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    Keynote by Mark Bünger, Research Director of LUX

    Mark Bünger is the Research Director of LUX. Besides researching green buildings and alternative energy, Bünger is into biochemistry.

    In fact he is so much into biochemistry that he wants to convince the participants at NEXT about it.  By teaming people together two on two, the participants are ought to look each other in the eyes, touch each other’s cheeks – and thereby experiencing their own natural biochemical reactions; racing heartbeat, laughter, cheeks turning red. Biochemistry ignites your visual communication and pushes you out of your comfort zone!

    Copy/paste your genes
    Bünger thinks we can learn a lot from a software developer’s way of thinking. When a software developer builds a program, he copies and pastes pieces of code from one end of the program to another. That’s exactly what we can do with our genes – copy/paste genes in between each other to regenerate body parts.

    Biochemistry can make the blind see again
    The mindset of software developers will also let human beings discover how body parts are constructed and developed. By trying to make a bug grow multiple eyes – and failing the project – scientists discovered how an eye is build and developed. A quite interesting discovery for blind people, as the scientist might figure out how to grow new eyes for sightless human beings.

    Biochemistry is not a beautiful mistake
    Mark Bünger argues that biochemistry is not a beautiful mistake. Biochemistry – unlike for example the discovery of the microwave oven – is a simple process of trying again and again until coming up with reliable answers.


    Keynote by Matthias Hollwich, Architect / co-founder HWKN

    Matthias Hollwich, co-founder of architecture firm HWKN and architecture community Architizer, talks about the news ways of designing a house – architects using crowd-sourcing.

    Matthias starts out passing around three photo boards around and invites the audience to draw and infuse their ideas on top of the existing architecture: New Aging, Rising Sea Levels and Fun Sustainability.

    Matthias Hollwich wants to make the most dangerous nursing home of the planet: A nursing home where residents would rather go home to their communities, creating social life.

    Matthias Hollwich is one of the key persons behind BOOM – a bold new community. BOOM is about making a vivacious and engaging retiring home covering a whole neighbourhood. BOOM was commissioned by a group of investors who originally wanted Architizer to design the community. Instead, Hollwich says, Architizer wanted to kickstart the project. Hollwich was very specific in choosing the architect firms for the task: They should be curious, willing to collaborate and most importantly, never have done anything related to aging. Ten different architecture companies were handpicked for the task.

    Architecture is usually a very one-sided process where one architecture company is responsible for the whole product: It is expensive and the company is sitting in an ivory tower, hard to approach in the first place. Also, the most prestigious projects tend to be used only once, making architecture a very costly business model. In fact, only 5 pct. of homes in the US are designed by architects.

    The BOOM project makes architecture a process with no hierarchy, where ideas are being generated within the people. Every step of the process is visible for the public, allowing them to give the architects input. This gives the residents first hand insight and a feeling of ownership.

    So instead of making architecture a completely crowdsourced task like Architizer tried – no doubt an impossible feat – concepts like BOOM allows the architects to be in the driving seat, while they tap into the vast of crowd-generated knowledge.


    Keynote by Ted Howes, Fmr IDEO Global Lead, Energy Domain

    On a daily occurrence Ted Howes leads IDEO’s Energy Domain. At this year’s NEXT conference Howes enters the stage to talk about sustainability.

    He covers the theme Beautiful Mistakes with different examples from his long career. Howes points at the energy company PG&E as an example of a beautiful mistake.

    Wireless technology blinded PG&E
    PG&E saw an opportunity in embedding wireless technology to interact with their electric meters. Amazed by the new technological prospects, PG&E started replacing all of their older technologies with the new wireless ones. Soon their customers became concerned – were these new wireless connections actual harmful to people’s health?

    Criticism was pouring over PG&E. Angry customers protested against the wireless technologies, but feeling overheard and forced to accept the replacement.

    Listen to your customers
    As a result, PG&E had to switch back to the old technology once again to satisfy their customers – a really expensive and troublesome learning. PG&E did however learn how much listening to customers is worth. Ted Howes points at the importance of letting users lead and play an active role in embedding new products – otherwise it is difficult, if not infeasible, to convince customers to embrace new technology in their everyday life.  Even though PG&E’s attempt to embed wireless technology turned out a mistake, the energy company has learned a lesson.


    Keynote by Alfons Cornella, Infonomia

    First speaker of the day is Alfons Cornella. He is the founder and president of Infonomia. He emphasizes that everything in the future will be based on just two letters: ‘Co’.

    Old disciplines like sports, music, and science have always been based on collaborations. This tendency is just rising – for example, the CERN-project in Switzerland is a huge collaboration between uncountable scientists all over the world. In scientific articles, the names of authors take up fifteen pages alone.

    Co-branding, co-products, and co-markets are also becoming more popular for companies. The collaborations allow the company to combine their specialities and expand their knowledge banks. Alfons Cornella thinks coping with a more complex world requires more collaboration.

    Infonomia founded co-society in order to accommodate to this market. co-society is a network of companies that collaborate in order to strengthen their own company.

    However, co-society did run into some problems: Not surprisingly, humans and companies, are selfish. In order to overcome this selfishness and make the collaboration a reality, co-society put an emphasis on trust, tools, and techniques. The tools include a shared platform for the companies. An example – a furniture company is connected to a shoes company. Two companies who wouldn’t normally have anything in common. However, by comparing the customer base of both companies, the companies realised that they have a lively and engaged young customer base, making this a common ground for the companies.

    In short, the most important task of co-society is to find common grounds for the companies. Collaborating companies will entail more positive synergy between the companies.

    The only difference between a mistake and a success is one thing: Time. A mistake now might be a success in the future – a beautiful mistake!