What’s the “New Normal”? NEXT Conference in Berlin seeks answers

May 5, 2014
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NEXT Conference has been focusing on trends in digital marketing and innovation since 2006. Over the years, it has built a pretty good reputation and is getting the European scene together around high quality conferences and keynote speeches. 2014 edition starts today, and opens the Berlin Web Week.

This year’s topic is “the new normal” – looking at trends from nowadays to 2020. The « New Normal » for marketers, business leaders, engineers, startupers and even citizens is basically a synonym of “the data-driven normal”. The program of the 2-days conference reflects this great impact of data on all industries and the public sector with a nice “no bullshit” policy. If Big Data has become either a fashion or a myth for a lot of people, speakers in Berlin won’t spare time on clichés.

On our hotlist of topics at stake here in Berlin are conferences about the Internet of Things as a business opportunity, Big Data applied to specific sectors: mobility, advertising, opengov, TV, even “Kitchen 4.0” and demos of Occulus Rift, iBeacons, or Google Glass (during their Meetup taking place at the conference center). And of course, the not-to-miss keynote speeches of Brad Templeton from Singularity University and sci-fi author Cory Doctorow.

During the 2 days, about 30 startups who applied to the startup competition are pitching in front of several juries. Even though no French startups will pitch on stage this year, the FrenchTech scene will be represented by two connected objects companies demoing: Sigfox and Withings and a round table organized by the French-German Digital Club (featuring AuFéminin.com, Alven Capital and the two connected objects demoers).

The new normal for everyone in any industry impacted by the digitalization of our lives (that is to say basically any industry) seems to be the “startup normal”. What the program of the conference tells us is to embrace disruption, change leadership, collaborate between startups and big corporations, transform marketing… All that summed up in the title of tomorrow afternoon’s conference “The New Business: why we need to teach a startup mindset”.

Brigitte Zylnies, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs strengthened this point by stating in her opening speech: “Our economy relies on entrepreneurs. They create jobs and opportunities (…) Startups are key drivers for all sectors in Germany.” Although she admitted there is a lot of room for improvement in Germany for startups support, starting with VC mobilization, she spoke of startups as “the dream” the government wants to fulfill with reforms “as important as reforms of the energy sector”. Needless to say it feels good to hear from a European Ministry of Economics!

Image via Heisenberg Media