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Elizaveta Bersegova
July 27, 2015

People in beta: Christian Hanke

Welcome to our PEOPLE in Beta series. We are requesting a little insight from speakers and workshop holders of People in Beta festival about who they really are. Christian Hanke is the creative director and partner at Edenspiekermann. As a winner of the Red Dot Award, he’s amongst the best of the best in the world of design & communication for business. Christian will deliver the intriguingly named talk ‘How to convince even an angry six-year-old’ – all about ways to win over audiences large or small, young or old! Read on to hear more about Christian’s own “Dead Poets Society” moment and why he fell in love with coffee.

Throughout all of your successful experiences as a Creative Director, have you figured out some tricks – like one tip that could apply to nearly any project and would always make your work easier?

Well, there are a couple of things which are important to me. But if I would pick one, I‘d say be really interested in what you are working for. If you are not – why should anyone care? If I am starting on a product, a news site or a campaign there is always something about it. We research, try things out, use them, reflect and talk about them beyond just reading the brief. When we worked for the ebook subscription service Blloon, for example, I gathered the team and read to them from the book I was reading at that time. In the beginning it felt a bit odd like faking “Dead Poets Society”. The passage I shared was a very emotional part of the book and I got very emotional over it. But hey, the metaphor we then came up with to build the whole brand, product and campaign around it was great.

What do you think is the main criteria to be able to say “this was a great job” in your field? Is it a happy client or an impressed audience or something else? If you had to pick up only one.

The ultimate question is: Do we win a spot in people’s daily lives? Or in other words: Do people actually use it? So make sure you find out what people need before you start the work.

So, we all know what you are doing now. But who did you actually want to become when you were small?

I used to do a lot of stuff with metal and seriously wished to become a blacksmith.

Once you are off duty, how do you spend your weekends?

Weekends are precious, so looking at my last weekend it’s all about spending time as a family and enjoying good food with good friends. I had surgery earlier this year which funnily enough made me want to start playing basketball again. Considering my current phase in life, I try to combine that with my kids. So usually on Saturdays I go to one of the courts here in Mitte and there are always others already hanging out, which makes for a good routine to leave the week behind me and recalibrate.

What do you value in people most?

First and foremost I value curiosity. There is a great quote from Tiger Tyagarajan: “If you’re curious, you hold the keys”. To be curious about others, new tools, new ideas, new countries – whatever it is. This is what I am looking for in people. Because ultimately we work together to learn from each other and get better at what we do.

Who is your nearest and dearest person on Earth?

Simple answer: Karin, the woman I love and share this wonderful life with. I am so thankful to have met her early enough to already have two wonderful kids.

What do you love most of all?

I love to invent, develop and change all kinds of things and projects. This is what keeps me enjoying all the work I do.

What do you hate most of all?

Nothing really. Except for ignorance or the lack of empathy for others.

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee. Funnily enough I only started drinking it when I was 26 and was commissioned to relaunch a small Swiss espresso machine manufacturer. I was curious to find out what the magic was behind those machines and tried out different coffee / espresso makers and finally fell in love.

Give us a line of wisdom – no matter if invented by you or somebody known or your mom.

A conversation does not start with an answer, but rather with a question. Doesn’t it?


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