Company logo showing a waving cat in the style of a maneki neko

The Waving Cat houses the advocacy and research of Peter Bihr — and works with clients to center citizen empowerment within emerging technologies.

The Waving Cat is built around the core belief that emerging technologies must serve citizens and society, and never the other way around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Approach

With my research and strategic advisory I work at the intersection of technology, governance, policy and social impact — with foundations, public and private sector.

Technology is never neutral

My work centers around a strong, well-informed belief about the relationships between technology and society — namely that technology must always be in service to society. (Here’s my agenda as best as I can describe it.) I can help your organization navigate uncharted waters, and to develop positions to issues at the intersection of emerging tech, civil rights and policy. I provide insights and strategic advice through a range of formats — from lightweight conversations to deep dives, from transformation processes to helping set up new programs.

How we work

With my far-reaching network and extensive experience with commercial and governmental clients, foundations and civil society, I work with organizations who strive to shape their field rather than follow. My approach to technology, business and culture is always responsible & human-centered. I care deeply about positive social impact, societal good & public interest, which is why I also constantly investigate issues independently and share my findings freely through publications, convenings and the occasional prototype — usually through collaborations. I’m based in Berlin and work in English and German.

Work with me

You’d like to bounce ideas together? Meeting for a coffee is trickier than usual due to coronavirus precautions, so I’m making it extra easy to connect.

Feel free to book an informal call (every Tuesday) to discuss any ideas or have a chat. No need to email first.

Lieber auf deutsch?
Unsere Website ist englischsprachig, aber wir arbeiten bei Bedarf natürlich auch gerne auf deutsch.

Working with me
I contribute most value in long-term collaborations and in projects of an exploratory nature. Usually my role is that of an advisor or sparring partner, and I’m happy to bring in a team to deliver. This kind of work is both highly networked and varied, and it yields a range of outputs or services. Please take the services listed on this page as a starting point for a conversation rather than a fixed set of offerings.

Let’s have a chat and see what opportunities we can find to work togther. Get in touch.

 

 

What I do

Strategic Advisory

I help sharpen your organization’s positioning in relation to larger societal needs and trends at the intersection of emerging technology and social impact / public interest.

By identifying opportunities for impact, I help you allocate scarce resources where they are most needed for long-term impact. Get away from trend reports and focus on the important stuff.

I love to help charting a strategic path for your organization towards greater impact, opportunity and relevance. Not just for the next quarter, but the next decade or two.

I also serve as a thought partner — or sparring partner, if you will — to support help C-level executives test and hone ideas and strategies by bringing in a fresh external expert perspective. This works through regular conversations, supplemented usually through my ongoing radar/sensing.

Research & Capacity Building

My research keeps you up to date on cutting edge developments in emerging technologies and their potential impact through custom reports, ongoing conversations, and other formats.

I help your organization develop a deep understanding of the impact of emerging technology in the most relevant strategic and policy areas for your organization.

I strengthen your capacity for sensing, sensemaking and decision-making in an environment defined by complexity, uncertainties, and rapid change.

 

 

Key Initiatives

ThingsCon is a non-profit organization that advances responsible technology (esp. IoT). Through events, independent research, and publications we support designers, technologists, policy makers and other practitioners with the knowledge to make better informed decisions in their daily work. I co-founded in 2014 and am chair of ThingsCon e.V. Learn more.
The Berlin Institute for Smart Cities and Civil Rights is a new initiative I’m setting up in collaboration with former German Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löhning and his team to help cities build knowledge and democratic governance that will protect their citizens from any adverse impact of smart city technologies and help realize the full positive potential of smart cities. Learn more.
Publications allow me to share research findings. Recent reports written with clients explored the relationship between technology and society, like Towards a European AI & Society Ecosystem or Smart Cities: A Key to a Progressive Europe. On other occasions, I (co-)publish self-initiated reports in collaboration with other experts. Learn more.

 

 

My Areas of Engagement

I focus on the intersections where emerging technologies overlap with social impact & public interest as well as with policy & strategy.

Typically in my work I explore issues such as:

  • How do data-driven systems like Internet of Things or Artificial Intelligence impact governance?
  • How can we make sure that Smart Cities work well for citizens rather than just vendors?
  • How can we empower the next generation of leaders to make the right choices regard technology and its impacts going forward?

It’s a reasonably broad field, but at these intersections there is real leverage for meaningful impact.

 

 

Clients

client logos

I’ve worked with clients from all types of backgrounds including public sector, foundations and non-profits, industry and tech, media and research.

Projects range from project-based to year-long engagements, from workshop to written reports to an ongoing conversation. However, some of the most valuable work happens outside classic formats like being a thought and sparring partner for leadership, or by helping set up new and explorative initiatives.

 

 

Relevant Projects

TRUSTABLE TECHNOLOGY

The Trustable Technology Mark, a Trustmark for IoT: Within the ThingsCon network we developed a trustmark for consumer IoT products to evaluate the trustworthiness of connected products.

REPORT: AI & SOCIETY

Towards a European AI & Society Ecosystem is a report I co-authored (published by Stiftung Neue Verantwortung and ThingsCon) about opportunities and challenges of the emerging European AI & Society Ecosystem. Learn more.

REPORT: SMART CITIES

Smart Cities: A Key to a Progressive Europe is a report about Smart Cities as seen through a progressive policy lens. It’s part of the joint FEPS/Samak report A Progressive Approach to Digital Tech. Learn more.

INTERVIEW SERIES

Corona Crisis: Lessons for the Future of Cities is series of interviews with decision makers of cities around the world about their cities’ specific responses to the Coronavirus crisis with a focus on digital technology and civil society engagement. For and with Körber Foundation. Learn more.

RESEARCH

View Source: Shenzhen. We went to Shenzhen to explore the Shenzhen hardware ecosystem. The majority of electronics worldwide are made in Shenzhen, China, the so-called Silicon Valley of Hardware. We wanted to pull back the curtain.So we decided to go to where a large portion of IoT is made, and pull back the curtain—and explore how to promote the creation of a responsible Internet of Things. Learn more.

Much of my client work is confidential, however I share most of my own research publicly.

 

 

In-house Projects

Publications & Products

I frequently launch our own projects—usually in close collaboration with external partners—which then turn into publications or products: Consider it the in-house R&D lab and incubator.

Ebooks & reports

Magazines

Special projects

Emerging tech events

We seek to advance the field and spread knowledge & insights broadly. That is why, in addition to our publications & products, we launched a number conferences for pioneer communities.

Among others, I co-founded and chaired the conferences ThingsCon (IoT), UIKonf (iOS development), Cognitive Cities (smart cities), and atoms&bits (maker movement); co-directed NEXT Conference 2012-15; and served as co-chair for Interaction16.

These events always inform our research and help us build out our network. Sometimes, they unfold into something much larger and take on a life of their own, like the global ThingsCon community, a global community of IoT practitioners with deep expertise committed to foster the creation of a responsible & human-centric Internet of Things (IoT).