re:publica 17 - Global Innovation Gathering (GIG)

The Global Innovation Gathering (GIG), a sub-conference developed by re:publica, brings together innovation hub managers, makers, hackers and entrepreneurs from across the world. In the last four years GIG has become a central part of the conference programme, showcasing tech innovation and maker projects from Asia, Africa and Latin America. The GIG members have formed a strong community, exchanging information and expertise on innovation and maker issues throughout the year.

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Ex Oriente Make: The future of maker culture is made in China

Silvia Lindtner

In this talk, Silvia Lindtner examines how Shenzhen transformed into a laboratory where technological futures are prototyped. She will show how Western elites, more specifically American and European entrepreneurs, makers, artists, and designers turned to Shenzhen as a region that appeared hopeful and promising for their professional futures exactly because it concentrated aspects of manufacturing and informal economic development that constitute the past in the West. Shenzhen, in other words,  is a city that allows Western elites to see the future.
Similar to developments in other parts of the world, China has witnessed over the last 7 years a proliferation of ideas around open source hardware, hobbyist tinkering and DIY making. Since 2008, China's open source hardware businesses like Seeed Studio and hackerspaces like XinCheJian have become well-known in international maker circles and are considered exemplars of China's own take on the global maker movement. At the same, China evidences another culture of making: industrial production, repair, and professional craftsmanship in electronics are central pillars of the Chinese economy, with Shenzhen, a city in the South of China, constituting its hotbed. Shenzhen produces more than 90% of end-consumer electronics in usage worldwide. Just a subway ride north of Hong Kong, the city has over the last 3 years attracted a flurry of maker-related technology enthusiasts, who see Shenzhen as providing the social, economic, and cultural tools to prototype a maker approach to industrial development. Prominent western news media outlets have picked up this story of a renewed Shenzhen, as visible in a 2016 Wired documentary that celebrates the city as "Silicon Valley of hardware." Two maker cultures, one driven by international tech elites and the other by a history of industrial production, converge in Shenzhen. It is here where Shenzhen was turned into a laboratory for makers and entrepreneurs to not only prototype and tinker with new technologies, but also with their own professional identity and the future of the tech and creative industries.

India of Things (en)

Sreowshi Sinha, Maya Indira Ganesh


Sreowshi will give insights on the particularities of the IoT market in India. Together with her interview partner from Tactical Technology Collective she will discuss difficulties and opportunities in building a critical consciousness for data protection and ownership of technologies can be developed amongst the Indian consumers.  

The politics of natural hair (en)

Mugethi Gitau

It is ironic that in the world we live in today, wearing your hair the way it grows as an African person is considered a statement. For generations, majority of urban Africans have been wearing their hair straight, and this has become thet accepted standard for hair. It is not uncommon to hear comments of natural African hair being called unproffessional in the work environment, or untidy in the school environment. Last year, a 13 year old South African girl led a succesful protest against her school, Pretoria High School's racist rule that the black students were required to straighten their hair , while girls of other races could wear their hair natural. This is common in schools all over Africa.
Chimamanda Adichie, a bestselling author is quoted as saying that if Michelle Obama had natural hair, Barrack Obama would not have won the presidency. This is perhaps, the ultimate illustration of the politics of natural African hair.
In addition, there is little knowledge on how to take care of natural hair by hair stylists, and most products that are readily available, are made for straight hair.In Kenya natural haired women have formed online communities to encourage each other to wear their hair natural despite the stereotypes and perceptions, as well as sharing hair care and styling information and tips.This happens on  Facebook groups like Tricia's Naturals (68,000 members). Hashtags like #teamnatural #naturalhair #nappyhead are used internationally on social media to have discussions on social media, share hairstyles and hair care information with the aim of taking black natural hair mainstream. 
Mugethi is on a mission to break cultural stereotypes on hair, change perceptions and encourage people to wear their hair natural. On her Youtube channel, NappyheadsKE, she discusses the various issues like perceptions that sorround natural hair. 

Nourishing Our Communities – Rural and Urban Platforms for Food Innovation (en)

Awa Caba, Gustaff Harriman Iskandar, Ivan Sawyer Garcia, Peter Volz, Yemesrach Tadesse

New forms of bottom-up agriculture networks based on ucd methods and ict tools bringing urban drivers in dialogue with rural practitioners in order to collaboratively develop more sustainable technological solutions to small-scale farming around the world. Get a bigger picture of diverse contexts by insiders and activists!
In this one hour session we want to showcase different initiatives by our partners in Indonesia, Germany, Senegal and Ethiopia:
Indigenous Culture and Rural Techies. Common Room Networks Foundation in Indonesia has over longer times developed a deep relation to the mountain village of Kasepuhan Ciptagelar, based on mutual understanding and respect. This unique ethnic community of West Java maintains self-sufficiency through a complex system of cultural practices inherited through generations. Together with Common Room they now experiment and prototype how to best adapt modern technologies to preserve local cultural knowledge while also improving income. A basic infrastructure of opensource data center powered by autonomous small scale renewable energy solutions enables the community to collaboratively and objectively map their geographic territory.
Community Supported Agriculture in Europe and appropriate technologies for alternative strategies. A wide variety of popular movements and activist groups including urban farming, community supported agriculture, permaculture, transition town, etc. have sprung out in recent years to develop alternative forms of agriculture in opposition to the prevailing industrial paradigm. A current research initiative is focused on supporting these groups find and self-create their own open source technologies to make their small scale farming initiatives in Germany both economically competitive and longterm sustainable.
Yeesal Agrihub is a new organization created by 22 young Senegalese activists from different professional background to establish a platform of collaboration around agribusiness and organic food production. To bridge the urban/rural gap, Yeesal is based both in capital Dakar and the rural environment of Thies. They partner with local Universities, NGOs and fablabs to provide a permaculture experimental garden, co-working/ event space and prototyping labs.The general aim is to awaken local youth to the great emergent business and employment opportunities within the agricultural sector through the use of modern digital technologies
Honey or Money! Techhub iceaddis has partnered with agricultural experts in southern Ethiopia to explore the potentials of improving the beekeeping and honey production sector by applying a design thinking multidisciplinary methodology in close cooperation with the actual small scale farming community of the region. The result was an active broad stakeholder network including government, academic, NGO and private sector partners and an impending start-up business idea involving a locally accessible crowd-investment platform for Ethiopian organic honey.
 
The featured projects were initially supported by the GIZ Innovation Factory programme in 2015 and 2016. A main aim of the of the programme in the field of rural development and agriculture is the creation of innovative concepts of how technology can benefit small hold farmers in the local context.This initiative is commissioned by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and development (BMZ). The showcases will be presented by the initiatives and moderated by icebauhaus.

Pull Request: Restructuring the Global Power Paradigm through Open Source

Nnenna Nwakanma, Manuela Yamada, Carolyn Florey, Christoph Beier

How do we need to change our systems in order to eradicate poverty and enable the world’s population to meet basic demands of all people? What do governments and development organizations need to change in order to create real change and impact?

Two speakers will present their views before engaging in a fire-side chat on open access to for information and technology for development.

Nnenna Nwakanma is the voice behind the chant “All the Internet, all the people, all the time”. She is one of the key advocates for open data, open government and the open Web across Africa, for instance by driving forward the Africa Open Data movement and the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms. She represents the Web Foundation in the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.

Manuela Yamanda is one of Brazils young change makers advocating a systemic change in politics and business toward a sustainable, open society. She is doing so by heading the Ouishare Brazil Chapter and by running MateriaBrasil, a free open source platform that works as a library for social-environmentally responsible materials, products and services available in Brazil.

Together they will present and discuss their change agenda for governments, development organizations and civil society on how to restructure the Global Power Paradigm through Open Source. Concrete suggestions for the apation and implementation of digital development principles will be made.

How the Internet bridges traditional and contemporary knowledge in the Brazilian Amazon (en)

Debora Leal

Many communities in the Amazon region of the Brazilian north are without internet or mobile connectivity, especially in areas without road access that can only reached by boat. While this in some ways preserves culture, traditions, ways of life, and keeps the speed of change low, it also puts communities under pressure for change and “development”. On the search for education and work local protectors of the forest see themselves forced to leave their communities behind, and move to larger cities, temporarily or for good. Internet access can be a tool to strengthen local ties and resources and creates access to education. 
Together with an association of organic farmers in a community called Boa Vista do Acara we have partnered with the local school and the federal University in close by Belem to create internet access governed by the community. A signal is delivered by the university over the river and received through a DIY tower to the association. The association and the university are now in the implementation of a way where the internet is distributed to the rest of the community, and controlled by them. 
The project is still in an early phase, and we are developing different structures of governance. Besides the benefits the internet can provide, the community will have the opportunity to improve their production, spread their traditional knowledge, and create a strong bond between the exchange of information and material goods.
The session will leave time for an exchange of ideas. 

Access all areas - Independent Internet Infrastructures in Brazil, India and South Africa (en)

Tim Human, Jan Lachenmayer

The complex and multidimensional challenge of digital inclusion is being tackled by corporations, governments, and ever more so, by entrepreneurs and innovators. Before any of us create solutions though, we need to understand what the key barriers are to Internet adoption, and figure out the best ways to intervene.
In this session, three initiatives, the winners of the Mozilla Equal Ratings challenge, will present their solutions on how to connect underserviced communities. All three initiatives target different demographies and use different technologies:
Gram Marg Solution for Rural Broadband: The team from Mumbia, India has built an open source low-cost hardware prototype utilizing Television White Spectrum to provide affordable access to rural communities.
Afri-Fi: Free Public WiFi: The South-African team has created a financially sustainable model called Project Isizwe connecting brands to an untapped, national audience, specifically low-income communities who otherwise cannot afford connectivity.
Free Networks P2P Cooperative:  The Brazilian Cooperative enables communities to set-up networks to get access to the Internet and then supports itself through the cooperative fees, and while co-creating the knowledge and respecting the local cultures.
 
The three initiatives will present their work, exchange experiences and challenges and discuss how their efforts can be scaled in order to connect the next 4 billion.

The end of Accelerators as we know it. (en)

Yatan Blumenthal Vargas, Jörg Rheinboldt, Alexander Hafner

The end of Accelerators as we know it. Accelerators (think Y-Combinator, Techstars, PlugnPlay etc) became a huge trend in the last few years. Many big corporates (many through their marketing departments) started their own, many vertical ones were started.  After a few years of hype the trend seems to be reversing. Some accelerators are closing down and others consolidating into a few hands and methodologies. 
We will take a look at investment focused versus ecosystem focused accelerators, different methodologies and whats important to know to run a successful accelerator.
Also how will accelerators look in the future for corporates, for investors and for governments. Join this interesting talk about the future of business.
 

“The other 6 billion” - impact entrepreneurship in developing countries (en)

LizAn Kuster, Rosanna Lopez, Bahar Kumar

While the world is still looking at Silicon Valley, the real innovation happens in developing countries. Coworking Spaces, Innovation Labs, Maker Spaces, Incubators are popping up in many of those buzzing cities full of chaos - and innovation. The sheer amount of problems to be solved in these cities and countries leave unlimited opportunities for entrepreneurs.
In addition, there is an interesting opportunity that Makerspaces in the developing world can create for women to develop innovative solutions unique to the challenges they face and become active players as entrepreneurs and entering so-called alternative careers. The real life applications and socio-economic benefits of innovation hubs and makerspaces in developing countries demonstrate how this unique ecosystem can become a critical component for building livelihoods.   
The challenge to beat, to establish a dynamic and successful ecosystem, is the lack of knowledge and experience in the country. Most of the players, from government over investors to entrepreneurs, don’t have the necessary access to the best practices from other places. That’s where “homecomers” play a significant role: often educated and packed with experiences from developed markets, they make either startups themselves or build incubators to invest their capital and share their knowledge with the talented future entrepreneurs. Three women will share their experiences and learnings from setting up a community innovation space.