20. October 2022
Maria Trommer & Matthias Wagener
On September 15th, our VAST FORWARD team met for the Developer Day 2022 in Dresden. Some of the participants arrived the day before for a short video shoot, but the real action started on Thursday. A common learning journey was planned, in order to take home various impulses from different industries and initiatives, the topic of the day was Green Tech/Sustainability. Of course, personal networking and the reunion after a long Covid-19 break was also very important!
The VAST FORWARD crew, i.e. our core team of project managers plus the close network of developers with whom we implement up to 75% of our customer projects, were of course also present during the Developer Day.
Five experts gave us the impetus and the opportunity to look beyond our own horizons on the first day and three more on the second day. The respective expertise was shared with us in exclusive sessions and in a city safari – where we were able to travel comfortably by public transport on the first day and in carpools on the second day.
On the first day we were accompanied through the day by the wonderful Vanessa Hansch, who introduced us to the speakers and led the interactive exchange of ideas. The internal team already knows Vanessa as our yoga teacher from our weekly yoga sessions (“Y2B”) – now we got to know her all over again in one of her other entrepreneurial focus areas – as a workshop moderator and facilitator.
First stop for our sustainability safari was the co-working space “Impact Hub” in the center of Dresden. Christian Bärisch from “Zukunftsgestalten” took us on a historical journey to the understanding of “Sustainability as a Guiding Idea of Social Development”. He showed answers to the question why we as a society and individuals find it so difficult to act sustainably and how easy it can be to integrate the topic of sustainability in our personal but also professional environment. Thank you Christian, it was very exciting!
In the 2nd session with Sara Prochownik from “FairPlant” it became very practical: where can we find sustainable alternatives and offers in Dresden – from unpacked stores to second hand stores to vegan cafés. Sara introduced us to the alternative city map “FairPlant” as a possible solution and shared more tips & tricks on how to search for sustainable stores across Germany, including using the Karte von morgen. Sara also showed with her inspiring presentation that even a simple paper folding map can be a building block for more sustainability (the map is of course also available digitally🥸).
Then Cora Grass from “Cloud & Heat” gave us an insight into the sustainable transformation of servers and entire server farms – in short, servers/farms consume a lot of energy – and most of this energy has to be discharged as heat, otherwise the sensitive electronics will overheat. Clearly, the topic is super relevant in terms of ‘Green Data’, which is an important topic for us.
The number of data centers is increasing rapidly worldwide, and energy consumption and heat generation are serious variables in the calculation of climate-relevant emissions.
“Cloud & Heat” meets this challenge with – water cooling! In the future, water cooling for servers can be a sustainable alternative to air cooling and reduce the overall energy consumption. At the same time, waste heat becomes usable via the water; both help to make data centers lower in CO2 emissions. This process is currently still in the development phase, but Cora shared insights from a test building in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, where thermal energy from the server farm can already be used for the building’s heating system!
Visit to the "VW Gläserne Manufaktur" and lunch in the "e-Vitrum".
At noon, we were transferred by tram to the “Transparent VW Factory” for lunch at the “e-Vitrum” restaurant. After a short walk and our lunch, Johannes Rönsberg introduced us to the Volkswagen Group’s e-mobility business model at the Future Mobility Campus.
Dr. Nico Herzberg from “Campeleon” then presented his company and shared his founding journey and the challenges of making a sustainably designed company a reality. Campeleon produces customized campers – for different vehicle platforms and individually adapted to the needs of the users. The company relies on an efficient module series that can be selected online in a configurator for the respective vehicle. A “used and exchange market” complements the Campeleon platform, also in the sense of “re-use” concepts from the circular economy.
After that, it was time for some movement again, and we were all curious to see more of the “Transparent Factory”. In a guided tour through the “green manufactory”, the CO2-neutral production site, we got a pretty good insight into the history of the building itself and of course into the production of the “ID-3” – super exciting! Some of us toyed with the idea of setting up a deck chair to watch the growing car bodies slowly glide by on the production line…
After the tour it was time for “Sprout”! in Dresden’s Neustadt. After a short detour to the hotel, the restaurant Sprout! provided us with a vegetarian organic dinner in the evening – according to the motto “Vegetables rethought”. At the end of the dinner, the owner and manager Luise Koenitz gave us some insights into the current challenges of a small vegan restaurant – the current global crises also leave their mark here. In any case, it was creative and delicious, and we would like to thank Sprout! for cooking for us in the evening!
And, because there was still so much to talk about, we ended the day in the “Herzbar”with shared cocktails and other drinks of choice – here, too, provisions had been made and nice seats in the courtyard had already been organized!
What a day!
The next day started with a (for some later) breakfast at the hotel, unfortunately not all participants could stay. But for those who had not yet had enough, there was an exciting session at “Li-il GmbH” on the second day. What does sustainable body care actually mean and how exactly does the production look like? Production manager Marco Zowalla led us through the sacred production rooms in scrubs and caps after a presentation by his colleague Kati Freitag.
The last change of scenery took us to the outskirts of the city to “Vorwerk Podemus”. Vorwerk Podemus is Saxony’s largest organic company, combining all areas of the value chain under one entrepreneurial roof: from primary production (animal husbandry, agriculture, cultivation of fruit) to processing into delicious organic products and retailing in its own 13 organic supermarkets in the greater Dresden area. Jan Bortlik took us on a tour of the fruit plantations and answered what felt like 100 questions from us ignorant city kids. At the end of the tour, we were allowed to help ourselves to the ripe apples and taste an apple directly from the tree.
The fitting conclusion for our Developer Day 2022 was held on our second (half) day at the four-sided farm of Vorwerk Podemus. Coffee and cake, pig and cattle breeding, potato harvest and a large organic market were once again a lot of fun and certainly meant for some exciting insights into today’s organic farming!
In the end we had to say goodbye not only to the team, to our dear colleagues, but also to cute young bulls and calves in the on-site stables! These were one and a half eventful, varied, exciting days, certainly exhausting, but definitely super nice, with a lot of exchange within the team and the inspiration that we also wished for on the topic of sustainability.
More pictures and impressions of our previous Developer Days will soon be available on our website: https://vastdevday.com/
"Yes, those were two beautiful days! Many thanks to Maria and the organisers.
There was a lot of planning in everything and you could see that. I found it very varied and free food is always good!
I hope you all get home safely and see you soon!" Chris Walther (Entwickler)
Together we want to move forward and face the challenges of the future. But social progress should not only be discussed theoretically, but is actively driven by the VAST FORWARD community.
Insights into other companies as well as ways of thinking will give us new food for thought and also answers to a wide variety of questions. Exciting speakers from a wide range of industries have shed light on the topic of sustainability from their perspective.
What is important to us about this event is that we all took away something that will enable us to act more sustainably in our professional and private lives.
For me as the organizer of the Developer Day, it is wonderful to see the result, for which I started planning and organizing weeks and months in advance. For our team events, preparation is essential – and just as indispensable in the attention to detail as critical creativity in the selection of all the individual components. I was very happy to see the team live again after a long break due to Covid-19 – and even in my hometown Dresden ( some new momentum is good for this baroque city ;)).
Now, one week later, we have slowly recovered from all the input of the Developer Day 2022 – which means in reverse: We can do it again! The planning of the next Developer Day can begin, let’s go!
You have never been there? That can be changed! We can also organize participation in Developer Day 2023 (or 2024) for interested people outside the VAST FORWARD team! Please contact us if you are interested!
Yey, finally, the website for our VAST GREEN Initiative is live! Initiated by an internal event, we have been moving forward step by step with our project VAST GREEN, since 2019.
Interview with Maren & Matthias Wagener about VAST GREEN