Liveblog for ICM829: Cluster Symposium @Aalto 11/29

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:

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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?

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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.

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  • 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.



ICM836 Day 1 (5/30): Let’s Start the Journey!


Here’s a FAQ  — if I left something out please ask away below as a comment!

What is the course about?

As the title of the course depicts,  we will focus on global feminism and the media. On Friday, I will discuss this in more detail and offer some definitions. At this point, I just want to note that we are focusing less on identity and gender than to (global) development questions pertaining to women, and the role (international) communication including digital and legacy media, and different forms from journalism to PR. Our scholarly framework is that of feminist media  and communication studies.

That said, the course is not only about women. It is about sustainable development, information needs, issues of representation, and other questions that are important to our societies and the world as a whole.

What will we do?

We will take four outlooks on core issues and ideas of global feminism:

  1. The broad overview: We will look at some principles, theories, and the diversity of issues under “feminist media and communication studies”, bearing in mind international communication.
  2. The specific focus on “global feminism”: We will reflect empirical issues of global development and gender with feminist theorization.
  3. Discovering important thinkers/doers. Everyone will have one lecture duty: You will need to write one blog post, with a small assignment, about a scholar or activist in the field of global feminism.
  4. The in-depth exploration, individually but not alone: You will look at one issue in depth for your final (academic, research-based) essay. The specific topic and focus will be YOUR CHOICE. You will work on it every week, starting at Thursday 6/1. The twist: This will be a collaborative, communal effort in some sense. Your colleagues will comment your progress and help you along they way, also every week. And you will help them.

Where are we now and when will we meet?

This is my personal blog. We will “meet” here every Tuesday and Thursday briefly for a lecture briefing and/or assignment briefing.

Tuesdays entail the theoretical and conceptual briefings and examples. Thursdays are dedicated to your research project.

New assignments — actually, reflections and fact finding missions — will be posted early afternoon and you will also receive an email to notify you about them. You can complete them at anytime within the following few days.

  • Tuesday – theory assignments will be brief. You will need to complete them by the following Thursday,  midnight, so in 2 days.
  • Thursday – research assignments will be more extensive. You will need to complete them by the following Tuesday,  midnight, so in 5 days.
    • Comments to your colleagues’ research posts: asap after they have been posted but by the following Thursday, midnight.

You will create your own blog or equivalent (an online platform that we can give you feedback on) for the duration of this course (or, if you want and have one, use your existing blog).

You can use any screen name, any title for the blog, any blogging platform or equivalent, and so on.

Just a (fictional) example – to show you how it works.

On Tues 6/6, you will be emailed a written lecture posted here. You will be asked to comment on  a feminist theory: do you think it applies in today’s world.

By Thur 6/8 evening you have thought and researched about the question. You will post your reply as a comment below: I believe this theory is outdated because… When prompted by the comment function of this blog, you will use your St. John’s email address (that will be seen only by me, the admin). Then you will use any screen name, in this case, MH.

By the same Thur afternoon you have also received your research prompt-inspiration, here on this blog. It could be something like: Search for, read, and summarize 3 academic articles that relate to your research topic. What did you learn – what are some questions/points you need help with? Post the summaries on your blog as a blog post. You will work on this the following Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon and post your summaries by Tues 6/13 evening. At the same time, you will check the new research briefing of that Tuesday, and see what your colleagues have posted.

You will spend the next two days reviewing your colleagues’ work and completing the small research assignment. By Thur 6/15 midnight, you have helped your 5 colleagues by sharing your thoughts/tips with them as comments on their blogs, as well as completed the research mini-assignment.

IN ADDITION! Note that Wed 6/7 and Wed 6/14  would have been dedicated to inspiring examples of thinkers/doers: Blog posts from 4 of you.

If you are new to blogging, here’s a good tutorial about WordPress (this blog is a WordPress one):

Or, here’s a tutorial on how to make a Tumblr blog.

You can also create a Google Docs or Dropbox file — just give us rights to comment.

(More about this on Thursday 6/1. Let me know if you have any questions, below or via email.)

You will respond to the research assignments on your own blog, as a blog post.

Why these platforms?

Apart from Google Docs / Dropbox documents, these blogging platforms are public (although you can keep your identity from potential readers). Blogging is also a more informal and personal, inclusive way of communication, than academic writing. Perhaps you have heard the famous feminist saying: “The personal is political”. Here, we understand that slogan in terms of offering our views to everyone, and going beyond the format of a specific audience. While being scholarly and analytical in our thinking and referencing, we can now practice our own voice. Hence, my posts are on my own blog. I would encourage you to blog, but appreciate it if you want to keep your work just between us. In that case, create a shared Google Docs folder or a Dropbox repository (or equivalent) — just make sure we can comment your texts.

What general principles do we follow?

Some other principles that many feminist scholars practice are:

  • The aforementioned personal voice and style; inclusiveness. Open mind, acceptance and respect of different ideas and views.
  • Critical thinking, i.e., constant analysis and questioning of the status quo. Please feel free to critically examine all the readings and assignments. This, as you know, doesn’t mean constant criticism of views that you don’t agree with, but an open mind to multiple interpretations beyond the most obvious ones.
  • Situational knowledge, i.e., acknowledgement of one’s background, current personal and professional situation, and even biases that might, or do, influence one’s opinions and analyses.
  • Willingness to assist and help one another.

Please keep these in mind when completing your assignments.

Why these books?

Our course books are:

Current Perspectives in Feminist Media Studies
Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (April 11, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0415754720
ISBN-13: 978-0415754729

  • This book, actually a collection of short essays to honour the academic journal Feminist Media Studies, is a great introduction to current thinking around core practices and issues. It is especially useful for our course as the texts are compact and diverse, also in terms of addressing cultural and global diversity. In other words, these texts allow us to explore many issues within our five weeks.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307387097
ISBN-13: 978-0307387097

  • This book is the opposite of the one above: It’s a journalistic exploration of global women’s issues, and solutions. And this is precisely the reason why I chose the book. These two texts show the array of approaches one can take to “global feminism and the media”. Furthermore, this book is about one of your assignments (book review). A further reason for this book? It has turned into an effective family of communication-PR spin-offs, ranging from a PBS documentary/film to its own multi-media website with educational materials, to a Facebook game. Finally, this book and the related products also showcase the contested nature of many issues, theoretical and practical, that can be labeled under “global feminism”. The authors are American journalists, and that has evoked quite a bit of criticism (as “veiled colonialism”, as one-sided, and so on). More about this later.

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What’s next?

  1. Check our the syllabus, here and ask me any questions you might have, either below as a comment or via email:
  2. Get the books, if you haven’t already, and begin reading Half the Sky.
  3. Await for the first “research prompt” here on Thursday. I will also post a “sample profile” = instructions for your lecture duties (Wed 6/7, 6/14, 6/ 21.) (When these are posted, you will receive an email notification.)
  4. EXTRA – just FYI: Here’s a first draft of an article I am writing for the Handbook of Mediated Communication, titled Gender and the Media. We will discuss the content in the coming weeks, but if you want to have a head-start you can glance through it.

See you on Thursday!

How to Lead Innovation?

For the past Fall, and still until March, I’ve been a part of a team researching Living Lab practices and options for an innovation-education incubator organization GESCI. We have created a blog to keep notes and share insights called The Sound of the City.

We have just launched a series of Expert Insights for the blog. The first Expert I interviewed is a dear friend, Sari Virta (PhD Candidate in Media Management at University of Tampere, Finland; Team Leader). At present, she is researching how innovation can be managed in creative organizations. Before, and in parallel to, her academic career, Sari has had a long career in innovative media organizations, as well as a team leader in multi-stakeholder contexts. I highly appreciate the way she condensed some hot topics related to managing creativity and innovation, so cross-posting her views here:

Sari’s Top 5 Recommendations for Effective, Empowering Innovation Leadership

  1. Understanding of the true nature of innovation, as work. Creativity and the resulting innovations are complex mix of different aspects, hence, conflict-driven work. Leaders of innovative organization need to realize that and carry the related responsibility.
  1. Innovation and creativity in organizations need to be understood in different levels: Not only as organizational but also as individual, groups within the organizations, and even in terms of the broader networks around the organization. The dynamics of these levels might be very different and have to be skillfully managed.
  1. Understanding of how the work/organizational environment can lead to, and support, creativity and innovation. Mere individual creativity, let alone, is not enough.
  1. Innovation is often prohibited or hindered by the existing ways of being and doing. Leaders need to examine and question plenty of old routines.
  1. Understanding of different stages of projects and processes. Managing the brainstorming stage will most likely needs to be very different than the final steps of the execution.

Thoughts? Comments? Please post them below!