Hej everyone,

this is a late post about the OKAWARDS 2017 in Stockholm. It was a really interesting event and I am super glad that I was part of it. As a volunteer I could look behind the scenes and could help to set up the event. It was an honor to pass the award of the category ‘Best Business’ to EntryScape Catalog by MetaSolutions.se. Meta Solutions is a startup of former KTH students which is dealing and managing open data. Their winning project EntryScape is called as a sustainable information management platform for providing a workflow for modern data management. We had the opportunity to mingle before the event with the guests and the jury and get to know each others visions and getting advices. The two founders of MetaSolutions told us their impressive story about setting up the startup and explained what they do and what they want to do in future. For me as a German it was nice to hear that they will expand 2018 and will work together with Sachen – a state in Germany. Germany is not leading in dealing with Open Knowledge and young firms like MetaSolutions are taking a step in the right direction. For the future it is important to encourage innovation democracies and increase open data!

Jury               Award

Open Knowledge Awards are for celebrating heroes in open knowledge and are an incentive for sharing more data and information, also in a digital way. Three out of six winners couldn’t come to the event but joined per Skype call and were happy to hear that they got the award. All winners: Beate Eellend (www.openaccess.se), Wikimedia Sverige, EntryScape Catalog by MetaSolutions.se, Lidding, Helena Bengtsson and Eric Borälv are leading in sharing data and setting examples. We need all to shift our mind about sharing knowledge to overcome challenges in the future. Sweden is on the right path but has a big potential to improve – in 2015 the country was ranked #27 in the Open Knowledge Index. Leading countries are Taiwan, Australian and UK.


All in all, it was really instructive and informative to join this event as a volunteer. But moreover the people who helped to set up the event and the winners are a big inspiration for me! It was also a perfect opportunity to talk to founders of Startups and to work on the most important thing in future: network! I want to thank all of you for making this event as it was and also Serdar again for the Kebab at the end of the day 😉

#ME1033 Open and User Innovation at KTH!




The Nobel lecture by the Economics Prize winner, Richard Thaler was held on 8th of December, 2017 at Stockholm University. When I decided to attend this lecture, I had mentally prepared myself to queue outside to get a seat and listen to a talk filled with scientific jargon that I may not understand. But I was pleasantly surprised when Professor Thaler delivered a presentation with relatable stories to explain 30 years of his research and even included a funny picture of Homer Simpson in his slides!

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He started his talk with a story about cashew nuts in a dinner party when he had invited his friends over. The bowl of cashews on the table was being consumed quickly and as a responsible friend, he hid the bowl in the kitchen like most of us usually do with a packet of chips or a huge piece of chocolate cake in a party. Taking it away makes us feel relieved but he pointed out that from an economics point of view, taking away a choice shouldn’t make us feel good. This story and several other thought experiments led to Professor Thaler to research on ‘supposedly irrelevant factors’ (SIFs). There are a lot of these supposedly irrelevant factors that are in fact, not irrelevant. As humans with bounded rationality, unless we are influenced by nudges (like cashews being taken away), we tend to stick to the known and have an aversion for giving up what we already have.

At this point, you might be wondering how this fits into the topic of open and user innovation. During this talk, I realised that when we brainstorm for new ideas in our courses, we always assume that the potential users and partners will make a rational choice like downloading a new app which is better than all the existing apps, buying a new product with better features instead of using a poorly designed product that they already own. But we rarely pay attention to creating ‘nudges’ that can influence these potential users to change their existing behaviour without forcing them to do anything.

An example of a nudge mentioned in the talk was by the Swedish government which encouraged people through an advertising campaign to choose their own pension portfolio in 2000.  One of the ads even have Harrison Ford recommending a portfolio. 75% of people enrolled themselves to a custom plan that year rather than using the default plan and the nudge has lasted for 17 years for these people.

Another interesting point related to open innovation was the use of open public data from Sweden and Denmark. The research by Professor Thaler on Swedish pension plan was using open data provided by the National Social Insurance Board of Sweden and the Premium Pension Authority. Another research paper mentioned in the talk was by Raj Chetty and colleagues using open data from the Danish government to prove that the impacts of retirement savings policies on wealth accumulation of people depended on whether they changed their savings rates by active or passive choice. This was done using 41 million observations on savings for the population of Denmark from 1995-2009.

If you curious, you can watch the entire recorded Nobel lecture here. There are lots of other great insights in the talk that I might have missed out in this post.

Innovation night took place in Nymble building on the main campus of KTH, the event started with inspirational speeches from start-up founders and academics in the field of Innovation.
Here’s a recap of the speeches. Amir Sharafat the co-founder of Shortcut Labs AB / Flic emphasized the importance of being curious, passionate, determined and most importantly that you should not be afraid to try and fail. Niklas Arvidsson Associate professor at KTH spoke about how the innovative idea of blockchain got rid of the middleman of transfer money such as banks and creating bitcoin as a digital currency. Johan Båth – Customer Success Manager at Detectify mentioned the idea of crowdsourcing white hat hackers that can be spread all over the world to find vulnerabilities of different websites and that is a very good example of how open user innovation can be utilized.

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After that, participants were divided into the different Case workshops. There were 4 workshops: Sogeti, Karma, MAD, KTH Innovation. The event was a very good place to meet with innovative students from different majors and experienced mentors and moderators that have a lot of experience with the innovation process. I participated in the Sogeti and we worked on how to utilize a high-speed wifi connection on SAS flights in an innovative way. In less than 30 minutes the teams came with a lot of innovative ideas that can be employed and this is a vivid example of how the open user innovation works and how it adds values to the different technologies.



Later we had a very interesting panel discussion with Andrew Hennigan, Niklas Arvidsson, Emelie Ekblad, Johan Båth and Gustaf and they kept bouncing ideas and advice that it is really beneficial for anyone wants to start in the field of innovation.

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Overall, it was really good experience and a perfect opportunity for networking with mentors who started their journey of innovation already and have a wide experience.



This event was part of the Armada fair and the registration is on Armada website and I highly recommend it to everyone in the upcoming years!



Last Thursday I volunteered on the biggest of the year organized by EIT Digital. During this event, several companies showed the projects they are working on stands or presented it during presentations. In the following blog, I am going to share my experience of the event.

About 150 people registered for the amazing event in Kista. The most interesting and innovative project in my point of view was of the firm https://www.qinematiq.com/. Qinematiq designs “products for the professional film and television market through professional engineering technology” [1]. The project they presented during the EIT Innovation Day was about machine learning. Sensors and cameras scan the body position and analyze it to find wrong movements.

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During six short exercises such as doing one squat or balancing on one foot, my complete body got scanned. Afterwards on a 3D animation of my movements, the orientation of my hips, knees,… got highlighted out. And I could see what I do wrong. I got explained those weak points by an employee of a Qinematiq and he showed me which exercises I should do to make the movements smaller and to relieve bones and muscles to avoid pain and diseases caused by wrong body position. I think it was great to see how easily I can avoid having pain in 50 years. With three exercises that are perfectly adapted to my body, I can avoid this. And the best part it does not take even longer 5 minutes to do them.

If you have ever the chance to make your body scanned and analyzed, I highly recommend doing so for your health and fitness.

The biggest problem in fitness studios is that you do not know how to do the exercises correctly. Imagine this scanning/ analyzing-tool is used to check how to use the gym machines to prevent you from using them wrongly and to prevent accidents and pains.


During the event, EIT Digital students who participated in the IOT Hacker Challenger pitched the ideas they have worked on. The winning team of the challenge presented a chip that can track your workouts in the gym: how many repetitions you do and when. Wouldn’t it be nice to add those two ideas together? Don’t you think that this would improve your gym experience, by ensuring you to exercise correctly, in the amount you need it, adapted on the exercises you should work on to improve your body shape?

Let me know what you think and comment on this blog:)


I think, that the event was very great and everything went smoothly thanks to the organization of Joanna and the help of all volunteers.

In case you know those guys in the picture this is not a coincidence: May I present you now the Open & User Innovation Volunteering Group?

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Did you like my comment? Stay tuned, I am sure more volunteering comments about this event will follow.







This thursday, 7th of December 2017, we had the last lecture for our course Open and User Innovation with another very interesting guest lecture by Cristina Gadibadi. The topic was ‘Learning from Failures’ based on Cristina’s experiences as a serial entrepreneur and her last failed startup ‘Get Deals’. In this blog post, I am listing some of the key things I learnt from the presentation.

  1. Speak the customers’ language: The majority of the Swedish population is good in communicating in English. However, as a Swedish company, when trying to on-board clients it’s important to communicate with them in Swedish. It’s their first language and the one they are most comfortable with. While Cristina talked about language in a specific context, the learning can be applied in a much broader sense. As an entrepreneur, it’s important for clients to truly understand the value proposition and to be able to do this successfully, we have to speak their language. To put it more simply, if customers do not understand, they do not buy.
  2. Be smart at outsourcing: It’s really cheap but really difficult to manage remotely. There are a lot of operational issues when outsourcing projects to foreign countries. Hence, when outsourcing larger projects, it’s better to approach companies rather than freelancers. While companies are more expensive, they have established procedures and are more likely to meet our demands. Freelancers on the other hand can be really good for shorter projects (e.g., Logo Design, Short Video etc.)
  3. Bootstrapping is hard: If one does not have enough money to bootstrap a company, it’s best to look for venture capitalists (VCs). VCs provide funds to run a company in exchange for equity or ownership stake. Cristina puts it very well saying ”It’s better to own a part of your dream business than no dream business at all”. Moreover, VCs bring in a lot of valuable experience and knowledge.
  4. Try Guerilla Marketing: Most startups have zero to little funds to spend on extravagant marketing. As entrepreneurs, we need to be more creative in such a situation. Cristina mentioned ‘guys in the amazon holding a sign for Get Deals’. While this has nothing to do with the product, it’s cheap, different and more memorable for the customer.

Go Entrepreneurs!

— Shivam Verma