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HoBB – the new hotspot for digital nonconformists

HoBB – the new hotspot for digital nonconformists

“If software is eating the world, we might as well have a glass of wine.” That was the motto at the “House of Beautiful Business” (HoBB), a rather unusual conference that took place in Lisbon during the Web Summit last week.

Together with 300 other guests and “residents” of the HoBB, our consultant Anna-Maria Lange followed the invitation of host Tim Leberecht, author, consultant and self-proclaimed “business romantic” and his team.

The event dealt in particular with new ways to make the working world more human in times of algorithms and data-driven processes and to focus more on the needs of people in a company. The stylish and intimate venue at the Gallery House, a vintage boutique hotel in the trendy district of São Bento, invited guests to engage in inspiring conversations, encounter each other and to jointly develop positive visions for the connection of technology and humanity.

The carefully curated, extremely dense program consisted of the most diverse formats from talks and panels to masterclasses, excursions and late-night salons to creative happenings in the museum, the music studio or at philosophical dinners in small rounds. Entrepreneurs and visionaries of the business world, e.g. from technology companies like Google, Siemens and AirBnB, met with artists, designers, philosophers and scientists from all over the globe.

Recruiting 2020: Predictive Analytics replace the HR manager

Anna-Maria’s personal highlights included a conversation with Jacob Hsu, CEO of Catalyte, on the use of artificial intelligence in human resources. Hsu gave insights into how his company uses predictive analytics and algorithms to recruit and train software development teams. Skills that are not reflected in the CV, above all curiosity as well as the capacity to learn and to adapt, outweigh top degrees from renowned universities. Existing biases in the recruiting process are thus excluded.

Another highlight was the input of philosopher Christoph Quarch on the meaning and benefit of games and playgrounds in companies. According to Quarch, the human being unfolds its potential in the game. He experiments, is creative and not afraid to fail. These are qualities that companies increasingly demand from their employees as well. However, it requires free space where it is permitted to act without purpose, in which the process counts first and not the result, which poses great challenges to companies.

Of course, creativity also got its due: in addition to convivial baking and cooking sessions, which were offered by the Hermann’s team around Verena Bahlsen (always accompanied by a philosophical question that the participants could reflect on), Anna-Maria – a passionate musician herself – enjoyed spending time at the music studio to refuel energy and to jam with other participants, speakers and the two musicians-in-residence. On this occasion, she was also invited to record the song specially composed for the conference, which was presented at the closing event.

Recording session at the "House of Beautiful Business" (HoBB) in Lisbon during the Web Summit
Recording session at the “House of Beautiful Business” (HoBB) in Lisbon during the Web Summit

Anna-Maria’s conclusion: “It really was a very inspiring and vivid atmosphere. One of the main reasons was this extremely open-minded, open-hearted and reflected crowd of people from all over the world. Everyone was unbelievably open for inspiring, profound discussions on new ideas and visions beyond the usual buzzwords. A unique experience!”

And last but not least, we at Nunatak also benefit from this: news on our new work project Nunatak 3.0 will soon be available here on the blog.