Promoting intellectual capital from Central Europe

Interview with Gergely Böszörményi Nagy, director of Design Terminal

Wojciech Przybylski, Gergely Böszörményi Nagy
25 kwietnia 2016

Design Terminal is a non-profit agency established in Hungary to support design, urban development and innovation. Situated in the very heart of Budapest, it offers a year-round business and cultural program for young challengers and entrepreneurs and was highlighted by Brain Bar Budapest, a festival of ideas. In 2014, Design Terminal was awarded the European Enterprise Promotion Awards by the European Commission. 

Brain Bar Budapest is held in June in Budapest. New Europe 100 and Visegrad Insight are partners in the event.

Wojciech Przybylski: What is Design Terminal?

Gergely Böszörményi Nagy: Personally I consider it to be an experiment; a non-profit initiative to promote Central European, entrepreneurial talent at home and abroad. With both of our professional practices and transparency policy, we’re always trying to become a benchmark for other hubs and offices.  

In what ways have you influenced other institutions?

A few years ago, incubation of early-stage enterprises in design and technology was relatively rare and novel in Hungary. Now it’s become a commonplace. There are market actors, academic institutions and even state agencies with their own accelerators, something unheard of until recently. Sharing good practices is especially important in our local Central European context, where entrepreneurial thinking is not so widespread. Having a positive impact on the institutions we interact with on a daily basis is certainly an inspiring development. 

How important is Brain Bar Budapest in your activities?

We aimed at creating a long-haul intellectual journey and introducing a new quality of event in Central Europe. Design Terminal is only one of the founders; we have a wide range of friends, allies and contributors behind the operation. It is truly a festival by the ecosystem, for the ecosystem.  

How does the Brain Bar Budapest discussion impact the city?

Budapest is a human scale European metropolis. I believe its size, architectural heritage and cultural density as well as its geographical location present opportunities for experimentation, which put it on the forefront of urban innovation. And this is crucial as the continent needs platforms for thought-provoking discussions. Debating ideas is a starting point for stimulating all that surrounds us.


What ideas from Central Europe are channelled through Brain Bar Budapest?

We will debate Earth and Space, robots and creativity, natural and artificial intelligence, economics and biology, knowledge and information, the relationship between war and video games and, most importantly, the chances and challenges of a future-proof Europe: ideas and solutions to topics as far ranging as entrepreneurship to geopolitics and migration to gentrification. Perhaps a certain Central European outspokenness may result in bringing new solutions to the table with Budapest becoming a hub for fearless discussions.

Who is the Brain Bar Budapest target audience?

It is a festival, which implies that it should be enjoyable for many. We would like to create a sphere where different people can mingle: optimists and sceptics, geeks and nomads, statists and capitalists, industrialists and environmentalists. We want to create a space when we can form informed judgments about their colliding visions. 

Who are your speakers?

This year our guests will include Chris Hadfield, the world’s favourite astronaut and former Commander of the International Space Station. With us will also be the world-renowned British economist and bestselling author Tim Harford, Santieri Koivisto, the creator of the legendary video game Minecraft, Californian philosopher Virgina Postrel, Future of Life Institute founder Viktoria Krakovna, and enfant terrible of the Republican Party Grover Norquist along with another fifty extraordinary personalities. We’re especially happy to welcome many of the New Europe 100 challengers in the program.  

Do you plan to venture outside of Central Europe?

It’s definitely one of our longer term plans to make Brain Bar a format, a platform for community building, direct inspiration and knowledge exchange for talent, starting first in the neighbouring European borderlands, the continent’s less privileged regions, from Belarus to Ukraine, from the Balkans to the Caucasus. 

Gergely Boszormenyi-Nagy, Managing Director of Design Terminal, NE100 Challenger