Web Summit 2020 From Home: Inspiring Ideas

Feature Article

December 2020, Britta Muzyk-Tikovsky and Niall Sellar 

Web Summit, one of the largest technology conferences in the world, was held online this year. The organizers managed to continue the successful course of the past. The attendance of nearly 105,000 people from 168 countries represents a growth of over 40 percent compared to last year.

The female-to-male ratio was also nearly balanced at 45.8 to 54.2 percent. Among the 1,137 speakers this year were once again high-ranking individuals from the technology industry, business, politics, culture and show business.

Around 2,000 startups from 89 countries hoped for new contacts from the investment scene, which was represented by 1,145 investors. The media world sent 2,229 participants to cover the event.

One of the things we enjoyed most was the mingling – short 3 minute online meetings with people who share our interests.

Our Chillipicks team took a special look at the attending startups and picked out a few concepts that seemed particularly interesting and promising to us:

Junking means flunking

Ambition is fueled by creativity. Remember the emperor’s new clothes? Over the years the fashion world has invested more in sustainable concepts and stated to have made inclusivity a priority. But that is not enough.

A Dublin-based initiative aims to empower young people and make them buy into sustainable living. Aspiring young artists and designers have the chance to make their mark on the industry, and all they need is everyday junk. 2021 will see contestants from six nations, in the cities of Dubai, New York, Milan, London, Dublin and Paris, battle it out for the title of World Designer of the Year.

New materials are prohibited; new ideas are a must. There’s no such thing as bad rubbish.

Appealing habit

There might be no ‘i’ in ‘team’, but there are plenty in sustainability. And that’s the way it should be: as much as anything else, looking after our environment means taking responsibility on an individual level.

A new German startup gives us the chance to focus on our own actions as well as those of other people. Need to reduce emissions? Why not take the cycling challenge? Eating too much meat? Discover vegetarian delights. Using the startup’s app we can see what impact everyday activities can have on the world around us.

Friends and family might fancy a playful challenge to do the same. Looking after number one made fun.

Deep impact

The proof is in the pudding. One of the challenges in technological advancement is making sure it’s harnessed for the common good. A student-led organization connects fledgling engineers with experienced social entrepreneurs. Born in a dorm room, the idea has spread across colleges.

Aspiring scientists with a desire to make a difference are offered three pathways to support their goals. They can use their coding skills to build sustainable solutions for high impact issues, exchange ideas with like-minded social entrepreneurs and activists, or join startups and social enterprises that are in need of their talents.

Engineering a brighter future for the next generation has never been so easy – or so important.

Daily grind

What smells do we associate with morning? For many it will be the scent of fresh coffee brewing in the kitchen. But where do the grounds end up when the coffee is poured? For one Warsaw-based startup, at least, the answer is definitely not in the rubbish bin.

Rather, by collecting and reusing spent coffee grounds, its team members have developed an innovative means of creating green, sustainable energy. Waste is collected and processed into so-called coffee logs, cost-effective, carbon-neutral briquettes that burn longer than wood and generate more energy in the process. The grounds of 25 cups of coffee make one briquette.

Suitable for open fires, stoves and barbecues… Let’s just say roasting coffee will never be the same.

Open for business

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that by working together we can find solutions to even the most challenging of problems. Isn’t it time we adopted the same attitude in other areas of our lives?

One London-based startup certainly thinks so. Driven by the belief that achieving meaningful social and environmental change is within our grasp, the company has created a digital platform for companies, cities and communities to share ideas and promote sustainable values, empowering people to realize their ambitions as part of a united, purpose-led workforce.

The future is ours; let’s work together to make it better for everyone.

We’ve got your back

Receiving support from others is a basic human need. But some require it more than others. Those carrying long-term spinal cord injuries will be delighted to hear of the existence of a Canadian not-for-profit organization that specializes in identifying and solving urgent challenges in the field.

By pushing for global collaboration between theorists and practitioners, the aim is to create a bridge between evidence gathering and delivery, lab work and the physical act of care.

Transforming knowledge into action has the potential to improve the health of millions of people; perhaps one day we’ll see the back of such injuries.

Every last drop

Heard the latest juicy gossip? Using cost-effective and eco-friendly solutions, a new Portuguese company is aiming to revolutionize the fruit business by bringing innovative improvements to its supply chain.

Instead of being thrown away, industrial fruit waste can be upcycled and transformed into functional food ingredients, which are separated by means of a game-changing patent technology. Potential gains include natural enzymes, vitamin extracts, fruit flours and dehydrated juices. The startup offers their solution to companies facing food waste issues.

It’s an initiative that could both generate additional revenue streams and cut down on pollution as waste can be transformed by 100%.  A project, in other words, that is certain to bear fruit.