TEDxRWTHAachen 2017

The Art of Progress

On Saturday, May 27th, 2017, the fourth TEDxRWTHAachen conference was held in Aachen. It was a one-day event centered around TED talks, where people of different backgrounds came together to spread their thoughts, ideas, and experiences with the local community.

After a short welcoming by our hosts Nada and Thaksan and the intro video by TED Curator Chris Anderson, Guenther Schuh opened the event with his talk. The professor for Production systematology at the RWTH Aachen talked about how shorter product lifecycles, increasing pressure from the concurrence and more complex products lead to increasing requirements to the product development department of enterprises. The second talk of the day was held by professor Stephen Lu from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles who is currently working as a visiting professor at the RWTH Aachen in the field of Industry 4.0. Having created the education project “iPodia” that resembles a 4.0 version of the classroom, he talks about the difficulties in combining different cultural, technical aspects to realize a classroom that is spread all around the globe. Afterwards, Change-Management expert Ulf Bosch dedicated his TEDx talk to purposeful changes we try to bring to our lives, appealing to us to “beware of the chair”, our personal comfort zone.

In the following lunch break, the guests were offered Lebanese specialties from our partner AKL and could take part in our versatile framework program that included electric Kettcars and a Virtual Reality project. After the break, the second session started with a mix of talk and performance by the young German composer Martin Kohlstedt that included parts of his most known pieces and the stories of how they were created. Following that, Sven Eul presented the concept of his sustainable venture “Be Bananas” which made it its goal to save not sellable − but still eatable − bananas from being thrown away by making banana bread.

The talk was followed by another break during which the guests could enjoy coffee and cake while having another chance to participate at the framework program and interact with each other. The third session started with a performance by the multiinstrumental duo MODUS. After that Karlheinz Meier, physics professor from Heidelberg and expert for innovative hardware architecture inspired by the human brain, talked about the tremendous advantages of that technology in comparison to traditional supercomputers.

In his talk about the innovation process smart products, Frank Piller showed us how consumers take a more active role in realizing the “Art of Progress”, hacking their Smart devices and making them even smarter. Last but not least, science journalist Florian Aigner held his talk about the often underrated role of random in physics and probably more importantly in our everyday life.

Speakers & Performers

Prof. Dr. Frank Piller is professor for technology and innovation management at the RWTH Aachen. Having worked at multiple well known institutions all around the world, such as the TUM (Munich), the Hong Kong University of Science, and the MIT. Being a co-founder of the MIT Smart Customization Group he is one of the leading experts in his field in Germany. A major stream of his research focuses on innovation interfaces. He uses methods like co-creation with customers and tournament-based crowdfunding in order to optimize interfaces within organizations as well as ones with external actors, by and large increasing innovation success. His current focus lies on the latest disruptive technological innovations such as the challenge of digital transformation and Industrie 4.0.

Günther Schuh is a professor for production engineering at RWTH Aachen University and member of several different directorial boards such as the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering and the Fraunhofer Institute of Production Technology. His research covers a wide range of aspects of modern industrial engineering, from production and innovation management to business development for manufacturing companies and factory planning. With a strong commitment to real life industrial challenges and as initiator of both StreetScooter and e.GO Mobile, two electric car producers originating at RWTH Aachen University, he will make a stand for the Aachen academic landscape as a breeding soil for product and process innovation.

Martin Kohlstedt is a young pianist and composer who grew up in the forests of Thuringia, Germany. The key to the greatness of his mostly minimalistic music is the emotion he puts in every stroke of a key. It is difficult to describe music with words, so feel free to listen to one of his albums “Tag” (2012) and “Nacht” (2014) online.

Karlheinz Meier is a professor of experimental physics at Heidelberg University in Germany. He received his Ph.D. in 1984 from Hamburg University. For more than 30 years he worked in experimental particle physics, contributing to several experiments at the CERN and DESY laboratories. He designed and implemented a large-scale data selection system for an LHC experiment at CERN: Since 2005 he has shifted his interest towards custom hardware implementations of neural circuits. He has initiated and led 2 major European initiatives in the field (FACETS and BrainScaleS) and is currently co-director of the Human Brain Project, a flagship research project of the European Commission. See more

Picture Copyright © 2017 P. Walpole. All Rights Reserved.

MODUS are a multiinstrumental duo that takes the audience on a journey through different musical landscapes and genres. Using kalimba, melodica, synthesizer, Guitar, Bass, and their voices, they encourage the listener to dream freely. Their sound is inspired by psychedelic heroes like Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd as well as by the latest electronics acts like Caribou, Bonobo, and Chet Faker. All of their sounds, except for the electronic drums, are produced live on stage. MODUS

Stephen Lu, professor of Manufacturing Engineering at University of Southern California, is currently in Aachen as a visiting professor at the RWTH, discussing industry 4.0. His current scientific interests include design thinking, collaborative engineering, technology innovation, and education reform. Based on the vision of an imaginary classroom without physical boundaries he developed the iPodia pedagogy, enabling students from all over the world to study simultaneously and together as if they were in the same room. The project now includes 13 universities in four continents. iPodia Alliance

Ulf Bosch is a practical-empirical strategist and organizational developer holding a MBA from the European School of Business in London/Reutlingen and a MBA from the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai. Having worked for more than 17 years for strategy and Big4 consultancy, he brings in a strong methodological and practical focus that yields quantifiable benefits in real-world settings. He has a high aptitude to tell his stories through emotionally engaging as well as narrative-based interaction. His contribution is to make people step out of the comfort zone, dare to think long-range, pick a strategy and successfully change their behavior and mindset. Apart from being passionate in his professional pursuits, having a strong personal commitment to athletics, he has finished the London marathon more than 20 times in a row since 1996, and counting. LinkedIn

Florian Aigner is a physicist and science journalist based in Vienna. As a journalist he uses a broad variety of media, such as specialist journals, newspapers as well as texts for children, with the main goal of clearing up pseudo-sciences. Still maintaining overall great popularity so-called pseudo-sciences are based on exoteric claims, that cannot be uphold with scientific evidence.

The Art of Progress Talks