but look at what the medium enables us to do and fully leverage it.
Mara Ballestrini, Crowd Memo
A remote village in Argentina urgently needed to preserve the heritage and memories of the village, so Mara taught the local children how to make videos and got them to film interviews with the elders of the city about their heritage. It was such a great way of using technology to bring communities together.
Louisa Heinrich, strategy director, Fjord – digital is not an option
Digital is not an option, it’s a necessity. For example, you can do all your banking online to the point that it would be hard to get written statements for all the transactions etc. She also mentioned that 2.3 billion connected people and five billion connected things create a real mess. We want choice to calibrate technology but the settings become increasingly complex. So who has all the time?
Ben Jones, European director of technology, AKQA
He talked about how humans make decisions and how important the emotional aspect is. So as a brand, how can we connect with someone through the senses using a piece of metal or plastic? We only really appeal to the sight with digital technologies, but tech companies are catching up. For example, the new Samsung with forward facing camera will be able to use emotion and facial recognition.
Jessi Baker, designer and technologist
She was enthusiastic about the internet of things and how we should all join the internet debate about the bill of rights (Ed: check out Jessi’s Open Object blog for more on how to work transparency, sustainability, democracy and human rights into the many devices able to connect to the internet).
Maximilian Scherer, Team “Echo” – mobile for everyone
Maximilian’s university project helps hearing impaired people to use mobile phones. The application converts speech to text which then appears on the screen for the hearing impaired to read immediately.
Tobias Sturm, Team “Lauffeur” – post-crisis communication
Tobias, another university student, presented his project “Lauffeuer” (wildfire). It’s an application which can be used after major catastrophes to communicate with others without being reliant on internet, telephone or mobile infrastructure. Fascinating – and great to see two social ventures at the conference.
Yuri van Geest, Singularity University
Yuri (pictured right) talked to us about Singularity – the convergence of 10 technologies (eg biotech, nanotech, AI and mobile) in the next 10 years that will create unimaginable opportunities. He mentioned the lean start up movement as an early result of this convergence – it doesn’t only apply to mobile or tech but also to clean and biotech companies.
Beautiful food, great entertainment from band phantom.com and a spectacular audiovisual show from PROJEKTIL concluded each evening. By far the most stimulating conference I’ve ever attended.