The Waving Cat houses the advocacy and research of Peter Bihr — and works with clients to make sure that where emerging technologies are involved, citizen empowerment comes first.
The Waving Cat is built around the core belief that emerging technologies must serve citizens and society, and never the other way around.
Please note that in 2021, I’m offering remote workshops as well as discreet consultation session for policy makers, investment managers in foundations and public funding bodies, and public sector managers to help them explore the unintended consequences of new technologies and how they might future-proof their thinking and approach to technology.
Get in touch to discuss your needs. (Happy to work in English or German.)
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 neutralMy 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 Wednesday) 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
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.
I also serve as a thought partner — or sparring partner, if you will — to 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
Outside of client projects, I spend a significant amount of my time on independent work (research, writing, advocacy). The best way to support this is to join the SPECIAL PROJECTS membership.
Specifically, I’m currently doing research that aims to offer accessible, pragmatic guidelines for how to approach decisions that involve technology, and to approach them with a focus on public interest, citizen empowerment and civil rights in mind. This research will produce a book (or equivalent). It is aimed primarily at funders and policy makers in that space but is relevant to a much broader audience. I also host a podcast as part of that research.
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 regarding technology and its impacts going forward?
It’s a reasonably broad field, but at these intersections there is real leverage for meaningful impact.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- A Trustmark for IoT
- The State of Responsible IoT
- View Source: Shenzhen
- Understanding the Connected Home
- The Berlin Institute for Smart Cities and Civil Rights (smart city governance)
- Zephyr Berlin (travel-optimized pants)
- The Good Home (21st century living)
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).