From 5-9 September, more than 16,000 curious entrepreneurs gathered in the city of Copenhagen with one goal – to set a more human-centred direction for tech. The second edition of Techfestival in Copenhagen was mainly focused on the impact that technology has on our lives. It aimed to provide, once again, a collaborative space for experts from all backgrounds to brainstorm the next wave in tech and set goals for making it more human.
The festival took place in Kødbyen – the iconic Meatpacking District – which turned into the perfect location for the conference's many talks, panel discussions, workshops, and keynotes. Big names such as Claire Evans and Bruce Sterling shared their insights on the open-air stage and challenged participants to come up with solutions for a better and more humanized tech world.
In last year’s edition of Techfestival, 150 tech-thought leaders were locked in Refshaleøen for 24 hours to discuss the future of technology and create a manifesto called The Copenhagen Letter. You can find a wrap up of last year’s event here.
This year, the experiment and the cause got even bigger. The same 150 participants were locked in the uKirke – a famous church in Copenhagen – for 48 hours. The goal this time was to provide 150 principles to help set a new, more human(ity)-centered direction for tech. During the two days, each of the 150 participants worked on his/her own principles. In the end, all concepts were gathered to create The Copenhagen Catalog.
Come to Investors Day & betapitch Global 2018 to see the Copenhagen Catalog live! You'll find it on display at our betahaus | Pop-Up on 15 November from 12pm-5pm.
Together with people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities our co-founders – Christoph and Madeleine –took a deep dive into the relationship between humans & technology. Here’s what they had to say about the event and the principles they were working on.
''The whole event felt more like a public forum than the usual tech convention,'' said Madeleine. ''And it was just like meeting old friends. We all started together couple of years ago and now we have bigger responsibilities for the direction in which tech is heading. For the first time in a very long time my role was not to represent betahaus, but to contribute to the tech community and search for a positive change, mindset, and direction. And this felt great!''
When asked about the process, Madeleine explained: ‘’During the 48h brainstorm session, we were first divided into a few groups, depending on the topic we chose to work on whether it be tech in our governments, food systems, personal relationships, families and so on.‘’
Already by the second session, Madeleine had picked her topic – kids’ tech consumption. As a mother of two children, she was terrified of the consequences that tech could have on kids, if parents don’t restrict their usage. In Berlin, for example, there is an increasing awareness about healthy food. At the same time, you see children staring at phone screens for multiple hours a day, watching videos or playing games and nobody does anything about it. Madeleine believed that in the same way we know what is on our children’s plate and what kind of food we’re feeding them, we should create a Digital Nutrition Facts Box and start paying more attention to what is healthy and in what quantities they should be consuming technology.
Christoph went in a different direction building his principle. He tried to trace the evolution of tech, see where it went wrong, and solve the problem for future generations. ‘’Some decades ago, technology made some huge promises regarding democracy, yet today the tech world is ruled by the Big 4s (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) having a monopoly over the tech world. It promised solutions about climate change, about the inequality of nations, or the health sector, but nowadays the problems are only getting bigger and bigger.
HIs solution was to ‘’Always Build An Escape Pod’’ in case things don’t work out as intended.
We are excited to share that one of the co-founders of Techfestival, Thomas Madsen-Mygdal, is joining us for Investors Day and BETAPITCH Global on 15 November! He’s also bringing the Copenhagen Catalog in the form of exhibition. Grab your ticket for the event and come hear him speak. During Investors Day, the 150 principles will be spread around betahaus reminding both startups and investors of the direction we want to set for tech.
Can't make it to Investors Day? Check out some of the other events going on around the house.
Some office spaces have a one-size-fits-all approach, but that's not really our style. The reason no two betahaus locations look the same is because they’re locally designed. And we give our Team Space members this same opportunity to customize their space.
Choose a room with a view of the city or one on the ground floor with easy access to the garden. Change the lighting fixture or bring your own bookshelf. We want teams to be able to white label, decorate, and really make the space their own if they want to.
And if you’re really looking to customize, Team HQs allow teams to collaborate with our architects and coworking team to create a space that is completely bespoke. Whether it’s additional meeting rooms, unconventional seating, or a yoga room, we apply our 10 years of experience in building functional workspace to your creative vision to create something that’s just right.
Probably the biggest benefit of coworking is community and events. Now we know it may not be the first thing you’re looking for as you seek out your next office space, but bear with us.
Imagine using your lunch breaks to chat with someone in your industry. Meeting freelance developers at after-work beers. Networking with investors at BETAPITCH. Pitching at our weekly betabreakfast and getting support and feedback on your new ideas.
betahaus has spent the last 10 years cultivating a community of people who we genuinely like working with. And when you join, your team will become a part of it, too.
" People matter! Community was always what we were all about. ‘’
In June we launched #PeopleInbeta - our monthly blog post series in which our Content Manager - Vihra interviewed teams and freelancers from the betahaus community to present the variety of creatives we have in ‘haus, to understand their missions and get some useful advice for our audience. We talked on topics such as sustainability (with PlanA) , decentralized digital identity (with JOLOCOM), curated music experiences (with Bespoke Sounds), freelance photography (with Sara Herrlander), full-stack development (with Obst Digital), design (with LAUDO) and much more.
In the summer, we launched a couple of new events in Neukölln like Freelancers, Unite!, The Backyard Sessions and My friend’s BBQ.
Freelancers, Unite! developed as our productive coworking session with freelancers from in and outside the ‘haus. Once a month, we picked an important freelance topic (such as taxes, time-management, etc) and invited experts to give us insights on the topic. We saw so many new faces and had the chance to come back closer to where we started from - the freelance, grassroots culture.
Another event, which started in July (and turned out to be our favourite events) were The Backyard Sessions. Organised by our queen of Neukölln - Robbin – the Backyard Sessions are our creative evenings with live music jams, movie screenings and cocktails.
This last event was hilarious because for quite some time, nobody knew exactly who organised it or invited them. The friend was throwing a BBQ for the community in the garden and this led to all our members joining and staying after for a beer or two with us.
‘’My favourite moment this year was the second friends bbq which was actually cancelled because of the rain forecast. But despite the bad weather, people show up and it turned into a super nice intimate evening with Elizaveta and Paul giving a garden concert.’’ - Robbin (Community Manager, betahaus)
''In July, it was great how the casual after-work BBQ turned into an impromptu acoustic blues jam session with Elizavetta Barsegova and Paul, who have the voice of an angel. Actually, all of the My Friend's BBQ's and Backyard Sessions were AWESOME.’’ - Paige (Head of Marketing, betahaus)
This year we released a new event format in Kreuzberg called ‘’The betaSalon’’. It's an open panel discussion which aims to give stage to important topics and give free speech on them. The fist one we did on the EU elections, last month we talked about changemakers, but our favourite one for this season stays ‘’Mother + Founder’’ where we partnered with FemGems podcast and recorded a live podcast episode for them having Madeleine Gummer von Mohl (betahaus co-founder), Kristine Zeller (co-creater of ooshi period underwear) and Luisa Hoffman on the stage.
Every September, our co-founders take part in the Techfestival. in Copenhagen, spending a few days disconnecting from the daily life and focusing on creating a better, more human-centered tech future. This year the think tank which included our co-founders Madeleine and Max came up with the TechPledge. The Tech Pledge was made to emphasize the need for a new direction in tech. Similar to the Hippocratic oath for doctors, the Tech Pledge is a promise to make tech a force for good and ensure responsible and sustainable tech leadership. It’s a commitment to driving a new direction in technology.
One of the most exciting projects for betahausX this year (which is also continuing in 2020) is their new startup challenge called The Werder Lab - a global startup competition that aims to reimagine the way clubs like Werder work with athletes, fans and partners.
This year couldn’t end without us having our favourite events - the end-of-the-year holiday party and the BETAPITCH Global Finals. On the 6th of December we saw the 9 finalists of the regional BETAPITCH competitions pitching in front of our jury. Congrats to Troy from Hamburg for winning the big prize.
We finished the year at our Holiday Party celebrating anything and everything at betahaus | Neukölln together with our members, friends of friends and our favourite artists from Passiflora LIVE, Tapete and Kotoe.
Thank you for being with us in 2019. It's been a crazy big year for us and it wouldn't been possible without your support, trust and the hard work of our amazing team. Have an amazing holiday time and we'll see you again in 2020.