The first installment of re:publica 2017 took place in the Xberg district of Berlin from the 8th - 10th May and it was a pleasure to be invited along to take part and experience both re:publica and Media Convention Berlin. They have two other events taking place in the coming months, one in Dublin and one in Greece, both of which are shaping up to be very interesting. As for re:publica Berlin, here's the skinny and the scoop!
Set in an old train station in Xberg, Berlin re:publica was much larger in size than I had anticipated. It took me no less than two hours to complete a full circuit of the event and get a sense of my surroundings. Having flown in on Sunday evening, I was well prepared for an early start on Monday - and re:publica delivered with the official opening taking place at 10am featuring Michael Müller, Dr. Anja Zimmer, Helge Jürgens, Markus Beckedahl, Tanja Haeusler, Johnny Haeusler and founder Andreas Gebhard.
After the opening ceremony I took some time to explore the open exhibition floor and got lost in some pretty marvellous workshops taking place in the maker space and Fab Lab Berlin. There was an excellent range of interactive stands across the exhibition space, showing off a multitude of new and cool technologies. Everyone from BMW to Google was there, but more importantly, so were a large number of small organisations, competing equally for attention on the exhibition floor.
There was hours of fun to be had exploring the creative arts and emerging technology at the event. I spent quite a while doing this on Monday, alongside visiting some great talks, delivered in both English and Deutsch. I caught an excellent talk delivered by Sascha Lobo and also signed up to take part in networking sessions with Braindate: https://re-publica.com/de/17/media-convention-berlin/page/braindate-0
On Monday evening I was invited to be a part of a panel discussion. We were discussing how to Connect Entrepreneurship and it was held in the Connecting Europe space (a thinktank for bringing together and creating shared resources for a number of disciplines across the EU).
We discussed at length how each of us were involved in entrepreneurship within our own cities and then ideated as a community on how to solve some of the common barriers we collectively identified. The conversation moved on to discuss ways to create a shared network of resources and it was very interesting to learn about opportunities for Entrepreneurs and new business in Greece and Germany.
Google Daydream is fantastic, I don't think it's available on the Irish market yet but if you get a chance to sample it I highly recommend that you do. It features some rather innovative games and experiences. In the space of ten minutes I got to be a basketball net, a racing car and trudge through the underground tunnels of London. Highly recommended.
There were some excellent networking opportunities at the event and I met some incredible people. On Monday evening We were invited to a networking session at the re:Connecting Europe space where i had the privilege of meeting the founder of the festival. There was a great buzz and atmosphere and it was a very enjoyable way to spend the evening.
Day two of re:publica kicked off bright and early on Tuesday and I started by visiting the Labore:tory - an exhibition space set in the former train stations three story coal house. Afterwards I attended a talk given by Melanie Boylan which covered the importance of "Social Listening" in the context of Social Media.
By late afternoon there was just enough time to grab some Linner (Lunch/Dinner), take in the event from a nice vantage point and then set off for the airport.
All in all it was a great experience and there was a huge amount of great ideas on display. I look forward to the next Irish installment of the festival and well done once again to all involved!