The Heads of CityLAB: Lea Sauer

By Lea Sauer

1. Who are you and what is your role at CityLAB?

My name is Lea and I’m the space manager at CityLAB, which means I’m responsible for the LAB’s space program. 😉
When we happen not to be flying to the moon for a change, I make sure everything runs smoothly at our base station on Earth at Platz der Luftbrücke.

2. What is your background? 

After starting my career in the culture and film industry, I worked for several years as a project manager in software development and implementation. In between times I worked as a freelance transition designer, developing scenarios of best possible futures and utopias and bringing them alive to sensory experience.

3. Which image best describes your work? 

An octopus with eight arms – in demand all over the place and with a finger in every pie.

4. How do you collect and structure your thoughts?

If there’s a lot to do and everything seems to have to get done right away, I start by writing everything down. Some assignments can then be broken down into smaller chunks. Then I rank my list according to how important and urgent each task is. The first thing is to work your way through what is important AND urgent. Then what is urgent but less important. Then what is important but not so urgent. The rest can wait. 
When it comes to being creative, the best ideas often occur to me in the morning in the shower.

5. What are you reading right now?

The First Bad Man by Miranda July and Re-coding America by Jennifer Pahlka.

6. Has the pandemic taught you anything you’d like to share?

During the COVID-19 pandemic I worked for a year as a harvest helper on a vegetable farm in Brandenburg. In a very practical way, I experienced first-hand how much time, work, sweat and resources go into producing good food. This has taught me humility and reverence – firstly in terms of the food itself, but especially in terms of the people who have worked in agriculture for their entire life. I wonder how our society would change if all adults in Germany were to experience what I did.

7. What is your favorite place in Berlin? 

The Ferris wheel at the Neuköllner Maientage in Hasenheide. Unfortunately it no longer exists because the fair is no longer held there. The view from up there over the park, Tempelhofer Feld and the city was truly breathtaking. From this perspective, Berlin seemed so much greener than it actually is, offering a what-if experience that really captured all the senses.

8. What do you think makes a good team?

An idea or task that brings people together, small egos, clearly communicated expectations, mutual appreciation – and sharing the pleasure of having achieved something satisfying together.

9. What’s your favorite shortcut?

 Command + Shift + 4 to take a screenshot of a section of the screen.

10. What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you at the LAB?

An elderly gentleman came into the foyer of CityLAB wanting to book a flight ticket to Bangkok for the same day. It took lengthy explanations to persuade him that Tempelhof Airport was no longer active and that he should call his relatives.