Blog: Know tech, work together, create tomorrow: 5 things we took away from re:publica 2019
“When we see the Internet of Things, let’s make it an Internet of Beings. When we see Virtual Reality, let’s make it a Shared Reality. When we see machine learning, let’s make it collaborative learning. When we see user experience, let’s make it about the human experience.” — Audrey Tang, Digital Minister of Taiwan and speaker at #rp19.
The opening keynote by German Federal President Walter Steinmeier, the diverse program and this year’s motto “tl;dr”, appealing to the return of the argument, the detailed dialogue, showed once again that re:publica is not a conference for geeks and internet nerds anymore. This year, re:publica welcomed about 20,000 participants in Berlin’s STATION for three days full of talks, workshops and fireside chats. It is not only about podcasts, Virtual Reality (VR) and Internet of Things, but also about the copyright law, the political debate culture, about Europe, Open Source and the state of the nation. That way, re:publica proves that digital topics really are at the heart of society.
The call for change
Even though Audrey Tang was not physically at re:publica, she summarized the tone of Germany’s leading digital conference quite well. Connected via video chat, her words called for change. For transforming the way we currently develop technologies, discuss topics — and our future. Porsche is part of this change. This is why we were one of the main partners of re:publica for the first time, discussing the mobility of the future with several partners as well as many more topics. Here are our 5 key takeaways:
1. Understand technology, invest in future skills
We always thought it would be difficult for the generation of our grandparents to befriend new technological developments like computers, smartphones — the internet. Now, far more complex technologies arise at increasing speed, be it flying taxis, artificial intelligence, robots on Mars or smart algorithms. As Porsche Digital Lab director Anja Hendel already said: More than ever, it is essential to truly understand technology in order to shape the future. This is why we need to make technologies such as AI and Robotics available for everyone, especially the young generation, and teach them the skills of tomorrow. Our partner Robonetica, who was with us at re:publica, follows this mission with the first global educational program for AI and Robotics. They teach teenagers around the world how to code and build robots through games such as the “Red Planet Project”.
2. The power of collaboration and open innovation
Once again, re:publica showed that designing, shaping and creating the future cannot be done alone. Through the debates on taxes for large digital companies, inclusion and a more diverse internet, we see that a desirable future is a collaborative project, which is lead by many. At Porsche, we know the need for change. To continue to be successful in the future, we have to further open ourselves up. By developing competencies in completely new areas, from digital to electric, by establishing new partnerships. And, most importantly, by not only benefitting from the open innovation ecosystem but also contributing to it. We collaborate with many startups in different areas, are part of STARTUP AUTOBAHN and established our own open innovation competition, expounding car APIs to developers all around the world. It probably surprised many visitors to see education topics and robot games at the Porsche booth, but at re:publica, we appeared together with our tech laboratory Porsche Digital Lab Berlin, our accelerator program APX, CODE University, HABA Digitalwerkstatt, startup Robonetica and our developer competition Porsche NEXT OI Competition to show the variety of future topics we’re involved and interested in.
3. There’s no one right answer for the future of mobility
When Tanja Deutschenbaur from Porsche asked the participants of the panel “Mobility for a better world or are we lost in transportation?” about their favorite mode of transportation, guess how many answered “car”? None. Neither Anja Hendel, nor Jacek Mikus from Robonetica or Will Senyo from Impact Hub Accra prefer to drive in the first place. There are much more comfortable, stress-free and faster ways of getting from A to B. Talking about the future of mobility, Canadian-Danish urban designer and expert on urban mobility Mikael Colville-Andersen says that there’s no balance of power in urban planning: “We’re too focused on one kind of mobility — the car.”
But there’s more to it. That’s why Porsche has just launched their idea competition “Mobility for a better World” at re:publica, envisioning a responsible and trustworthy approach to people, cities, wheels, and society to change the future for the better. The competition deals with the question of our visions of mobility for the future at the intersection of technology, mobility and sustainability. In the four categories “People”, “Wheels”, “Cities” and “Trust”, creative ideas and solutions can now be submitted by start-ups, students, developers and individuals from all over the world.
4. Engage the dialogue, integrate all
Re:publica has always been a place for exchange. This year, it seemed to face all big questions — from climate change to the future of work, capitalism and strategies against growing hostility. As an automotive company at a digital conference, Porsche would usually be the underdog — or call it special guest. But that’s what we were aiming for. As we move forward into the digital transformation, it’s essential for us to enter this discussion and be a part of it — and re:publica is a great platform for that. We wanted to engage the dialogue, answer the questions and talk about the digital challenges we’re facing. So we did and it brought us in touch with many new opinions and views, people and minds.
5. Be where the change is
The selection of our topics and partners at re:publica showed that we as Porsche are increasingly moving towards the technology and IT industry. Porsche is on a journey to fundamentally transform its business model: From a traditional automotive company to a software-enabled automotive tech player. For us, it is not enough to shape tomorrow’s mobility with sports cars, we want to shape it responsibly. To do so, we have to open up, become experts in new fields, engage the dialogue with diverse voices, collaborate and discuss. As Porsche Digital COO Stefan Zerweck just said: Be where the change is. And that is exactly why we joined re:publica.
For us, it was not only a step in our own development but also an eye-opener to hear all your opinions, questions and ideas. It was a pleasure to be there, Berlin. Thanks to everyone who shared their next visions with us — let’s continue to #createtomorrow!