Budapest. Innoveit 2015. 450 participants. Innovation!

What is sustainable or innovative when 450 people fly and travel from all over the world to Budapest to discuss sustainability? (Innoveit 2015)

Well, we try to find out. The key word is: Networking. But not enough with that: skill and knowledge sharing, connections, collaboration and co-creation. Thus, we start – of course – with brainstorming, still being a little bit skeptical. The result: EIT alumni come up with 19 ideas how to innovate the “KICS”. Climate KIC, EIT ICT Labs and KIC InnoEnergy coming together, merging and building up abductive thoughts and projects. Be idea and project owner! Make it, move it!

Will these words make us change makers? We, the audience, have learned to listen. To accept the organized agenda. Now we are asked to create our own conference content. This is new. And the ideas are great, necessary and serve true needs of the European KIC community. Offline connecting events, online skill and challenge exchange platforms, probono consulting for sustainable startups and so on. Let’s be a real network. Let’s share and help and most importantly get to know each other. Raghav next to me is from New Delhi, programming flying drones in Zurich. Falko has traveled 6 months through South Amerika and wants to develop a sustainable google map. Matthias calls his project “the elephant” and wants to give researches, smart people and entrepreneurs a voice, building up awareness for climate change.

So the new opportunities and challenges are in the hands of us. We need to create not only the jobs of tomorrow, but also the visions, the innovation and the breeding ground for it. But how?

Corinne Vigreux, founder of Tomtom: “We need you! European startups! But it is not that romantic, it is hard work.. do not give up!” She reminds us that there has been tones of European innovations and that people always first doubt. However, 18 Billion products later, she thinks she was right. So, if we Europeans want to catch up with the guys in silicon valley, we should take risk. Our mindsets are already innovative, we should better not waste it. So far, so good. Be a changemaker. Own your ideas. Make them, bring them to life! So many imperatives, even if we – the so-called generation Y are told to be skeptical and wayward. We want to know: How can we know that we do it better? How do we actually measure sustainability? What is green and what is social impact?

The answer we found together in the panel discussion is: There must be a need, a customer, but also knowledge triangle and collaboration with the actual human being! We look at the practice. 17 EIT Award nominees, crazy ideas, awesome teams, plenty of new startup opportunities. It’s the innovation you dream to come true that will be there in the future. All of these current EIT startups work hard to bring their dream into reality. Is it a collaborative football app, bringing lonely people together, CO2 reducing technologies for all electronic devices or a literately “unprinter”! Teams, ideas, market and change potential. All in, mix it and out comes the winners: LED Safari, Nordic Power Converters and EOLOS. 

Celebrating the award winners, the conference and the EIT community at the gala dinner, we find out that we all won more than a lot! Friends, colleagues, mentors and knowledge about all these unbelievable possibilities to a better future.

However, the next step is to actually bring all our ideas into practice. Build sustainable businesses and learn from the best what the “WHY, HOW and WHAT” of a business should look like. Next to the Maslow’s Need Pyramide, we can concern strong sustainability issues to generate new business model ideas that help enable a flourishing future. We can design creatively, user centered solutions that are new and “better”. We can change the WHY, the system, and in the end us. Next time, no flights?!

Thanks for the awesome three days!




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