What a week! A whirlwind of inspiration, problem-solving, and serious fun, HUBweek 2018 has come to a close. With almost 300 events, dozens of speakers, artists, and performers, and thousands of attendees, this year's festival was jam-packed. It was tough, but we rounded up 10 highlights from HUBweek 2018, including keynotes, a drag performance, the legendary Robot Block Party, Demo Day, and more.
1. The next generation is leading our future
HUBweek 2018 ended with “A New Revolution: Young People Rise Up Against Gun Violence,” hosted by HUBweek co-founder Massachusetts General Hospital and featuring David Hogg, Co-Founder of March For Our Lives; Dr. Chana Sacks, General Internist and Co-Founder of the MGH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition; and Ritchy Rinchet, junior at Jeremiah E. Burke High School; in conversation with moderator Reverend Mariama White-Hammond. The four discussed the intersectionality of gun violence, the portrayal of youth activism in the media, and the importance of empowering young people to fight for social change. The panel was the perfect way to cap off the week, leaving us inspired and confident that the next generation will help create a future that is inclusive and equitable for all.
2. 100+ local and international startups convened for the Demo Day Showcase
Boston is nationally known as a hub for entrepreneurship, and it was obvious why on HUBweek’s Demo Day. On Saturday, October 13, over 100 startups from Massachusetts and around the world came together to showcase their companies inside City Hall, representing diverse industries and a shared goal to make a positive impact and improve the human condition. Later in the evening, the six finalists from our pitch competition (shoutout to Aisling Organic Cosmetics, Food for All, Lumme Inc., Ompractice, Pilleve, and Waku) took Center Stage to compete for the title of HUBweek Demo Day Pitch Competition champion. Food for All took home the grand prize for their app that simultaneously reduces food waste and provides low-cost meals, but we left feeling inspired by the innovative spirit of all participating companies, and the change they hope to bring.
3. Throwing open the doors to local innovation
Over 60 local companies and organizations threw open their doors to HUBweek attendees from Monday, October 8 to Tuesday, October 9. They hosted more than 75 sessions across Cambridge, Somerville, Downtown Boston, Seaport, Back Bay, Fenway, South Boston, Roxbury, and beyond. From fog sculptures to drone showcases and a Boston harbor boat cruise to a fashion line launch, these free events highlighted the diversity of innovation across our city.
4. Robots sure know how to throw a block party
Over two dozen robots descended on City Hall Plaza for the second annual Robot Block Party on Sunday, October 14. One of the most anticipated events of HUBweek 2018, the Robot Block Party featured ’bots from startups, established companies, FIRST teams, and more, and gave visitors the opportunity to get hands-on with the products and technologies shaping our future. From winning a ride in a self-driving car to shaking hands with a humanoid, there was something for the seasoned roboticist and the young future innovator alike.
5. 11 artists brought shipping containers to life with murals
Art has always belonged to the people, and this year HUBweek commissioned eleven artists to bring their unique perspectives and messages to the crowds at the HUB. The lineup of this year’s artists included Silvia Lopez Chavez, Sophia Ainslie, Matthew Zaremba, Ann Lewis, Ruben Ubiera, Brian Denahy, IMAGINE (aka Sneha Shrestha), Deme5, Benjamin Stebbings, and Adam J. O’Day. Their work drew from personal backgrounds, street art and graffiti styles, social activism, and more, and brought vibrancy and color to the brick expanse of City Hall Plaza. Internationally renowned street artist Okuda San Miguel painted this year's Feature Wall, bringing his unique iconographic language of multicolored geometric structures and patterns to HUBweek.
6. Silent discos took over the dance floor for three nights in a row
Ain’t no party like a silent disco party. The legendary silent disco returned to HUBweek for not one, but three nights this year. Those red, green, and blue headphones lit up the Hall of the Future as attendees of all ages danced the night away and those 21+ enjoyed drinks from our friends at Archer Roose, Downeast Cider, and Night Shift Brewing.
7. Welcoming 500 students and teachers from Boston Public Schools
HUBweek is all about empowering the next generation of leaders and innovators, and we were lucky to welcome hundreds of middle and high school students from Boston Public Schools to The HUB presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance last week for a day of hands-on learning and exploration. 100 teachers also joined us for the culminating teach-in, capping off an initiative begun over the summer that brought educators and industry partners together in an effort to incorporate 21st century technologies into the classroom.
8. The inaugural Change Maker Conference
The inaugural Change Maker Conference convened dozens of innovators, entrepreneurs, artists, researchers, and more from around the world for a two-day experience packed with inspiration and problem-solving. Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab, kicked off the conference with a focus on interconnectedness, arguing that in order to solve our greatest challenges, we need to "change the values of society, not just fiddle with the rules." We also heard about the power of empathy, how blockchain voting could make America more democratic, why art and design are a powerful forces for our political, social, and emotional wellbeing, and how inclusivity is not only practical, but profitable. Bringing together diverse voices (a quick introduction yielded responses from an MGH psychiatrist breaking down stigmas surrounding mental illness, a Polish entrepreneur making renewable energy more accessible, and a choreographer working to empower dancers with disabilities), the conference focused on impact, and how making connections among diverse stakeholders and disciplines can lead to innovations, solutions, and a more equitable world.
9. Drag queens lighting up the Ideas Dome
On Saturday night, a crowd lined up out the door of the Ideas Dome Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to catch a glimpse of Coleslaw’s Corner, a vibrant drag show full of electric energy and stunning looks. Coleslaw took the stage with Severity Stone, Violencia Exclamation Point, Sham Payne, Emphysema Menthol 100s, and Pristine Christine. These six queens wowed us with their magical performances and ethereal outfits, and blessed us with a night we’ll never forget.
10. Ayanna Pressley on the need for bold leadership
Ayanna Pressley, Member of the Boston City Council At-Large and Democratic nominee for Massachusetts's 7th congressional district, took the HUBweek Center Stage on Thursday, October 11. Chatting with HUBweek Co-Founder and The Boston Globe Managing Director Linda Henry, Pressley discussed how she found her voice, her recent campaign for and win the Democratic House nomination, the importance of disruptive acts, and women leading the current political movement. She ended her fireside chat with a powerful and inspiring statement: "What we need right now is visionary, inspirational leadership to challenge the status quo. Now is the time to be bold, and that's what I plan on doing."