Choose your dragon: politics

There are many dragons to be slain at NEXT Berlin. The Dragon of Politics could kill your business with regulation - or shelter and support it…

Looking for a dragon at NEXT13? Maybe you want to be keeping an eye out for the dragon of politics, which can be slow to adapt to change, but oh, so powerful when wakened…

Change is rarely easy – at least, not for everyone. Disruption brings benefits for some, and harsh new challenges for others. Sometimes things can be mixed blessings: Google’s extensive mapping has been a great boon to people finding their way around unfamiliar places, but Street View has raised uncomfortable questions about privacy, leading to many houses in Germany being blurred out on the site.

Whenever people prosper at others’ expense, politics are likely to be involved – and NEXT13 reflects that. The dragon is political antipathy to what you’re doing, and the rick of your business being crushed by regulation. The treasure? The chance to get government support and protection from established businesses hostile to what you’re doing while you build your start up.

If politics interests you, the following speakers are worth catching:

Neelie Kroes (9.30am, Tuesday, Dome Stage) 

Right at the start of the conference, after Matthias Schrader’s opening remarks, Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, will kick off with a short video message – proving how important digital culture is to the politics of this pan-European body.

Marina Gorbis (10am, Tuesday, Dome Stage)

Hot on the heels of Neelie’s introduction, Marina will dive into the shifting social structures the digital world brings – which will change government just as surely as they’re changing other large organisations.

Peer Steinbrück (12:30pm, Tuesday, Dome Stage)

The SPD candidate for Federal Chancellor of Germany is stepping into the dragon’s den by bringing his vision of the future of the digital economy into a room filled with those building that future. Does this potential future leader have the knowledge it takes? Will his ideas change the way we see the future?

Harper Reed (6.30pm, Tuesday, Dome Stage)

While not a politician, Harper has been involved in one of the most successful political campaigns of recent times – the two election victories of President Barack Obama in the US. His insights into the interplay of technology and politics will be fascinating…

How can we build a French-German relationship in the Digital Age? (2pm, Wednesday, Workshop A03)

In theory, the digital world has no boundaries. In reality? The politics of nations still divides us. This workshop will attempt to bridge the digital divide between the two nations to make Europe a better digital playground…

Image by Davidlohr Bueso and used under a Creative Commons licence