The minds behind CityLAB Berlin: Jonas Jaszkowic

By Jonas Jaszkowic
Jonas Jaszkowic, Creative Prototyper

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

I’m Jonas and I’ve been a Creative Prototyper at CityLab since 2023. I’m involved in the conception, brainstorming and implementation of technical (software) prototypes. Whenever there’s time, I’m also happy to help out at workshops.

2. What is your background?

I studied cognitive science in Tübingen  (❤️) and applied computer science at HTW Berlin. After that I worked in electromobility and consulting for many years. I’m more of a generalist than an expert, and I like to immerse myself in new areas. I particularly enjoy developing prototypes. Maybe that’s why I ended up at CityLAB?

3. What do you like most about your work at CityLAB?

The variety you get from working on new projects at regular intervals without the pressure of having to sell them as products. I also particularly like the entire CityLAB team – all highly professional and good fun at the same time.

4. What are you working on right now?

Parla – an AI assistant that makes political documents searchable and editable with AI support. In addition, our neighborhood watering scheme Gieß den Kiez is being given a UI rework to make it even prettier and prepare it for the next watering season.

5. How do you collect and structure your thoughts?

Most of the time they’re contained in my mind in a kind of messy structure. I’ve tried numerous note apps and notebooks, but without success.

6. Which image best describes your work?

© Pinterest

7. Which newsletter(s) do you subscribe to?

I usually just unsubscribe from newsletters – my overriding objective is inbox zero.

8. What is your favorite place in Berlin?

Lake Liepnitzsee, probably the cleanest lake in Berlin: it’s the perfect distance for a nice bike ride. But technically speaking it’s actually in Brandenburg. If it has to be Berlin itself, I will choose Lake Müggelsee.

9. What do you think makes a good team?

Humor, trust in others and composure, even in stressful times. Everything will turn out just fine!

10. What are you passionate about?

Improvisational theater. Not only because it’s simply a lot of fun, but also because the flexibility and spontaneity you learn is very helpful in day-to-day life, too. Feel free to drop by and take in a show: and, entertainment guaranteed.

11. What does the term “smart city” mean to you?

For me, a city is smart when technology and data are not used as an end in themselves but to solve real-life problems with the aim of improving the quality of life for everyone.

12. What’s for lunch today?

Probably the most difficult question every day – I don’t know yet.

13. The most important insight gained from your work at CityLAB?

Digitalization is not a technical problem, it’s a structural one.

14. What’s your favorite shortcut?

Cmd + P to switch quickly between files in Visual Studio Code.

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

Not crazy, but funny: we developed a prototype called KiezBot that imitates various personas, including “Kiki, the friendly bee”. At irregular intervals, Kiki’s extremely squeaky and slightly hoarse robot voice can be heard here in the lab from the exhibition, answering visitors’ questions in a tone that’s as friendly and squeaky as can possibly be. Another unforgettable event was the bike race after the CityLAB Summer Festival 2023 (I lost).