Christoph Fahle
June 4, 2012

Member of the week: Jay Cousins

Jay Cousins​ is one of the co-founders in Open Design city. He studied Industrial Design Innovation at Sheffield Hallam University. He is interested in empowerment. Methods, processes and objects that enable people to meet their own needs. To help themselves. He is also interested in creating a life for himself that is sustainable without sacrifice - Minimal Footprint Hedonism (courtesy of Christophe Vaillant). He's been in Open Design city since it's birth, so he's been in betahaus since 1st April 2010.

You are from South England. What made you decide to come to Berlin?

I’d closed down my old business, I didn’t know what I was doing with my life and a friend offered their couch. I thought why not. I never looked back, Berlin is a place for explorers, for creatives and people exploring the edges of possibility. It’s fascinating, exciting and laden with potential. Berlin is one of the last Bohemias, and I hope it remains so. Berlin gives me hope for the world.

What are you doing exactly? 

Good Question - I’ve taken to describing myself as an enabler of interesting projects. I’m motivated by prototyping new forms of collaboration and new forms of living. This year I resolved only to work on projects that make sense, for me this means it has to be emotionally, economically, socially and environmentally meaningful. Presently I’m Chaordinating a MakerLab on Human Rights - an autonomous event where people are encouraged to explore, and share their ideas on Human Rights through making, and action.

You are based in Open design city; in betahaus. How do you like working in a co-working space – particularly Open Design City?

I thrive in collaborative spaces, ODC/ betahaus is a bridging space that allows for people of very different backgrounds to feel comfortable - from suits to hackers. I love the mix, it creates opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise arise.

Could you tell us more about the Human Rights MakerLab and about the vision behind the event? 

A symbol for Human Rights was crowd sourced last year, we want to create the opportunity for people to attach meaning to this symbol, and to explore what Human Rights means to them through action and participation. The MakerLab is created by those who attend it, and who build it together. We create an event frame, where anyone who is interested to create an action or discussion within the frame of Human Rights is free to do so. People can even spontaneously participate - creating and action or workshop at the event, as well as attending and participating in the actions of others.

Right now the Human Rights MakerLab developing the infrastructure and approach for the event DMY (International design festival Berlin). How did you come in touch with the DMY, and do you have any expectations about the DMY?

The first MakerLab was born at DMY, so it’s exciting to be back in the space. The first MakerLab gave birth to the Open Design City, so our fates our intertwined. I’m looking forward to the event, and to see what people create with the opportunity - it’s always fascinating to see what grows out of simple seeds of permission to engage, and the chance to meet and work with others.

What is the aim of  the Human Rights Maker Lab? Do you have any challenges in the future for The Human Rights Maker Lab?

The aim of the Human Rights MakerLab is to create a space for exploration of the topic, in order that solutions and ideas can occur, and existing successes can be shared.Personally I would like to see the lab continue in other countries. For me I would like to see the Lab develop, share and curate products, actions and behaviours which can be replicated and adopted to empower the Human Rights of everyone. Many of the rights and

human rights logo

freedoms which we take for granted are under threat, and there are others which we simply do not enjoy. We will become more aware of the absence of rights as the resources we require become harder to find or more expensive. I hope the Lab can demonstrate to people what they are capable of, and also raise questions as to what Human Rights means, and why it is relevant to our lives.I’m particularly excited by the prospect of a device that would contain all the information necessary for citizens of the world to create their own structures of empowerment - from social behaviours and strategies to combat oppression to knowledge of DIY medicine, farming tech, energy generation...this would act as a bootstrapped and slightly slower internet, connecting villages and cities with information relevant to improving lives and ensuring rights. The really exciting thing is - we can already see how it will work - we will begin prototyping in the lab.

What kind of advice would you give to young designers or explores looking to become successful these days?

First define your terms of success - note these are your terms not those of your parents or peer group. For me it’s the freedom to create in my own way, for you it may be different. Old models and business paradigms are failing, the future of everything lies in telling new stories. I travelled to old route, it left me miserable. Define what you want from the world, and what you want to offer. Communicate it clearly and encourage others to join you, allow for them to find their benefit from collaboration. Begin it - don’t seek perfection, just start to do something. Above all make your work meaningful and joyful.

Want to work with us? Follow this link to become a part of the community!

CloudMade (United Kingdom)

With 6 locations globally, CloudMade leverages cutting edge artificial intelligence to revolutionise the automotive industry. Their focus is on processing data to optimise and personalise the driving experience of the future. 


High-Mobility (Germany)

High-Mobility builds a data platform for applications working with personalised car data. Users can test their applications in a simulation environment, and get verified to access data from multiple car makers using a standardised connected car API.


Kiwi Last Mile (Spain)

Using a new multi-modal delivery platform, Kiwi offers an efficient, profitable and sustainable last mile delivery solution. Kiwi operates its own fleet, basing its operations in a new ‘cellular delivery model’. It has dubbed itself the ‘future of the last mile’! (Germany)

BRIVE reduces fleet and vehicle costs by rewarding good driving behavior. Better driving translates into savings on fleet costs and higher salary bonuses for drivers. It already comes with a BRIVE credit card!


German Autolabs (Germany)

The Automotive Voice Assistance platform from German Autolabs is a customisable conversational assistance solution for mobility. German Autolabs leverages deep domain knowledge; bypassing lengthy development cycles to build groundbreaking voice products.

Autofleet (Israel)

The Autofleet platform enables the transformation of fleet managers to vehicle-as-a-service providers. It innovates fleet management, using machine learning to predict demand, price dynamically, automate in-/de-fleeting, and optimise demand-supply matching in real-time.

Neohelden (Germany)

Neohelden is developing a digital AI-assistant for enterprise use-cases. You can think of it as Alexa, but for business. Users can customise the Neo platform intuitively via Drag & Drop, to tailor the AI-assistant to any possible needs.

Parkbob (Austria)

Parkbob organises the world's parking related data, and transforms it into actionable information for better mobility decisions. By creating a dynamic demand prediction model, it provides customers with an end to end solution that increases fleet utilisation and revenue.

VISCOPIC (Germany)

VISCOPIC leads in 3D data processing and worker guidance solutions, focusing on 3D sensing technology and augmented reality. It aims to guide companies into the future by showing them what technologies they need in order to be optimally efficient and productive.

Transmetrics (Bulgaria)

Transmetrics delivers predictive optimisation software for the logistics industry. Designed for express, parcel, pallet, and groupage businesses, the AI-driven software forecasts customer demand to calculate the most efficient linehaul plan for the entire transport network.

Have any of these brilliant ideas made you curious about the challenge? Follow us on LinkedIn for updates on the competition!

To be honest, I sort of fell into it. I was always working somewhere between content marketing and the music industry and around seven years ago a friend of a friend was searching for someone to help him curating music for his boutique surf spot on the beach in Costa Rica. The owner was a big music fan, but he just didn't have time to keep all the music up-to-date. So I got introduced to him, we shared similar tastes, and agreed that I would do the music for his space - curating it and updating it with new music on a regular basis.

This for me was a dream come true. I could finally work with music all day, and at the same time, I could help create an awesome experience for the guests. I saw people's reactions when they heard a song they liked. I saw them dancing, getting a little closer to each other at the bar and that for me was really rewarding.

This was the moment when I realized that there is something special about this idea and I got interested if there is actually market out there. I did some market research, and a lot of interviews with different hoteliers people in the industry trying to get more feedback. And the idea started growing more and more. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound



Interesting is the story of the last years winner in the category “Creative”. Hamburg based headraft literally took music experience to the next level by creating the world’s first AR Music Video for the German band “die Fantastischen Vier”. Designed for their song “Tunnel”, the cited app unfolds a virtual story world once the track starts playing, giving fans the opportunity to go on an interactive journey with the band rather than being a passive viewer. 

Applications are now open! Finalists will be awaited by a curious jury of five leading industry experts. Among others, Kathleen Cohen who was already taking part in the first year will be in the panel of judges again. With a 25-year multiplatform career history under her belt, she is one of the most regarded in the field. As a digital experience expert, she has successfully implemented projects for DreamWorks Interactive and IBM Innovation, to name a few.

Needless to say, the yearly AUREA Award is definitely the place to be. Apply and become a member of the community bringing together all the promising products and solutions in the AR/VR sector.

Photo by AUREA Award

OKAY BUT HOW IS BESPOKE SOUND DIFFERENT THAN PLAYING MY "DISCOVER WEEKLY’’ OR ANY OTHER AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED PLAYLIST ?

Well, both. Currently we offer the following two options: shorter publicly available Brand Playlists and long-form private Soundtracks for spaces. For both of them we work closely with the client to understand how sound fits into their brand DNA and what their audience is like.

We believe that the guests’ experience with a particular space doesn’t have to begin and end with their stay. The idea of the Brand Playlist is to be a public brand playlists designed to engage the customers before, during, and after their visit at a space. It’s always accessible for them and serves as a new, dynamic marketing channel.

The Soundtrack is slightly different. It takes sometimes up to weeks of work and is designed by a world-class artist, DJ, or tastemaker. For it we first work with you to develop a deep understanding of your business and style. Then we match you with the perfect artist, DJ, or tastemaker to create unique, always fresh playlists, custom tailored to match your brand. 

In both cases, we update them regularly based on guest habits and clients’ needs. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound



The way we engage with the music community is something really important for us and honestly, what makes us different than other background music providers. A lot of the background music providers out there have internal teams of maybe five or six DJs that do all of the music for their clients. We aim to connect with the local scene and always work with local DJs. There's some kind of magic in finding the exact right artists for the brand.

And on the flip side of it, when we hire artists, we make sure that the project is also inspiring for them and that they would be interested in participating. We always make sure to pay them well. The whole project creates for them a new income stream that they wouldn't have otherwise.

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound

Yes! This was really fun. The objective with the betahaus "betabeer sounds" playlist was to showcase the community side of betahaus. There are so many cool, interesting people in the betahaus community and we thought a playlist could be a perfect way to not only help bring the community together but also show the diverse funkiness of the communities of Berlin and Neukölln, which is why Hazy Pockets, a longtime local Berlin DJ known for his eclectic mixes, was perfect for this project.

This playlist moves from bluesy 60s rock into surf and tropicalia, picking up momentum into Motown and onwards through some laid back disco tunes. Perfect for the betabeer events betahaus hosts monthly!


YOU’RE CURRENTLY ENJOYING THE SUN FAR FROM BERLIN. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES in berlin that YOU MISS THE MOST?

Oh, there are just so many! Like the Imren Grill for instance where you can find the best homemade Turkish food or Das Gift and Gordon which are both run by great music people. Kohelenquelle in Prenzleuer Berg is my favorite local bar (or rather kneipe). To satisfy my  techno / electronic records needs I always go to Hard Wax and one of my most special places is the Zions Kirche steeple, which has an awesome view of the city and a great Weinerei close by. 


You can see me around betahaus. Online, you can always check out my website and listen to our public playlists on Spotify. We’re also currently working on a collaboration with betahaus, so a special Playlist curated by is will very soon sound around the spaces in Kreuzberg and Neukölln. 

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