This summer was a unique experience thanks to the incredible support from The Principals Go Abroad Fund. I had the opportunity to attend a futuristic technological conference and visit Paris for the first time in my life. On top of that I managed to participate in an “unconference” – a non-conventional concept that helps innovators meet, share their visions and invent desirable futures together.
Sparkling lights, crowds of geeky people and fountains of innovation. What not to love about a tech conference? During the 25th , 26th , 27th of July, more than 2,000 innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and journalist met for the annual “Hello Tomorrow Conference” in Paris. Throughout the course of the convention one of the most influential and revolutionary figures in technology and science gave numerous inspiring speeches. Some of them included Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop, revealing details about a a super-fast, super-efficient, “weatherproof” and “crashproof” form of transportation, Steve Brown, futurist from Intel, reasoning about computing and philosophy and Elias Knubben, Head of Corporate Bionics at Festo, showcasing a bionic-arm and robotic butterflies.
I had the chance to meet the 30 semi-finalists of the “Hello Tomorrow Challange” – a global start-up competition, held during the conference, that covers all major fields in science and technology (Energy, Healthcare, Agriculture, Transportation, Manufacturing and Information Technology). These bold entrepreneurs and scientists are trying to create the future today and improve our lives by overcoming huge technological obstacles. Some of the ideas that I believe have huge potential:
- Graphen-based nanotechnology improving the way we filter water.
- A drug that decreases the amount of fat deposited in the body in order to fight obesity.
- Building transparent solar panels that can be used on glass surfaces like windows.
- A microscope imaging the 3D location and element type of every atom in a material.
Immediately after “Hello Tomorrow Conference” ended, I travelled to Avallon, an old medieval town, where a rather small but very special event, Kinnernet-Europe, was happening. It is an annual “unconference” that brings open minded individuals to collaborate, discuss and cultivate innovative ideas for our future. There was no schedule taking place due to the fact that every participant could give a speech, create a workshop or simply propose a discussion. The aim of this idea is to inspire connections between people and disciplines and to help people improve a whole range of skills. I met numerous amazing people coming from different backgrounds and participated in various debates throughout the convention.
I am grateful for all the opportunities for educational and personal growth this fund gave me and I will remember this truly astonishing experience forever.