Last 27 October, Prof. Dr Michael Kaeding took part in the Makerthon of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin. Prof. Kaeding gave input to the participants at the KAS Academy regarding the challenge “How do we counteract the growing polarisation within the EU?”.
The “Makerthon” is a realisation-oriented idea generation method for working on given challenges. In this context, “makers” are committed individuals with as interdisciplinary a background as possible. They work together intensively within a limited time frame to find original solutions to complex problems. In contrast to traditional “hackathons”, which focus on technical and digital innovations, makerthons promote approaches of a social and creative nature.
The format is comparatively young and little known. No standardised “makerthon method” has yet been established. Projects carried out to date differ, for example, in terms of the form of participation (face-to-face, digital or hybrid), frequency of participation (intensive block event or series of events over several months), selection of participants (targeted selection or open offer) and, in particular, the specific course of the participation format.
Around 30 people took part in the KAS Makerthon Europe and spent three days together at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Academy. Their overarching challenge was: “How do we design a future-proof Europe of tomorrow?”. This key challenge was followed by four sub-challenges that focused on specific aspects (Europe’s role in the world, climate policy communication, Europe’s economy, polarisation in the EU). The tasks were deliberately formulated very broadly. This gave the participants a great deal of room for interpretation and allowed them to decide for themselves which solution focus they wanted to define.
At the beginning of the event, the “makers” received scientific input from recognised experts. They also benefited from a communication trainer who helped them to further develop their presentation skills. The four most original Makerthon ideas were presented on 9 November 2023 as part of the Europe Speech. The audience voted on site for the best idea or short presentation. Those who presented them were then invited to take part in the panel discussion with EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola.