During the Web Summit in Lisbon, the House of Beautiful Business offers a parallel pop-up community for meaningful conversations about technology and humanity. We were there again as a partner, discussing on-site perspectives for the rehumanization of business and leading our own workshop.

True to our claim “Human First in Innovation”, from November 3 to 10 we explored the human future of the changing business world at several locations of the House of Beautiful Business, a salon, stage and sandbox. As in the first edition of the House of Beautiful Business in Barcelona, INDEED was present as a partner and co-host in Lisbon. In addition to Fortune 500 and SME executives, startup founders, non-profit leaders, investors, writers, philosophers, scientists, designers, technologists, and artists joined to discuss and prototype how to lead with purpose and passion.

If software is eating the world… let’s have a glase wine with it.

It was a constructive dialog between the disciplines, away from filter bubbles and fatalism. How do we create human companies and jobs in the future? What offers of meaning are there in an age of exponential change? Do we want to be carried away by mechanization or actively and sustainably shape social change?

Through talks and workshops, we explored the diverse relationships between humans and technology, with topics ranging from conscious capitalism, soulful organizations, and business romantics to the role of the humanities in strategy, artificial intelligence, and the future of identity. The program featured keynotes talks and fireside chats, debates, panel discussions, games, workshops, and simulations, as well as live-action role plays, Socratic dialogues, art installations, social experiments, performances, field trips to Lisbon´s beautiful business, collaborative breakfast and dinner sessions, and much more. We were especially looking forward to the opening party on Thursday, November 3 at the Studio, and the conference day, Sunday, November 5 at the Palacete.

Our Workshop with Ashkan and Johanna

A highlight was, of course, the workshop led by our colleagues Ashkan Shabnavard, Innovation & Design Manager at INDEED, and Johanna Joppien from our subsidiary TOI – Tools Of Innovators, by venturing into the discourse with participants, guests and hosts of the House of Beautiful Business: What contribution does AI make to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations?

Applying such disruptive technologies, while putting the human-first in innovation, is how we handle our everyday work. When we were contemplating a meaningful workshop topic for this year’s House of Beautiful Business Conference Day, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals came up as a topic we were all inspired to explore; they are robust grounding for a conference dealing with software-based technologies that could help lead to a more beautiful tomorrow. 

The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a to-do list for achieving a more prosperous and just future by 2030. They have been unanimously committed to by all the member states within our global community, with many leading minds contributing and supporting their development. From individuals to small and large organizations, we can all do our part to get involved and help ensure we achieve the goals of this inspiring initiative. As such, we would like to engage the wisdom of those attending this year’s House of Beautiful Business in Lisbon, to crowdsource new ideas for how we can actually leverage emerging “AI” technologies to better serve the needs of people and our planet. 

As Ashkan put it before: “We’re really looking forward to the workshop. It won’t just be some pie in the sky AI futurism, but we’ll aim to create a real awareness for the SDGs and what they represent. Hopefully, we’ll have a diverse group, considering how we can harvest the power of AI for good. After all, the setting of the House of Beautiful Business is ideal for talking about humanized applications.”

All you need is to bring together some inspiring minds such as Anne Kjær Riechert from the ReDI School of Digital Integration, Christine Gould from Thought for Food Foundation, or Roberta Lucca a leader in AI-based entrepreneurship and let them collaboratively work on a challenge which couldn’t be more urging yet progressive. With official material by the UN as well as with our beautifully designed “AI Opportunity Card Set” focusing on the current and emerging state of AI and related trends, each of the participants deep dived into one of the topics.

In a “speed dating” session, the groups combined AI related trends such as pattern recognition, streamlining complex systems or AI changing our education with the selected SDG goals:

|  SDG #2 – Zero hunger: Achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

|  SDG #4 – Quality education: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. 

|  SDH #8 – Decent work and economic growth: Inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

|  SDG #12 – Responsible consumption and production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

A gaming experience to eradicate hunger

The results ranged from “using AI technologies to allow local communities to create localized education programs to teach and empower kids” or “AI-powered training games targeting marginalized groups such as women and children” to “to apply AI to process big data to identify better strategies to produce, connect, recycle and prioritize, what can be produced locally”.

One of the groups also developed a personalized gaming experience to eradicate hunger and achieve food security through better agriculture. A highly engaging game which encourages people to go into farming while intelligent NPC’s (non-playing characters) would educate them on their individual needs.

Concluding it can be said that the potential for good by AI lays in focusing on bigger data sets and isolating patterns within them. This is creating efficiencies in production as well as more accurate predictions and shows new educational pathways. Using data to understand labour market needs and create training systems, is a smart way to face UN’s SDGs.

Our concept for the workshop worked out well and even beyond our expectations. Synergies occurred between participants of different groups, and even now long after the session, the discussion for transforming the world and to create future business opportunities is still on.

What else could we ask for? This workshop was truly beautiful – in many different ways.  

Photographer: Joao Nogueira

Larissa Scherrer de Quadros


Larissa, a seasoned marketing professional, excels in crafting tailored strategies for brands. Passionate about innovation, she embraces blockchain and circular economy principles with a motto: Don't wait for opportunities. Create them.

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