During the weekend of the 23rd until the 25th of October, about 170 students and alumni coming from universities all over Europe gathered in Berlin to attend KIC InnoEnergy Alumni Connect, the very first alumni event organized by KIC InnoEnergy. The weekend was fueled by inspiring speakers and creative workshops, that could not help but ignite a spark of cohesion among the attendees. As a result, everyone went home energized and connected, well determined to help one another transform their innovative ideas into tangible actions. Read along for a recap of the event’s highlights and for the links to the videos of the speakers and pitching sessions. We look forward seeing you at the KIC InnoEnergy Alumni Connect’s 2016 edition this year!
Watch the highlights video here.
One of the highlights of the event were the inspiring speakers Stefan Lodeweyckx, CEO of Enervalis, and Salvatore Settecasi, Senior Architect at Arup. Their keynotes underpinned the overall feeling that co-working can create the sustainable energy community of the future. Salvatore Settecasi, in his keynote Shaping future cities, expressed the need “for real societal, environmental and economic progress and not just for profit”, a statement that reflects Arup’s philosophy. Complementing Salvatore’s opinion in his presentation How to become the operating system of the energy sector, Stefan set the tone of the weekend by encouraging the audience to dream big and achieving one’s goals like he is at the moment, as his cutting edge software company is gaining influence in the smart city world.
Status and vision of the community
Many alumni were reunited after a long time and got an insight on the Community status and vision behind the KIC InnoEnergy community presented by the community officer, Claudio Geyken. The aim is to become the leading community in sustainable energy innovation and entrepreneurship. Already today the first steps towards the goal are undertaken by community representatives, launching plenty of activities such as local community events such as the speaker series, entrepreneurial days, and initiatives like the mentoring programme which will be started in the future.
The human capital manager, Marloes Wichink Kruit also presented the potentials of the KIC InnoEnergy career centre and how community members can benefit from it in terms of career development and possible job and internship offers in the future.
Network Design Session
Being reminded of the urgency to accelerate the change by Stefan and Salvatore, the whole community unfolded a tremendous amount of energy during the co-creation session about “How do we strengthen our KIC IE Community to massively progress innovative sustainable energy solutions?”. The co-working process established a strong bond between the attendees and their insights, strengthening the interconnection and values of the community. It was designed and facilitated by Falko Döring, an alumnus of the KIC IE Masterschool ENTECH and the Open Space Studio, together with great support from a team of catalysts. The team took care of keeping the spirit alive during the group sessions. More specifically, the sessions were about questions such as “how to create engagement inside the community?”, “how do we build and use an online platform to progress sustainable energy solutions in the world?”, “how do we expand the community with respect to the values Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship?”, “how do we as a community support the initial step from an idea to business?”, “which community events guarantee a high level of quality and fun?”, etc.
Sharing values and vision enabled a fruitful co-creation session whose results are currently being implemented by all the community representatives. Examples of initiatives are the coming online platform, KICouchsurfing, trainings from and for KIC InnoEnergy community members, a mentorship program and more local events regarding quantity and diversity.
Alumni Speaker Series
During various speaker sessions, several KIC InnoEnergy alumni let the soon-to-be graduated attendees take a sneak peak into their professional lives by giving a talk about the work they are currently doing.
Govinda Upadhyay on how teaching and sharing knowledge is key for the development: LEDsafari case study
As a KIC alumnus Govinda is working towards building awareness about Solar lamps and educating people about how they can replace the harmful Kerosene lamps. Govinda who has been recently honored by Forbes for his contribution to the society shared with the participants the problems he addresses and how he intends to take it bigger. He also thanked KIC community for the support he received during every step.
According to him, the problem cannot be solved by just distributing solar kits to every household, but rather by educating them about the concept. By doing so, individuals are empowered and for this reason, Govinda lets students design the lamp they need. The kids have a very imaginative mind and it is necessary that they build lamps that meet their own requirement, he says. The audience thoroughly resonated with his thoughts and his work and gave a resounding applause.
Tom Huizer, an alumnus of the SELECT program spoke about a landmark case where the citizens of Netherlands sued their own government for not taking adequate actions against climate change. In what was the first climate liability suit brought under human rights and the court has determined that states have an independent legal obligation towards their citizens.
Tom believes that every citizen has the right to ask their government on how they plan to tackle the problem of climate change. He says, it’s not enough to just hope for the international treaties to take place and expect the governments to take action. Tom says, ‘We as global citizens should step up and ask those questions and held our governments accountable’.
As a part of KIC community, he believes that we can all work together for a sustainable world. He inspired everyone of us to believe in yourself, believe in the community and to never give up on it.
Farid Ellakany: Everyone can become an entrepreneur
He is a co-founder of the startup Hendaam and a SELECT graduate.Here his personal vision on entrepreneurship: “Everyone has sufficient funds, skills, time and ideas to be an entrepreneur and start his or her own company. We don’t need to wait for anything, all we need is just to take the first step”.
Chirayu Batra : New Age Nuclear Reactors:”The Force Awakens”
“Nuclear is a force and it is going to awaken …” – In a very informative presentation, Chirayu, an EMINE alumnus, showed that nuclear is not only “a fancy way to heat water” but a viable part of the solution towards reduction of overall carbon emissions.
Discussing the not-so-positive media image of the technology he demonstrated that there are many instilled misconceptions which impede the popularity of nuclear power. One of the fallacies considered were the notion of the problem of waste which Chirayu proved to be negligible. A special accent was also put on the extremely strict safety regulations in the industry.
After reviewing the history and development of the technology, Chirayu detailed its perspectives and future with an emphasis on the little known topics of innovation and entrepreneurship in nuclear. At the end the conclusion was clear – not only that nuclear is here to stay but a new renaissance might be lurking on the horizon.
Michalis Kanellis & Tugce Tosun: An alternative energy generator for the built environment: The LSC
Both presenters who are students of the post master program of KIC IE, talked about their work on a novel way of generating energy especially applicable in the built environment. Michalis outlined the feasibility of LSC (Luminescent Solar Concentrator) which has many advantages: made of inexpensive plastic, available in any shape or colour, transparent, lightweight and performing well under indirect sunlight. He also elaborated on the limitations on the current state-of-the-art like the low efficiency of the solar cells and discussed the undergoing live test of the technology as a noise barrier.
Tugce, on the other side, presented her research into the possible applications and uses of LSC: from integration in the building envelope and shades towards electricity generation and utilization in various places like train stations, greenhouses and etc. Her estimation of the potential of the technology backed by the conduction of an online survey and co-creation workshops lead to developing a future vision where LSC can be used as an architectural and building component as soon as 2025.
Argyrios Papadopoulos: Mapping the cloud of sustainable building energy practices and technologies
Imagine: All data about sustainable energy in one database, easily accessible. This is the dream that Argyrios is pursuing.
Coming from the KIC InnoEnergy PDeng programme Argyrios has a more architectural background. He emphasized that the biggest primary energy consumption is coming from the built environment with 40%. As he pointed out it is no wonder as 90% of the time humans spend it indoors.
Md Junayed Sarker: Corporate entrepreneurship
Intrapreneurship sounds fancy but what does it mean in practice? How can it be applied in practice in a big multinational corporation? Junayed Sarker showed us how. He is a SELECT Alumni and design engineer at Fluor in Holland. He had an obsession with improving the situation of his colleagues that had to go through boring, large documents with corporate guidelines. He thought: “how can we possibly gamify the process?”. This led him to create funny and interesting video series and to go to the global headquarters in California to lead the change in the gargantuan firm.
Oisin Tummon: The European power market: Past, present and future
Oisin is an alumnus of SELECT and currently works at Statkraft, a leading company in renewable energy production. As a strategic market analyst since 2014 he was the ideal person to talk about the energy market in Europe. During his presentation he shared his experiences and introduced in a very clear way the complex mechanism of power markets. He emphasized the differences between pay as bid and pay as clear systems. The complexity of forecasting the energy consumption and the economic equivalence was put in relief. It was particularly interesting when he addressed the energy trilemma in which he depicted the relationship between environmental and economical issues which led to concluding heated discussion about geopolitics. His excellent presentation was playful too, as he let the audience take a quiz with a very recommendable tool called kahoot about the topic.
Intense sessions of learning and creating were alternated by moments of relaxation to re energize the body and brain. Some attendees would grab their robes and towels to dash through an amazing pool for a quick relaxation before heading to an elaborate dinner buffet serving all kinds of cuisines. Others also took advantage of the excellent ambience of the Bar to discuss stories or come up with ideas, and reconnect with their friends over a beer. As the event was held in a place surrounded by nature, many participants took off for walks along the lake and falling autumn leaves from time to time. In other words, a sense of community feeling clearly filled the atmosphere and every attendee signed off with resounding cheers that will continue to echo until we meet again for the next edition of the Alumni Connect.
Written by the KIC IE Community Editing Team