Reflections from Rework

Written in 2010: I am now trying to digest all my impressions from 4 days in beautiful Leksand at the Rework the World conference, organized by the Tällberg Foundation and YES (Youth Entrepreneurship & Sustainability)

I am still suffering from information overload, but here is a brief summary:

Rework was one of the most inspiring events I have attended. As usual not so much because of all the keynote speeches and workshop sessions, but becuase of the people attending.

There were 1700 very different types of people from 120 countries, but they all shared on important thing: they had passion in their eyes! Passion to want to rework the world, to meet other people, exchange ideas and learn new things!

It’s about the people!

All the keynote speeches by famous people and all the workshops and panels are of course important to attract this audience, but the biggest value is created in all the meetings between the attendees! I met a lot of my existing contacts and made many new friends.

The main hall was the big ice hockey rink in Leksand, where Carl Mossfeldt did a very professional job as the main moderator:

This hall was even equipped with a sauna VIP lounge with a giant glass window overlooking the rink!
I did not understand why it was not open for us, imagine all the fun discussions we could have had in there!


My favourite keynote speaker was Majora Carter, you can see her amazing talk here about how she transformed South Bronx in New York from a war zone to a living community. (Why on earth is there no embed function for the videos?!) She had great passion in her story, it was very personal and she illustrated it with her own pictures.

Majora’s way if giving a talk should serve as a role model, too many of the other keynote speakers stood paralyzed behind the podium, reading an article-style speech and showing Powerpoint slides with lots of bullet texts and complex diagrams. Some speaker coaching would have beeb great, and Powerpoints should be banned.

The most interesting event in the main hall was the investment panel. I have attended many events  where entrepreneurs pitch to a panel of investors, but never with so many really hot products. Note to Rework: please publish the list of the 10 finalists on the site!


A small sample of interesting workshops that I attended:

Fredrik Hären talked about the explosion of creativity in what we stupidly call “developing nations” and why we in the “developed world” need to rethink and start moving. (The program said Teo Härén, but he was sick so he called in his twin brother who is just as excellent as a speaker!) Unfortunately his talk was not filmed, but you can see another talk by Fredrik here.

Dev Patnaik talked in two panels and did a brief appearance on the main stage. His US company Jump Associates works with creating growth strategies for big corporations like General Electric, FedEx and Nike. He was not filmed either, but check out his short video about empathy and why it is important for your bottom line. After seeing this I immediately ordered his book “Wired to Care“.


It was great for me to meet my “adopted” changemaker, Gbenga Adenuga from Nigeria. He is a talented musician with a mission to inspire the youth in Nigera to vote in the upcoming general elections. I learned a lot from him about this great country and the struggle to improve conditions there. We will stay in touch for sure, and one day I will visit him in Nigeria.

There were also several great outdoor events, like this “Nature experience to empower change makers”

A big challenge for all organizers of events like this is to maintain some form of dialogue after the event. Rework has a community site where you can see the videos shot in the main hall and join online discussions. But to me the user interface in this forum is way to old-fashioned and there are very few discussions there.

I now have a lot of new contacts to follow up during the summer, many of them in corners of the world that are unknown for me. So my list of interesting places and peopel to visit keeps growing. Networking works!

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Henrik Ahlén

I am an eHealth Strategist in Stockholm, Sweden I drive eHealth development projects from needs analysis and idea generation to service design and implementation. See my LinkedIn profile:

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