Meet the talent: Dimitris Giannakoudis, director at Xanthi TechLab

Place of residence: Xanthi

Position: Director at Xanthi American Space (Xanthi TechLab)

Please describe a day in your life:

A daily routine contains emails, networking, calls, and meetings. It’s vital to have people you want to learn and be part of a community. 

How many projects are you currently working on? Please describe them:

Our most diverse project is Route Eleven – Women Empowerment. We gather 45 women from East Macedonia and Thrace, and through eleven meetings, they will engage with other high-profile women mentors from Greece and the U.S. They will gain valuable knowledge and skills, breaking down walls, exposing themselves, and by participating in this project, they contribute to creating a women’s business community in our area.

The second project is the First Lego League, focusing on preparing our teams. This long-standing initiative aims to cultivate the leaders of tomorrow through STEM, robotics, and innovation. We organize the regional First Lego League competition, in which 20 teams from East Macedonia and Thrace participate.

The third project I would like to mention is the Thrace Negotiations Tournament: a soft skills role-playing and simulation project designed to impart skills such as negotiation, conflict resolution, and public speaking. We bring together professionals, teachers, university students, and regional companies through realistic scenarios.

In your opinion, who is the most influential person/company in the world of technology these days?

I believe that Steve Jobs transformed not only the way we use technology but also the way we think. Visionaries don’t just introduce innovations; they redefine how we approach technology and its utilization.

If you could pick one app/product/project existing now that you wish you were involved in, what would it be?

A.I. technology plays a pivotal role, not just in the technical realm but particularly in the areas of marketing and promotion

How do you see technology evolving in the next ten years?

In the best interest of people rather than as a threat

What is the most challenging thing you had to deal with during your career?

Blending various elements in my work and negotiating with people to ensure the effective completion of tasks has been a key aspect. The most challenging part has been adapting the American way of working to the Greek reality.

What is your most outstanding achievement up until today?

My most outstanding achievement is witnessing young students participating in our programs and acquiring skills that benefit their lives. Seeing individuals who were once participants now become partners and even friends is immensely gratifying.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Useful and happy

When was the last time you needed your negotiation skills?

Every day, you can have 5-500 negotiations per day, even with yourself.

If you could say something to your younger self, what would it be?

Take your time and stay prepared. Don’t be afraid to fail; you’ll find yourself on a journey you couldn’t have imagined.

What is the invention of the century in your eyes?

One of the standout digitalization advancements in the 21st century is likely the extensive integration of cloud computing. This innovation has revolutionized the way both businesses and individuals manage, store, and handle data, introducing unprecedented flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Thanks to cloud computing, the widespread availability of robust computing resources has democratized access, fostering innovation across various sectors, ranging from AI and IoT to e-commerce and healthcare.

Where would you like to travel next?


What is Xanthi Tech Lab, and what makes it different from other tech labs?

It’s about the people, the network, and the quality and variety of the projects we undertake.

Do you have a person who influences or motivates you?

My family and my people

What did you dream of creating/inventing/doing as a child?

The ability to bring people together so they can achieve something greater than if they were on their own.

What are the three characteristics you have that make you successful in tech?

Communicative, open mind, progressive

What skills do you think a young person who wants to work in the technology industry needs?

Beyond hard skills, soft skills

Where do you get inspiration for the projects you implement at Xanthi Tech Lab?

Engaging in conversations with numerous members and diverse communities requires staying current and modern, addressing subjects such as climate change, media literacy, innovation, human rights, and more.

What are the challenges of working from a small town?

Understanding that your audience may have limitations, training them towards new ideas and innovations is essential.

How do STEM games increase children’s perceptiveness?

STEM games play a crucial role in enhancing children’s perceptiveness. Through technology and innovation, they develop technical skills like programming, coding, and design and, more importantly, foster soft skills such as teamwork, leadership, negotiations, and conflict resolution. These skills are instrumental in shaping a successful future.

What are the pros and cons of working with children?

Who said anything about the cons!! (Laughing)

Which celebrity from the technology industry would you like to invite to one of your workshops?

If I could invite a celebrity from the technology industry to one of my workshops, it would undoubtedly be Steve Jobs if he were still with us. His visionary outlook, pioneering spirit, and unparalleled marketing skills set him apart.

How do you manage stress before a workshop?


What are the soft skills you have that you think have helped you in your career?

The soft skills that I believe have greatly contributed to my career are problem-solving, conflict resolution, and negotiation.

Robotics and artificial intelligence. How do you think these industries will be in 5 years from now?

Regarding the future of robotics and artificial intelligence in the next five years, I believe they could be catastrophic if not managed carefully but extremely helpful if handled responsibly.

They say that those who do not know coding will be illiterate in a few years. Do you share this opinion?

As for the idea that coding will be a prerequisite for literacy in the future, I believe that if it were true, we would undoubtedly find ways to learn or leverage apps to bridge the gap.

George Mavridis is a freelance journalist and writer based in Greece. His work primarily covers tech, innovation, social media, digital communication, and politics. He graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication. Also, he holds an MA in Media and Communication Studies from the Malmö University of Sweden and an MA in Digital Humanities from the Linnaeus University of Sweden.