Week 136

Johannes looks back at the conference talks he has given in the last weeks.

re:publica 2013 Tag 2

Photo by Gregor Fischer

Ok, two-thirds of the spring conference season are over. It’s been an intense one so far.


At the end of April, I joined Teresa Bücker and Sue Reindke for a workshop at the Next conference about digital work. We wanted to reflect on all the amazing possibilities for more flexible work and why so little of the vision has become reality. So we facilitated an actual workshop. You know, one with group work etc. Insider tip: if you tell attendees beforehand that you’ll be doing this – we explained our plan on the first slide that people saw when they entered the room – some will leave. But that’s ok as the ones who are staying bring the motivation needed for a productive workshop. We divided the attendees into four groups and gave each group a role. One represented the lawmaker, one the employers, one the employees and the fourth represented the education system. Each group got the task to develop five propositions to make sure that a fictive female student could live the life she wanted in 2020. They got half an hour and then five minutes to present. This worked out beautifully. The conversations I joined where some of the most fruitful I’ve ever heard at a conference. Lots of great ideas but also a lot of new awareness about the hurdles.

republica 13

What Next is for the digital business world in Germany, Republica is for digital politics and society – a gathering of bloggers, thinkers, activists, entrepreneurs and lots more that grew to 5000 attendees this year.
I gave a talk labeled ‘The End of Work – Will Machines take away our jobs?,’ which got some great reviews. The video of the talk (in German) and most of the material I used, is linked up here.

This was one of the tougher talks to prepare as I hadn’t talked about this topic before and it’s a very broad one. It’s always a bit of amusing to observe myself going through the same process with a talk like that.
I usually prepare by reading tons of material and gathering everything in Evernote. I create the talk on post-its, every post-it representing a slide, to define the story I want to tell. I then transfer the post-its into Keynote slides. 24 hours before the talk, the panic arrives and I question everything I have so far. I think that I need much more time and accuse myself of procrastinating for too long. As I’m familiar with this pattern by now, I resist the urge to throw everything away and just keep refining the talk here and there. At the morning of the talk, the panic is usually gone and I start looking forward to giving the talk. I can’t wait to get on stage. The best talks I’ve given are the ones where I’m really fascinated with the topic and want to share that excitement.

iico 2013

Yesterday I gave another talk at the iico conference here in Berlin. I looked at the current hype around big data and took the usual stance for us at Third Wave by asking what needs to happen now that we’ve got the technology. It’s time to create a more holistic approach to data and we could start by teaming data scientists with social scientists.

But now enough with the talk-giving … for this month. I’m actually looking forward to being back at my desk and diving into some client projects.