Liveblog for ICM820 & 829: Slush 12/1

Discovery, Teaching

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


Liveblog for ICM829: Cluster Symposium @Aalto 11/29

Discovery, Good News, Teaching

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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Mu: A Love Story


Such a strange thing it is, love. No need for words, just presence. I was prepared, and calm, and right there when she took her last breath. Yet, I would give anything and everything to be able to live together, side-by-side, for the rest of my life. Call me crazy but such is real love.

Mu 2003-2017.

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Careers in Think Tanks and Policy Institutes


Originally posted here.

A graduate degree in International Communication is not only for those interested in the corporate world, the government, the United Nations, or the academic world. Many expert organizations are seeking talent with international outlook, analytical expertise, critical thinking abilities, and superb, versatile communication skills. 

Dr. Minna Aslama Horowitz attended the ASEEES conference in Washington DC, 17-18 November 2016. This blog post is a summary of the wise advise by the following esteemed Think Tank scholars:

Leon Aron, American Enterprise Institute,

Samuel Charap, International Institute for Strategic Studies,

William Eric Pomeranz, Woodrow Wilson International Center, Kennan Institute,

Steven Watts, RAND Corporation, and

Mary Werden, U.S. House of Representatives.

A viable employer for us interested in international communication, global affairs, and making a difference that you might not have thought about: Think Tanks and Policy Institutes.

Similar but Different

There are several main differences between an academic scholar and a Think Tank researcher. First, scholars in think tanks are mediators: They write for a variety of audiences, ranging from policy-makers to the media, and the policy-curious public. Second, the output of a Think Tank researcher may not be as deep as that of an academic colleague – but also not as narrow. Third, very often a Think Tank scholar needs also to be an entrepreneur and fundraise for his/her projects. (That is, increasingly, the case with post-graduate academic research as well.)

In addition, the concept of time is very different in academic context than in the policy world. A Think Tank researcher will need to respond much more quickly to research and information needs that may emerge due to political or economic events. Finally, a Think Tank scholar mainly works in a team, even if responsible for a specific study or expertise. An academic researcher has more freedom, but often more isolated, and individual projects.

It’s a Question of Temperament

As the above indicates, a Think Tank scholar needs to juggle several “worlds” and enjoy that. Often Think Tanks relate to a specific policy question such as international relations, education, or health, to name a few. But it is good to remember that policies are often very complex. One needs to have a passion for influencing decision-making and patience to learn about policies.

How to Get In? Cultivate Your Experience!

Experience counts more than the prestige of your school. In terms of your discipline, interdisciplinary background pays dividend in the world of Think Tanks. But whatever your field, language and communication skills are the key: learn to explain complex issues to different audiences in a compact, understandable way. Teaching experience is a big plus. Also, non-academic writing (opinion pieces and the like) will be greatly valued. Build your networks: Intern, attend seminars and conferences…

If a career as a Think Tank expert got you interested just remember that most (U.S.) Think Tanks still operate on a two-tier hierarchy of Seniors and Juniors. The latter would have Master’s degrees and work as research assistants. In order to have a Senior position, a PhD is a must.

Country Living, A Dog’s Perspective

Discovery, Good News

A long absence of personal posts = a move to the country.

Even with all kinds of ups and downs (including a chaotic renovation process) this has been wondrous time for our dogs. It’s been close to miraculous to see them to “become themselves”, to shed some bad habits, clearly gain confidence, and become very relaxed. (Note that our dogs are rescues and both Mu and T had major issues; the former with skittishness and separation anxiety, the latter with dog aggressiveness.) To our knowledge, they both have been city dogs, until this June:

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Mu and T have just arrived to the farm.

After being a tad nervous with the FedEx truck and all the renovation people around, T clearly took on the job of being the guardian of the house. But: in Brooklyn both of them used to get nervous exited with every ring of the doorbell; almost getting into a fight over who would run to the door. Here, it’s clearly T who is in charge of everyone’s safety.

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T on alert.

The countryside has also been great for T’s health. He has a broken left hip that was operated on 1.5 years ago and that will never be 100% perfect again. So T still limps, perhaps every other week, but it’s much easier to provide him with opportunities to be outdoors and to be as active as he needs to and wants to. Due to this, his hip muscles have grown back. When he’s feeling good, he can run FAST.

And, it’s clear neither of our dogs are dog-aggressive. When thinking back to the first months of T having joined us in Brooklyn, I’m not surprise T reacted anxiously, even aggressively, to other dogs. He came from the streets and his hip was broken! (It took 3 vets to diagnose that, but we also grew anxious because of T’s behaviour — and he must have reacted to that as well.) It’s amazing how well he tolerates his new pack member, the fearless bundle of energy called Indi:

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There are some problems as well. It’s not so easy to socialize the puppy when you don’t walk her in the busy city streets but in the forest. That’s why she went to the puppy class and will continue her obedience training.

Another challenge is that all three have developed an incredible prey drive (we almost lost Indi when she and T ran after a deer). No e-collar or invisible fence helped. So these three got a big dog run. It’s not the biggest hit yet (Mu hates to be apart from us), but I’m sure in time:

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This is not to say cities are not for dogs. Many dogs thrive in the active environment of a city. And in NYC, with the generous off-leash hours in Central and Prospect Park, dogs get to have an amazing time with tens and hundreds of friends. 

Still, it’s hard to imagine we’d ever bring them back to the city to live there for good. Maybe it wasn’t just the city with its sensory overload but our seemingly busy life, the continuous sense of rush (which is exciting and tiring). While country living is not perfect, for us or for the dogs, there’s now often this feeling:

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