a book from blog posts?

Great advice!


Maybe you have been harbouring secret thoughts about getting a book from those blog posts that you’ve been writing. I think about it too, occasionally, as patter is now several books worth of words.

Well, before you take the plunge, it’s worth just thinking about blogging and book writing. What do they have in common? How might they be different? What kind of book do you have in mind?

4950852061_35291ce2a9_b.jpg Would Vance Packard have blogged if the technology had been available to him?

Some bloggers put together a set of their most popular posts to create quickie ebooks. Such ebooks are downloadable from their website, and are either completely free or sold at very low cost. In blog based publications, the bloggers may have tidied the posts up and ordered them – but in essence what you get is a set of short pieces some of which you may have already read.

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Design Thinking: Practicing Innovation

Great post about our event.

Institute for International Communication, St. John's University

SymposiumDec-10On December 13, 2017, graduate students of International Communication at St. John’s University presented a variety of innovative projects they developed throughout a class in Design Thinking at a Graduate Symposium. The event was organized and moderated by Dr. Minna Horowitz, who led the Design Thinking class during this fall semester. 

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Content creation and team – core ingredients of success.

Suman Rath, Nordic Film, on Nordic innovation

Geographical diversity and high level of education in Europe feeds into the power of our startups. We don’t do it the American way. We do it our own way.

Tom Wehmeir, Atomico

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This is a post for the courses ICM820 – Digital Communities and ICM829 – Design Thinking (St. John’s University) on Slush, one of the largest innovation – startup conferences in the world.  I will focus on issues and insights that are relevant to a variety of fields of innovation, and to our course in particular.

The official program has begun on Thursday 11/30, will continue on 12/1, and you can livestream it via this link.

From NYT:

One of Europe’s largest startup events opened Thursday in Finland, with 2,600 companies and 1,500 investors networking and negotiating funding, as the region looks to ramp up an industry that has long struggled to compete with the tech giants of the U.S.

The two-day Slush conference in Helsinki brought in star power to promote itself, including former U.S. Vice President Al Gore to kick off the event as well as Britain’s Prince William.

The location of Finland is symbolic for a national and regional technology industry that has been trying to renew itself from older tech — the once-dominant handsets of Nokia Corp. — into newer ventures.

Finland has managed over the past five years to build a flourishing entrepreneurial scene, evident in the rise of gaming heavyweights Supercell — the maker of Clash of Titans among others — and the Angry Birds developer Rovio.

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Selected highlights

Re: SDGs and tech

Seth Bannon, 50 Years

  • We all want to fight for good in the society — let’s remember what the real problems are (not war but some common diseases)
  • Millenials want change; not interested in working for profit only ->
  • Business with social impact: The largest shift/disruption now.
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals provide a great set of “wicked problems” tech businesses can tackle: They are global, they have tangible goals!




By popular demand:

Neil Parikh, Casper

  • Followed his calling: from Brown University and med school to an innovator-entrepreneur.
  • Realization that few products that concretely interact with the user are well designed. Too much choice and random (often $-driven) selling points of mattresses.
  • Pitched the idea on “one fits all, online, test for 100 days and return if not happy” 60-70 times. “You have to hit the pavement so many times before success” but “you need to be passionate about your idea and keep going.”
  • Use human-centered design: Talked to hundreds of people at the initial stage.
  • Now obsessing about research, details, for end users!




Re: our ICM829 work platform

Cal Henderson, Slack (&Flickr)

Image uploaded from iOS

  • We tried to create games but were not good doing it. Slack derived form our working culture.
  • 9 million users.
  • Slack: no longer the era of sending a file back and forth, but of working on an object in the cloud -> Slack & channels.
  • Slack culture: the most difficult and the most important issue. Both human resources (how do we keep the start-up passion going while scaling up) and users.
  • Sets us apart: we build for humans, talk to customers, do user research. We want to build something that feels very good to use. Twitter a great source for feedback.


To showcase women in tech:

Ida Tin, Clue, interviewed by Victoria Turk (Wired)

  • “Femtech” – technology for women – a great untapped market.
  • Health data = very intimate. How to build trust with users? It is an educational project.
    • Users need to see the usefulness for them and a larger impact (the latter: big and longitudinal data => new medical discoveries on how to detect, e.g., cancer and how to prevent it early on)
    • Users need to have control on what and how to share to whom “MyData”
  • There are two paths to take in trust and sensitive data:
    • People will develop “post-privacy” attitude “I don’t care, free services in exchange of my data”
    • People will demand control of their data, companies will comply and develop services that are secure; the idea of win-win.


Re: my idol Esko Kilpi

Esko Kilpi, Randy Newcomb:

Everyone Asks What’s the Next Big Thing But We Should Ask What’s the Next Good Thing


What are the most critical problems globally currently? Who has the power to solve them and which other parties should be involved? One thing is sure: the role of entrepreneurs is increasing. We have to be able to recognize that economics too is a moral system and all economic decisions are moral decisions. Entrepreneurs have to start believing in the importance of their actions:

“We had the experience but missed the meaning. And approach to the meaning restores the experience in a different form.”

― T.S. Eliot



Slush100 Pitches

2017-12-01 16.31.24Altum Technologies has won the Slush 100 Showcase of 2017.

“Altun Technologies offers a solution to clean industrial equipment without having to shut down production. They utilise ultrasound emitters to clean the inside of pipes, vats and machinery to combat the effects of fouling. This impressive solution is the only one of its kind in the world, and is set to save its users in maintenance and make up for lost production.”

Take-aways from the pitching sessions:

  • Remember to tell what the ask (e.g., $) is for.
  • Give an idea of what is happening within what time frame; what is your long-term plan. Is there a new niche to win in the future if not now?
  • What is the team about – do you have all the expertise from tech to sales? If not, how are you going about it?






Emerging common denominators:

  • User-centric, human-centric, user-first, listen to the user.

  • Obsess about quality and details, obsess about perfection.

  • Not just $, but impact.

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Liveblog for ICM820 & 829: Slush 12/1

On 29 November, Aalto University, Finland, is hosting the Cluster Symposium on integrating entrepreneurship into engineering education. The symposium is  also an event in the Finland 100 years independence celebrations.

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This is a liveblog for the course ICM829 – Design Thinking (St. John’s University) on the symposium.  I will focus on issues and insights that are relevant to a variety of fields of innovation.  (Note the use of “Lightning Talks“, a non-branded form of Ignite Talks,  as an academic format.)


The second liveblog on Friday 12/1 will feature the startup event Slush. Meanwhile, if interested, tap into the Slush Live Stream!

  • Note that Slush innovation pitches have already begun today (“Slush 100”) and you may be awake to livestream some.
  • The official program starts tomorrow, on Thursday 11/30 and you can livestream it as well! Slush Live Stream will cover the whole stage program: Slush has four stages with  talks by names like Al Gore, Martin Lau (Tencent),  Cal Henderson (Slack), Adena Friedman (Nasdaq), Marc Pincus (Zynga), and more.  Each stage has its own stream so you can choose which one to follow according to your interest. If not sure, the Highlights stream features Slush staff favorite picks from the stage program mixed with exclusive backstage interviews.
  • Here’s the link to the stream everything.

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Cluster Symposium Program 11/29:

9:00 – 9:10

Helsinki EET

Opening and welcome by Cluster President Ilkka Niemelä, President of Aalto University
9:10 – 9:40 Keynote: Professor Thomas Hellmann, Saïd Business School, Oxford University, UK
9:50 – 12:00 Case: Integrating entrepreneurial capabilities into engineering/technology curricula (presented by Aalto & Grenoble INP), chair Kalle Airo


12:00 – 12:15 Wrap-up of the morning session, Kalle Airo, Aalto Ventures Program
13:15 – 13:45 Keynote: Humera Fasihuddin, Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d-school), Stanford University, USA

(Introduction of keynote speaker by Vice President Eero Eloranta, Aalto University)

14:00 – 14:40

14:50 – 15:30

Lightning talks: Integration of entrepreneurship into engineering education teaching cases (10 min/talk) chaired by Kalle Airo

14:00 – 14:40

  • Professors Benoît Marcq, Université Catholique Louvain: From Innovation to Technology Transfer: Active learning tracks for students in engineering schools and beyond
  • Mr. Alexander Tittel, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: Designing a Technology Push Approach for research-based ventures
  • Ms. Marisol Velasco Montañez, Eindhoven University of Technology: Integrating entrepreneurial learning into an innovation space

14:50 – 15:30

  • Professor Yolande Berbers, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven: Leuven Community for Innovation-driven Entrepreneurship
  • Vice Rector (External Affairs) Lilya Kiryanova, Tomsk Polytechnic University: Rehabilitation engineering: bridging engineers, entrepreneurs and individuals with disabilities
  • Professor Dr. Peter Buxmann, Technical University of Darmstadt: Entrepreneurial Teaching in a Technical University – Vision and Teaching Case
16:00 – 17:00 Panel Discussion  (panel members: Thomas Hellmann, Humera Fasihuddin, Ken Singer, Paul Savage, Kalle Airo). Facilitated by Olli Vuola, Head of Aalto Ventures Program
17:00 – 17:30 Wrap up of the day, Vice President Eero Eloranta, Programme Manager Kalle Airo and Katrina Nordström, Cluster Secretary General

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Ilkka Niemelä, President of Aalto University: “Aalto top 7 in all new universities in the world. – Entrepreneurial skills will be crucial in the future of our students. The theme of the centennial celebration of Finland. The theme is “together” – that is what entrepreneurship education should be, done together.”

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2.Catalysing entrepreneurship in and around universities

Thomas Hellmann, Saïd Business School, Oxford University, UK

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“We are in the 2nd wave of entrepreneurship:

  • Now teaching mission instead of research mission.
  • All levels from undergrad to postgrad.
  • All fields from humanities to business.”

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There is a funnel of entrepreneurial education:

  1. Inspiration from speakers, lectures
  2. Engagement from more concrete education
  3. Accelerator-phase, mentoring actual ventures (for- or non-profit)


Entrepreneurial education ecosystem:

2017-11-29 09.24.38

University role models for entrepreneurial education:

  • MIT: DEcentralized, a variety of entrepreneurial programs. The challenge: coordination.
  • Stanford: d-school; StartX. The blurring boundaries between the university and the outside world.
  • Aalto: One of leaders in Europe, because of the merger of 3 universities in 2010 (University of Tech, School of Economics, and University of Industrial Arts and Design).
  • Ryerson Digital Media Zone (Toronto). Not a research university but differentiating themselves with space.
  • Creative Destruction Lab Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Creme de la creme of the Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem mentoring students. “The best university accelerator”.
  • Oxford: Technology transfer office. Re: the 2nd wave = student-led innovation; Oxford Entrepreneurs (Europe’s largest student entrepreneurship organization). Oxford Foundry: Student-led innovation = 2nd wave. The fact that this can happen in such a traditionally oriented setting is sign of the times.

Systemic challenges: INTERNAL

  • Entrepreneurship as a word is polarizing: some students reject “business”.
  • Beliefs about the role of the university: “not to train entrepreneurs”
  • Control of student-led initiatives – who governs?
  • How egalitarian should we be? Inspire everyone vs. back your winners?

Systemic support needed: PUBLIC POLICY

  • Clarify student Intellectual Property (IP)
  • Technology transfer
  • Skills training
  • Students (loans etc.)
  • Policy to support investors and corporations to support entrepreneurial education
  • Such different gov’t agencies relate to entrepreneurial education – how to engage with different ones?

2017-11-29 09.50.18

3. Workshop on Entrepreneurial Education in Engineering

Perhaps relevant to SJU CPS: How to assess the needs and opportunities of a college/university in terms of entrepreneurial education?



4. Keynote

Humera Fasihuddin, Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d-school), Stanford University, USA, on undergrad engineering education and entrepreneurship, reporting on an NSF grant project “Innovation Fellows”.

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The world is changing rapidly. Wicked problems need to be solved. Skills needed are:

  1. Observation
  2. Questioning
  3. Challenging the status quo
  4. Diverse networking
  5. Experimenting

We need prototyping mindset, and not just for products, also about life. Shift from knowledge to skills and mindset:


5 BIG ideas:

  1. Broaden the idea of success beyond $. Social impact.
  2. Fall in love with the impact entrepreneurial ideas have in the students. The method is not important. Design Thinking is one great method. But Service Learning may create great entrepreneurs as well.
  3. Reach all students in all disciplines.
  4. Do things differently. Faculty and students as collaborators, co-workers.
  5. Obsess about creativity and creative cultures. Faculty needs to engage in supportive, not competitive culture! “Make others look good, that will make you look good” = collaboration and cooperation, support is the way to entrepreneurship education and its success. “This Stanford NSF program is the proof = one of the best impact indicators NSF has ever witnessed in educational/pedagogy change.”

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PS: Question: How to scale entrepreneurial ideas and mindsets horizontally, i.e., from tech and biz disciplines to others. Answer: “Be mindful of the language you use. Get rid of the term entrepreneurship. Lead with the issue and the idea.”

5.Lighting Talks

2017-11-29 14.03.32Professors Benoît Marcq, Université Catholique Louvain: From Innovation to Technology Transfer: Active learning tracks for students in engineering schools and beyond

  • Innovation courses as separate courses; entrepreneurship track.
  • Globalization = global studies are a must. If our lab isn’t the best we send our students to see labs and innovation all around the world.
  • Spaces matter, e.g., cafes and restaurants where different students and faculty can meet and innovate.
  • For creativity, one needs methods (e.g., Design Thinking; other user-centric methods).
  • Teach students to ask the right questions!


Ms. Marisol Velasco Montañez, Eindhoven University of Technology: Integrating entrepreneurial learning into an innovation space

The needs that an innovation space needs to fulfill:

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Professor Yolande Berbers, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven: Leuven Community for Innovation-driven Entrepreneurship2017-11-29 14.49.14

  • For-credit course without lectures and specific structure to “give students TIME to innovate and do their own project”.
  • Basic criteria for such a project to be accepted: (1) Research and understand the stakeholders! (human-centered; users…) (2) Gain some resources! (Funding and/OR expertise…)




6. Panel Discussion

Thomas Hellmann, Humera Fasihuddin, Ken Singer, Paul Savage, Kalle Airo. Facilitated by Olli Vuola, Head of Aalto Ventures Program.

2017-11-29 16.06.29

  • Entrepreneurship education is a “catchall”: it is such a broad discipline and requires so many skills that it gives students of all disciplines an idea what they are “missing” from their education.
  • Entrepreneur education = even more about changing mindsets than developing skillsets!
  • Entrepreneurship as a word needs revising. What is needed is that we need to take the elements of entrepreneurial mindset and apply the principles (exploration, experimentation, planning, sustainability…) in other disciplines.
  • How much disruption can an educational institution take before it breaks? We have the notion that academia has the answers. Has it?
  • Research vs. teaching. Research is there and can inform innovation, be the basis of entrepreneurship. But what we need is a revolution in teaching: not to push knowledge but be guides in the learning[-by-doing] process.
  • What’s the difference between vocational and academic teaching/learning? The world has changed so radically that every student, at every level, needs experiences; they get to see “the real cycle”.
  • Good to remember: Many theories inform our understanding; ontology and epistemology. But: research universities were born in the time of scarcity of information. Now we are in different situation.
  • Danger of the “old” or “ranking” model (“vocational seen as lesser than academic”): Biz and engineering schools are trying to gain academic credibility (and rankings) by academic/theoretical work; sometimes without any practical business praxis background/education.
  • How to assess project-based learning and entrepreneurial ideas? How do students learn? How do they apply? How do they feel about what they learned (self-reflection)?
  • How to assess impact? Track alumni, tell stories.



Liveblog for ICM829: Cluster Symposium @Aalto 11/29