Conversations and collaboration between change-makers at the Paris Peace Forum Braindate Lounge. ©️ Youssef Shoufan

Want to change the world? Here’s how we can help.

How Braindate helped participants learn from each other at three of the world’s leading events for change makers: the Paris Peace Forum, the Falling Walls Conference and the World Innovation Summit for Education.

Smriti Bansal
Dec 18, 2019 · 6 min read

he story of e180—and Braindate—begins in 2011, when a renegade teacher and a software engineer were brought together by a shared dedication to transforming the way that humans learned from one another.

Nearly a decade and countless braindates later, we still find ourselves returning to a question that first shaped e180’s mission all those years ago:

How might we help bright ideas with systems-changing, status quo-defying potential to spark global transformation?

This question never felt more real than it did last month, as we were preparing to bring Braindate to three of the world’s leading events for change makers: the Falling Walls Conference, the Paris Peace Forum, and the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Summit.

Every hero needs their sidekick.

With an extraordinary base of participants that encompasses heads of state, industry leaders, and global innovators, the conversations that take place at these three events have consequences that go far beyond an individual’s quest for personal and professional growth.

Our role in each of these events was to make sure that every exceptional person attending these conferences didn’t have to rely on chance to find the sources of knowledge they needed to unlock their challenges.

Mid-conversation at a one-on-one braindate at the Paris Peace Forum. ©️ Youssef Shoufan

At each event, the Braindate platform transformed into a rich marketplace of fascinating discussions and potential connections. The Braindate Lounge teams facilitated these conversations in person, where we helped ease participants into conversations with new people, introducing them to perhaps just the person who could unlock their big questions.

Reporting back from Berlin, Paris, Doha…

All three of these events have one thing in common: they believe that communities who come together to learn from one another can change the world.

That’s why we wanted to make sure that you, too, could learn from the conversations and connections that took place at these gatherings on braindates: to inspire you in your own world-changing pursuits.

We’ll start at the intersection of science and society, in Berlin.

2019 Falling Walls Conference Braindate Lounge. Credit:

The 2019 Falling Walls Conference

Falling Walls Conference is an annual global gathering of forward thinking individuals from 80 countries organized by the Falling Walls Foundation.

Every year over 700 international decision makers gather with the goals of identifying trends and solutions for global challenges, building bridges between business, politics, academia and the arts, and promoting the latest scientific findings among a broader audience.

Since its inception in 2009, the conference has hosted many high-impact luminaries including Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Richard Saul Wurman, Founder of TED Conferences, and Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google.

This year the conference featured talks from prominent speakers on topics including cultured meat, AI in society, polar exploration, global mental health, climate change economics, black hole imaging, surveillance capitalism and more.

We learned that beyond the event content, participants were most interested in having in-depth discussions on the following subjects:

The following were the amongst the most-requested conversation topics:

  • Breaking the walls between science and business
  • Designing businesses with a social mission
  • What and how can we learn from learning algorithms?
  • Improving radiology with AI
  • What topics need emotional data-driven storytelling?

Next up, we head to Paris for one of the world’s most iconic meetings on global governance.

The 2019 Paris Peace Forum main room with Braindate Lounge at the centre of the action. ©️Youssef Shoufan

The 2019 Paris Peace Forum

Paris Peace Forum is the annual international meeting for all actors of global governance. The Forum unites hundreds of speakers from around the globe, representing a variety of sectors — local and national governments, international organizations, NGOs, large companies, philanthropy, academia, media, and more.

Every year, notable attendees, the likes of which include Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations and Alan Wolf, Deputy-General of the World Trade Organization, convene to tackle the biggest challenges being faced by our planet.

This year the conference featured talks, sessions, and debates led by prominent speakers on topics including global peace & security, development, environment, new technologies, inclusive economy and culture & education

We learned that beyond the event content, participants were most interested in having in-dept discussions on the following subjects:

The following were the amongst the most-requested conversation topics:

  • Girl child education and women empowerment have a role in peace-building and state-building
  • Governance of Africa
  • Mobilising the private sector to build peace
  • Tourism for peace: codesigning tourism experiences with vulnerable communities
  • Artificial intelligence, social media and online extremism

Our last stop takes us to Doha, at the center of the global discussion on education — the WISE Summit.

Group braindate in action at the 2019 WISE Summit Braindate Lounge. ©️Youssef Shoufan

The 2019 WISE Summit

The WISE Summit is one of the most important events for global education. The summit brings together 3,200 educators, decision-makers, and influential experts from the public and private sectors from over 100 countries.

Notable attendees have included, Armen Sarkissian, President of the Republic of Armenia, Mohammed Abdul Wahed Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, Qatar, and Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States of America.

This year the summit held talks, sessions, and workshops that explored what makes us uniquely human in the age of exponential technological transformation, what constitutes a good education, how to educate the whole person, and how to foster lifelong learning.

We learned that beyond the event content, participants were most interested in having in-dept discussions on the following subjects:

The following were the amongst the most-requested conversation topics:

  • Four key things to get right before you can fundraise sustainably
  • Looking for ambitious and innovative EdTech founders around the world
  • How, making technology available as a public good, can enable large scale educational change?
  • How I used creative writing and storytelling to improve problem solving skills for school kids
  • The impact of AI and Machine Learning in African Classrooms

In 2019, we got to do our bit to support the inspiring everyday-heroes gathered at these events. If you’re reading this, we hope that the new year brings you the support you need to bring your world-changing ideas to life.

We Seek

Learn Constantly. Become Future-Proof.

Smriti Bansal

Written by

Writer, storyteller, compulsive reader. Currently doing Communications for e180.

We Seek

We Seek

Learn Constantly. Become Future-Proof.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade