These walls of stone speak with the brisk words of late summer

Enjoy life, make merry and remember remember to forget me not

A mere moment stitched of the strife of the billowing clouds

And the rustling of the soft grass

Go forth and drink, dance and shout through all the land !

Tell tales of these faraway walls and leave trails of envy in your wake

Your steps are a tapestry in the stairwell of humanity

A leaf in the woodland of dreams and ambitions

Of hipsters, mob folk, seekers, witches, queens and sons alike

Your woes are but the fleeting flutter of a butterfly’s wings

That life and all in it is a symphonic overture waiting for you to write it

And that all that’s well shall surely end well

These walls of stone speak with the clarity of the peeved poet

And the solidity of the blacksmith

They speak to the clerks and clergymen of the landed gentry

And the coal shaft cleaners and sewer men

To all sets of people, there is an end to your miseries and aches

Enjoy life, make merry and remember remember to forget me not

 

screen-shot-2014-02-01-at-2-53-24-am

 

Original article written for TEDxKEA, available here:

 

Skærmbillede 2014-10-31 kl. 12.32.33

Illustration : Dovile Montvydaite

 

Networkr: Re-thinking Professional Networking

A recurrent theme within the TEDxKEA narrative has been that of the numerous possibilities provided by the digital age. Never in the history of our existence have we had the possibilities to connect and communicate with each other as we do at present. This avalanche of opportunities, however, is not without challenges, as one of our speakers notes. Whilst we find ourselves exposed to seemingly innumerable options, it is also true that there is a need for more specificity.

Meet Networkr, a simple mobile application designed to aid the process of people connecting with each other at events, with a broader view of encouraging meaningful dialogue between them. The app, built by Nodes, a creative digital bureau working with an enviable portfolio within the industry, aims to complement the attributes of existing networking platforms such as Linkedin, albeit offering a more streamlined as well as more personal experience. Networkr’s CEO, Tim Groot believes that “It is difficult to find people that are interesting for you to interact with, professionally”. He adds: “Right now, one does so on a trial and error basis – you meet some people at an event and interact with them, but there are many more who you don’t get the chance to meet who could be more interesting or more relevant.”

Networking via mobile applications is nothing new, unlike the manner in which Networkr focuses on geographical proximity and/or a specific frame of interaction like attending events. Tim Groot wants connect people through mutual interest in a certain event, whilst utilising the higher sense of urgency that is present at these, where people want to interact with others in a meaningful way.

Moreover, the app creates a match between people based on a mutual interest, much in the same operative manner as the popular dating app, Tinder. This implies that both parties have to opt into requests to interact, limiting spamming whilst creating meaningful dialogues between people. “The matches that you acquire are not just people that are interesting for you, but also people who are interested in you”, remarks Tim Groot. Another feature that adds ballast to the potential of the application is the ability to connect before, during and after an event – aiding interaction possibilities whilst ensuring that there is also an element of sustainability created within the dialogues exchanged; meaningful interaction is created as people can contact one another once the event has ended. This increases the value of the event and changes the way we think about and organise our time and space. An event sphere around a particular happening is thus created, creating viable links between people of otherwise seemingly different interests, drawn together by the common event.

TEDxKEA believes in the power of ideas and in the need for these ideas to emerge. We are also an organisation with an affinity for doing things, rather than merely talking about them. With this in mind, we are proud to announce that Networkr will be an official partner at our Emerge event on December 11th, giving you the chance to connect to our speakers and fellow attendees.

 

Original article written for TEDxKea, available here: http://tedxkea.com/altering-digital-consumption-paradigm/

Skærmbillede 2014-10-24 kl. 01.38.09

Illustration : Dovile Montvydaite

 

Sports fan, brand activation manager and digital marketing ace Stefan Pflug is of the impression that ”When you offer fans something they truly consider valuable, you earn commercial airtime.”

This should be relatively straightforward. After all, businesses tailoring their products and services to the tastes of their customers is nothing new, and is especially evident in the digital age of the limitless possibilities of customer-advertiser interactions. Within this epoch, features such as site analytics and search engine optimisation functions allow advertisers to form a realistic frame of the nature of their consumers and their behavioral traits. Within the frames of this digital abundance, it would seem that possibilities are seemingly endless for consumers and producers of content alike.

Denmark is among the top five countries with the highest number of broadband users per capita, according to statistics from the World Bank. 90 % of our citizens are classified as “active internet users”. We are a connected country, to say the least.

But there is something missing in this world wide web of connectedness. “Nowadays, people consume digitally for six seconds before moving on [...] This is not healthy, not for the consumer, nor for the advertiser,” remarks Simon Pflug. From our own lives as students and young, throbbing hearts in a pulsating city, we can all draw parallels with this statement. Yes, it is true that we are surrounded by a wide range of media through which to express ourselves and to access content – Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, RSS feeds, etc. are all examples of this. Hardly a day goes by without the development and launch of a new mobile application that changes the manner in which we view and consume information.

We are merely a click away from being able to trigger online actions that reflect who we are and the way we think as consumers. Clicktivism is but one example of this: the act or habit of using the Internet as a primary means of influencing public opinion on matters of politics, religion or other social concerns has become a widespread norm of the digitally native society.

However, with the flood of such platforms comes inundation with little immersion. Hyperchoice is the buzzword that the marketing lingo has chosen to brand this phenomenon – a condition where the large number of available options forces us to make repeated choices that may drain psychological energy and diminish our abilities to make smart decisions. Whilst the implications of hyperchoice areyet to be properly and documented, one can suggest that too much of a good thing is not always positive. For instance, one critique of clicktivism could be that a lot of it is purely symbolic – “Liking” brands, causes and affiliations on social media is a virtual version of a truth that does not necessarily reflect a social reality. The web is littered with virtual manifestations of this sort – whether they are apparent in Facebook likes or in the six-second attention span theory that Stefan Pflug refers to. There is little sustainability within a frame of digital consumption of this sort – for advertisers and consumers alike, and this needs to change.

We need a new consumption paradigm. It is important that we look into why the attention spans of digital natives on their web pilgrimages are as brief and as short-term as they are. Can we forge better links between content and those accessing it? All of this, and more, will be discussed at TEDxKEA’s EMERGE event on December 11th, where you will witness TED talks that will both captivate, entertain and get you to pose critical questions regarding your views on digital media.

Original article published for TEDxKEA, availble here : http://tedxkea.com/collaborative-culture-in-the-world-of-web-2-0/
Skærmbillede 2014-10-20 kl. 23.35.16
Illustration: Dovile Montvydaite
 Today’s world is a globalized one; a throbbing interconnected web of ideas, people, urban sprawl, movement, life. Our continents are more connected than they have ever been ­through satellites, underwater fiber optic cables, ships, planes, telecommunications – you name it.

Yet even in a web 2.0 world, one can and must ask the question, are we making the most of it all? Are the technological advancements we have made over the last decades merely different manifestations of the seemingly irreversible vice of social inequality or do they actually constitute a foundation upon which a brighter future can be built?

It seems that, as Hans Rosling and his son Ola assure us in their TED talk from Berlin, the world is moving in the right direction, with progress being made in the fight against poverty and inequality, contrary to popular belief. The question remains though, is enough progress being made to counterbalance the debilitating effects of the global population growth and the consequent pressure on natural resources?

Advancements in web 2.0 have broken the boundaries of what we previously thought was possible with web 1.0. Technologies like Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube and other user-­driven sites having turned the tables on traditionally top-heavy (often agenda-driven) content production. The result of this has meant that many have been empowered with the tools to document and consume content at their own will. The true power of this sudden demonopolization of information can hardly be overestimated – perhaps best exemplified in the Arab Spring, when social media played a significant role in the uprising of various populations against oppressive regimes.

Whilst we stand in awe of the power of web 2.0, it is important that we don’t forget to address the privacy violation issues that seem to go hand in hand with it, with Facebook clicks being mapped to chart profiles for advertisers, the NSA spying on millions and hackers stealing our identities for purposes that one would rather not contemplate.

Moreover, sites like YouTube can both empower the downtrodden and helpless as well as act as a frontier for the transmission of hatred and terror propelled by far-­fetched extremists after blood and gore, a scenario that we have seen unfold all too dramatically of late. In similar vein, Wikipedia, another web 2.0 platform, can just as easily enrich the general public with irreplaceable subject knowledge from varied sources as it can produce erroneous, unsubstantiated information. There is a double­-edged sword effect which holds true of many of today’s technologies, many of which constitute the nascent phase of web 2.0.

What does this imply? Well, for one thing, increased global interconnectedness connotes perceivably easier communication opportunities across the board. Easier opportunities for individual content production and consumption in turn can create empowerment amongst social classes excluded from the narrative of society. Consequently, this can help tip the inequalities in income, capital and education that our world continues to suffer from.

Moves towards a global culture of collaboration are being made through, amongst other things, web 2.0. The importance of this is in an increasingly shared world whose resources per capita are diminishing whilst the global population continues to rise, cannot be overstated.

TEDxKEA has burning dreams and realistic desires of making the voices of tech and web developers with creative ideas heard, promoting a culture of collaboration in our societies. Nowhere are the opportunities that our technology brings us more evident than in our schools and universities, where we are surrounded by an avalanche of windows at our disposal to aid us with our learning and academic formation. Equally, we live in a world that is replete with tech­-aided opportunities, particularly in the developed world. It is time to take advantage of this world of possibilities. Join TEDxKEA in shaping a more sustainable future.

Original article written for TEDxKEA, available here :  http://tedxkea.com/speaker-announcement-stefan-pflug/

Skærmbillede 2014-10-20 kl. 22.49.31

Speaker Announcement: Stefan Pflug

We live in a world of unprecedented connectivity. As the next generation of digital natives rises to the challenges of digital consumerism and presence, there are countless possibilities for both advertisers and society alike. But perhaps this in itself is problematic.

Meet Stefan Pflug, an extraordinarily impassioned sports marketing manager who has risen through the ranks of the industry like a hot knife through butter. Still only in his late twenties, Stefan currently manages the sponsorship portfolio of Unibet and has an enviable track record within digital marketing, spanning successful stints with companies like telecommunications giant “3” and “Tvguide.dk.”

His talent for activating consumers via digital platforms has earned him various awards, including that of “industry rising star” from Partnership Activation, and the prize for the strongest mobile platform in the Danish football league, Superligaen.

But there is more to Stefan Pflug than an impressive resume and a beaming smile. At the heart of his ethos as a professional within an increasingly important digital age lies a deep-seeded passion for what he does, a passion that burns through every aspect of his life. As a former college American football player who had to retreat from the sport due to an unfortunate series of injuries, Stefan is well aware of the power of passion (and of having to fight hard in life).

Similarly, Stefan is aware of the challenges that the information overload of the digital age poses: “Fans follow their team on a million different platforms and micro moments online are obliterating the original experience [...] Watching sports used to be a uniting experience that you would enjoy with your buddies, but now we are more interested in high-speed updates on our mobile phones – instead of actually watching the game! [...] This is not healthy for the consumer nor advertisers [...] We need to go back to the core experience and find out what we as viewers are triggered by” he says.

Essentially, these sensory bombardments across varied digital platforms are challenging the way in which we consume sports and interact with each other.

The micro moment paradigm that Stefan is so strongly against is but one area that needs to be addressed, not merely in fields such as sports marketing, but also in the broader narrative of the way advertisers view their consumers. Stefan believes that our attention spans can last more than six seconds and we therefore should aim for more quality over quantity when it comes to the manner in which we interact with content and vice-versa.

The answers to the challenges of the digital age are not set in stone. However, a critical view of the way we consume is needed.

Prepare yourselves for a TED talk by a young man with limitless drive that will both challenge and inspire the way you view digital media!

 

Fact file:

2008 – 2010: Portal composer / project manager, 3
June 2011 – November 2011 : Media consultant, Tvguide.dk ltd
2011 – present: Marketing co-ordinator, Unibet
July 2013: Award received for “Industry Rising Star,” Partnership Activation inc
June 2014: Nominated for “Best Social Marketing Campaign,”  eGR Operator Marketing & Innovation Awards
2014: Brand activation manager, Unibet
July 2014: Award received for “Strongest Mobile Platform in Denmark,” Superligaen A / S

 

 

 

Oriinal article written for TEDxKEA; available here : http://tedxkea.com/enough-enough-2/

 

Skærmbillede 2014-10-17 kl. 15.28.23

photo cred : Dovile Montvydaite

Last week, we discussed the emergence of social entrepreneurship as a catalyst of new ideas. It is true that entrepreneurship in itself, social, or otherwise, drives the inception and cultivation of furthering societies’ evolution.

History is full of champions whose stories have rocked the very foundations of what we believed was possible. The lightning bolt of inspiration is sought after by every would – be game changer, but the method remains the same. A stroke of insight, with the vision to see something that is not there and ask why not? The drive and fire to bring ideas to being, rounds off this age-old method.

This is true of the ideas of Florence Nightingale as it is of those of Steve Jobs. In today’s world, entrepreneurial guile is behind some of the world’s biggest brands and their consumers, stakeholders and so on. In fact, the hard work of a few ambitious people is at the throbbing heart of a world driven by a focus that cultivates entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs generate ideas or latch onto good ideas, string together the interests of different stakeholders and create brand new business concepts that provide goods and services to fulfill needs. Societies benefit from employment and the creation of jobs, industry, infrastructure, connectedness, and the state gains from similar developments. Entrepreneurs themselves fulfill their goals whilst making a profit from the activities spawned of their ideas.

This is all well and good so far and from the outset, a functional model where everyone is happy seems apparent.

Scratch beneath the surface, however, and you will find that this economic model is riddled with flaws. Many of the profits generated by businesses are not re-invested in society, but rather hoarded by entrepreneurs who correctly enough, have worked long and hard to propel their ideas to prominence.

There are other issues at stake that overwhelm the case for the maintenance of this model and the social inequalities it reproduces.

One of the most driven speakers at our event this year, Lars Hulgård is of the opinion that “we need a society with more solidarity from one business to another; a pluralistic society that allows for alternative forms of organisational structure, not merely those that are anchored in making a profit.”

Idealistic as this may seem, we are, right now, on the verge of tipping the scale. This generation has had enough. How many more economic crises’ will it take, how many more screaming examples from history do we need to see that something has to change for our sheer survival ?

As a pioneer within the increasingly acknowledged field of social entrepreneurship, Lars is of the belief that this area of our society holds potential as a vehicle for global change. However, it needs to be more than just a buzzword: “We need to re-think social entrepreneurship outside of the current discourse that is very much based on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and standard economic practice. What happened to the critique of these models and how did social entrepreneurship all of a sudden become a part of this?”

It is this very critique and indeed the definition of the field that Hulgård has spent many years of his life cultivating.

The challenge will always be incentivising this, merging the rewards with idealisms; forging this new paradigm.

All it will take is one valiant entrepreneur to make that splash, to revolutionise an industry and show us there is a way. Social entrepreneurship is emerging in the global narrative of social change but it needs support and solidarity from free-thinkers and society at large. Rest assured, the floodgates will open, but for this we need the actions of social entrepreneurs to be backed by a more aware consumer base and for the free-thinking individuals reading this to rise to the challenge of shaping a more socially- driven paradigm for life on this planet.

Original article for TEDxKEA, available here: http://tedxkea.com/speaker-announcement-lars-hulgard/

 

Skærmbillede 2014-10-14 kl. 09.49.17

 

Social entrepreneurship is one of many new buzzwords in the global economic rhetoric. At the peak of the recent economic crisis, many were quick to point towards this field as one of integral measures that could potentially alter the nature of global economics and pave the way for a sustainable and efficient world.

But what’s changed since? Why does a narrative that focuses on revolutionising the business agenda find itself being mentioned in the same breath as standard economic practices (most of which are failing)?

Meet Lars Hulgård, one of the few people in Europe that just might have the answer. Lars literally wrote the book on the importance of social enterprise, and the potential it has in shaping the future of the global economy. He is the president and co-founder of the EMES network, which unites scholars across diverse disciplines and national borders around a singular purpose.

EMES is a global university research network, working within the dimension of social economy. Its mission lies in building an arsenal of empirical and theoretical knowledge on the emergence of social enterprises in Europe.

TEDxKEA is proud to present a broad-grinned globetrotter who has advised governments and shaped the foundations of knowledge, who in his own words “like so many others in Denmark, jogs a lot in his free time”.

Lars graduated with a master’s degree in sociology from Copenhagen University in 1989 before completing a Ph.D in public administration at Roskilde University in 1995. His alliance with Roskilde University continues to this day: Lars is a professor at the Social Entrepreneurship and Management master’s programme, which he initiated.

He serves as chairman for the Social Innovation and Organizational Learning research group, and RUC Innovation, which is a platform for innovative collaboration between the university and external enterprises.

Whilst it is all well and good to praise social entrepreneurship and its emergence, there are many, like Lars, who are all too aware that a critical stance has to be taken.

“Many of SE’s activities today have unfortunately been tangled up the standard bureaucratically endless discourses [...] What happened to the intense critique of our current economic models?”, Lars asks. “We need companies that focus on adding social value to our society and have this philosophy ingrained in their visions, rather than those that focus purely on generating profit!”

Armed with a profound knowledge of the field of social entrepreneurship and a global legion of researchers, Lars is not only ready to fight to irrevocably shake up the global economic landscape, but also to help shape the mindsets of the upcoming generation of socially conscious entrepreneurs.

Fact file:

  • 1990-1997: Ph.D.-student and assistant professor, Department of Social Science, Roskilde University
  • 1998: Co-founded EMES European Research Network
  • 2006-2008: Dean of Department, Department of Psychology and Educational Studies, Roskilde University
  • 2007-present: Full professor, Department of Psychology and Educational Studies, Roskilde University
  • 2008-present: Chairman of the research group Social Innovation and Organizational Learning, Roskilde University
  • 2008-2011: Chair, RUC Innovation
  • 2010-present: President, EMES European Research Network