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!
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!
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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.
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.
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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
— Shivam Verma