Weeknote 19/29

I was hoping to kick off a new project this week, but that was a bit too optimistic. I forgot that approval processes take time, even more so during the holidays.

With that bit of extra time on hand, Matze and I went to Der Spiegel to explore the possibilities of hosting a 040x040 session there.

“04what?” Glad you’re asking. It’s a kind of mobile conference, taking you to places in Hamburg and Malmö that you wouldn’t see otherwise, getting you in contact with people you wouldn’t meet otherwise and inspiring you in ways that no regular sitting-in-a-dark-room-listening-to-people-on-a-stage-conferences ever will. So use your education budget wisely and buy a ticket. It’s probably one of the best investment you ever made.¹

I also had a few discussion with Matze about some kind of platform² to foster social innovation in Hamburg. We had a concrete reason to do so, which I can’t talk about. But we are hoping to expand our field of work and this might open up some opportunities.


Just a few hours ago, we talked again about how to evolve professionally while shooting some hoops. Then, aiming from the short corner, Matze asked if I ever thought about studying something new. He got the impression, that it could be something I’m interested in.

And he’s right. While I never missed studying interaction or graphic design when I was in my 20s, the idea of being deeply immersed in a topic, to really get to the heart of things and learn something new, sounds more and more enticing these days.

“And what would that be?”, he asked.
“Urban design”, I said without thinking.

Architecture has intrigued me for quite a while, but when I moved to a new apartment, I experienced the impact that urban design has and I got fascinated by it.

Our old flat was nice, but it was on a very busy street. I always thought the location didn’t bother me that much. But when we moved, I realized how much I was effected by our surroundings.

Our building is located on a square. 10 years ago it was a street, but now it is a large area free of cars. Kids play, people sit on benches eating ice cream and neighbours gather to make impromptu barbecues. Almost everybody strolling through this area seems relaxed. Many have smiles on the faces. Folks talk to each other. You don’t see many people with their eyes glued to the phone.³

And all this happens, because it was designed that way. Our new neighbourhood made me look at places differently. When I now walk or ride around the city, I pay attention to its design and observe how people behave within that space. It feels like user experience design on a large scale.

Which made Matze and me wonder how we could use our skills in that context. What would be projects were we could play a part in? How could we add value?

First item on the agenda: activate some contacts and talk to people who work in that field.

After that we should develop a new ideation method: B-Ball Brainstorming™.

  1. Just to be clear: I’m not tooting our own horn here. While precious was always happy to be involved in the events, it’s the brainchild of Matze. He initiated the whole thing and invented this format, which should earn him a nobel-prize if they ever expand it to conferencing.
  1. Platform meaning everything from events, workshops, mentorships, allocation of grants, physical spaces, digital marketplaces…
  1. Fun fact: It happens that this square has many properties of the ancient Greek agora. On one side it’s flanked by a courthouse (justice), a church (religion) and an exhibition hall (commerce).