Day 2 MACHN 2024: Innovation and networking in Leipzig

Series: MACHN Festival
Ein leuchtend violettes Plakat mit dem Logo von MACHN 24, einem Festival für Technologie, Business und Kunst. Der Text "MACHN 24" ist in schwarzen und pinken Buchstaben geschrieben, darunter steht "Festival for Tech, Business & Art" in pinker Schrift. Das Design ist modern und farbenfroh, mit geometrischen Elementen in Pink und Gelb an den Rändern.

Click here for day 1

The second day of MACHN 2024 started with rain when I arrived at the site at around 9:30 am. Despite the bad weather, the morning went surprisingly smoothly. Due to the weather, the Speakers Corner was closed, but the organizers reacted quickly and rescheduled the talk. This change was communicated efficiently via the event app, which kept us up to date and worked impressively well. Despite the weather, we were well informed and could look forward to another exciting day full of inspiring talks and workshops.

Ein Messebereich mit mehreren Ständen auf dem MACHN 2024 Festival. Besucher gehen durch die Halle, in der verschiedene Stände und Informationsplakate zu sehen sind. Ein Plakat bewirbt Weiterbildung im Online-Marketing mit Distart. Ein Schild mit der Aufschrift "Pause" steht auf einem Holzhocker. Im Vordergrund sitzt eine Person und arbeitet an einer großen, bunten Buchstabeninstallation. Die Halle hat ein industrielles Flair mit sichtbaren Betonwänden und offenen Deckenstrukturen.

Gamification for business applications

The first talk of the second day was "Gamification for business applications" with Tom Potutschek, Co-Founder and COO of Gecko.2. The creative area was full after the talk was moved there due to the rain. Tom explained that gamification is by no means just a gimmick. On the contrary, games are the highest form of research, as Albert Einstein put it. Incidentally, the average age of people who play games is 37.9 years. So gaming is now the norm, not the exception. He presented the "Taara Quest" project, women empowerment as a role-playing game, which shows how gamification can be used to achieve social goals. We were also presented with U-Sharp, a project in which players learn more about C#.

What do I take away?
  • Gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology.
  • Applications such as Duolingo, Apple Fitness with its medals and the AOK Plus app are known for their successful gamification.
  • An important aspect of gamification is the ability to set goals independently.
  • Tom also introduced us to Bartle's player types: Killer, Achiever, Socializer and Explorer. Depending on which archetype someone prefers, he or she will like a game - or not.
Ein Mann hält einen Vortrag vor einem Bildschirm, der eine Folie mit dem Titel "Bartles Spieltypen" zeigt. Die Folie enthält eine Grafik mit vier Quadranten, die die Spielertypen "Killers", "Achievers", "Socializers" und "Explorers" darstellen. Der Vortragende trägt ein gestreiftes Hemd und ein Mikrofon am Ohr. Auf dem Tisch vor ihm stehen zwei Becher. Die Umgebung ist schlicht und hell, und die Präsentation findet in einem modernen, minimalistischen Raum statt.

If already lost, then here - social media for Gen Z

The workshop "If already lost, then here - social media for Gen Z" with Sophia Schmelz, Ralitsa Benkova and Johanna Hertel from foma studios offered deep insights into the social media world of Generation Z. Born between 1997 and 2012, they grew up with smartphones and social media. This generation is characterized by a short attention span and open, direct, yet often appreciative communication. Many are experiencing a quarter-life crisis, which is exacerbated by the major upheavals in their lives (studying, moving out …). Young adults therefore find themselves caught between FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and active slow living. Gen Z is emotional, sensitive and identifies strongly with issues such as justice and equality. They value time for private life and show a reduced commitment to relationships, jobs and friendships. Luxury consumption is widespread because "saving" is not worthwhile.

What do I take with me?
  • On social media, Generation Z relies on trend-relatedness, bubbles and communities. The question "What works on social media and how does it suit me?" is therefore key for brands.
  • Memes, parodies, nonsense, comments, info posts, filters and UGC (user-generated content) are the preferred content.
  • The design is fluid, breaks rules and is trendy. Gen Z has grown up with a high level of self-presentation. Their trends are going back to the roots with an analog style and mix of materials.
  • The 2000s are back: Y2K elements, gothic symbols and fonts, chrome and rave elements can be found in many designs.

Foma Studios presents itself confidently and with strong content. You can find them for example on Instagram.
Also an absolute recommendation from me.
After this presentation, I had a pizza. You have to stay true to yourself. This time under an umbrella and with interesting conversations about AI and app development. After all, socializing shouldn't be neglected at a festival like this! After the refreshments, we continued straight away.

Ein Bildschirm zeigt eine Folie mit dem Titel "Themenfindung und Postingtypen" aus einer Präsentation über Social Media für Gen Z. Die Folie listet verschiedene Themen wie Mental Health, Feminismus, Klimawandel, globale Politik, Sportarten, Serien/Filme, Musik, Astrologie und mehr auf. Es sind auch mehrere bunte Bilder und Grafiken zu sehen, darunter ein Poster mit der Aufschrift "Politik und Pailletten" und ein weiteres mit "Indie Bubble". Die Umgebung ist schlicht und hell, und die Präsentation findet in einem modernen Raum statt.

Understanding, experiencing and applying AI in media companies

The talk "Understanding, experiencing and applying AI in media companies" with Nadine Mosch, Annie Reischmann and Martin Paul from MDR next offered a comprehensive insight into how MDR is preparing its employees for the use of artificial intelligence. Nadine, Annie and Martin explained that there are a variety of internal AI events aimed at expanding employees' knowledge and skills in the field of AI. These include AI talks, maker days, discovery days, workshops and an ideas program. These events offer a platform to engage intensively with AI topics and gain practical experience. The MDR AI Advisory Board has also created comprehensive guidelines that serve as a guide for the safe and efficient use of AI technologies.

What do I take away?
  • A lot of MDR-specific knowledge. I would have liked it better if the presentation had been aimed at media companies in general. Too bad, but also rather personal preference.
Zwei Frauen halten einen Vortrag auf einer Bühne während des MACHN 2024 Festivals. Eine Frau trägt eine hellblaue Jacke, die andere ein schwarzes Outfit. Beide stehen vor einem Tisch mit einem Laptop und einem Glas Wasser. Hinter ihnen zeigt ein Bildschirm drei Plakate mit der Aufschrift "Kannst du KI?", "Brauchst du KI?" und "Willst du KI?". Im Vordergrund sitzt das Publikum und hört aufmerksam zu. Die Umgebung hat ein industrielles Flair mit sichtbaren Backsteinwänden und offenen Deckenstrukturen.

Internationalization 101: Why, When & How to Internationalize Your Startup

The only talk in English for me, "Internationalization 101", was given by Divotsna, Global Scaling Advisor at Start2 Group. She offered her audience a lot of practical advice on how to navigate international markets. Divotsna emphasized the importance of getting as much support as possible and failing fast in order to learn from mistakes and improve. She cited moments when large companies have struggled: Walmart failed because of unions, Uber underestimated the local market in Asia, and Starbucks had to pull out of Australia again in a big way because the drinks there were perceived as too sweet.

What's the takeaway?
  • Many companies think that internationalization is not relevant or too expensive. But the best reason for globalization is fast access to growing markets
  • New ecosystems and resources such as talent and knowledge are available. There is also the opportunity for support with financing and income generation.
  • A key piece of advice was: "Follow the Need, not the Contacts." Globalization means not only finding new customers and following familiar paths, but also taking risks and daring to do something that the competition does not yet offer.
Eine Frau hält einen Vortrag auf einer Bühne während des MACHN 2024 Festivals. Hinter ihr zeigt ein großer Bildschirm eine Präsentation mit dem Titel "Internationalization 101: When, Why, Where & How to expand globally" von der Start2 Group. Die Präsentation ist in lila gehalten. Die Frau trägt schwarze Kleidung und spricht gestikulierend. Die Bühne ist in buntem Licht beleuchtet.

Startup Pitches: MedTech & LifeScience

The next item on the MACHN 2024 program for me was the startup pitches in the Innovation Area. Three promising start-ups presented their innovative ideas and solutions in the fields of MedTech and LifeScience.

Falk Zakrzewski, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Katana Labs, kicked things off. He presented an AI system for assisted tumor evaluation. This technology promises to revolutionize tumor diagnosis and help doctors work faster and more precisely.

Alf Arnold, Co-Founder and CEO of JYMMiN, then presented their innovative solution in the field of audio gamification for rehab and fitness. JYMMiN combines music and game mechanics to make the rehabilitation process and fitness exercises more motivating and effective.

Coachwhisperer offers a live coaching system for sports events. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to listen to the third startup's presentation in full as I had to leave for the next one. This is where it got a bit tricky. Due to the rain and the resulting reconstruction work, program items had been postponed.

Ein Mann hält einen Vortrag auf der "Innovation Stage" während des MACHN 2024 Festivals. Er spricht in ein Mikrofon und zeigt auf einen Bildschirm, der eine Folie mit dem Titel "Manual tissue analysis is untenable" anzeigt. Neben ihm sitzt eine Frau auf einem hohen Stuhl und hört zu. Die Folie enthält Informationen über die Herausforderungen der manuellen Gewebeanalyse und Bilder von medizinischen Laboren. Die Umgebung hat ein industrielles Flair mit sichtbaren Backsteinwänden und offenen Deckenstrukturen.

Image in tatters - Why the East needs a new narrative

The presentation by Joerg G. Fieback, co-founder and CEO of the zebra | group from Chemnitz, was a thought-provoking highlight at MACHN 2024. Joerg impressively demonstrated how important it is for companies, agencies and creatives to play an active role in improving the image of the East. He highlighted that right-wing attitudes are still too prevalent and visible in East Germany and that there is skepticism about East Germans as employers and employees across borders. This also devalues the East as a business location and region. Joerg emphasized the need for a clear political position against the right as a leader and the importance of using one's own resonance spaces. He appealed to people not to wait for politics, but to use their own power and take responsibility. An extremely important and inspiring lecture.

What do I take away?
  • Standing up to right-wing ideals is not only sensible from a human point of view, but also makes economic sense.
  • Joerg shared a list of inspiring people who have done or are doing just that. You can find it here on his LinkedIn.

Join them. Get out there. Go vote. Don't just talk. Do it too.

Ein Mann hält einen Vortrag auf einer Bühne während des MACHN 2024 Festivals. Er steht neben einem Tisch mit einem Laptop und spricht gestikulierend. Hinter ihm zeigt ein großer Bildschirm Bilder von einer Menschenmenge und Porträts zweier Männer. Vor der Bühne sitzt ein aufmerksames Publikum.

Jack Pop's Circus of Science: Weird Science meets Start-Up-Spirit

This was a fascinating insight into the world of extraordinary research and innovation. The talk began with a brief history of weird research, taking us on a journey through extraordinary inventions, absurd science and curious innovations. Unfortunately, I couldn't follow the lecture to the end as I had to move on to the next item on the program. Nevertheless, it was a wonderfully curious and inspiring presentation that showed that science can not only be serious, but also entertaining and innovative.

What do I take away?
  • There is an Ig Nobel Prize, which is awarded for funny and unusual research. Incidentally, the winners are traditionally pelted with paper airplanes.
Ein Mann hält einen Vortrag auf einer Bühne während des MACHN 2024 Festivals. Er steht hinter einem Tisch mit einem Laptop und spricht zu einem aufmerksamen Publikum. Links hinter ihm zeigt ein großer Bildschirm das Logo "JackPop's Circus of Science". Die Bühne ist in buntem Licht beleuchtet, und die Umgebung hat ein industrielles Flair mit sichtbaren Backsteinwänden und Metallstrukturen.

When psychology meets advertising: how neuro-design influences our perception and decisions

Daniel Wieland, "creative type" and owner of Wieland Medien, gave us exciting insights into the world of neuro-design. This is a form of design that triggers changes in behavior. Our brain breaks down perceived impressions, evaluates, filters and puts them together. Objective reality thus becomes subjective reality through our perception. He presented two cognitive systems:

  • Cognitive system 1: Autopilot, which we use 80% of the time, although it is prone to errors because it saves resources
  • Cognitive system 2: Active thinking and concentration

What do I take away?
  • An interesting point was the cognitive reflection test, in which 83% of people make at least one mistake in three fairly simple questions. However, if the tasks have to be processed more actively due to external circumstances (e.g. poor print quality), the error rate drops to just 23%.
  • This shows that we make more mistakes in supposedly simple tasks in autopilot mode, while conscious effort can increase accuracy.
Ein Mann hält einen Vortrag während des MACHN 2024 Festivals. Er steht neben einem Tisch mit einem Laptop und einer Wasserflasche und spricht in ein Mikrofon. Hinter ihm sind weiße Wände und ein industrielles Ambiente mit sichtbaren Rohren und Backsteinwänden zu sehen. Links neben ihm zeigt ein Bildschirm die Frage "Was ist Neuro-Design?". Vor ihm sitzt ein aufmerksames Publikum auf dem Boden und auf Stühlen.

Guerilla marketing against plastic packaging waste

The last presentation of the day for me was by Christian Fenner, CMO and co-founder of nucao. He explained that chocolate is often a real climate offender, mainly because of rainforest deforestation. nucao, on the other hand, relies on agroforestry with biodiversity to counteract this problem. But they want to do even more. That's why they have resolved to ban plastic from their packaging. Every year, 400 million tons of plastic waste are produced worldwide, 36% of which is packaging. Only 14% of this is recycled, while 32% contributes directly to environmental pollution. nucao was the first chocolate company to switch completely to 100% paper packaging from Koehler in order to avoid plastic waste. To promote this, they relied on guerrilla marketing. And you can see what this can look like on Instagram.

What do I take away?
  • Only boost your content if the community is already interested in it. In concrete terms, this means that content is pushed with financial resources from 10,000 views and an engagement of more than 5%.
  • Build-up episodes in the style of a TV series (including the cliffhanger!) work well. They make people want to watch all the other episodes too.
  • Postings on the company account can be supplemented by surveys and the involvement of the community. But the private account is also a tool that should not be underestimated.
  • At the end of the day, people follow people.
Zwei Personen halten einen Vortrag auf einer Bühne während des MACHN 2024 Festivals. Neben ihnen zeigt ein großer Bildschirm die Präsentation mit dem Titel "Guerilla-Marketing gegen Verpackungsmüll aus Plastik" und dem Bild von Christian Fenner, Co-Founder von nucao. Die Bühne ist in buntem Licht beleuchtet, und die Umgebung hat ein industrielles Flair mit sichtbaren Metallstrukturen und offenen Decken. Im Hintergrund sitzt ein aufmerksames Publikum.


Despite the long accreditation phase on day one and the rainy start to the second day, which made the beginning a little bumpy, the festival was well worth seeing. After two days full of new insights, contacts and inspiring discussions, we are looking forward to next year. Until then - don't talk so much, just DO!

Ein Schild mit der Aufschrift: "TSCHÜSSI CIAO! Wir sehen uns zum Machn25!" in einer regnerischen Straße.
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