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Ideation day: Cities and businesses after Covid

When innovation is your business you have to think faster and react to a constantly changing environment. In the last 3 months since Covid-19 came into our life, we all had to react quickly. We would like to believe that no one was left behind, but in reality, many of us are struggling to adapt to the new reality. This goes also to many of the small and medium size businesses in Berlin that had to close down or suffered a significant decrease in their turnover. 


Therefore we decided in BIA to devote our new season of the Smart City Hub to the topic of Resilience. We will try to imagine how Berlin will look like not in 20 or 30 years, but in one year, and test and nurture new ideas that will make our city more resilient to future crises.
*Check out our launch event on July 7th and register to take part in our interactive offline-online activity. 


To warm up our engines we collected 25 experts from different fields on a special virtual ideation day last month. In the workshop we asked “How will cities look like after Covid-19?”.
Beate Albert from Berlin Partner for Business and Technology shared with us the current statistics from Berlin and Brandenburg. Yoav Goldwein, our in-house urbanist, collected and presented all the prophecies, and predictions of what is about to come when the dust of this crisis settles.

The review detailed 4 industries who represent the main areas of change: Mobility, Urban design, Governance and Economy (with a special focus on tourism).

The study extracted few questions / challenges: 

  • What would data regulation and privacy look like?
  • Will the power division change between global, national and local governments?
  • How can small businesses, who suffered a major hit during the lockdown, build more adaptive and resilient business models?
  • How will this crisis affect the way we work and where we work? How will it affect our choices of residence and our relations to dense cities?
  • How will our consumption behaviour change? How it will affect our street life and urban design?
  • In what way the new travel restrictions will shape tourism and migration patterns?
  • How can the mobility industry adapt to guidelines of social distancing? 
  • How will we use urban space with the restrictions of social distancing but without compromising social cohesion? 
  • And probably the question that will interest Berliners most – will housing prices and rent go down? 


Our experts, coming from as far as Tokyo and London, discussed the different scenarios in a special design thinking workshop led by Kristin Bauermeister. The workshop is called 7 x 7 scenario planning and is dedicated to environmental influences. While the customer groups take up a lot of space in Design Thinking and the creation of personas is very often played through in the process of generating ideas, external influences are usually neglected. However, the question of under what circumstances an idea can flourish and what drives market penetration is rarely asked. Here we have developed an exercise that illustrates and takes this into account.

This experimental workshop clarified that Covid-19 will introduce some changes in the way we experience cities and the way we do business. While it is still too early to know the size of the impact and the length of the current crisis, it is safe to say that one of the most immediate outcomes is that the virus will drive new innovation and accelerate some processes that were already undergoing.

In the next few months we decided at Smart City Hub to address the issue of Resilience, and talk about the kind of innovation that will make our cities and society stronger in confronting future crises. Join us for a special event on this topic at The Factory Berlin Görlizer Park on July 7th

And if you are keen on some extra reading, here are some articles we liked from the last few weeks:

12 leading global experts in urban planning, policy, history, and health giving their predictions for a post pandemic world (link) 

6 ways to rebuild your small business after Corona (link)

BIA Team

BIA Team

We believe that a better world needs better organisations. And for us, that means entrepreneurial organisations that combine the characteristics of corporate resourcefulness and startup agility. Our mission is to bring people, business, and innovation together to create momentum for change. Visit our page to learn more about our leadership trainings, activation programs, and communities
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