Finding your own way

A few days ago I gave a TEDx talk at TEDxWomenFlanders – below is the text, the video isn`t out yet. Enjoy reading 🙂


Some people say I am privileged.
They say I am always in the right spot at the right time.
No, I don’t think so.
The older I get, the less I find that my life journey is a blend of coincidences.
Over the years I’ve understood much better what was guiding me and why things kept happening the way they did. And the Internet contributed its fair share to this. Understanding the Internet helped me to understand myself better.

But first things first.
I am a native German.
I come from a middle class family and I was the first in the family – and so far the only one – who went to university. I studied economics. Somehow I was the black sheep of the family. Because I never walked down the “safe and secure” way. The way my parents were hoping I would.
I played basketball pretty well – I was part of the German national team – but I stopped when it became too commercial. I didn’t feel like being “used”.
I was offered a well-paid job at a German TV channel but I didn’t want to commit myself to something I wasn’t really convinced of.
And frankly speaking – I wasn’t convinced about working for any company … and I never did in my entire life.
I always did my own thing – and looking back, it was always about connecting people.
Building bridges.
I never followed a steady straight line but I feel I’ve always had an unflappable sense of direction.

After my studies I took a year off. I bought a one way ticket to New York City to visit my aunt and explore more of the US.It was pretty exciting. I went cross country by car and visited almost every state in the Union.I got stuck in the northern bay area.In Sausalito to be more precise.Just across the Golden Gate Bridge when you leave San Francisco.

I met an Austrian who answered my question “Is this beach private?” with: “It’s all yours!”I took him at his word and we got married one year later 🙂

It was him who opened the door to the world of networks for me! He introduced me to The Well.The Well was the first online community worldwide. It was launched in 1985! And I opened my first email account in 1987.
A whole 7 years before the Internet got pictures.
The Well used to have their office just one street below us.
And whenever the sweet sweet smell of grass was drifting up, I knew we were on!

I was never interested in all the technical stuff.I really wanted to understand what makes the Internet different from what we had so far.
Lucky me, during my time in Sausalito and thanks to The Well, I met a handful of characters who were digital natives in a much more radical sense than their date of birth might imply. In conversation with them it was easy for me to forget about set agendas and fixed outcomes and I could easily follow wherever the dynamics of open processes might lead.

I truly fell in love with this concept of open processes …

I was open, curious and I always had a clear set of values which determined my actions. No matter what I was doing. And no matter where I was doing it.
During my life I’ve travelled to more than 120 countries.
I’ve worked in big cities and small villages.
I’ve worked with governments and organizations.
In war zones and on so-called safe ground.
With top managers, head of states and very, very ordinary people.

To illustrate this, let me tell you one story now about the NATO Summit in Chicago 2012. I was asked by Stefanie Babst, who was then head of public diplomacy at NATO to help her prepare the NATO Summit in Chicago. Her idea was to connect NATO with the online world and with activists mainly in connection with the “Middle East” and Afghanistan.
I thought ooooouuuuups! What a bold move!
It gave me a couple of sleepless nights before I made the decision and finally accepted the offer.

So. There I was.

On the one side NATO. Strict and rigid hierarchies. 14 levels of them – from the humblest employee up to Rasmussen, who was Secretary General in those days. Everything was mapped out.

And on the “other” side “my people”, activists from the Middle East and Afghanistan, people who had an outreach into communities where NATO had no standing at all. It wasn’t easy to convince them to take Steffi serious and support her move. Stefanie made some remarkable statements in an interview I did with her on how she was planning to open up NATO.
She called it creating a greater “WE”.
She knew that this project – “we_NATO” – would challenge the NATO institution. She was convinced that NATO needed such a challenge.
And she got things going,

So for the summit itself she set up an internal team of some 30+ plus people from various fields of NATO. A matrix organization, a tiny little creative cell, within the strict NATO hierarchy! It felt like a little playground … Most of the people involved felt pretty excited about our mission to connect activists with NATO ambassadors.

We launched the platform we_NATO four and a half months ahead of the summit.It was a live stream discussion between Joichi and Stephanie …And it was then that the NATO machinery really started to roll.
Outside the matrix.
The PR department kicked in.
The departments involved kicked in.
The NATO Ambassadors kicked in.
Everyone played their “normal” role which they were there to play.
The lines were pretty well defined in the hierarchy.
And it all worked perfectly well.
Against us.
I hate to say this but.
we_NATO, the way it was set up, crashed.
And I told Steffi beforehand that it would crash.
And I told her exactly why.

At NATO only 2 people are entitled to make statements in public … And coordination among all these hierarchies does take time. Far more time than online is willing to allow …This couldn’t work.It simply took way too much time.This was one reason for the mess – lack of time. The other reason was that no one was interested in reading “polished” comments and answers – where you feel like this is a compromise and not an “honest” answer. In short: Public diplomacy 🙂

Yet even though we_NATO crashed, I never called it a failure.
Working on/with this project straightened things out in my head.
And allowed me to be much better at what I had already started.

A new endeavour in rural India!

Janwaar Castle

Janwaar is a small village in the heart of India. It’s a village where girls get killed because their families cannot afford to pay their dowries. It’s a village where women have no rights. Where tribals are suppressed by caste. Where almost every family makes less than 1 Euro a day!

This was the place where I built a skatepark.
In an almost surreal setting.

Why skateboarding you might think?
Skateboarding culture is counterculture!
Against the mainstream. It’s all about disobedience, resilience, finding your own way.
Exactly the opposite from this village.

So my simple assumption was:
Could this skatepark, if set up as an open process, trigger change?

Today I can say: Yes, it can!

This skatepark has built bridges over deep, deep chasms.
Caste barriers have broken down.
Gender equality, at least in the skatepark, is within reach.
Programs have emerged which no one would have thought of earlier.
I hear from parents that their kids now have choices for the very first time.
I hear that the way the kids speak and express themselves has become much more precise.That the number of fights in the village has gone down.

And that they all stand together – tribals and caste – when their skatepark or me come under attack!

This is proof of concept!

So what have I done?

Well, we set a couple of golden rules:
Girls first >>> meaning that whenever a girl wants a skateboard, she will get it first.
And No school, no skateboarding …. !
And we walked our talk and treated everyone as equals.
This was the framework I started out with.
I understood my role always as an observer. I’ve never understood myself as leader or the one who has the say. Whenever a kid or a family started “to move”, I guided them. All these are very individual learning paths.
Not programs which are designed as a “one size fits all” quick fix.Many “development aid” projects fail exactly because of this. They are designed FOR the villagers, not WITH them.

My job in this village is designed so that I eventually will become obsolete.
The day these kids and villagers act and move for themselves by themselves, this is the day when I leave.

Off to the next open sandbox.
Wherever it or that might be.

Thank you!

DIY Ready To Scale?


Kevin Kelly, senior maverick at Wired, has his doubts on this. David Li, the guy who opened up the first maker / hacker space in China, interviewed Kevin at the MakerFaire in Shenzen. Being asked if open source and DIY products will replace or challenge traditional mass prodcution Kelly replied very hesistant: “DIY and open source products enhance the number of possibilities and this by itself is a very good and positive thing. But today I cannot foresee any scenario that DIY and/or open source products will ever vanish mass production for consumer and/or industrial goods or even challenge it in a significant way.” A bear hug for the world capitol of mass production in electronics, an embarrassment for the fairly new and quickly growing community of young innovators which was just recently ennobled by none less than the Chinese Prime Minister himself. China’s new innovators embody the DIY culture and I do believe that their biggest gathering and get together has a very specific reason to take place in the world centre for mass manufacturing – and this reason is explicitly mass manufacturing. So what happened when DIY and mass manufacturing meet? Is Kevin Kelly wrong?

It was my third visit to Shenzen, the second one in this year. You can almost see the city changing during a three month period. And it was my second visit to a MakerFaire. The first one I attended was in Accra, Ghana, West Africa. It was the first African MakerFaire and it was in 2009. In Accra everything was about prototyping. Prototyping products which eventually would improve the daily lives of the people. We saw prototypes such as a cooler for tomatoes or an irrigation system for farmers or clothes made out of old plastic bags and newspapers. A broad variety of daily needs. In Shenzen there weren’t any prototypes – almost each and every showcased DIY product and gadget was ready for mass production.

Shenzhen was built from scratch exactly for the reason of mass production. Mass production of electronics. It became well-known as THE copy-cat center of the world – but this is changing rapidly. Not only do the manufacturing lines change towards more qualitative products, e.g. Leica is supplying its objectives and lenses for the Chinese version of the gopro camera, we also see the rise of an entire new service industry around the manufacturing processes: consultants helping people to design their manufacturing outlets – very flexible, very fast and still very cheap. You basically come with a prototype and they design the facilities or adjust existing ones. It’s what’s called an “absorptive state” – it’s getting better and better at combining its own local capabilities and infrastructure with foreign technologies and knowledge. And when you walk around in the electronic malls in Shenzhen you experience the international business crowd looking out for exactly this. Basically each vendor in the mall is associated with at least one or two manufacturers. And this is the feeling I had when I strolled around at the MakerFaire in the midst of Hardware City – the district in which most of the multinational IT hardware companies have their offices. The only difference: the international business crowd at MakerFaire were the young makers. Unlike in many other MakerFaires the DIY spirit and the presence of art-tech mash-ups were lacking. Instead the makers were equipped with order sheets and product catalogs – the things I saw most were robots, drones and 3D-printers. And I saw guys from the manufacturing firms walking around and looking for interesting prototypes ready for their mass production units. And at quite some office buildings you could see the logos of international accelerators.

Kevin Kelly (left) interviewed by David Li

So coming back to Kevin Kelly – yes, I’d argue he is wrong. What I’ve seen in Shenzhen is “Maker to Market” – fully supported and in line with the Chinese government claims. What this basically means is that “weird prototypes and gadgets” which were developed in the grassroots communities of hacker and maker spaces in Shanghai and Shenzhen and elsewhere now become commercial products.

And what you can also already sense and already see in Shenzhen – many of these young makers and innovators set up their own companies. They want to become entrepreneurs. This will certainly fuel Shenzen’s economy further and add a new component to its industrial landscape. And when you walk through OCT Loft, a very surprising quarter of Shenzhen (at least to me), you’ll get a sense of what this means … just click through the pict below and you feel you are in Amsterdam, Berlin or Barcelona. OCT Loft – surprise, surprise – is also home of the first maker space in Shenzhen: Chaihuo – the cell and first office of seeed studio. And it’s also the place where the first Shenzhen MakerFaire took place. Seeed studio in turn is the main sponsor and organizer of the Shenzhen MakerFaire and the world’s biggest online platform selling everything what maker need. Mostly open source hardware components – made by makers for makers. And with their own production facilities – which are open and transparent – they are closing the gap between prototype and mass production by manufacturing up to 1000 pieces.

OCT Loft in Shenzen

Currently the “Maker to Market” products are quite simple – in comparison to sophisticated and specialized technologies – and they are mostly built on open hardware technologies such as Arduino and low cost labour force. But having seen the transformation in Shenzhen’s industry in the last decade it’s hard to imagine that it will STOP here. And the first glimpses we could catch already: students from Hunan University showcased an electric car that runs 300 km per charge. Others showed a fuel-efficient vehicle which could run 1000 km with 1l of gasoline. And this vehicle only scored second best in a Honda competition for fuel-efficient cars. The big companies have realized the potential of the makers – and they are embracing it. Sony and Samsung for example have opened their research labs for the makers in Beijing. A bold move.

But does all this mean at a wider level that the manufacturing practices in Shenzhen, in the Guandong region and in entire China will even get worse? More unfair pay and harsh working conditions in the factories? Already many strikes for better salaries are going on and Foxconn, one of the MakerFaire’s main sponsors, is subject to interrogation about the working conditions in its factories. And the question of what kind of impact these factories have on the environment (air, water, nature, health …) isn’t part of a public debate yet. This opens a wide area for speculation.

For me the Shenzhen MakerFaire shined a light on the potential of the DIY ecosystem and ways to move forward, the political regimes which more or less regulates it, the infrastructures which supports it, the forms of work that drive it and the culture and history that shape it.

We are on – Kumbhathon 5 (#K5)

Last week we were on for the 5th time over the last 18 month. Kumbhathon 5 or #K5. I was there in late January 2015 and it felt like coming back to a huge family. Read my blogpost from #K4 here.

It’s only a few weeks to go and the Kumbha Mela will start. It’s the biggest religious gathering on this planet – and here is where the pilgrims will take their dip into the holy water at three specific days in August and September: Ramkund, Nasik. Hard to imagine that millions will do so! It will be a very very crowded place then, no doubt.


The Kumbhathon is an iniative of the MIT Media Lab which started out almost 2 years ago at inktalks, when Ramesh Raskar, born in India and currently professor at the MIT, announced it. It’s a year-round initiative to identify and address the challenges of a pop-up city like Nashik when it will grow from its “normal” 2 million inhabitants to 15 million a day during the celebrations. Kumbha Mela will give innovators, change makers, entrepreneurs and corporations the opportunity to learn, develop and test solutions to “pop-up city” problems at scale, instantly, so they can be mapped to large gatherings and emerging cities worldwide.

I was very keen to see what happened between #K4 and #K5 – what would be the status of the projects? Would new projects have been added? How would the students and young entrepreneurs have been developed and moved forward? With some of the participants I kept interacting after #K4 and three of them even came to visit me at Janwar Castle. At #K5 again there were 150+ participants there – students, innovators from all over India. Most of them with an IT or engineering background. There is / was a lack of management, administrative and creative people  … I would assume diversity would drive this initiative even further.

The first three days I was counseling and mentoring the various projects under the lead of innovation strategist Beth Zonis who was hired by the MIT Media Lab to guide the students and innovators through this crucial process of really getting things done and getting things ready for Kumbha Mela. From 10 am to 6 pm we listened to all the groups and advised them in the following key issues:

  • to get their project explained in a few compelling words.
  • to describe its benefits for Khumbha Mela.
  • to identify a business model.
  • to schedule and prioritize the process and streamline it.
  • and to share it with others in order to find synergies and identify common challenges.

Once we broke the ice and they accepted us not as “Yes, Madam” or “Yes, Sir” the presentations of the groups became much more like conversations. It took us a while to make them understand that it is them to make the decision and it’s us ONLY to give advice. Our advice should been taken into consideration but it shouldn’t be accepted as a task to follow up with. To achieve this understanding among the students was a tough job.

For some of them it was also hard to understand the 3 layers – the bigger picture – of the Kumbhathon:

  • having personal goals and reasons.
  • dedicating time and resources to a very specific project.

And on top of these two things

  • understanding what it means to be part of an open platform like Kumbhathon where you first put in before you can pull out.

Some of the projects evolved and developed since #K1 and those were the ones which were very much advanced and ready – so to speak. Actually at the last day of the Khumbhathon one group founded a company;-) During our hearings and conversations it became pretty clear that not all projects will make it. A few were still in a kind of “dreaming status” where one would think that Khumbha Mela will happen next year. There was no urgency and no will to get things done – and it was kind of hard to tell this to the students and innovators. I believe if more management and administrative people would have been in the groups they would have sensed this urgency and they would have understood how to get things done. The lack of design people also became obvious … no really compelling designs and presentations were seen. But these are all things which can be added easily.

This might sound a bit negative – but I wanted to point to some critical points which open the space for improvement. I want to see this process growing bigger … and this is why I am participating and hopefully adding value. The best things which happened over these 2 years are that the MIT Kumbhathon has really established a PLATFORM, a SANDBOX where many stakeholders have bought into: authorities of Nashik, government, universities and colleges, international, national and local companies, citizens and young students, innovators and entrepreneurs. And this is a very precious thing …. the platform / the network is set-up out of which more things will evolve. A lot of friends have been made and even more like-minded people found each other. It’s almost as like a movement has started, a movement for

  • spotting problems,
  • finding and prototyping solutions,
  • and then translate these solutions into valuable products.

A movement to think and act like innovators and the realization that this can only be achieved when as many people as possible collaborate. It can’t be achieved by one company or one institution alone.

And if only a few of the existing solutions will succeed during Khumbha Mela the system is proven right. And I am sure a few projects will succeed and help to understand situations in which cities suddenly grow at large scale much better – high among them the Kumbha Mela app, the epidemic tracker, the media tracker, the crowd steering project and maybe one of the housing projects.

I am tempted to return to Nashik during the Khumbh – not sure though if I really want to face that huge crowd;-)

Thanks to Ramesh Raskar and John Werner for letting me be part of this!

Kumbhathon – Where Tradition and Technology meet!

The Kumbha Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. It is considered to be the largest peaceful gathering in the world. It happens every three years – either in Nashik, Allahabad, Ujjain and Haridwar. This year the Hindus will gather in August in Nashik – more than 30 million people are expected.

Nashik ist 180 km north east of Bombay. It has two million inhabitants and is the 16th fatest growing city in the world! The Indian Sula wine comes right from there;-)

Right here the Sadus will dip into the river during Kunbha Mela

The Kumbhathon is an iniative of the MIT Media Lab in Boston which started out almost 2 years ago at inktalks in Bombay, when Ramesh Raskar, born in Nashik and currently professor at the MIT, announced it. It’s a year-round initiative to identify and address the challenges of cities in developing countries. Kumbha Mela in Nashik will give innovators, change makers, entrepreneurs and corporations, the opportunity to learn, develop and test solutions to “pop-up city” problems at scale, instantly, so they can be mapped to large gatherings and emerging cities worldwide. So the MIT Media Lab takes the Kumbha Mela as an opportunity to set the frame for Indian students and young entrepreneurs that they can exactly do this: innovate, drive change, learn, develop and test. Here you can read more about it – Ramesh has written an interesting blogpost on it.

For the Kumbhathon 150 Indian students and young were selected – they’ve been meeting so far I think for the fourth ve been meeting so far I think for the fourth time. In the last week of January a week long event was scheduled in Nashik. The Media Lab brought in all selected students and entrepreneurs, as well as the Nashik officials and a stellar line up of India’s tech companies. And a few “externals” were invited (I was lucky to be one of them) to mentor the students and young entrepreneurs on their way forward.

What an intense week it was. The “youngsters” were challenging and demanding – in a very nice way though. I really enjoyed the interaction with them – and no matter where: either at the venue, or during quick outbreaks or in the evenings in the hotel.


We’ve had 30 projects to deal with – from food to water, from health to payment, from transport to housing and civic issues – a broad range with astonishing solutions. Some of them were pure tech products (apps, online platforms), others were engineering products (clean water), there were on-/offline mix products (housing) and construction products (temporary houses). I am sure not all of them will become “real” products and solve a Kumbha Mela problem at the end – but this doesn’t matter. If only a few succeed – and they definitely will – this entire Kumbhathon is a success. It’s the process which is important. To learn how to solve a very specific problem in a team – almost in an incubator environment – this is what will remain and last with the participants, even if they don’t finish with a product ready to use.

What the KUMBHATHON has proven (again) is that all it needs to solve a problem – is a whatsoever environment with good vibes where failure is not an issue, a bunch of people which are open minded and the possibility to build and prototype. It can happen anywhere … and you can start immediately. As we did in a small village in UP or the KUMBHTHON people did in Nashik.

In Nashik I was amazed and frankly speaking very much surprised about the committment the students and young entrepreneurs had – they were eager to solve LOCAL SOCIAL problems, they were eager to take their problems in their own ends – and not one of them dreamt about leaving the country and conquer Silicon Valley! (maybe there were a few … but definitely a minority!) This is outstanding! What you usually see in the good colleges and universities in India – such as the IIT’s or ISB in Hyderabad – are students coming from wealthy families, students which are very narrow minded, trained and educated with the mindset to achieve a well paid job as an engineer abroad or a secure government position.

Here – this was a different crowd!

Three of the students will actually come and join me next week in Panna where I currently work and build a new learning environment. They will set up computers and tablets for the kids in a village where most of the people cannot read and write. They will come and work with the kids for a couple of days … none of them gets paid … they even pay for their travels … they do it because they believe these kids in this small rural village can make it as well!

I am sure their physical presence in the village will encourage the locals a lot!

I’d like to end with an interview I did with Nilay Kulkarni, a local guy from Nashik who joined the KUMBHATHON a year ago when he was 14 years old … Just listen and enjoy!

Start-up Scene in India: A Promising Outlook!

Silicon Valley insider Vivek Wadhwa tells us how India’s entrepreneurs will change the world. As we enter the most innovative period in history, Wadhwa sees an impending internet boom and millions of internet businesses coming up in India, and predicts that within a decade China’s manufacturing industry and India’s call centre industry will be toast.

And here is a brief interview in addition to Vivek’s talk!

Slowly – in the last few years a bit more rapidly – the start-up scene in India is growing. What are the key drivers for growth and how will the scene develop?

India has many advantages when it comes to entrepreneurship. It is already in the DNA of its people—have always thrived in commerce and trade. Now with the millions who have been trained in IT Services, are well educated and well off, and tired of working for the same big companies, we are likely to see an explosion in the numbers of startups.

Where do you see the main fields of development ? (agriculture, health, education, water, pollution, infrastructure … )

All of these. Entrepreneurs will learn the problems and build the solutions.

Do you see any chance how these developments can bridge the gap between rural and urban India?

Some of the best entrepreneurs are already looking to solve the problems of rural India. As rural India becomes connected via smartphones which have Internet access, they will also be connected to urban India—and the world—like never before.

Having this very promising outlook, where do you think the man power will come from? Many companies in India today complain that their is a huge lack of available talent …

India has no shortage of people. It is a matter of providing the hundreds of millions who are left out of the innovation economy with the education, training, and tools. Technology will soon make all of this possible as I discussed in my INK talk.

Modi’s initiative “Make in India” aiming to bring international companies and money into India to invest, do you think it will work? If so what is the frame set which might need to change and what might be the implications for India’s start-up scene?

It will work to some extent for sure. Advancing technologies will accelerate the process because we will soon be 3D printing our physical goods.

Here are the slides of Vivek’s presentation at Inhtalks:

Gregor Gysi und Peter Scholl-Latour – das passt!

Gestern fand auf dem Landgut Gühlen das Frühlingsfest der Deutsch-Arabischen Gesellschaft statt. Sehr gelungen! Entspannt, wundervolle Musik, spannende und kontrovers diskutierte Inhalte und strahlende Sonne! Das Fest fand in diesem Jahr zu Ehren des Welterklärers Peter Scholl-Latour statt, dem mittlerweile 90-jährigen Präsidenten der Gesellschaft

Die Laudatio auf Peter Scholl-Latour hielt Gregor Gysi. Und diese war richtig gut …

Und das kam dann ganz spontan von Peter Scholl-Latour zurück:

Man sollte wirklich beide Videos nacheinander anschauen, die beiden verbindet wirklich etwas. Leider musste Gregor Gysi nach seiner Rede gleich wieder weiter und es blieb keine Zeit zum Gespräch.

The Entrepreneurship Cell

Next week, on Nov. 15th, I will join the MACON network and talk during their Entrepreneur Week with the students about social entrepreneurship and new technologies. It will be my first time in Hyderabad.

The MAÇON network at the IBS Business School in Hyderabad was founded in 2008 when Mr. Anup Aggarwal, a student and an aspiring entrepreneur, felt the need for guidance and support in order to achieve his entrepreneurial dreams. Today, MAÇON is an amalgamation of individuals with a vision and a dream which indubitably, can come true. It is a platform for all those who want to create their own paths and leave behind the trails of success. The E-Cell aims at nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit and tremendous energy among individuals to a level where they can bring about a positive change in the society; a change we all aspire for. MAÇON facilitates the students with B-Plan workshops and guidance by entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

I will give the students some background information about myself, who am I and why I work the way I do, I’ll take them on a journey why SOCIAL entrepreneurship is relevant and why social does NOT mean “no money”, how new technologies can support the social and entrepreneurial cause and what it takes to move from an idea to set up a company. I will also talk about new technologies will change our ideas of companies … It hopefully will be a fruitful talk and discussion for all of us.

Thanks ti Sumit Wadhwa and the entire MACON team to make this happen.

I will share my presentation here as soon as it is finished;-)

Make A Difference

The last few days I spent in Bangalore, India, to attend the Global Citizen Conference held by the Melton Foundation. It’s an annual event bringing together Melton Fellows, thought leaders, and global citizenship advocates to share ideas, learn skills, forge partnerships, and act on local and global issues. It truly was an experience of its own. 60 young people seriously engaged in driving social change – getting things done instead of talking about it! They came together for 2 weeks from 5 different universities in China, Chile, Germany, New Orleans and Bangalore and established a bank for their future collaboration.

Here are a few short interviews I did with some Melton Junior Fellows (it’s a youtube player, so there is more than one video to watch;-):

I’ve also had the chance to talk to Winthrop Carty, the Executive Director of Melton Foundation

One part of the Global Citizen Conference were the so-called Springboard Sessions – carefully selected stories to inspire actions on global issues. One of the speakers was Jithin Nedumala, CEO and founder of Make a Difference (MAD). MAD is all about creating self sustainable communities and to empower people to drive social change. It’s a youth movement … And I have to say (and probably you will see & feel it when you watch the video) that I really enjoyed talking to Nithin;-)