Raghava K.K.

My friend Egon Zippel interviewed Raghava K.K. in New York City for our latest issue of we-magazine: we_!NDIA. TED describes him as follows:

Raghava KK began his career in art as a newspaper cartoonist, and the cartoonist’s bold line – and dead-on eye for truth – still powers his art. His work spans painting, sculpture, installation, film and iPad art, always linked by his challenging opinions on identity, conformity, gender, celebrity, ceremony. (He even views his lavish Indian wedding as a piece of performance art.)

His early work as a painter made a complete break with his cartoon career — he painted watercolors on canvas using only his hands and feet. Since then, his work has grown to knit together aesthetics from both worlds, as collage and complication play against flat color and precise lines. He shows in galleries and performance spaces around the world and often collaborates with other artists, most recently with musicians Paul Simon and Erykah Badu. In 2011, he launched his children’s iPad book, Pop-it, shaking up the concept of an ideal family. He is currently working on a project that promises to shake up everything! From news to education.

Egon asked Raghava pretty “BIG” questions – nevertheless they will give you great insights into the way Raghava is thinking and living and making arts!

My favorite quote from Raghava is: “I can’t promise my child a life without bias — we’re all biased — but I promise to bias my child with multiple perspectives.” This is what we will focus on in we_!NDIA.


Today we launched a new website for NATO in Brussels. It’s called WE_NATO – a wordpress blog on which NATO plans to have an eye level conversation with netizens out there in the web on various topics. It’s a new approach for NATO in the up-run to the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012 with formats such as livestreams, videointerviews and liveblogging. We will invite various people from the Internet world to contribute and participate.

Here is a short interview we produced for the launch – besides the offical NATO statement from Dr. Stefanie Babst, Head of Public Diplomacy – to give you some insights into what the major challenges are and what to expect.

From ME to WE and the other way round – TEDxBG

TEDxBG in Sofia was a very strange experience for me. Maybe because I just flew in the night before from Brazil and I only got 3 hours sleep. When I arrived at the venue, I didn’t had any schedule, I didn’t know what time my talk was – I didn’t know anything about the others topics and speakers. There was nothing available in English and the 3 organizers were too busy to give any translation. So I wasn’t able to get anything out of all these talks, except some questions I asked some people after the event. For this I really felt sorry. It was somehow a waste of time.

Except one thing – I’d really like to pick out: There was a young girl, Daniela, 11 years old, she sang on stage beautifully to Samba rythmns. I invited her spontaneously to come with us next time to Brazil and to join the volunteer team in the favelas. Besides theatre we will now add music to the program we are going to do there! Daniela seemed to be very happy …

And I was pleased to back up with Georgi Kamov, a young Bulgarian entrepreneur, who just launched his own company Nextdoor. I met him at a Transformation Thinker event a year ago. We enjoyed Bulgarian food and red wine with his wife and her 2 sisters. Lovely! Thanks for that!

The TEDxBG event was followed by a so called “volunteer-day”. Alek, one of the TEDx organizers described it as: “We are dividing the TEDX-audience in groups and sending them to different places where they can volunteer. It’s important, since Bulgaria is dead last in volunteering per capita. We’ll have a dog shelter; an urban transformation group, which will refurbish an underpass; a visit to a couple of children shelters; an annual bird count at a nearby lake and many other things …” A good initiative.

Other things I liked to mention:

  • the Betahaus, Bulgarian’s first co-working space just opened its doors, and yes, it is related with the Betahaus in Berlin
  • Air Bulgaria – not all a recommendation to fly with
  • the mountains surrounding Sofia looked really inviting for a ski tour
  • very good food and wine
  • smell of corruption is in many place
  • besides some shopping malls, IMAX cinemas and “western” company buildings, Sofia still has this “socialism” look and feel
  • taxi, food, drinks are really, really cheap
  • the young people at the TEDx event are excited as all the other young people I’ve met around the world. One of the participants said, that there aren’t too many people willing to drive change in BUlgaria. It’s only a small grope. I have no idea if this is true or not.

I definitely will be back!

For those who are interested in, here is my talk.

I started with our trailer for we-the-movie …..

.. followed by these slides:

And here is a transcript of the text:

Continue reading From ME to WE and the other way round – TEDxBG

The WE within NATO

Last friday I’ve had a very interesting meeting with Dr. Stefanie Babst, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, at the NATO headquarter in Bussels. We’ve met at DLDWomen this summer and had a brief chat about our WE-projects.

I really enjoyed talking to Stefanie about the WE within NATO – some great and also personal insights.
Stefanie – as part of her daily job – is trying to push the usage of social media at NATO. A rather huge challenge as she said, but there is progress …

Twenty-twenty is tomorrow!

This blogpost is part 3 of a series of short videoclips with Hans Rosling, founder of gapminder and TEDster. On behalf of futurechallenges.org, Ole Wintermann and I went to Stockholm to interview Hans in May 2010. For me it was one of the most funniest and most inspriring interviews I have ever done … and I am truly looking forward to include Hans Rosling again in our next edition of we-magazine which will focus on Africa.
“The main misconception is that the world still is as I went to school.”Rosling was interviewed by the Shaping Ideas 2020 project by Ericsson.

The West really has to integrate into the rest of the world. It will just be about one tenth of the world.”
Asked about the shift in power in the world until 2020 he says that is too short a perspective: “Twenty-twenty is tomorrow!” Some of his grandchildren will live past the year 2100, so for him it does not make sense to only have a vision for the next ten years:“We are not yet serious about solving global issues because we have too short a perspective.”And he offers a compelling vision for Sweden to become a popular tourist destination: “Western Europe has a lot to offer the world for hundred of years to come.”

What would you say are our main future challenges? 1) The remaining poverty among two billion of our fellow human beings, 2) enormous pressure on the environment, and 3) remains the threat of war.“So far it has always resulted in a war when someone catched up with the most powerful nation. […] Let’s see if we can succeed this time without the Pearl Harbor.”

Hans Rosling also makes clear that child mortality has been dramatically decreasing in many countries: “This means that the population issue has been largely solved.”“There will be an additional increase of two billion people until 2050 and then we are done […] This is a minor problem for the environment. The major problem is that four billion people live miserable lives. To increase their standard of living up to what is decent, like Sweden in 1950, when we had washing machines, showers, and relatively good houses. […] That is a ten-fold bigger challenge than the number of people!”

We have to make a huge technological leap to increase standards of living: “We can’t do that with existing coal technology. But we are not investing in that seriously!” The OECD countries are spending 4-5 times more on agricultural subsidies as they are putting into green technologies.“But we are not serious yet! They are just trying to win the next election, they are not trying to solve the problem! […] The Indian and the Chinese scholars, the politicians, the media persons…I met, they are serious. They know how to count. They calculate for 25 or 50 years. Because they know where they want to move their countries, their companies, their societies. Whereas in West Europe and North America the vision is for four years, the next election or corporate quarter.
Part one
Part two
Full interview
All about gapminder

we-magazine special: FutureChallenges

FutureChallenges, our third edition of we-magazine, is dedicated to futurechallenges.org, a new open online platform. futurechallenges.org is about the most important issues of our time, global megatrends, like climate change, migration, scarcity of resources, globalization … and especially the way they interconnect, reflect and magnify one another which will be decisive in shaping our common future.

So why did WE decide to dedicate this issue to FutureChallenges?

For us it is of the utmost importance that an institution like the Bertelsmann Stiftung is finally reaching out to the Web, that they embrace abundance and let the network set the agenda! Their goal is to build a highly connected virtual space based on the principles of participation, transparency and openness. futurechallenges.org is definitely a step in the right direction – WE will follow its path and see how it becomes more open and social.

WE are very proud to introduce an incredible line-up of authors – just to name a few: Peter Kruse, Hans Rosling, George Siemens, John Hagel III, Peter Spiegel, Isaac Mao, Emer Beamer and many more …

The magazine at a glance is here, the PDF is free for download:

we-magazine 03 – FutureChallenges

Cinema Jenin – A way to solve the Palestine-Israel Conflict

Last week I had the chance to talk to filmmaker Marcus Vetter on his project “Cinema Jenin”.He produced a feature film “Heart of Jenin” – a “sign of the time” movie which really captures the Palestine=Israel conflict.

That’s Marcus mission on his project:
“As a documentary filmmaker I go to a foreign land, and the people tell their stories and open their hearts. In return, I give them back a film, but I don’t believe that a film alone has the power to change their circumstances in the long run. Rebuilding Cinema Jenin gives each of those who participate the possibility to write the next chapter in their lives.”

Here is our interview … for me it was a very emotional and touching conversation.


Youtube player

01 – The filmmaker Marcus Vetter

02 – The Story of “Heart of Jenin” – Marcus’ latest film

03 – Challenges people are facing in the area around Jenin

04 – The Magic of Heart of Jenin – The City of Jenin
terrorism – freedom fighters

05 – The story of 1987 …

06 – The idea behind the project “Cinema Jenin”

07- “Cinema Jenin” and its sustainability

08- The financial concept behind “Cinema Jenin”
It´s all about trust and people!

The entire interview (51 min.)

we_magazine rocked the web yesterday!

I am still overwhelmed by the response of the launch of our we_magazine.

Thanks to all our authors who spread the idea throughout the Web and thanks to all those who read about us and continued to report on it! I had about one hundred mails to answer: congratulations, invitations and ideas how to proceed. Thanks for all this positive input!

In my function as the editor I only received one harsh critique regarding Sugata Mitra’s article “Hiring Indians – The we of working together”. The critic himself – being Indian – felt very much insulted by Sugata’s description of Indians and appealed to my responsibility as the editor not to publish such phrases. We are working on this to find a solution which hopefully will cover all needs.

So for me, and I think I can speak for the whole we_team, it was a great day yesterday. It really showed us how the web is working and what immense energy can be released if people become a “WE”.

We are really looking forward what will come next!

For those wh haven’t been on the website yet, here is the line-up for the first we_edition:

Ten Futures (Stephen Downes)
WE Care – Corporate Social Responsibility (Line Hadsbjerg)
The world is talking. WE is listening! Global Voices Online (Ethan Zuckerman)
You don’t have to ask WE for permission – Creative Commons (Joichi Ito)
WE – The Media (Dan Gillmor)
From Youtube To WEtube (blogpost by Henry Jenkins)
WE are hiring Indians (Sugata Mitra)
Playing for Change (Jeff Cobb)
The Fast Learnung Organization – Enterprise 2.0 (Willms Buhse/Soeren Stamer)
WE Create – Mass Customization and beyond (Frank T. Piller/Dennis Hilgers)
WE _Digital Natives (Jonathan Imme)
WE distribute, shape and share information, knowledge and cultures (Regine Debatty)

The we_magazine is licenced under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike, Germany