Cognitive Cities Conference: An Update


Cognitive Cities Conference LogoWith Cognitive Cities Conference (#CoCities) being less than three weeks out (yikes!) it’s a good moment to take a step back and see where we stand now.

And let me start with a bit of a spoiler: I’m very, very happy how all the pieces have been falling into place.

We love our speakers. At the core of any good conference are, of course, the speakers. And boy, have we been blessed with great speakers who kindly agreed to join us at CoCities despite our obviously limited resources. (CoCities is organized on a non-profit basis.) With Adam Greenfield, Dannie Jost, Georgina Voss, Juha Van’t Zelfde, Matt Biddulph, Sami Niemalä, Ton Zijlstra and Warren Ellis, plus our moderator for the day Ben Hammersley, it’s a dream line-up as far as I’m concerned.

For the second day, which is open for free to the public, we’ve also been getting a plethora of great talks, workshop ideas and some exhibitions – give us some more days to sort it all out, we’ll announce details soon.

This week, we’ll also announce a sponsor, which is a big relief as it gives us a bit of wriggle room that allows us to treat our speakers and participants with the respect they deserve.

Media: It’s all about social. What I find remarkable is the role that media outreach has played for us: virtually none. Almost all of our outreach, publicity, ticket sales, even speaker recruitment has been done via our blogs, on Twitter and Facebook, or by good old email. The other day I considered putting together a press kit in the last minute, but the response was unambiguous: “Never mind the press kit, it’s all about the schwag bags!” So, no press kits. (Alas, also no schwag bags.) We have some banners (like the one in this post), but that’s about it. I’m not sure if the lack of importance of traditional media coverage is just an aspect of the topics we touch on at CoCities, or the core audience there, or simply our personal networks, but it seems to be working. (See what Twitter has to say about Cognitive Cities Conference.)

CoCities is international. Another aspect that makes me very happy is that – according to our ticketing service Amiando – less than 60% of participants are from Germany. This means that we’ve certainly succeeded in bringing the discussion about the future of cities to Berlin, on a global level. (Last time I checked tickets had been bought from 15 or 16 countries.)

Now all we have to do (ahem!) is to keep polishing until the event weekend.

If you haven’t yet, register now for Cognitive Cities Conference.

I’m looking forward to seeing you in Berlin!

Cognitive Cities Conference: New Date!


A few weeks ago, we announced to run a conference on the future of cities & technology, Cognitive Cities Conference. (I blogged it here, too.)

We just moved Cognitive Cities to a new date: 26/27 February 2011.

My co-organizers and I explained our reasons for pushing CoCities on the Cognitive Cities blog, but let me sum it up very quickly here, too.

Most importantly, the move is a good thing. As only a very few of you know by know, there are some changes coming up in my professional life – of the best sorts, but I can’t really talk about them just now. These changes – and some other things – happen to coincide with the original dates of the conference. All of this takes up quite a few cycles and quite a bit of energy: Just the kind of cycles and energy you need to run a great event on the side while still doing your day job.

The team talked this over, and we came to the conclusion that we’d rather postpone the event than just winging it. We really want to get Cognitive Cities right, and we have high hopes and aspirations for this. And since we’re planning to have some really kick-ass people present there, we owe them the best possible event, too.

Moving CoCities to spring will give us just the time we need to get it right. The date seems right – just around the beginning of the conference season, well before SXSW and – most importantly – with a few months between now and then. (If you are aware of any other relevant event going on at the same time, please let me know!)

Also, if you are working on any kick-ass relevant project that you think might fit the profile, send us a brief note about it. Should you prefer email over online forms, feel free to email us at info@cognitivecities.com.

We will continue with the planning just like we did before, i.e. talk to speakers and sponsors, scout for the best projects and tweak the conference format further. To make it the best conference we’ve organized yet. Really looking forward to seeing Cognitive Cities take shape over the next few months.

ZDF Auslandsjournal: Coworking


ZDF Auslandsjournal

ZDF Auslandsjournal did a piece on a team working at Betahaus. The show was a special about the future of cities, and this being Auslandsjournal they usually film abroad. For the future of work it turned out, though, that Berlin is the place to go. So they filmed a bunch of us (Anna Lena Schiller, Christoph Fahle, Igor Schwarzmann, Martin Menzel and me) for two days working on a little website to accompany the TV piece.

Zukunft der Stadt

The segment “Coworking Spaces: BĂĽrogemeinschaft der Zukunft?” aired on 28 April 2010, but it won’t be available online after a week due to some of the more stupid strange restrictions public broadcasters are operating under in Germany. (Which also restricts me from embedding the video here. If anyone has freed the video, let me know.) So the text will stay online just like our website sketch, the video will be up for a week. Betahaus is featured from around minute 9:20.