All About This Year’s Global Innovation Gathering


The lovely GIG participants at #rp14; credit: re:publica (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In our new series, we introduce the activities, program and other details of our Global Innovation Gathering sub-conference, GIG. Read all about GIG in the following introduction.

The Global Innovation Gathering is an annual meeting of tech hubs, fab labs, maker spaces and innovation centres from all over the world. As the central physical nodes of local innovation ecosystems, these spaces come to represent the technological innovations of their respective home countries – and so now, for the third time, GIG is inviting them to share their ideas and stories, successes and failures with each other. Furthermore, the re:publica conference creates a perfect opportunity to showcase innovative works and connect with a wider audience.

GIG is happening for the third time in 2015. Initiated almost by accident, it was at first not planned as a recurring event at all. But after the first gathering in 2013, an active worldwide network formed, which has been growing, communicating and collaborating ever since. By now, GIG has become the annual event where the members of this global network get to meet in person and present their work.

GIG is the result of the collaboration of various organizations and individuals, and wouldn’t have been possible without strong partners. As the network grew, the number of partners and participating organizations also increased, but the AfriLabs network, the re:publica, and the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) are still the core partners.

And the plans for this year are big! GIG first started out in a small space in the central hall at re:publica. This time, GIG participants are taking over the #rp15 stages on numerous occasions during the three days of the festival. So there will be plenty of space to mingle, talk, and get dirty hands in the large GIG makerspace. Apart from GIG’s presence at re:publica, the gathering is also an opportunity to discuss hub-related issues, like inclusive community management, business models, or sustainability, with other network members. An additional slot in the program will include a guided tour through various creative and collaborative spaces located in Berlin.

Looking at the GIG program, this year’s topics include, amongst others, the role of open data in development, technological innovation in Palestine, and the need for an open Internet of Things. This year, we are paying special attention to global maker culture: There will be presentations on the impact of rapid prototyping, such as 3D printing for development and disaster response, discussions on the connections between the maker movement and local traditional craftsmen and artists, and also plenty of workshops in the GIG makerspace, where participants and #rp15 visitors can get hands-on experience in designing and building their ideas themselves. Workshops range from suitable technology projects like 3D printing with e-waste, to applications that generate electricity or music from rotten vegetables. Stay tuned for more information on the GIG program!

Global Innovation Gathering

The Global Innovation Gathering brings together innovation hub managers, makers, hackers and entrepreneurs from across the world. Launched at re:publica 2013, the Global Innovation Gathering has become a central part of the re:publica program, showcasing tech innovation and maker projects from Asia, Africa and Latin America. The GIG participants have formed a strong community that exchanges information and expertise on innovation and maker issues throughout the year.

In GIG is organised in partnership with the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Vodafone Institute. Further GIG partners are the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

If you are interested in connecting with the GIG community please join our Facebook group: