Z2X - Festival for New Visionaries
2019 Finalist

Z2X - Festival for New Visionaries

Zeit Online

Berlin, Germany

Category Best Use of an Event to Build a News Brand

Overview of this campaign

The idea for Z2X was created on the occasion of ZEIT ONLINE’s 20th anniversary – the festival for new visionaries between the ages of 20 and 29 was originally intended to take place only once. Thus, the project wasn’t set out to and still doesn’t pursue a publishing strategy. It indeed serves only this purpose: to bring together socially committed young people, to pay attention to their projects or ideas and to support them in their further development. And apparently, it is exactly this kind of openness that attracts the Z2X community. Z2X is not only a platform to connect social entrepreneurs and change-makers, but also an inspirational forum in which ideas can be discussed openly and safely among young people, who are looking for new ways of living, loving and working. Z2X is unique, many of the now over 5,000 young participants say, because it is one of the few big platforms on which the most dedicated people of their generation can set their own topics. Over the last three years and nine Z2X events, these topics included: digitization and technology, new work, politics and society, media, urbanism, environmental issues, science, healthcare and activism. At the central festivals, that take place in Berlin once a year, the participants present their ideas with lightning talks in front of the whole festival audience and over 10 million users via livestream, as well as in smaller workshop sessions, that focus on teaching and improving useful skills (like financing, coding…), further developing their projects or providing feedback. In another type of session, called „Ask Me Anything“, participants get the chance to ask others, who have successfully launched a project (or failed at the same), every question they can think of. A fundamental idea of Z2X is that even small ideas and approaches can trigger change, if they are thought through, consistently implemented and sustainably operated. By hosting and curating this free of charge festival series, ZEIT ONLINE supports young people in this process.

Results for this campaign

For the first Z2X festival in 2016 over 5,000 young people came forward with „ideas to improve the world“. The jury invited 600 of them to Berlin. In two days and 100 sessions, the community discussed and refined their ideas. At the end, the audience voted for their favourite projects, which ZEIT ONLINE featured on its website. At the request of the participants, ZEIT ONLINE hosted two more Z2X festivals in Berlin in 2017 and 2018 and increased their capacity to 800 and then 1,000 invites. In addition to the annual festivals in Berlin, ZEIT ONLINE now organizes 3-5 smaller Z2X events every year, funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation and taking place in cites like Leipzig or Essen – because ideas for a better world exist beyond capital cities. Many of the projects that have been or are being developed at Z2X have evolved since then, and many participants have made their idea their job. Crowdfunding platforms, foundations, risk investors and the European Parliament are today promoting a series of Z2X ideas, like #FreeInterrail. Z2X participants are connected via Facebook, WhatsApp and Slack groups. There are regular self organized meetups and mentoring sessions. In 2019 ZEIT ONLINE will host another central festival and three summits focused on digitization, education and Europe. Although Z2X does not follow a classical publishing strategy, it helped to strengthen the standing of ZEIT ONLINE as the foremost quality media brand among young readers in Germany, where Z2X-like events of other media companies are currently not taking place. Usually events of press publishers are profit-oriented, cost substantial participation fees or are aimed at an educational elite. But the need for networking in the Z2X target group is still growing. With future events, ZEIT ONLINE wants to motivate young people to put their ideas into action or develop projects that can have a positive impact on their own lives, their immediate environment and the whole of society.


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