Written by Stefano Imoscopi, EIT Digital Alumni Representative to the EIT Alumni Board.
(Originally posted on EIT Digital Alumni website)
As an Alumnus of EIT Digital appointed to shape the future of the broader EIT Alumni community, I had the pleasure of being invited to the Community Days by our friends at InnoEnergy. This is their flagship event, taking place once a year. It brings together alumni of InnoEnergy programs with leaders and entrepreneurs in the energy sector, to network, co-create and discuss the challenges and opportunities of transitioning towards a sustainable energy economy. This year the event took place in Lisbon from the 26th to the 28th of October.
I was keen to meet people from a different background than mine and curious to learn more about the energy transition in Europe and beyond. The event kicked off on Friday evening at the Academy of Sciences in the center of Lisbon, a beautiful 18th century building with a stunning library hall and an inner garden. After the welcoming and inspirational words from the CommUnity Manager Falko Döring, the CommUnity Officer Claudio Geyken updated us on the state of their community and their vision for the future. Claudio highlighted the importance of communities dedicated to energy transition, with their goal of becoming the reference European community in the field. He stressed he is strongly inspired by TEDx and would love to push their Community to organise more local, high-quality events on topics related to energy transition.
Mathis Wackernagel, CEO at Global Footprint Network, gave an inspirational keynote on the importance of measuring the energy and waste impact of each person on the planet and made us reflect on the effects our actions have on the environment. After that, we had dinner in the beautiful inner garden, with plenty of opportunities to meet new people and discuss ideas over a nice glass of Portuguese wine.
Saturday followed with the Open Space Studio, a co-creation session in which we came together in small groups to brainstorm and reflect on challenges brought by startups and SMEs. In my group the topic was brought by Greenlytics, a startup based in Stockholm trying to predict future wind power generation accurately using machine learning and weather data. This was an interesting opportunity for me to hear perspectives from people from an energy-engineering or energy-policy background, as we discussed and tried to come up with ideas and solutions on how to unleash the power of data for the energy markets.
After a tasty lunch, the event went on with the career fair, where many startups and institutions presented their career opportunities to the attendees. I took the chance to present the EIT Alumni community along with Robin Maxton from the EIT and the other Alumni Community representatives at our booth. The sun was shining on the inner garden and managed to keep everyone warm despite the cold wind. We talked with many interesting people who were happy to learn about EIT Alumni and the growing synergies between all our alumni communities.
After talking with many companies and learning about their job offers, it was time for a coffee break before going into the speaker sessions, divided into 3 themes: “Growth and Sustainability”, “Tech and Human Behaviour” and “Governance and Individual Responsibility”. I liked how they had a combination of both senior speakers from the industry and alumni presenting their experiences and ideas.
After a dinner discussing about all we learned and shared during the day, the party started with live music from Penelope (voice, piano) and Victor (guitar, electronics), two InnoEnergy Alumni who invited us to sing along with their music. The live session lasted much longer - since it became a jam session/karaoke in which all of us sung and played music together. It was a great moment of bonding between people and plenty of fun! Something we could take inspiration from for our next Annual Meeting too! 🙂
On Sunday most of us made it on time for “Live the life of an entrepreneur, interactive session” by Renato Braz, Business Creation Manager at InnoEnergy. He shared his most important insights on how to succeed as an entrepreneur. Know yourself was the one he stressed as most relevant, inviting us to reflect on the necessity of sacrifice that comes with the choice of becoming an entrepreneur.
After a coffee, it was time for the Idea Accelerator, where everyone was encouraged to share startup ideas around which teams would form for discussion and improvement. It was a great way for people interested in launching a business to network, find weak spots in their ideas and even possibly find a co-founder. I liked the bravery of this session and the fact that we were in a non-judgmental environment where people felt safe to share their business ideas, no matter how crazy and far-reaching they were.
Unfortunately the event had come to an end, and after the farewell lunch all together, it was time to say goodbye to each other and go back to the airport and to real life.
I am very thankful to both the EIT Digital Alumni and InnoEnergy for the opportunity to attend this event. I have seen a community of talented and driven alumni and learned a lot by talking to them. I hope most of them will get active also within the broader EIT Alumni family too, and that the possibilities of collaboration and the sharing of ideas between us and the other alumni communities will keep on growing in the future.