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The first-ever held Me Convention in Frankfurt (Germany) has been more than just a slight insight to where our world is headed. Running under #createthenew, the three-day-long event has featured panel sessions with speakers from all over the world who shared their knowledge with an audience characterized by its mix –of age, profession, gender, origin, etc. If you want to know how the future looks like, you only have to keep reading.

In its aim to provide the most diverse program possible, the organizers obviously succeeded in reaching a really large audience. Whether you have a fashion background or are an industrial designer, or even if you simply run any kind of business, everyone could find a selection of talks and workshops that fitted best his or her interests. New Creation, New Leadership, New Realities, New Urbanism and New Velocity: these are the factors that will determine the future, and therefore the convention hosted professionals of each sector to guide the way within these categories.

With speakers like Hans Ulrich Obrist, curator of the Serpentine Galleries and one of the strongest voices in the art world, or Nick Foster, one of Google X’s head designers, inspiration was widely spread through most of the congress center rooms. Accompanied by laughter and thanks to humorous performances you nearly forgot that listening to these deeply informative talks is actually really exhausting. But after a quick visit to the close-by food trucks you again had the energy to think about stuff like “How art should not just show problems of society but also offer options and propose solutions” or listen to Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, talking about “How important it is that children see both parents doing household”.

With a very functional Q&A system, which one could use via the convention app speakers, the system was accessible for everyone. Moreover, the app is equipped with a feature to vote questions you like, which ensured that topics of the majority’s interest got treated. On a side note, if this is how the future of democracy will look like, we’re definitely happy and eager for it to arrive as soon as possible.

Self-driving cars, artificial intelligence or new forms of design and mobility were some of the topics discussed and, more important, linked to an even greater one: sustainability. Many innovators pointed out how we keep forgetting that we should not design things and our future just to please our eyes, and stated that we should take care of the actual value and practicality of the things we create. In the end, the intention is to design not just for rich and gifted individuals but for the masses, and concentrate on stuff that is truly helpful without creating more waste and trash.

Also, a lot of talks mentioned – while some others heavily discussed – the importance of equality between men and women in the work world. Since the whole convention was also focused on leadership in the future it was beautiful to see that there is a common goal we’re all headed to together: the goal to equalize positions, opportunities and payment for everyone.

Especially for people working in fields related to any of the main categories there was a lot to take out of every lecture. The organization team clearly didn’t fear to spend a good amount of money on qualitative speakers, and each one of them was one of the – if not the – best in what they do: from Neil Habisson, the first cyborg in history, to Christian Mio Loclair, a choreographer who mixes breakdance with coding, to Buzz Aldrin, the astronaut who set foot on the Moon for the first time along with Neil Armstrong. 

To loosen the whole seriousness of future issues there was also a good framework and fringe events. With concerts starting at Austrian cloud rap starlet Yung Hurn on Thursday night up to international celebrities performing like Beth Ditto or Iggy Azalea, you were happy if you still had enough energy to attend.

In addition to these stage appearances the conference managed to locate so called ‘Urban Hotspots’ around the edgy main station area of Frankfurt. A selection of bars, restaurants, cafes and even hotels made the decision where to go not really easy – although
there was a shuttle service that could be used by all visitors that helped the lazy walkers.

The aspect of not being able to categorize or provide a label for the Me Convention is something we qualify as very positive. With some panels you simply felt like you could invite your whole family and friends in order to learn how to live together peacefully and build an effective tomorrow, and with others, you felt reassured about being interested in some topics you never thought concerned other people.

Overall, positively surprised, you can tell that happenings like this make you feel good and optimistic about the future. The world finds itself in a state of changing times but there are people who truly believe in a change for the better. And we now feel even more inspired and prepared on what an ever-crazy world will provide for us.

Julius Pristauz
Daimler AG

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