Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Anne Kjaer Riechert
60David Nikel

David NikelJanuary 29, 2015

Innovating Towards Peace

Joining Pascal Finette for Technoport 2015’s Peace, Love & Entrepreneurship session is Anne Kjær Riechert, who works at the fascinating crossroads of innovation and global peace.

A graduate from the prestigious social innovation and change management school KaosPilot in Denmark, she has since worked as creative lead and corporate social responsibility (CSR) consultant for the brand strategy company Stoic, launched her own humanitarian project, Kids Have a Dream, and studied Peace Studies in Japan on a prestigious Rotary Peace Fellowship.

She moved to Berlin where she worked as the Manager of Public Affairs for Coca-Cola, and setup a Peace Innovation Lab in collaboration with Stanford University.

The Peace Innovation Lab network provides design frameworks, principles and methodologies for Persuasive Technology interventions to measurably increase positive engagement, at scale. They aim to improve social security, provide academic knowledge, facilitate business development, build personal capacity, and build strong local communities.

She was kind enough to sit down with Technoport for a Q&A ahead of what is sure to be an inspiring talk at Technoport 2015.

Anne Kjaer Riechert

How did you connect with the Peace Innovation Lab?

The Peace Innovation Lab was founded at Stanford University in 2010. I met them when I was doing research for OpenIDEO in Palo Alto. They were mixing technology, innovation & peace studies, an unusual triangle that I found exciting. Through my research spending a lot of time in the peacekeeping world there were very fluffy concepts, but I wanted hard facts to see if the interventions we made were working. Technology is such an enabler, it allows you to take effective real-time measurements and helps you scale up if what you are doing is working.

When I graduated, I could choose between continuing my research at Stanford, or collaborating in a different way. They encouraged me to start a Peace Lab in Berlin and basically gave me a wildcard to build up a presence.

What does the Berlin branch do?

When I arrived in Berlin the cross-sector networking was missing. There were meetups of course, but they were based on pizza and beer, and what happens happens. I don’t believe in that being the only way.

Now in Berlin, we are a grass-roots movement with 670 members from all sectors including government, academia, for-profit and non profit. Once a month we run a collaborative workshop for two hours, at which experts talk about a technology or social innovation topic. This is followed by a 90-minute brainstorming session, where we aim to come up with new concepts and/or discuss implications. Afterwards we always go out for a drink together, an informal but important part of the community.

Participating in a full 2-hour program inspires people and eases the collaboration process. It makes it easier to network with people later, because you know who they are, what they are interested in, and how to navigate the system better.

Do you have any advice for developing an entrepreneurial mindset?

The mindset for a social entrepreneur is a special kind of mindset. Triple bottom line thinking is crucial. Unfortunately a lot of time social entrepreneurs are so keen to make an impact that we forget the financial viability of what we are doing. The biggest challenge faced by social entrepreneurs is getting this balance right.

What can we look forward to at Technoport 2015?

I’m going to give my personal story to encourage the entrepreneurial mindset in people and to say just go for it.

I will describe how we developed the Peace Innovation Lab in Berlin, together with how and why it is radically different from the one at Stanford. We spent a long time working with Stanford on business models and spreadsheets before we realised we hadn’t built anything. We put away the computers and started building, sourced feedback and grew.

Meet Anne in Trondheim

Join us in Trondheim, Norway, on 18 & 19 March as we seek to awaken the entrepreneurial mindset at Technoport 2015.

FluorescentTobacco
15Megan Jones

Megan JonesFebruary 17, 2014

10 Exciting Crowdfunded… Gadgets

With crowdfunding, anyone can help turn the craziest of dreams into a fully functional reality. From the innovative to the sustainable to the just plain wacky, these 10 successful campaigns give a taste of the great new tech coming out of crowdfunding.

1. WakaWaka Light and Power

WakaWaka Power

Image: WakaWaka

This lamp is solar powered and super efficient, lasting for up to 80 hours. It can stand up on its own or attached to a bottle top. The WakaWaka Power, released in 2013, can also be used to charge a smartphone, MP3 player or tablet.

Even better, the profits from sales in the West are used to give WakaWakas to some of the 1.2 billion people without access to electricity. Replacing kerosene lamps with solar light cuts down on CO2 emissions, reduces health problems like burns, and saves families money. That makes WakaWakas a win-win!

These nifty gadgets have had three crowdfunding campaigns – Kickstart and Symbid for the WakaWaka Light, and again on Kickstarter for WakaWaka Power. Or you can check out the website to buy the gadget yourself.

2. Glowing Plant

Image: WIRED

The boundaries between technology and nature are sometimes hard to define. No more so than with this crowdfunding project, which caused quite a stir last summer when campaigners offered to give away free glowing plants to their Kickstarter backers.

The project seeks to develop sustainable, natural lighting by genetically modifying plants to glow in the dark – but its wild popularity comes from its wacky, science fiction appeal.

The founders describe their crowdfunding success as an exciting new development for synthetic biology, but critics worry about the environmental risks when GMOs are freely distributed. In the wake of this controversy Kickstarter has banned GMOs as rewards, alongside guns and alcohol. Interested people in the US can still pre-order glow-in-the-dark seeds or plants on the Glowing Plant website, but distribution to Europe is illegal under EU law.

3. Wood. Head. Phones.

Image: Inhabitat

Except for the wire inside them, these headphones are made entirely of wood. The inventor, a 19-year-old product designer from Oslo, named them after the Norwegian word “treskalle” – literally meaning “wood head”, or “stupid” – because, as he says in his crowdfunding video, “this is, in a lot of ways, a stupid product”.

In spite of this modesty, the headphones supposedly have a sweet sound and are custom-made for each person in ash, oak, cherry, or walnut. It’s not clear if you can still buy your own Wood. Head. Phones., but the Facebook page is a good place to start looking.

4. Kano

Image: Kano

If you’ve ever wanted the satisfaction of building your own computer, then look no further than Kano. For geeks and newbies of all ages, this cool kit comes with 11 components – including how-to guides – and is cute enough to give mainstream laptops a run for their money.

With Kano you can make games and learn code, and it’s open source, so using it can only get more fun. The smash hit Kickstarter campaign raised 15 times the original goal, and you can find out more or pre-order your own at the Kano website.

5. Morpher

Image: Indiegogo

Do you use a helmet when you cycle? Many people don’t, and this British inventor thinks he’s found one reason why: helmets are too bulky, especially for people using a bike rental scheme. The solution? A folding helmet.

Morpher folds in half, making it easy to slip it into a rucksack or laptop bag. It should be as safe as an ordinary helmet – most of the crowdfunded money will be used to meet international safety standards – and even comes in pretty colours. Check out the Indiegogo campaign or Morpher website for more info.

6. BUILD

Image: Indiegogo

Tired of boring furniture? Well, designers in Germany have developed modular shelving that is non-toxic, long lasting and completely recyclable. Beneath its funky shape lies a high-tech structure of polypropylene plastic foam that also makes it lightweight and shock-absorbent.

With BUILD you decide what shape you want, and can put it on a wall or use it to divide up a room. Plus if you move house or need an extra few chairs for that big dinner party, each block doubles up as a box, a seat, or even a cooler. Check out the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, or go straight for the product.

7. ThePresent

Image: thepresent

OMMMMMMMMM.

Relaxed yet? No? Well maybe it’s time to welcome ThePresent into your life. Its New York inventor touts this as the first 365-day clock – in one year the hand only rotates once around the face. With its colourful display to evoke the changing seasons, this clock is a reminder to stop and smell the roses.

The Kickstarter campaign has a great video about how the clock was made. Check out ThePresent website to learn more or get your own.

8. JACK

Image: autoevolution

Between walking and cycling lies a third choice for the eco-friendly commuter: the electric, folding scooter. JACK, as this Dutch prototype is called, weighs less than 20kg, can be charged in a car or home, and fits easily in a car boot or on public transport.

JACK can travel at speeds up to 25kph (15mph), but with a full battery it only lasts 20k (12.5 miles) so it’s more suited to a city spin than a road trip. All the specs are on the Symbid campaign page or the JACK website.

9. Tellspec

Image: Tellspec

If you’re human, you’ve probably worried about what’s in your food at least once. Does that apple have pesticides on it? Are there nasty additives in my pre-packaged sandwich? How many calories are in that slice of cake?

Tellspec hopes to answer these questions. Through spectrometry, Tellspec uses a laser to scan the chemicals inside a piece of food, and then wirelessly sends the results to your smartphone. For anyone with a food allergy, watching their weight or just keen on good food, this is definitely a product to watch. The Indiegogo campaign finished in November, so stay tuned on the website for launch as early as August.

10. Emotiv Insight

Image: Kickstarter

It’s not a jetpack, but it comes pretty close. The Emotiv Insight will allow you to move objects with your mind. With previous models, people have used their thoughts to create music, drive a car, manipulate a robot, type on a keyboard, and operate a wheelchair. This new model, crowdfunded on Kickstart, should also be able to record emotions, stress levels, physical fitness and facial expressions.

Emotiv Insight works through electroencephalography (EEG) to interpret the neuron signals  in the user’s brain. To make it more accessible, designers are making this gadget lightweight and cheaper, and adding dry sensors (so you don’t need to smear gel on your head every time you use it). Whether it’s helping people recover from injury, manage a disability, or just try out something awesome, this gadget screams “watch out, world”.

 

Is there a gadget we’ve left out? Which one would you choose?

Marchlyn Resovoir
1Henrik Karlstrøm

Henrik KarlstrømSeptember 10, 2013

What do people think about Norway as Europe’s “green battery”?

The politics of Norway’s energy supply is not something that many people often think a lot about. However, in recent months a discussion about whether Norway should increase its production of renewable energy, and extend more cables to neighbouring countries to become Europe’s “green battery”, has started. Here, I will try to discuss the issue of an increased power exchange with the rest of Europe, by looking at what average electricity users think about these questions.

But first, what is the idea behind the “green battery”? Well, Europe is rapidly increasing its adoption of renewable energy, with Denmark now being 40 % renewable, and Germany approaching 20 %. This is mostly good news, as this power replaces more polluting sources of electricity, or at least keeps some coal or gas plants from being built. However, renewable energy is less stable than fossil fuel energy, because it relies more directly on the current weather conditions. When it is windy, Spain can get two thirds of its power from wind turbines, but when it is not it needs to get power from somewhere else.

This is where Norway and the idea of a green battery come in. With its large supply of hydropower, which is stable, and can be turned on or off in a matter of minutes, Norway is an ideal candidate to act as a regulating instance in an electricity grid where renewables is an increasing part of the mix. It is also a potential source of income for Norwegian electricity companies and the Norwegian municipalities that mostly own these utilities, as well as the Norwegian state, which gets more tax revenue from it.

Because of its beneficial environmental effects, several environmental organisations, such as Zero and Bellona, strongly support the adoption of more renewables in the Norwegian energy mix. They are lobbying for increased power exchange with other European countries. Local governments in the south of Norway (link in Norwegian) have also voiced support for the scheme, wishing to benefit from increased exports.

Continue Reading

photo by: ohefin