How often do you go a different way to work or school? How often do you eat at a different restaurant or try a drink other than your ‘usual’? How often do you think outside the box? Too often we get caught in futile patterns and developed habits, limiting our creativity and free thinking. Here at Impact Hub we believe that understanding our patterns brings us closer to a society driven by collaboration, openness, trust & fairness.

Breaking Patterns is a festival that celebrates and encourages thinking differently. More than 170 participants took part in presentations, workshops and exhibitions which forced them to use a part of their brain that is usually tucked away and resting in a corner.

How did we do this? We pulled together the best presenters and exhibitors from a range of topics, including virtual reality, blockchain technology, leadership, economic growth, diversity and the way we work. We used a variety of locations throughout the 7th district in Vienna to stimulate conversation, challenge frameworks and foster positive development.

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Throughout the course of the event, participants could chose attend sessions that stimulated them. First up was the choice between financial technology (blockchain technology) and an intriguingly titled session ‘Burning out? – From fucking yourself up to effectively achieving your goals’. Shermin Voshmgir, founder of BlockchainHub talked about what Blockchain was and how a decentralized web is the way forward, challenging the old system of technology where the server is King and instead implement a system where information is verified by a peer-to-peer network.

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Shermin Voshmgir talking to the group about Blockchain.

Over in Grinberg Practice, Veronika Fiegl a senior trainer of the Grinberg Method, taught us how to listen to your body to change your life patterns.

Later in the afternoon reality was brought home to participants in the (My Virtual) Reality session, when they viewed a video report by Austrian daily newspaper Wiener Zeitung. The report showed life in the Lebanese refugee camp Moussa Taleb not far from the Syrian border and introduced us to teenagers Aysha and Abdallah. After this report, participants were able to meet and speak with Adib that lives in a shared flat for refugees in “Magdas Hotel”.

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We discussed diversity with experts across the fields of education, LGBTIQ, age, migration, homelessness. We talked about why it is important to break down the silos and have real conversations to break down prejudices and disintegration that lead to polarization and conflict.

Presenters Elena, Markus and Tobias talked about working within new management structures and practices and how this can enhance our work. This is a break from the traditional employment and structure and encourages employees to work better together.

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Elena Tzara (Premium Cola), Markus Stelzmann (Tele Haase), Tobias Göllner (ShiftYard) during ‘The way we work’ presentation.

During the entertaining and humorous presentation by Tomáš Sedláček, he discussed empty promises and unfulfilled desires leading to multiple depressive elements of growth-capitalism. You can view the live stream of this chat on Facebook.

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Christian Felber and Tomáš Sedláček during the Economic Growth session

Amongst all these sessions participants were able to wander through our space and view the Breaking Patterns exhibition, put on by 4 talented artists, as well as an installation by Sebastian Rahs and Rainer Wachter of Woodsaw.

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After a huge afternoon, participants gathered at Gallery Westlicht to enjoy dinner from Iss Mich and wrap up the day. 8 presenters were selected from the 8 groups and had 3 mins each to summarise. Not all the presenters were the group leaders – some were participants who instead of simply giving a wrap up, told inspiring stories about how the session impacted them. After all, this was what the day was about, inspiring people to break a pattern and make a change.

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Photo credit: Iza’s Photo Corner