Rebooting the future



If the term “rebooting the future” means anything, it means generating a new event sequence the eventual outcome of which cannot be foreseen. The event and speakers in Hamburg cannot, nor would they claim to be, persons who know precisely what that future will be. But that is precisely what makes their undertaking so interesting, namely that by bringing together a plurality of viewpoints into play, that will open up a unique set of imaginative possibilities. They literally “reboot” a series of unresolved contemporary questions, a re-directed set of ideas drawing upon their life experiences, and whose outcome can only be realised through the event sequence itself. In using a computer metaphor the intention is not that of suggesting a machine-like process, but rather as means of expressing the horizontal diversity of contemporary discourses. Hence the different speakers will present ideas that encompass design culture, modern aspects and the role of charitable giving, the role of media, current economic and medical attitudes. In the wake of the recent global economic crisis, a rethinking is taking place and how specific cultural and global developments can be thought through again and re-aligned. The major shift toward establishing inclusive global social and cultural patterns of development are currently foregrounded, and the speakers emphasise the dangers of retreating into a bunker mentality of regional and national self-interest. The arguments of inclusive development places a far greater emphasis on free-formed lateral thought, both in terms of contemporary psychology and political and social administration. Hence “rebooting the future” far from being the case of merely starting again from scratch, means the assimilation of past ideas but with a renewed sense of application in the light of a new set of circumstances. It does not mean a futuristic abandonment of the known, but how through cultural adaptation of past attitudes ideas can be re-directed towards positive future outcomes. To use the metaphor of the computer again, the knowledge contents remain, whereas the “reboot” is the challenge of where they may now be taken. The aim of TEDxHamburg is to recharge the circuitry of human possibility.



  • Thorkil Sonne
    Thorkil Sonne

    When Thorkil Sonne’s youngest son was diagnosed with autism (spectrum disorder) the family realized that the boy would never meet the social skills requested by the labor market.

    Therefore Thorkil founded Specialisterne (The Specialists) in 2004 for specialist people with autism as a company tailored to provide understanding and support for the individual. In return the consultants with autism use their skills to solve valuable tasks for business partners at market terms.

    Thorkil is an Ashoka Globalizer Fellow as founder and CEO of the Not-for-Profit Specialist People Foundation. The foundations vision is to make societies respect and accommodate specialist people as worthy and valuable citizens. The goal is to enable one million jobs.

    Twitter: @spfnd | Website: | LinkedIn: Thorkil Sonne

  • Georg Schürmann
    Georg Schürmann

    Before joining Triodos Bank, Europe’s leading sustainability bank, in July 2009 as Managing Director of the German branch, Georg Schürmann (age 47) worked for 20 years at Deutsche Bank in the Private and Business Client Division. In 2001, he became Regional Director with responsibility for Deutsche Bank’s branch network in Munich and south Bavaria. In 2005, he was summoned to Deutsche Bank’s headquarter as Managing Director, where e.g. he introduced the “student loan” for the German market. From 2006 to 2009 he was Member of Deutsche Bank’s Management Board of Private Banking Germany.

    At Triodos Bank’s German branch, which opened in December 2009, Georg Schürmann is responsible for retail clients and institutional investors.

    LinkedIn: Georg Schürmannürmann-8a303b56/

  • Jeroo Billimoria
    Jeroo Billimoria

    Jeroo Billimoria is a serial social entrepreneur who has founded six organizations including Aflatoun. Jeroo was named an Ashoka Innovator in 1999 and received the Schwab Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs in 2001 among many other awards for her work. She was also featured in David Bornstein's book "How to Change the World".

    From 1991 to 1999, she was a Lecturer at the University Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She is also the founder / honorary secretary of the Childline India Foundation (1996-present) and the founder / president of MelJol (1991-present). Jeroo moved to Amsterdam and founded Child Helpline International in 2003. Aflatoun was founded in 2005. She is currently in the process of launching her next organization, Child Finance International.

    Twitter: @JerooBillimoria | Website: | LinkedIn: Jeroo Billimoria

  • Bart Weetjens
    Bart Weetjens

    Product development engineer Bart Weetjens has a focus on appropriate technologies for developing countries. In 1998, Bart initiated the use of HeroRATS: trained giant African pouched rats as an alternative and sustainable landmine detector, in response to the global landmine challenge. Since 2000 APOPO addresses humanitarian detection challenges in Africa: the detection of landmines and screening for Tuberculosis. HeroRATS received multiple international recognitions. Bart is an ASHOKA fellow and a SCHWAB fellow, and a permanent member to the Global Agenda Councils. In 2009, he won the SKOLL Awards for social entrepreneurship.

    Bart is a Zen Buddhist monk. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Tanzania.

    Twitter: @BartWeetjens | Website: | LinkedIn: Bart Weetjens

  • Wolfram Putz
    Wolfram Putz

    Wolfram Putz studied architecture in Germany at the Technische Universität Braunschweig where he graduated as Dipl.-Ing. Arch, at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City and at the Southern Californian Institute of Architecture, USA, where he received his Master.

    In 1998 Wolfram Putz established GRAFT in Los Angeles together with Thomas Willemeit and Lars Krückeberg. GRAFT has won numerous national and international awards and garnered international fame with a widespread following throughout its ten year existence. GRAFT today employs 100 architects and artists worldwide.

    Twitter: @wolframputz | Website: | LinkedIn: Wolfram Putz

  • Kai Hill
    Kai Hill

    Kai Hill had worked in the brand management and strategic brand consulting business for 15 years.

    He studied sociology, mass media communication and fundraising at the University of California of Los Angeles. Besides he was a guest critic as well as a guest speaker at the Technical University of Berlin.

    In 2006 Kai started the social profit organisation *stars of tomorrow. Linked to the Soccer World Cups 2006 in Germany and 2010 in South Africa stars of tomorrow has become a compact organisation, focussing on development projects for orphans and street children in need in South Africa. The life situation of these children is compounded by the fact that South Africa has the world’s highest incidence of HIV/AIDS.

    LinkedIn: Kai Hill

  • Jan Schierhorn
    Jan Schierhorn

    Jan’s career started straight after his school days. Over the past 20 years, the studied marketing communications graduate and allrounder has worked for international branded companies and goods. His key activities revolve around sampling, ambient media, events and interdisciplinary consulting. Following a humanistic world view, the father of three has dedicated himself to charity projects for the past five years. The “Lebensbaum‐Projekt”, that raises funds for multiple problem families, marks the cornerstone of his work.

    His current project “Das Geld haengt an den Baeumen” provides jobs for disabled people by discovering unutilized resources. In 2009, the project was rewarded with the Koerber‐Stiftung Award “Anstiften” and in 2010 it was awarded the “Deutschland, Land der Ideen” prize.


  • Ernst Pöppel
    Ernst Pöppel

    Prof. Pöppel is founder of the Institute of Medical Psychology and has been chairman until his retirement on September 30, 2008 and he is chairman of the Human Studies Center, both at Munich University. He has served as chairman in the Helmholtz Center in Jülich being responsible for environmental research and life sciences.

    He has done research in the brain sciences and psychology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and at two Max Planck Institutes in Germany. He has been guest professor at several universities in Europe and East Asia as well as in the USA. His interdisciplinary and international activities have gained high visibility: He cooperates e.g. with the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Peking University, the Nencki Institute in Warsaw, the Pawlow-Institute in St. Petersburg, the MIT in USA or University College in London.

    Prof. Pöppel as a researcher has always worked closely together with industry, bringing scientific results quickly to the market.

    Twitter: @poeppel_ernst

  • Joachim Sauter
    Joachim Sauter

    Since the early 1980s, Joachim Sauter has been working as a media artist and designer. From the beginning, Joachim Sauter has focussed on digital technologies and is experimenting how they can be used to express content, form and narration.

    Fuelled by this interest, he founded ART+COM in 1988 together with other artists, designers, scientists and technologists. Their goal was to practically research this new up-and-coming medium in the realm of art and design. Until now, he is leading this interdisciplinary group. In the course of his work he was invited to participate on many exhibitions. He received several awards like the Golden Lion, Cannes, the Ars Electronica Interactive Award, the Los Angeles Interactive Media Award, the ADC New York and ADC Germany Gold, the Red Dot Grand Prix, the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany and many other national and international awards.

    Since 1991 he is full professor for "New Media Art and Design" at the University of the Arts, Berlin and since 2001 adjunct professor at UCLA, Los Angeles.

    Twitter: @bla_fasel | Website: | LinkedIn: Joachim Sauter

  • Axel Kufus
    Axel Kufus

    After training first to become a joiner and carpenter, Axel Kufus moved to Berlin in 1985 and studied design at the University of the Arts. At the same time, he became a partner at the CrelleWerkstatt, where he worked on the development and production of own serial furniture. With his wife Sibylle Jans he founded the Werkstudio Berlin.

    In 1993, he was asked to join the Bauhaus University in Weimar as a professor for product-design. Since 2004, Axel Kufus has been teaching at the University of the Arts in Berlin, where he is the director of the Institute for Product- and Process-Design. In this position, he has initiated new cooperation-platforms for the experimental developement und application at'Campus Charlottenburg Berlin'.


  • John Perry Barlow
    John Perry Barlow

    John Perry Barlow is a former Wyoming rancher and Grateful Dead lyricist. A co-founder of EFF, he was the first to apply the term cyberspace to the "place" it presently describes. He has written for a diversity of publications, including Communications of the ACM, Mondo 2000, The New York Times and Time. He has been on the masthead of Wired magazine since it was founded. His piece on the future of copyright, "The Economy of Ideas," is taught in many law schools and his "Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace" is posted on thousands of websites. In 1997, he was a Fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics and has been, since 1998, a Berkman Fellow at the Harvard Law School. John works actively with several consulting groups, including Diamond Technology Partners, Vanguard and Global Business Network. In 1999, FutureBanker Magazine named him "One of the 25 Most Influential People in Financial Services." He writes, speaks and consults on a broad variety of subjects, particularly digital economy.

    Twitter: @JPBarlow | Facebook:


  • Minako Seki
    Minako Seki

    Minako Seki was born in Nagasaki, Japan. Since 1985 she danced in Tokyo with the Company "DanceLoveMachine", with whom she came to Europe in 1986 on an invitation of the Berlin Arthouse Bethanien. She stayed in Berlin and in 1987 she became the co-founder and director of “tatoeba - TÉÂTRE DANSE GROTESQUE”, the first Japanese-German Butoh-Ensemble. Since 1996 she has focused more on her own company where she has continuously been looking for the friction in crossing art disciplines.



9am - 10am Registration
10am - 11.30am Session 1
Stephan Balzer Welcome & Intro
Thorkil Sonne Specialisterne
Aimee Mullins TED video: Aimee Mullins and her 12 legs
Georg Schürmann Neue Bank - Werte sind das Kapital
Minako Seki Performance
11.30am - 12.30pm Coffee Break
12.30pm - 2pm Session 2
Jeroo Billimoria ChildLine/ ChildFinance
Bart Weetjens Hero Rats
Carolyn Steel TED video: How food shapes our cities
Wolfram Putz Architecture in times of need
Kai Hill Stars of Tomorrow
Jan Schierhorn Projekt Lebensbaum/ Das Geld hängt an den Bäumen
2pm - 3.30pm Lunch Break
3.30pm - 5.30pm Session 3
Ernst Pöppel The gift of time - the present as a present
Joachim Sauter Renaissance of Space
Axel Kufus Design Reaktor
Jane McGonigal TED video: Gaming can make a better world
OMA International Performance
John Perry Barlow Enantiodromia




Partners of TEDxHamburg are companies that believe in "ideas worth spreading" and that are innovating examples for their industry as well as for society. If you want a chance to connect to a world wide network of thinkers and do-ers, a chance to show that you care, that your company supports the biggest and boldest ideas in Germany, please contact Sam ( and partner up with us for upcoming TEDxHamburg events.

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