Edenspiekerwomen: Celebrating Complexity

Last week we launched our new event series Edenspiekerwomen! The event series was born when our new Creative Director Katharina – inspired by Berlin’s new public holiday International Women’s Day – proposed an event to celebrate female thought leaders in the tech world.

edenspiekerwomen retro cover

Everyone at Edenspiekermann immediately jumped on board and started planning, and last Monday we were proud to present our first episode, 'Celebrating Complexity.' We invited four inspiring women in the tech field, Anne Kjær Riechert, Magdalena Paluch, Christina Dicke, and Martina Dellepiane, to discuss how complexity can be an advantage rather than a threat, how we can navigate multidimensional systems, and how complexity, rather than being scary, can actually be quite beautiful. Each of our four speakers had unique insights to share from their own extensive experience in their fields. In case you missed it, we gathered together each of their key points, so you can feel like you were right there with us (and get excited for the next one).

If the reformation continues at the current pace it will take more than 200 years until we reach equality between men and women. It’s up to all of us to speed up this process. Just one symptom of this slow development is that we don’t have enough visible female role models. Not in general and not in our company. And this is something we can begin to change – with Edenspiekerwomen we want to create a platform inviting inspiring female role models to share their experiences with our community. Katharina Seeger, Creative Director
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Katharina Seeger Edenspiekerwoman

The Edenspiekerwomen

Anne Kjær Riechert

How to Boost Engagement

Anne is the cofounder and CEO of ReDi school of Digital Integration, which teaches vocational coding and UX skills to migrants, and a longtime actor in the field of digital innovation. Before founding ReDi, she helped set up the Berlin Peace Innovation Lab, which focuses on how technology can aid us in the pursuit of peace and global good.

When ReDi School first started, the majority of the applicants and students were male. But there are plenty of female refugees pouring into Germany, and they were great candidates for IT training too. The goal of achieving at least 30% female applicants was a complex one: how do you win over women? One answer: by changing the targeting and carefully designing the language. In fact, the campaign was so successful that now more than 50% of the applicants are women! And many ReDi school graduates go on either to employment or further study, paving new paths for themselves with their new skills. Another part of the solution lay in the same method ReDi school employed for their male students: stop talking ABOUT refugees, and start talking WITH them. Ask women what they need in order to study. For example, a major challenge to overcome was knowing that many women are frequently occupied by childcare and don’t always have viable options that allow them to attend classes. The solution? Holiday and weekend workshops for kids while parents attend classes, which doubly serves to pique kids’ interest early.

Magdalena Paluch

Learning on the Job

Magdalena is the co-founder and CEO of Labtwin, the world’s first voice-powered lab assistant. Her speciality is User Experience, but as Labtwin’s CEO she’s had to learn some new skills– and, of course, grapple with some complexity.

When Labtwin first launched, many of the employees didn’t necessarily have a scientific vocabulary: words like endocyte, histone, and ligase were just as mysterious to them as they are to any layman. But if you’re building a tool for experts, you have to learn their lingo. When you’re user testing, you need to be able to use the language they do, or your testing– and therefore your product– won’t be very effective. The scientist on the team already knew all about these words, so the team started building a glossary together, which helped the entire team better understand the context of what they were designing for. Having a diverse team means that all the members learn from each other, and everyone develops new skills.

Christina Dicke, Ph.D.

How to Manage a Global Team

Christina Dicke is Head of User Experience for Bosch, where she focuses on User Experience for Internet of Things (IoT). She has over 15 years of international experience in innovation development, user-centered design and user research. She holds a Ph.D in Computer Science with a focus on Human-Computer Interaction and is an active member of the international research community.

When you work for a global organisation, things can get complex very fast: there are many people, all over the world, who need to collaborate. That means finding ways around time zones, differing national holidays, language barriers, and most importantly physical distance. The technology of today’s world makes such teams possible, but you have to use those capabilities carefully to optimise your team’s performance. And nothing beats personal contact. Christina talked about the benefits and challenges that come with innovating within a corporation: although technology allows global offices to work closely together, large organisations have the capability to ensure that disparate teams meet personally on a regular basis.

Martina Dellepiane

Know the Difference Between ‘Complicated ‘and ‘Complex’

Martina Dellepiane is our interaction designer here at Edenspiekermann. She was lead designer on our recent relaunch of the Grüne website and our product Post.

Sometimes when you’re looking at a project, all the different threads can seem like a lot to handle. You can’t keep track of which thread goes where, and everything can look a bit chaotic. But complexity and complication are different things. You need to know which kind of issue you’re facing, so you know which sort of solution you should to apply. ‘Complicated’ is the domain of experts, whereas ‘complex’ is the domain of emergence. When something is complicated, you have to look deeper, examine and analyse, until you have enough information to grasp the issue. That’s usually a job for experts. But when something is ‘complex,’ sense often emerges in retrospect, after prototyping and testing. For our relaunch of Grüne– the German Green Party– some problems were complicated and others were complex. For instance, visualising the party's main themes– Ecology, Democracy, Society, and Europe– was a complicated issue. So we used professional expertise to grapple with those ideas: rather than using generic stock images, we worked with an illustrator to create custom images. On the other hand, incorporating tools and third party services was a complex issue, and one which only started to come together towards the end of the project. The challenge was to bring together a number of different services, like tools to run fundraiser campaigns, organize events, sign petitions, and become a member or volunteer, each with its own set-up and features. We solved the issue by looking at how these tools could talk to each other rather than each tool individually. Complex problems resemble networks as a structure –you can imagine it like a big interconnected network – so we zoomed out and looked at the interaction between things rather than the single nodes.

Thank you to our speakers and guests

We had a full house and a great evening thanks to all of you who came! After quizzing our speakers, we drank, danced to music from our two in-house DJs, Denis and Francesco, and snacked on food from Laura of Tausendsuend catering. Of course, all the attendees had their own interesting stories– one of the best things about having an office in such a vibrant city is that any event is sure to be peopled with a hugely diverse set of people, which is, of course, what this event is all about. We look forward to continuing to grow the Edenspiekerwomen community together with you, and hope you’re as excited as we are for the next events. Sign up to our newsletter to make sure you stay up to date!