Hi, I am Matthes.

I am a German-born project manager, creator, and facilitator. Among my peers I am known for being an organized planner – among my relatives as the dreamer in the family.

My vision & mission
Working towards a world where people have access to and celebrate a good life for all.

Mode of operating
Seeking win-win situations, clear responsibilities and boundaries, promoting strong and supportive structures, going the extra mile for the aesthetic edge, performing well under extreme pressure.

Areas of interest / expertise
Social and Cultural Anthropology: intentional communities, Environmental Anthropology, interreligious encounters, Health and Economic Anthropology.
Sustainability: social project management, sustainability communication, transdisciplinary issues of and with sustainability.
Learning & Education: new pedagogies, learning experiences, education management, accreditation, informal education.
Futurism: Desirable futures,
futures literacy, ethnographic experiential futures, design thinking

Personal interests
long walks, podcasts and short videos, video games, traveling and novelty; minimalism, personal productivity systems; Chinese food.

My vision & mission

In my personal and professional life, I want to work towards a world in which people from all walks of life experience and celebrate a good life for all. Since there are probably 8 billion different ideas out there of what that means, I want to make it my mission to build spaces where different visions can be appreciated, debated, and empowered. This includes hosting events, facilitating connections, empowering those who I can, and creating the occasional cheesy piece of art from time to time.

A professor of mine once said that one of the universal principles for sustainable development isĀ  to seek win-win situations. I have since adopted this mindset in my work: Zero-sum games are no fun and most situations can be crafted into win-wins in my (admittedly little) experience.

I am a sucker for clear boundaries and responsibilities. I consider myself very much a generalist and love to help out where I can, but as a freelance designer once taught me: “Having the tiniest sandbox to myself is better than sharing a beach with a million people who get to kick down what I’ve built.” I strongly believe in the power of the structures we surround ourselves with and how they can make a difference in our day-to-day happiness.

I enjoy diving deep into the ideation and preparation phase of a project and going the extra mile at the other end, even if – or particularly if – it can give the project an aesthetic edge. Quick-and-dirty prototyping runs and hackathons have been a lot of fun, too, though, so it’s a tough choice!
Finally, I have in the past observed myself performing obscurely well in situations of crisis and under extreme time pressure. Take that as you will.

Mode of operating

Areas of interest / expertise

I started my academic career with Social and Cultural Anthropology and even though I may have since developed other areas of expertise, the worldview and methods of this field have since refused to let go of me. Personal anthropological topics of interest have been Intentional Communities and Ecovillages, Environmental Anthropology, Health and Economic Anthropology and interreligious encounters.

During my horrendously interdisciplinary graduate program on “Sustainability, Society, and the Environment”, I first built a new expertise in Social Project Management, and Sustainability Communication, and later expanded towards general questions about the issues of sustainability and the so-called “good life for all“. I am since fascinated – and that’s where my anthropological side may be shining through again – with how people define a good life for themselves and how we might be able to facilitate that for as many communities as possible.

At my job for the Falling Walls Foundation, I am following the third passion that currently occupies my life: How we learn and educate. This never truly entered my professional life before starting at this job, but it has always been that little interest that tickled my fancy in one of those ways that’s just really hard to point towards any real reason. Now I am privileged to work with some of the greatest learning and education innovators in the world and to this day I don’t quite know how I got here.

Finally, I have recently been developing a new passion for futurism. This is certainly an extension of the interests I’ve developed in my studies: I am fascinated by desirable futures/utopias, by the ethnographic and design thinking tools (among others) I can wield to learn about them, and by the societal implications of a larger-scale futures literacy.

In my personal time, I enjoy long walks, podcasts and short videos, and the occasional video game to unwind. I’ve also always been an avid solo traveler and lacking the opportunity to travel will lead me on multi-hour expeditions around the city I live in to find that one street or dirt track I haven’t discovered yet.

I live a minimalist lifestyle and enjoy optimizing my personal systems regularly. I appreciate a beautiful kitchen, long desks, and a quality pair of headphones. And Chinese food.

Personal interests