Özlem's Song for  Katapult Future Fest 2024

Özlem's Song for Katapult Future Fest 2024

Participating in Katapult Future Fest

Attending Katapult Future Fest involves actively shaping the festival's atmosphere and impact. This responsibility reminded me of the ethos of Burning Man: “There are no spectators, everyone is a participant.” This perspective goes beyond merely buying a ticket to observe, learn, and be entertained; it offers the chance to engage deeply and contribute meaningfully. Instead of creating seperation between participants and organizers, we create and share a space together. After purchasing our tickets and sharing our email, we received several emails informing us about the program's preparation process. We were even invited to a WhatsApp group where we could introduce ourselves and connect. During a Zoom meeting, we discussed what Katapult is, what it isn't, and the types of contributions we could make. This pre-experience built my excitement and curiosity.

About Katapult and the Festival

Katapult is a fund that makes impact investments, and Katapult Future Fest is a festival where we dream together about the future of our planet and humanity, take action, discover, and have fun simultaneously. I first heard about Katapult at Slush in Helsinki last November. When we mentioned that our focus is on ventures, funds, associations, and social responsibilities that will benefit the world, Britta, an established member of Katapult community, told us, “You must come to Katapult. It’s in Oslo, and don’t worry, in May, if we’re lucky, it might even be sunny like last year.”

The First Day: Investor Day

The first day of the festival was designated as Investor Day. There was a community of 300 people, including fund owners and managers, venture capitalists, family offices, and individual investors. While the majority were from Northern European countries, there were also participants from Europe, America, and Africa. There were six participants from Turkey: four who lived in Turkey, one living in London, and one living in Helsinki.

The festival opening, interwoven with dance and music, began with a dance performance. Alison Fort, head of Katapult and Twist, announced in the opening speech that the theme of KFF24 this year is “Let’s Gather.” Throughout the day, topics such as megatrends, transformative investment strategies, and profit focus in impact investing were discussed. Parallel sessions covered various aspects of impact investments, what an ideal fund would look like in 2050, and the role of AI in investment selection.

The program concluded with a performance titled “The Embodiment of Business: Where Art is Our Guide,” exploring the interaction between a dancer and someone giving them instructions.

Interactions and Networking

Thanks to coffee breaks where you met everyone you made eye contact with, quickly introducing yourself and your investment strategies, and sharing LinkedIn or WhatsApp QR codes, interactions were fast-paced.

Evening Dinner

The day ended with a dinner by the sea, under the light of the sun, which doesn’t set before 10 PM. For the first time, I attended a meal where vegan choices outnumbered standard fish choices. There was no meat or chicken on the menu.

The Conduit

Throughout the week, The Conduit was the city’s meeting point for this event. Unlike its branch in London, it doesn’t turn away non-member guests; the manager emphasized that their doors in Oslo are open to everyone. This inclusive approach made The Conduit a more meaningful place for us. The Conduit is a meeting space designed for the impact ecosystem, with a cool, sustainable design focus, much like how Soho House is a meeting space for the creative.

The Second Day: Open to All Participants

On the second day, with 650 participants, the festival opened its doors in an open-air area. As we Turkish people are accustomed to fit all our open air events into 10-week summer season, we were surprised to participate in a two-day outdoor event in cloudy weather with light rain. I was inspired by the how the Norwegians were not afraid to get wet.  The idea of “if I get wet, it’ll pass” started to grow on me, and I appreciated the adaptability.  While dreaming of carrying the lessons learned from rainy open-air events back to my homeland, I greeted new faces with genuine warmth.

Sessions and Panels

The high-energy, live music-filled event started with us following panels and workshops on four different stages using our mini schedules. There were panels on being more conscious of our planet and sessions focused on self-awareness.

My first choice was the Tipi, with its imposing appearance. Here, Britta paired us up and asked, “With your full permission, who are you?” We had to whisper this question in the ear of the person sitting before us. I was paired with Frøyja, a Swedish woman with wavy hair and a warm smile. Her heartfelt and deep descriptions opened me up and made me feel connected in just two minutes. When it was my turn, I felt heard and accepted in a way I never had before. We expressed our gratitude to each other and left the tipi with wonderful energy. Freya shared that she was on the Katapult organizing team last year and was leaving early to join the Burn in Oslo tomorrow. This conversation turned into a sweet discussion about the similarities between Burning Man and Katapult. We exchanged contacts and continued our festival journey.

Welcome Panel

In the Welcome Panel at the Town Hall, we discussed why we gathered, what we were seeking, and what our intentions are. The four panelists gave hints about their other talks throughout the day. I found the agenda exciting, as I repeatedly reviewed my options to ensure I chose the most interesting and educational sessions for me, researching speakers on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Afternoon Sessions

The first session I attended in the afternoon was in the Insight Tent, with Professor James Goodwin and Neuroscientist Parneet Pal discussing the brain's functioning, developing, and changing factors. As someone curious about the brain’s functioning, this panel was an easy choice. Key takeaways included how all the hits we take to the head leave traces in the brain as cell fragmentation, visible in brain scans, explaining why sports involving heavy head impacts, like boxing, lead to rapid brain deterioration. Besides the importance of nutrition, NAD+ (Niacin Mononucleotide) significantly reduces damage to mitochondria. The professor signed and gifted his book to all listeners after the session, adding a new book to my collection on the brain.

The next panel I attended was "Urban Philosophies: What are Cities, What They Can Be, and What are They Not?" We questioned how we want to live as city dwellers. Four experienced panelists working on city structure and design provided transformative thoughts on completely altering known urban life. We evaluated the feasibility of stepping outside the established order and what we need to let go of for significant transformation.

Indigenous Perspectives

In the final session, we listened to a call from a tribal chief from the Amazon. He invited modern world people to visit the Amazon, see their way of life, and support them. Although COP26 seemed to have a budget, only 7% reached the tribes, highlighting the need for direct visits and support through different structures. However, it left some questions on how exactly this could be achieved. The most special moment for me was when the person next to me, a beautiful soul, said, “Ahh! It’s so nice to be in tipis. In my teachings, we always sit in tipis, Earth Wisdom is a tradition where we sit around the fire, drawing inspiration from nature.” She noticed the shift from my astonished look to a smile, and I responded, “I’m starting the same teaching in Turkey in a few weeks!”


Katapult is a meeting that feeds on the emerging energy and focuses on change with the strong belief that our gathering is no coincidence.

Community Dinner

For the evening of the first day, community dinners were organized, divided into small groups hosted by locals. This sincere and local experience allowed us to have deeper conversations with our randomly assigned groups. For example, we gathered in the office of a sustainable wool brand produced in Norway. Surrounded by various wool samples and designs, we experienced a sound healing session by our host. We tasted local foods and discussed cultures, hobbies, and the fact that everyone globally watches Netflix at home in the evenings around a table.

Second Day: Morning Rave

The second day started with a morning rave, an alcohol-free dance party announced in advance. Since we spent our morning exercising and packing, we missed this part, attending only one talk before quickly heading to our flight. Leaving behind the fresh air of the second day was a bit challenging. Discussing new methods beneficial for both ourselves and the planet, thinking about overcoming barriers to change and transformation in extraordinary ways, and believing in the power of togetherness fueled the fire within me. I find myself thinking about this in every meeting I attend after returning. What if conferences and gatherings could be catalysts for social, cultural, and systemic change? This was the main question the organizers posed while designing this year’s event, and I believe Katapult has achieved its purpose.

Key Takeaways

  • Future of the planet
  • Humanity and consciousness on focus
  • Change the system, creating change as a community
  • Be a system changer
  • From ownership to stewardship
  • From pyramid to circularity
  • Self-awareness
  • Find your way, clear your distortions
  • Different geographies, such as Africa
  • Diversity
  • 50 different content sessions in 2 days

Everything seemed different yet natural, which is quite extraordinary, isn’t it?

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1 comment

very inspiring, thanks for the share

Nese Gok

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