Chairman of the Board of Management, Daimler AG & Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars
Ola Källenius has been a member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG since January 2015, and Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG since May 22, 2019. He is also Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Division.
Ola was born in Västervik, Sweden in 1969. After attending school and obtaining his Abitur (university entrance examination) at Danderyd Grammar School (Sweden), he completed his military service with the Swedish army from 1988 to 1989. From 1989 to 1993, he studied at the Stockholm School of Economics (where he earned his Master's in Finance and Accounting) and the CEMS Program at the University of St. Gallen (where he earned a Master's in International Management). He first started working at Daimler-Benz AG In 1993 as a Trainee with the International Management Associate Program.
family coach and parent of two teenage change-makers
Ainnat Lifshitz is a personal development and family coach with experience coaching children and their families to form better relationships, become better communicators, reach their highest potential and grow towards success. She’s also the mother of two high-achieving kids: Her 19-year-old daughter is developing a novel treatment for infectious diseases, conducting medical research, and leading the implementation of a new hospital platform for stay-at-home patients, while her 16-year-old son, an AI researcher and entrepreneur, is working with some of Canada’s top hospitals to implement practical AI solutions as well as conducting groundbreaking theoretical research at one of Canada's leading universities.
Ainnat believes that as the world evolves, parenting and educational systems need to evolve with it in order to give children the opportunity to reach their highest potential, regardless of socioeconomic background. Ainnat is currently writing a book that will detail her vision for parenting and education in the 21st century.
head of business development, thingsTHINKING
Alexander Walz is the Head of Business Development at thingsTHINKING (tT), an AI startup that helps computers understand the meaning of text. tT works with clients, partners and suppliers in the automotive industry, the mechanical engineering field, and the insurance sector, as well as with the “Big Four” in the tax and auditing sector to speed up document-driven processes.
Together with clients, colleagues and partners, Alex employs tT’s technology to add value and deliver benefits to a variety of industries. By working with several leading companies, Alex has acquired a broad overview and intuitively grasps his customers’ requirements – without being overly technical. Before joining tT, he worked as a Commercial Director and was a member of the management team at a large M-Dax group. Alex gained valuable experience from his years working in management, and he always focuses on customer needs and satisfaction.
co-founder and executive speaker coach, Talk Boutique
A successful business strategist and brand planner, Andrea Sampson spent 25 years in advertising working for some of the world’s biggest brands. Turning her sights to creating impact, Andrea then worked on TEDx and with TED coaches where she honed and refined the craft of speaker coaching. Her broad experience catalyzed in the creation of Talk Boutique with her business partner, Nick Kindler.
Talk Boutique is a speakers' bureau that curates speakers for large-scale events and focuses on speaker development to turn change-makers in science, technology, academia and art into recognized thought leaders. Talk Boutique’s vision is to create opportunities for intelligent, meaningful conversations on topics that make a difference in the world.
Andrea’s passion and skills have made her sought-after coach for professional speakers and corporate leaders, as well as a go-to resource for Singularity University Faculty. In 2018, Andrea and Talk Boutique were part of the team that brought the Singularity brand to Canada. She is now Head of Faculty for SingularityU Canada and works with the team at Singularity University Global to certify all Singularity University faculty worldwide.
Angela Panayiotou is the Manager of IDEA, the largest incubator/accelerator for startups and an entrepreneurship hub in Cyprus which aims to strengthen the country’s focus on innovation. In her role, she works closely with the government and private sector, has lead workshops on youth and female entrepreneurship, and promotes volunteering and a culture of “giving back”. Thanks to her 23-year international banking career, Angela has pursued a range of intrapreneurial initiatives and is experienced working with people from a variety of backgrounds. She is currently a coach, mentor and advisor to several young, aspiring entrepreneurs throughout their journey from idea to scale up and investment. She’s also a frequent speaker and panelist and actively involved in elevating Cyprus’s international status as a destination for innovation. Angela holds a BSc in Financial Services from the University of Manchester, a BBA in Management Information Systems and an ΜΒΑ from the University of Birmingham. Angela is a Certified Islamic Finance ExecutiveTM (CIFETM) by the ETHICA Institute of Islamic Finance, AAOIFI and she also received extensive training through the US Department of State Leadership program on entrepreneurship in the small business sector.
head stemette & co-found, stemettes / stage host
Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon is Head Stemette and co-founder of Stemettes, the award-winning social enterprise inspiring the next generation of women to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) roles through a series of impactful events and opportunities.
Anne-Marie was a child prodigy, and one of the youngest people ever to be awarded a Masters’ degree in Mathematics & Computer Science by the University of Oxford at age 20. Since then, she’s received many awards and accolades, including an MBE in 2017. In 2018, she was listed among the top 50 women in tech in the world by Forbes, voted the 5th most influential woman in IT by Computer Weekly, and was the recipient of the prestigious Barclays UK Women of the Year award.
Not only a champion of getting women into STEM positions, Anne-Marie previously worked with Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard, Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers, and is a recognized thought-leader in the tech space.
founder and ceo, SciFutures
Ari Popper is the Founder and CEO of SciFutures, a foresight and innovation agency that uses sci-fi prototyping to help their clients create meaningful change in the Exponential Age. SciFutures works with Fortune 500 clients in a wide variety of industries such as Visa, Hershey, Ford, Clorox, Lowe’s and VMWare. Ari has over 20 years' experience as a marketing, consumer research and innovation executive. He is a passionate sci-fi fan and amateur sci-fi writer who was inspired to start
SciFutures during a creative sci-fi writing class at UCLA. He believes that: “Science fiction is powerful tool because it helps businesses understand the human potential of emerging technologies in order to develop human-centered strategies that the whole organization can understand and be inspired to rally behind. This provides a significant competitive advantage.”
Ari specializes in making disruptive and visionary futures tangible and reachable. His passion is to change our beliefs about what's possible, helping to ensure a more beneficial future for all.
author and ageism activist, This Chair Rocks
Writer and activist Ashton Applewhite is the author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism. In 2016, she joined PBS site Next Avenue’s annual list of 50 Influencers in Aging as their Influencer of the Year. Ashton has been recognized by the New York Times, the New Yorker, National Public Radio, and the American Society on Aging as an expert on ageism. She blogs at This Chair Rocks, has written for Harper’s, the Guardian and the New York Times, and is the voice of Yo, Is This Ageist? Ashton’s work is a call to wake up to the ageism in and around us, embrace a more nuanced and accurate view of growing older, and push back against the forces that frame it as decline alone. She is a leading spokesperson for a movement to mobilize against discrimination on the basis of age.
aubrey de grey
anti-aging pioneer / chief science officer & co-founder, SENS Research Foundation
Dr. Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist based in Mountain View, California, USA, and is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, a biomedical research charity that performs and funds laboratory research dedicated to combating aging. He is also VP of New Technology Discovery at AgeX Therapeutics, a biotechnology startup developing new therapies in the field of biomedical gerontology. He received his BA in computer science and PhD in biology from the University of Cambridge. His research interests encompass the characterization of all the types of self-inflicted cellular and molecular damage that constitute mammalian aging and the design of interventions to repair and/or prevent that damage. Aubrey is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organizations.
molecular nanoscientist and visual artist, University of Colorado Boulder
A creator of color-changing tattoo inks and shape-shifting molecular machines, chemist/artist Carson Bruns uses nanoscience to invent new materials and technologies. He has co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed scientific publications, including the
celebrated book The Nature of the Mechanical Bond: From Molecules to Machines, with Nobel Laureate J. Fraser Stoddart. Carson, PhD, is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering with the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he directs the Emergent Nanomaterials Lab. His work on biomedical tattoos for human health has been featured in such outlets as his popular TEDx talk, Inked Magazine, Chemical and Engineering News, and Colorado Public Radio.
AI developer/ nanotech ninja/ cellular agriculture researcher, The Knowledge Society
Cassia Attard is a 17-year-old AI developer and solar nanotechnology researcher from Toronto. She is passionate about using nanotechnology to make solar energy technology more scalable using quantum dots, and has done many projects in the field. With the help of experts from the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo and Amp Solar Group, Cassia has worked at several labs advancing quantum dot research with the goal of turning windows into solar panels. She is currently focused on cellular agriculture -- specifically altering hormonal growth factors to decrease the price of lab grown meat, an environmentally efficient alternative to farmed meat.
co-founder, The Future Laboratory
Christopher Sanderson is co-founder of The Future Laboratory, where he is responsible for delivering the company’s extensive global roster of conferences, media events and LS:N Global Trend Briefings, which he co- presents with the team in London, New York, Sydney, Melbourne, and across the globe.
Clients who have booked one of his inspirational keynotes include Kering, the European Travel Commission, Retail Week, Selfridges, QIC, Marks & Spencer, Chanel, Harrods, Aldo, H&M, General Motors, BBDO, Design Hotels, Condé Nast and Omnicom.
In 2012, Chris presented Channel 4’s five-part tv series, Home of the Future. In 2014, he and his team created Fragrance Lab for Selfridges, an exploration into the world of personalisation in scent, which won Retail Week’s Best Pop-up and Overall Winner of the 2014 Retail Week awards. Chris is a SuperBoard member of The British Fashion Council’s Fashion Trust.
artist / innovator and founder, Studio Roosegaarde
Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde is a creative thinker who makes social designs that explore the relationship between people, technology and space. His fascination with nature and technology is reflected in his iconic designs such as Smart Highway (solar-powered roads that glow at night), Waterlicht (a virtual flood) and Smog Free Project (the world’s largest outdoor air purifier, which makes jewellery from smog). Daan graduated from The Berlage Institute with a Master’s in architecture. He founded
Studio Roosegaarde in 2007, where he works with a team of designers and engineers towards a better future. Together they develop smart sustainable prototypes for the cities of tomorrow. Daan is a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum and was named Artist of the Year 2016 in the Netherlands. His awards include the London Design Innovation Medal, the INDEX Design Award, the World Technology Award, two Dutch Design Awards, the Charlotte Köhler Award and China's Most Successful Design Award. He has exhibited at the Design Museum in London, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Tate Modern, Tokyo National Museum, Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs Paris and Victoria & Albert Museum.
project manager, City of Rotterdam
Dave Geensen is a Project Manager for the City of Rotterdam and part of the Innovation team, which is focused on elevating the city’s startup ecosystem and connecting its inhabitants and entrepreneurs to the next economy.
Rotterdam is facing urgent social, economic and environmental challenges. Ecological pressure and climate change demand fast and fundamental changes of virtually all aspects of the city’s policy. In addition, the ongoing digital transformation, increasing global competition and disruptive technologies require new approaches to economy and society. Rotterdam is proactively working to find new solutions, making the city decisive and resilient.
SVP new business / technology and strategic alliances, Ubisoft
With a passion for creating bridges between different worlds, Deborah Papiernik is in charge of bringing into play Ubisoft’s brands and expertise beyond video games, including Live Entertainment and VR experiences. An appreciated deal-maker and inspiring leader, she also develops strategic and technology alliances with companies from other industries looking for Ubisoft’s broad range of expertise, ranging from automobile or architecture to health and cultural institutions.
A graduate from ESCP Business School (Paris) and Drexel LeBow MBA (Philadelphia), Deborah joined Ubisoft in 1997 as a Marketing Manager. She then headed up Emea Business Development for ten years and became Managing Director of Ubisoft Partners, supervising third parties game development, for five years. She created the New Business department in 2015 and has been leading its expansion since then.
head of snow, Game of Thrones
Del is a Special Effects Technician from Birmingham, UK. He started in the industry in 1999 as a freelance technician for Snow Business, Germany. His job entails creating artificial winter effects for films, TV, commercials and events. His most recent project was on HBO’s Game of Thrones, working for the Special Effects Department as Snow Crew Supervisor. He was recently featured in Director Jeannie Finlay’s documentary Game Of Thrones: The Last Watch, which highlights the day-to-day work of crew members creating the magic behind the scenes.
media theorist, author and host of Team Human
Named one of the “world’s ten most influential intellectuals” by MIT, Douglas Rushkoff is an author and documentarian who studies human autonomy in a digital age. His twenty books include the just-published Team Human, based on his podcast, as well as the bestsellers Present Shock, Throwing Rocks and the Google Bus, Program or Be Programmed, Life Inc, and Media Virus. He also made the PBS Frontline documentaries Generation Like, The Persuaders, and Merchants of Cool. His book Coercion won the Marshall McLuhan Award, and the Media Ecology Association honored him with the first Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity. Douglas’s work explores how different technological environments change our relationship to narrative, money, power, and one another. He coined such concepts as “viral media,” “screenagers,” and “social currency,” and has been a leading voice for applying digital media toward social and economic justice. He is a research fellow of the Institute for the Future, and founder of the Laboratory for Digital Humanism at CUNY/Queens, where he is a Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics. He is a columnist for Medium, and his novels and comics, Ecstasy Club, A.D.D, and Aleister & Adolf, are all being developed for the screen.
An ASMR content creator of 6 years, author and sound healing practitioner. Emma WhispersRed is a Mum of two and wife living in London, England. As an ASMRtist Emma has worked tirelessly to bring awareness of ASMR and it's potential benefits for wellbeing to the public eye. Her innovation and imagination for new ASMR techniques both on screen, in person and audio have made her an expert in her field. Emma has curated and led live events in London, San Francisco, New York, Berlin and Birmingham all of them the first of their kind. After making over 400 ASMR videos on her YouTube channels she has made the first ever ASMR album of original songs for sleep and relaxation. The first ASMRtist led podcast intended to calm the commute and help people sleep as well as an ASMR YouTube channel made especially for children.
Through her social and youtube channels, regular appearances in the media, brand collaborations and consultations Emma has introduced ASMR to thousands of people all over the world and made so many aware of the name for something they have experienced throughout their lives.
As the author of Unwind your Mind: The life-changing power of ASMR. Emma intends to pass on her experience to others and explore how the feeling and concept of ASMR can bring calm and presence into our daily lives. Her longterm goal, through the support of further research, is for ASMR to become a recognised complimentary therapy, to teach others how to perform treatments and open a quiet retreat for the ASMR community to receive treatments, experience group sessions and meet each other in person.
Felipe Villela is co-founder of reNature, a Dutch foundation with the goal of regenerating 1 million hectares of degraded land worldwide by 2030 through agroforestry. Felipe sees himself as a young leader within the agricultural sustainability movement, and has deep roots in this sector, thanks to his family’s background in large-scale organic citrus farming in Brazil.
Felipe’s goal is to inspire and educate businesses and industries to produce food and raw materials in a regenerative way. Together with local farmers, communities, government authorities, companies and organizations, reNature designs and implements economically viable model farms. His ideas extend beyond the food industry, providing interesting solutions for fashion, aromatics, medicine, cellulose, timber, rubber and many other sectors. Felipe has shared his insights on this agroforestry at the UN Environment Programme’s Global Landscape Forum and COP24. He believes that “only action leads to change”.
skip tracer, expert in locating and making people disappear
Frank M. Ahearn began his career working undercover in retail stores catching employees stealing. There, he began skip tracing (finding people) and developed excellent social engineering skills (convincingly telling lies). The two combined made him quite a proficient hunter of people.
Times changed, and he stumbled into the business of teaching people how to disappear -- both erasing their presence online, as well as physically vanishing those who needed to go. Be it victims of stalkers, celebrities, or high-net-worth individuals, Frank gets them from A to B without a trace. Disappearing is not limited to people, but also information.
Frank is the author of the New York Times Bestseller, How to Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave False Trails, And Vanish Without A Trace (Lyons Press) & Spurlos verschwinden: Wie Menschen im digitalen Zeitalter abtauchen - Geheimnisse eines Zielfahnders (Piper)
Gemma Milne is a Science & Technology Writer covering all things deep tech, including biotech, advanced computing, space, energy and innovation in academia, for titles such as Forbes, the BBC, CNBC, the Guardian, and Quartz. She is also Co-Host of Science: Disrupt – a podcast interviewing the innovators, iconoclasts and entrepreneurs creating change in science.
As a deep tech consultant, Gemma is an Expert Advisor for the European Commission and Innovate UK, and a Scout for Backed VC. Gemma is also an Innovation Jury Member for SXSW and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and she is currently writing her first book on hype and idealism in science and tech.
Psychology Researcher, The University of Essex UK
Giulia Poerio holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Sheffield UK. Much of her work seeks to understand the interplay between cognition and emotion with a view to improving well-being. As well as working on the experience of ASMR, Giulia is interested in mind-wandering/daydreaming, sleep, and imagination. She has employed diverse psychological approaches and methods, often working at the intersection of psychological disciplines including cognitive psychology, affective science, neuroscience, clinical, and social psychology.
executive editor, IEEE spectrum magazine
Glenn Zorpette is executive editor of IEEE Spectrum Magazine. Under his supervision, since 2002, IEEE Spectrum has won 115 significant journalism awards. These included, in 2012, a National Magazine Award for General Excellence, the most prestigious award in U.S. magazine publishing.
He has moderated panels at two South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conferences and at the first two me Conventions. He appears in the 2012 motion picture documentary The Singularity, directed and produced by Doug Wolens, and in the 2019 documentary Hi A.I., directed by Isa Willinger and produced by Kloos & Co. Medien GmbH. Glenn holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Brown University and is a fellow of the IEEE.
senior director, Ecosystem Expansion
Grant Wainscott is the Sr Director of Ecosystems for the Metro Atlanta Chamber, in Atlanta, Georgia USA. He leads a team of technology cluster experts to retain, expand and attract jobs and investment to the metro Atlanta region, while shining the light globally on the assets and brands that have made metro Atlanta an international hub. He specifically works with the clusters of FinTech, Cyber Security and Creative Industries (Film/TV/Esports/Music/VR/Animation) to support and grow the ecosystem. Grant has also been a regional film commissioner, started several small tech companies, ran a tech incubator, and owned a rare book shop. He has led or participated in dozens of business and cultural missions throughout the world, visiting more than 50 countries. He holds a B.A. in International Business from Florida Southern College, and attended university in
Quebec, Canada and Augsburg, Germany. Originally from Seattle, he has studied and lived in five countries, and speaks French and German.
award-winning international film maker, holistic specialist
Gulrukh Khan is an award-winning international filmmaker, writer, holistic specialist, gender and animal rights activist, public speaker and conference organizer.
Her film career spans 25 years. Among her 15 awards, she has been awarded Best Documentary Feature twice – at the Moondance Film Festival in New York in 2012, and in Cannes in 2019. She also received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Cannes 2019.
Her documentary, Mantra for the New Millennium, was shown at the UN Peace Summit in the presence of Kofi Annan, and in London in the presence of former Prime Minister Tony Blair and 2000 business leaders.
She is a regular speaker at the House of Lords and global events. She is co-founder of Inclusion Convention CIC, an interdisciplinary think tank, and is former chair of ALL Ladies League UK and London.
Gulrukh is also a fully qualified and practicing Holistic Specialist with 20+ years of experience.
genetics genius / machine learning maven, The Knowledge Society
Hannah Lee is a genetic engineering researcher and machine learning developer passionate about increasing human lifespan and healthspan. She moved from Vietnam to Canada at the age of 16 to join St. Michael's Hospital and work on engineering artificial ear cartilage. After joining The Knowledge Society, a human accelerator that takes ambitious students from 13 to 17 years old and gives them the skills and mindset to solve the world's most important problems, she has worked on various projects, such as using CRISPR to reverse aging in fruit flies, and developing algorithms to evolve a soft robot to walk on Mars. She is working with Princess Margaret Hospital to help create software that can automate the treatment planning process for cancer patients.
urban agriculturalist / founder and managing director, Agritecture
Henry Gordon-Smith is a sustainability strategist focused on urban agriculture, water issues and emerging technologies. Henry was born in Hong Kong and has lived in Japan, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, Canada, Spain, Austria and the United States. He earned his BA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, a certificate in Food Security and Urban Agriculture from Ryerson University in Toronto, and an MSc in Sustainability Management from Columbia University. Henry founded the popular blog Agritecture.com in 2011. He was also co-founder of the Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) and served on the board from 2013 - 2017. In 2014, Henry launched NYC-based Agritecture Consulting, a boutique urban agriculture advisory firm where he helps entrepreneurs with vertical farming feasibility studies, recruiting and systems design. To date, Henry and his team have consulted on 76 diverse urban agriculture projects in 20 countries. He also serves as a board member for several for-profit and non-profit agtech organizations.
science fiction writer
Ian McDonald is a science-fiction writer living in Holywood in Northern Ireland. He was born in 1960 and his first novel Desolation Road was published in 1988. Since then he's written twenty-five novels and been nominated for every major international award in science fiction; winning the Hugo, John W Campbell Memorial, Philip K Dick and Locus awards. His most recent book, Luna: Moon Rising is the conclusion to a trilogy set in the early stages of lunar industrialization, in a society very different from our own. Bold, colorful and exciting, they've been optioned for television.
filmmaker / director and producer - Game of Thrones: The Last Watch
Jeanie Finlay is one of Britain’s most distinctive documentary makers. Her acclaimed films tell intimate stories to international audiences, whether inviting them behind the scenes of Teesside’s last record shop (SOUND IT OUT), sharing the extraordinary journey of a British transgender man, pregnant with his child (Seahorse) or taking them onto the set of the world’s biggest television show ("Game Of Thrones": The Last Watch).
Her films, although varied in subject matter, are all made with steel and heart, sharing an empathetic approach to bringing overlooked and untold stories to the screen. She describes her approach as being interested in "Shy people, telling small stories, quietly".
"Game Of Thrones": The Last Watch is her eighth feature film.
Native of Denmark. Mother, wife, hobby artist, financial controller. Moved to The United States in 1995. Took up psychology studies. Part-time volunteer in family crisis center. Back in Denmark in 2008. Headed a two-year project for people on sick leave (depression, anxiety and stress). Love my fellow humans. Trained and certified facilitator in the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method – 2006. Motivational coach and speaker. Experienced project manager. Co-founder and partner in Rasmussen Consulting. Facilitate workshops within all areas of (business) life.
assistant professor, information school, university washington
Jevin West is now an Associate Professor in the Information School at the University of Washington. He is the co-founder of the DataLab and the Director of the new Center for an Informed Public at UW. He holds an Adjunct Faculty position in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. He is also a Data Science Fellow at the eScience Institute and Affiliate Faculty for the Center for Statistics & Social Sciences. His research and teaching focus on misinformation in and about science. He develops methods for mining the scientific literature in order to study the origins of disciplines, the social and economic biases that drive these disciplines, and the impact the current publication system has on the health of science. He co-developed a course, Calling BS, that teaches students how to combat misinformation wrapped in data, figures, and statistics. The course is now being taught at universities around the globe.
Kyle Wiens is the CEO of iFixit, the free repair manual. He has dedicated his life to defeating the second law of thermodynamics, a battle fought in the courtroom as often as in the workshop. The Right to Repair campaign has, so far, successfully legalized cell phone unlocking and tractor repair.
the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe
Born into the world of sailing, Laura Dekker began racing at the age of six. Just a few years later, at the age of 14, she made waves with her campaign to be allowed to circumnavigate the globe all alone. She succeeded, and became the youngest person in the world to do so. Drawing on the ancient wisdom from the ocean and her extreme experiences, Laura is now an inspiring author, world traveler and professional skipper. She’s sailed more than 50,000 nautical miles on her adventures, and is still chasing her dreams.
chief energizer, hack belgium
Leo Exter has been active in the startup ecosystem in Belgium since 2009. He created the Startup Weekend movement in Belgium, and built an online community of entrepreneurs, mentors and investors. He has also led an acceleration program and a series of investment events.
Leo is one of the creators of Hack Belgium, a massive Open Innovation Festival. The most ambitious event of its kind, Hack Belgium is a unique part-conference, part-hackathon experience for over 1000 people that helps its participants transform their existing companies or create new sustainable businesses with a positive impact.
In addition, Hack Belgium works with both the public and private sectors to help enterprise HR and innovation managers to energize their employees, change their corporate culture and create outstanding new products through professional hackathon experiences.
innovation expert, cosnova
Leonie Schüssler began her advertising career at some of the world’s biggest agencies, working at Ogilvy and Leo Burnett. While there, she worked on brand strategy and international campaign development for a variety of global brands. She later took her expertise in brand strategy to cosmetics brand ZOEVA, where she worked as Head of International Sales and Business Development, helping to expand the young brand into international markets. When she joined cosnova in 2016, Leonie took over responsibility for innovation and disruptive business concepts based on the trend expertise from the company’s Think Tank and recently founded Innovation Lab.
Leonie is a vibrant innovation and future trends expert with boundless passion for inventing new and disruptive ideas and solutions to global cultural shifts, changing environments and consumer behavior. She translates her thought-provoking impulses and trend expertise into innovative projects, brands and experiences.
CEO & founder, Tink Tank
Lone Aggersbjerg is CEO & founder of Tink Tank GmbH, a premium Coworking Space located in Heidelberg.
Lone has previously been 15 years with SAP and has held strategic roles within SAP ́s partner ecosystem, industries and Mobile. Her last role as VP Operations in Development where she was driving strategic projects to free up potential for innovations for engineers, designers and architects.
Lone founded the Women in Technology Program@SAP which aimed at driving impact of Women in Technology through visibility internal and external of SAP. She build the Technically Speaking roster which she holds a patent for to help promote great female talents by supporting them to become speakers.
Lone led the SAP Development Excellence, a continuous learning & knowledge sharing program for all 40,000 developers to ensure that SAP development stays agile, curious and equipped within new technologies, leading a global team across all locations to deliver on the commitments made to the SAP board.
Lone is base in Heidelberg. She is Danish nationality. She holds a Master ́s degrees in International Market communication & management from the Aalborg University, Denmark.
futurist and science fiction writer
Madeline Ashby is a science fiction writer and scenario builder living in Toronto. Her most recent novel, Company Town, was a finalist in the CBC Canada Reads competition and a winner of the Copper Cylinder Award. Her short fiction has been published in Slate, MIT Technology Review, Spacing, BoingBoing, Clarkesworld and multiple anthologies. A graduate of the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program at OCAD University, she has a Master’s of Design and has done scenario planning and narrative prototyping for Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, the Atlantic Council, XPRIZE and others.
director, 500 Startups
Pahrada "Mameaw" Sapprasert: Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree 2018 — recognized by Forbes as one of the most influential Venture Capitalists of age under 30 in Asia Pacific. Mameaw is the Director of 500 Startups Thailand (500 TukTuks) - a fund focused on promising Thai and CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam) startups in seed to Series A stage. 500 TukTuks has invested in over 60 companies in the past 44 months and is also the most active investor in Thailand. Other than making investments, 500 TukTuks also empowers startups with best of Silicon Valley’s education, thinking, talent to provide unfair advantage in the local market. Mameaw also plays an important role in building the ecosystem in Thailand and CLMV by being an advisor to Alibaba e-founder Fellowship, dtac Accelerate A Academy, mentor and judge to SeedStars, and regular guest speaker for events and universities. Previous to joining 500 TukTuks, Mameaw was a Money-Market Dealer at Bangkok Bank and graduated from Imperial College London with MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management.
strategic adviser, Invest Bristol + Bath
Mark Leaver works on behalf of Invest Bristol + Bath as a specialist adviser on the creative and digital media industries, assisting and advising businesses on strategic investment and expansion opportunities in the West of England region.
Over his 25 years’ experience across the media industries, two key themes have defined Mark’s career, whether working on startups or for national broadcasters: the combination of content and emerging digital technologies, and the connection of creative business to international markets.
In addition to his role for IBB, Mark is a strategic adviser to the Department for International Trade at a national level. His other recent projects in the digital innovation space include the development of a culture-led smart cities project and research on the current immersive technology marketplace and global trends in broadcast media and the impacts of personalization.
pioneering filmmaker and AI collaborator
Martha Fiennes is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and artist. Her multi-layered work is increasingly informed by technological developments and ideas in contemporary art, while maintaining the creative expression of a highly gifted filmmaker. Martha has directed two high-profile feature films including the Russian period piece Onegin, which won the best director award at Tokyo Film Festival, and the London Critics Award for Best Newcomer. Her second feature, Chromophobia, was applauded for its powerful contemporary style and closed the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. More recently, Martha has been using a pioneering form of generative AI to create large-scale moving image artworks. Her first moving image artwork, Nativity (2011), incorporates continuously generative elements which result in a spellbinding experience that is different for every audience. Nativity has been exhibited worldwide, including at The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia, in December 2018. Martha’s latest AI-driven, generative moving artwork “Yugen (2018)”, features actor Salma Hayek Pinault and premiered to wide acclaim at the Venice Film Festival in 2018. It has also been screened at The Serpentine Gallery during Frieze London, at LACMA during Frieze LA and at Christie’s New York where the work opened the 2019 Art & Tech Summit.
chief scientific officer, thingsTHINKING
Mathias Landhäußer is the CSO and founder of thingsTHINKING (tT), an AI startup that helps computers understand the meaning of text. tT works with clients, partners and suppliers in the automotive industry, the mechanical engineering field, and the insurance sector, as well as with the “Big Four” in the tax and auditing sector to speed up document-driven processes.
Mathias also spearheads tT’s research advancements and prototypes to apply the latest developments to real-world problems. In his role, he works closely with a team of software architects and customers alike to employ AI technology in the wild. With a strong focus on generating value for his customers, he emphasizes benchmarking solutions while building new products.
Mathias earned a PhD with highest honors in Computer Science in 2016 from the
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He applies computer linguistics and knowledge
engineering to a variety of creative tasks.
founder and CEO, Black Euphoria / vice president, Creative Industries Aix Marseille French Tech
Mathieu Rozières is the founder and CEO of media creation agency Black Euphoria. He has cowritten and co-produced documentaries and multimedia projects (Ma vie à deux balles) and produced visual arts exhibitions (Cyril Carret’s solo show Cellules).
Above all, Mathieu sees himself as a prototypist, driven by curiosity, innovation and fun. In 2016, he collaborated with film production agency Bachibouzouk to develop a VR app, Histoires d’Espaces, which was distributed by France Télévision. A year later, Histoires d’Espaces 2 followed, which brought together acclaimed French choreographers, visual artists and theatre directors to create original VR pieces.
In early 2017, the agencies collaborated again to produce an interactive digital experience based on Kandinsky’s painting Continuous Line. They created the Cube: a mobile, interactive screening space offering immersive experiences in a collective setting.
Since then, Mathieu has focused on developing next-generation arts and museum projects, as well as creative communications campaigns, mixing new technologies, interactive scenography and storytelling. Mathieu is the Vice-President of the French Tech Aix-Marseille agency responsible for innovation in the creative industries, and the Vice-President of Mediterranean cross-media cluster Primi.
architect and principal, Hollwich Kushner
Matthias Hollwich, Principal of Hollwich Kushner and Co-founder of Architizer.com, has established himself at the forefront of a new generation of groundbreaking international architects. He believes the key to successful architecture lies in finding new and exciting ways to create dialogues and relationships between people and buildings. He was recently honored in Fast Company’s ranking of the world’s top 10 most innovative architects and in Business Insider’s list of top business visionaries.
Matthias has taught architecture as a visiting Professor at PennDesign, and his work has been published in leading media outlets such as The New York Times, Wallpaper* and The Wall Street Journal. His latest book, Architecture Can!, was co-authored by Marc Kushner and published by Images Publishing in the 2018.
innovation expert, cosnova
Maximilian Seidel is a visionary, purpose-driven futurist and strategist at the cosnova Innovation Lab. After creating integrated communication campaigns at Jürg W. Leipziger’s communications and PR agency (Leipziger & Partner), he joined cosnova as Trade Marketing Manager for essence and CATRICE in 2008. Three years later, he became responsible for all film media as well as sponsorships for these brands essence. He created and managed marketing campaigns related to sponsorships like the Justin Bieber Believe World Tour in Europe and the US, the Global Fashion Awards, various Fashion Weeks as well three MTV EMAs from 2013 to 2016. In 2016 he joined the newly founded cosnova Think Tank, which recently developed into the Innovation Lab. He consults and challenges the company and cosnova brands on their response to trends, cultural changes and technology, and furthers their consumer-centric focus and innovative mindset.
sports psychologist, SK Gaming
Mia Stellberg is from Finland. She is specialized in sport psychology and has a degree in psychotherapy. She is a licensed psychologist with a long history of working with athletes in the Olympics as well as eSports. Her mission is to improve her clients’ general well-being and ability to perform successfully under pressure.
Some of Mia´s best-known clients include Astralis and Ence, two professional Counter-Strike teams.
Mia is now working with SK Gaming and Dota 2 team OG (the current world champions).
market research executive and gender bias thought leader
Michele Madansky runs a media and market research consultancy specializing in online media and advertising. Her clients have included BuzzFeed, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Postmates, Chegg and BabyCenter. She is also the co-author of Elephant In the Valley, a widely cited study on gender bias in Silicon Valley, and moderated a keynote at SXSW on the topic in 2016. She is also on the board of Wogrammer, a non-profit focused on inspiring women and girls to pursue careers in STEM. In the early 1990s, Michele was the first interactive specialist at BBDO (pre-Netscape). She also authored the first PhD dissertation focused on online advertising. From 2003 to 2007, Michele was Vice President of Global Market Research for Yahoo! Prior to joining Yahoo!, she was managing partner at Grey Insight Partners, an analytics consultancy. Michele holds a ScB from Brown University, and an MBA and PhD from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. She is on the Advertising Research Foundation’s Women in Analytics Advisory Board and on the program board for i-com (Global Forum for Marketing Data and Measurement). She has also been a lecturer at Haas Graduate School of Business. Michele lives in Menlo Park, CA with her husband and two sons.
socio-ecological architect / urban designer / professor nyu / co-founder, Terreform ONE
Mitchell Joachim is the Co-founder of Terreform ONE and an Associate Professor at NYU. He was formerly an architect at the offices of Frank Gehry and I.M. Pei. He has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and fellowships with TED, Moshe Safdie, and the Martin Society for Sustainability, MIT. He was chosen by Wired magazine for "The Smart List” and selected by Rolling Stone for “The 100 People Who Are Changing America”, and featured as “The NOW 99” in Dwell magazine and “50 Under 50 Innovators of the 21st Century" by Images Publishers. He has also co-authored three books, and his design work has been exhibited at MoMA and the Venice Biennale. Mitchell has received many honors, including the ARCHITECT R+D Award, AIA New York Urban Design Merit Award, 1st Place International Architecture Award, Victor Papanek Social Design Award, Zumtobel Group Award for Sustainability, History Channel Infiniti Award for City of the Future, and Time magazine’s Best Invention with the MIT Smart Cities Car.
director, Fukuoka Global Startup Centre
Mumu Makinose is responsible for the Fukuoka Global Startup Center (GSC), an organization that supports foreign startups who want to come to Fukuoka. The GSC’s staff members use their experience working and traveling abroad to help companies navigate the process of setting up their businesses, and connect them to local mentors who can answer their questions and provide support along the way. Over the course of his career working in the international banking sector and at Sony, Mumu has lived in multiple countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America, giving him insight into the challenges and benefits of building a new life and business abroad. He’s also the founder of Fukuoka startup lainen LLC, where he works with international companies in countries like Estonia, Switzerland, Tunisia, and China. His extensive experience and network give him the unique ability to understand startup development from both a Japanese and international perspective.
deputy director, technopark of ITMO university
Olesya Baraniuc is responsible for the development of the entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystem at ITMO University -- one of the leading universities in Russia and the only university in St. Petersburg on Forbes’ list of the top 10 universities in Russia.
Prior to ITMO University, Olesya worked as an International Program Manager at the Aalto University High School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland, and a legal adviser at the law firm Costas Indianos & Co. in Nicosia, Cyprus, providing a full range of services for the incorporation and administration of companies in various jurisdictions. She’s also worked on numerous international projects and lived in Romania, Belgium and Italy, giving her a broad understanding of the different ways of life and doing business abroad.
chief personal scientist, personalscience.com
Richard Sprague is an avid self-experimenter and long-time Quantified Self contributor who has been building and marketing consumer software internationally for decades at numerous technology companies including Apple, Microsoft, and several Silicon Valley startups, including microbial genomics leader uBiome. Having sequenced his microbiome more than 600 times near-daily since 2014, he builds analysis software to study the interaction between his microbiome, the food he eats, and new tracking self-tracking technologies including continuous glucose monitoring. Educated at Stanford and University of Pennsylvania, he worked in Tokyo and Beijing for more than 10 years and currently lives in Seattle, where he enjoys discussing health and comparing wellness discoveries with others at www.personalscience.com
founder & co-creator, LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®
Master trainer in the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method and delivers both facilitator training programs as well as end-user workshops through his company Rasmussen Consulting represented in Europe, Asia and USA. Together with Per Kristiansen, he is the author of the book “Building a Better Business with the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method”. Robert Rasmussen is the main architect of the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method. During 1999 - 2007 he and his team developed the concept into the robust methodology we know today. He worked for the LEGO Group from 1988 to 2001 as head of R&D for LEGO Education. From 2001 to 2004 Robert managed Executive Discovery Ltd., which was responsible for launching the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY program. Robert is a native of Denmark. He has spent his career applying experiences and theories about play, learning, creativity and teaching to organizational development. Over a 15-year period he worked extensively with designers and researchers at Tufts University and the MIT Media Lab in Boston, Massachusetts to develop and apply hands-on learning tools.
data detox mentor and project lead, Tactical Tech
Safa Ghnaim leads Tactical Tech’s successful Data Detox Kit project, building partnerships and leading workshops around the world. The Data Detox Kit’s friendly, non-technical tone and flexible approach gives people the space to choose their own Data Detox adventure. Before joining Tactical Tech, she worked as an educator and editor, most notably editing and formatting the book Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora, which told the story of her family.
founder, Chinwag / stage host
Sam Michel founded Chinwag in 1996, the organization supports fast-growing technical businesses expand globally, working with over 300 companies and government trade support and innovation agencies. His work at Chinwag includes overseeing the organisation’s live event design and production, marketing consultancy and outreach & partnership development projects. Most recently, Sam has led the outreach & partnership development and international programmes for the UK government’s £110m Industrial Strategy investments into the creative industries through the Creative Clusters and Audience of the Future challenges. Sam has led over 20 trade delegations showcasing industry verticals including Immersive Technology, Fintech,
AdTech, Creative and Digital Agencies, Robotics to the US, Europe and China, including six large-scale programmes at US tech festival, SXSW. He led the team that grew Social Media Week London, a collaborative festival to 280 events across London with 1500 delegates attending as well as launching Chinwag Psych, the world’s first behavioral economics for business conference. In 2014, he launched Pitch NYC a new event to help later-stage tech firms raise US investment to expand internationally. He is an independent grant assessor for the Innovate UK, the UK government’s innovation funding agency and aregular mentor at startup programmes including MassChallenge and a judge for the Big Chip Awards and TechNation’s Rising Stars programme.
happiness consultant, founder of Growth & Happiness School
Samantha Clarke is a happiness consultant and founder of Growth & Happiness School. It’s the first online school with training to help individuals find work happiness or create it for others at work. She is on a mission to liberate tired company cultures from unhappy work environments through coaching and consulting on wellbeing strategies. Through her work, she has achieved big results with clients like Dishoom, Shopify, Innocent, Mediacom, Deutsche Telekom and more. Samantha is also a faculty lecturer at the School of Life and The Guardian, where she facilitates workshops on career potential, building a portfolio career, leadership and stress. In addition, she hosts a podcast, "Conversations with Samantha&", where she talks with philosophers, technologists and more on the impact of technology on our happiness in work, life and cities. Samantha has been featured in Monocle's Forecast happiness edition, BBC Global News, Momondo’s latest project, Psychologies, Forbes and The Times. Her first book "Love it or Leave it - How to be happy at work" is due out spring 2020.
project manager, Business Tampere
Sami Puttonen is focused on entrepreneurship and the startup scene in Finland. He’s currently using his background in this field as a project manager at Business Tampere, where he’s overseeing a new initiative to develop a regional startup ecosystem. Prior to getting involved in the world of startups, Sami worked in the education sector in Finland and Ireland. Sami believes that successful startups require a specific mindset and way of working. This includes a diverse community, an open, collaborative working environment, and a mentorship approach where people are encouraged to ask for help and share their expertise with others. All of these elements are present in Tampere, which is what makes it a great startup city.
biochemist and crispr expert, Columbia University
Samuel Sternberg, PhD, runs a research laboratory at Columbia University, where he is an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. He received his B.A. from Columbia University in 2007, graduating summa cum laude, and his PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned graduate student fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. Sam's research focuses on RNA-guided bacterial immune systems (CRISPR-Cas) and on the development of these systems for genome engineering. In addition to publishing his work in leading scientific journals, he recently co-authored a popular science trade book together with Jennifer Doudna, a leading figure in the "CRISPR revolution". Entitled A Crack in Creation, their book is about the discovery, development, and applications of gene-editing technology. It has been published in over a dozen foreign languages, including German (Eingriff in die Evolution), and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
critical futurist and managing partner, Changeist
As a futurist, founder and managing partner of Changeist, Scott Smith’s work focuses on guiding organizations toward better futures through foresight, narrative design and strategic design. Scott has worked with some of the largest and most respected global financial, retail, telecoms, property, technology, fashion and media brands, such as the BBC, The New York Times, ASOS, VF and Comcast. He has delivered futures projects, talks and workshops, and led teams in over a dozen countries and in multiple languages. Scott heads the futures program for Dubai Future Academy, and lectures at IED Barcelona. He has written for The Atlantic, Quartz, The Next Web, WIRED UK, and How We Get to Next. He is based in Amsterdam, where he is also developing several fiction and documentary projects, and writes and co-hosts the Underfutures podcast.
managing director, TechQuarter
Sebastian is a Cambridge-born behavioral economist and innovation enthusiast. As entrepreneur and lecturer, he has been engaged in building a dynamic startup scene in the Metropolitan region for many years. Prior to founding TechQuartier, Sebastian was head of Goethe University’s business incubator and research fellow at the management and microeconomics department. He lectures at Goethe Business School and is associated with the Center for Leadership and Behavior in Organizations and the Frankfurt Laboratory of Experimental Economics at Goethe University.
founder / president / executive chairman, Udacity
Sebastian Thrun is a scientist, educator, inventor, and entrepreneur. As the founder, president and executive chairman of Udacity, Sebastian’s mission is to power careers through tech education. Today, the company has over ten million students worldwide and more than 200 global industry partners including Bosch, Google, and Mercedes-Benz to close talent gaps. Sebastian is a former Google Fellow and a research professor at Stanford University. At Google he founded Google X, where he built the self-driving car team now known as Waymo. As a professor at Stanford University, he led the Stanford Racing Team, whose robot “Stanley” won the DARPA Grand Challenge. Stanley is now on display at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
AI researcher & entrepreneur
16 years old, Canadian, and striving to develop the future of technology: Shalev Lifshitz is one of the world’s youngest AI researchers and entrepreneurs. Through his work, he inspires others to explore the future of AI, as well as think about the questions we need to ask to be prepared for human-level artificial intelligence. Shalev is conducting research at the University of Waterloo to further the community's efforts toward reaching Artificial General Intelligence and is developing new Artificial Neural Networks to behave more like the human brain. In addition, Shalev is working on solutions for some of Canada’s top hospitals. At SickKids Hospital in Toronto, he’s creating a computer vision system to expedite diagnostic and drug discovery processes. He’s also working with St. Joeseph’s Hospital, where he created a remote system that will assist stay-at-home patients and caregivers while gathering metrics that allow for better care. His goal is to spark the next wave of human innovation and help humanity reach a new evolutionary level.
neuroscientist and co-founder, Backyard Brains
Timothy Marzullo is a professional neuroscientist dedicated to improving public understanding of how the brain works. In early 2009, he co-founded Backyard Brains. Their aim is to make "Neuroscience for Everyone" by designing and creating inexpensive equipment and experiments that allows scientists of all ages to study and comprehend the electrical activity of the brain, muscles and heart. The idea began as a self-imposed engineering challenge between his friend Gregory Gage and him to improve neuroscience outreach at local schools. With the generous sponsorship of the National Institutes of Health, the Kauffman Foundation and the Start-Up Chile Program, Timothy works on rapidly bringing prototypes to market and designing intuitive experiments that teach students about physiology and electronics. To date, the equipment of Backyard Brains is in all 50 States in the USA and 82 countries around the world. Timothy also works extensively in Latin America, teaching classes on neuroscience, invention and creativity in the scientific progress.
Tiziana Alocci is a multi-disciplinary information designer passionate about converting diverse and complex topics into visually engaging graphics. She works for globally recognised companies across a wide range of sectors. From 2017, Tiziana is the co-founder of Market Cafe Magazine, the world’s first magazine focused on data visualisation.
head of content and technical writer, iFixit Europe
Tobias Isakeit is Head of Content and a technical writer at iFixit Europe. Since he was a kid, Tobias has been taking things apart to get a closer look at their inner workings, especially mechanical and electronic devices.
Tobias is based in Stuttgart, Germany, where he has a background in media design and a Bachelor of Engineering in Audio-Visual Media. He joined iFixit Europe in 2014 as a customer service representative, and he's supported their event management by planning and attending several maker fairs and repair cafés. Since starting the local content team in 2016, Tobias is once again focusing on taking things apart by documenting device disassemblies for iFixit's teardowns and repair guides.
communication expert and moderator / stage host
Zackes, also known as The StartupMC, is passionate about introducing people to pioneers and new technologies, and igniting their own potential for innovation. He explores relevant topics and technologies beyond the usual buzzwords and always seeks to challenge his stage guests to provide true insights to the audience.
You’ll find him working as an MC on the stages of Europe’s biggest tech conferences, moderating of expert panels, refereeing startup battles, or hosting hackathons and innovation challenges. He also uses his expertise to engage people, companies and organizations seeking to improve cross-silo synergies and align internal stakeholders.
Disclaimer: The views of me Convention speakers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of either Mercedes-Benz and/or SXSW.