On 10 October 2013, the Ignite event took place and it was a great success. Please find the video registrations of all talks here or below!

10 October 2013, 18-22 hours

Van Nelle Ontwerpfabriek, Rotterdam

Ignite event: ‘Tales of innovation’ – from triggers to tools

  • 16 speakers from all over the world
  • Shots of inspiration: 5 minute presentations, 20 slides auto-advancing after 15 seconds
  • Drinks: deep conversation at the bar
  • A tasty quick bite at 18.00 hours

Back-to-back with the two-day Open for Change event, an Ignite event took place in the afternoon of October 10th, 2013, in the Van Nelle factory, Rotterdam. Fifteen speakers presented daring perspectives and inspiring thoughts on how people all over the world are actively shaping their societies. These stories in part came from the city of Rotterdam as well as the far away places where Hivos works, such as India, Central America and Uganda. Rotterdam, World Port World City, is a young, dynamic, international city which keeps reinventing itself at a rapid pace; redefining and expanding its identity on a daily basis. We exchanged stories of social innovation, heard about new strategies and methods and critically reflected on all this during the two following days. The question to what extent these initiatives trigger social change at large were also further explored during the Open for Change event on 11 and 12 October.


Meet the speakers

Irwan Ahmett is an artist and designer, interested in social issues and behaviour changes. With his art projects he is able to penetrate the boundaries of culture, language and areas of personal or collective that are often too conservative and routine. By combining communicative strategy and playful visual arts approach, he engages the public directly into the creative process so that it could provide a real new experience.

Jasmeen Patheja is founding member of Blank Noise, a nation-wide, volunteer-led community arts collective in India triggering public debate on the issue of street sexual harassment. Blank Noise initiates conversations to collectively define harassment, ´eve-teasing´ and boundaries of ´flirting´, ´teasing´ and ´harassment´.  It addresses women’s fear based relationship with their cities via direct street action and public interventions, which ask women to be “Action Heroes” by not being idle in public. On provocation, creative activism and transforming public perceptions.

Carol Tukoyo is a member of Fora do Eixo, or “Outside the Axis”, a Brazilian network of cultural activists and she knows how to use the positive as a driving force for activists. Fora do Eixo began to organise street parties- festivals where artists, activists and the general public are welcomed into a celebration of performing arts, punctuated by political analysis by performers and public debates on issues about city policy and the concerns in people’s lives.

Anne Philpott founded The Pleasure Project after attending one too many sexual health meetings where the normal words for our “downstairs bits” were rarely used. With an activist, guerilla mentality she has put the sexy back into safer sex with her initiative. She is an example for other changemakers who are not afraid of experimenting with creative and provocative means.

George Gachara is the Director at The Nest, a Kenyan multidisciplinary art space that serves as a functional playground for artists, thinkers and curious minds. He is the author of The Reverse Is True: A Reflective Journey
and previously worked as a youth worker and a designer of learning programs.

Vibeke Helder is communications and press manager at Enviu. Enviu starts profitable businesses and communities aimed at creating social and environmental impact. Examples are: Rotterdam Innovation Hub and What to do with Poo? Vibeke is also an expert in social media monitoring and crowdfunding.

Thomas Moller and Anna Portillo are students at Knowmads; an organization that works as “a platform and school for people that want to make a positive difference in the world”.  As a school, Knowmads educates young creatives with entrepreneurial spirits to become change makers. As a platform, Knowmads offers a network of professional and volunteer contributors to share talents, creative ideas and inspiration for positive change.

Simon Hodges worked as copywriter, editor and communications officer at Philips and Philips Design before setting up Words That Change in 2011. He’s the Native English Associate at the Storytelling Company and a member of the Collective agency of Freelancers. With a passion for storytelling and the written word, Simon’s love for language is brought out fully in his work.

Jip Nelissen is sustainability expert with Entremedio: a design agency that operates in the interface between (strategic) design, architecture and sustainability: both social and ecological. Their aim is to create a sustainable world, by integrating social solutions with technical opportunities. Examples of their work vary between shelters in Haiti and social game design as a tool to make Dutch housing more sustainable.

Ludo Hekman is a journalist, scriptwriter and co-founder of  Butch & Sundance, a collective of journalists and (new) media experts. Their aim is to  create peaceful and sustainable life through the tools that (new) media offers and they develop, amongst other things, newsgames such as http://www.onthegroundreporter.nl.

Hannibal Saad is a Syrian musician and artistic director. Until recent crisis, Hannibal created two major international music festivals in Syria. Currently, he is responsible for two international cross-over projects with the aim of connecting people through music; “Oriental Landscapes” and “Jazz Lives in Syria”.

Omar Ramirez and Evangelos Leidivatis founded Play4Karma. Play4Karma is a service where gamers purchase one of our games or any Play4Karma activist enabled game. Winners decide which NGO, with a measurable environmental or real social impact, receives the money. The rationale behind Play4Karma is the fact that 3 billion hours per week are spent playing games online for pure entertainment. Play4Karma aims to change this by funneling all this passion and money for something of value in the real world.

Jurjen Lengkeek has been active in supporting high tech startups for over 7 years. He was responsible for developing and running the Pre Incubation Program, in which entrepreneurs with an idea are supported to develop viable business models and a sound business plan.  In the summer 2013, he founded RDM Makerspace together with co-founder Vincent Wegener. They focus their support on prototyping of ideas and ‘making’. They provide startups and others (engineers, hobbyist, artists, students) access to manufacturing machines (wood- and metalworking, 3Dprinters, lasercutters, CNC milling machines) and courses to learn how to work with them.

Michel Visser has a background in performing arts and is the founder of Konnektid . The main aim of Konnektid is “social skill sharing”; it connects people with different backgrounds, skills and interests. The local scale enables people to get in touch with others: to meet each other, teach, inspire or help to solve a problem. Meeting, connecting and cooperation is the key to more social cohesion.



  • 18.00 – Drinks and quick bite
  • 19.00 – Start talks
  • 20.15 – Drinks
  • 20.45 – Second round of talks
  • 22.00 – Drinks
  • 22.30 – Travel home safely


What is Ignite?
Ignite has been dubbed a ‘geek event’ by its founders who started in Seattle. Since its inception, Ignite events have been organised in over 100 cities all around the world. With the tagline ‘Enlighten us, but make it quick’ speakers are invited to give a 5 minute talk about their personal and professional passions. An ignite talk is usually fun, offering inspiring insights and sparkling new ideas. The talks are supported by a slideshow presentation, where twenty slides – using just one word and one image – auto-advance every fifteen seconds. Besides the talks, there is no program – just a bar for sharing drinks and thoughts.

Why Ignite?
The Open for Change team decided to organise an Ignite event back-to-back to the two-day conference, to make sure a wider range of both local and national social innovators can benefit from the presence of changemakers and critical thinkers from all of the world, and vice versa. The Ignite talks will largely provide a mirror of International and Dutch innovative projects in creating social change. What can a women’s initiative in Rotterdam learn from and teach to an Indian group? How can examples of urban play in Indonesia and Guatemala stimulate playfulness elsewhere? Each project – or challenging thought – will be introduced in just five minutes, and the focus will be on the story behind the story; the complexity behind the promotional talk. We hope that openness during the talks will lead to better conversations at the bar. Next to inspiring fellow changemakers and learning from one another, the Ignite talks and bar will hopefully provide input for lightning talks and workshops during the Open for Change event.

Also want to do an Ignite talk?
This ignite talk explains and illustrates how a good Ignite talk can be done –

The main points of the talk are that we all have a story to tell and it’s important to talk about something close to your heart. So, you can talk about what you love (what gets you up in the morning), what you hate, what you’re good at (powerful insights), or come up with a meta story about trying to come up with your story. In your five minutes of fame, you only have time to say four of five things – so make sure to choose well what it is you want to bring across. All speakers will be briefed beforehand and can expect help in preparing their presentations.