The continuation of our coverage from Innovation Convention 2014. Here we are releasing the summaries of another three fascinating sessions.
“Innovation Cafe: Global challenges, global collaboration”
Importance of collaboration
Moderated by Vivienne Parry the session focused on challenges which we meet through global collaboration. Fistly she asked John Pierre Bourguignon President of Research Council in Europewhy collaboration is so important. His statement was simple, people has to be in contact to bring some new light. Some difference we could notice at the governmental level where collaboration was more official. Europe focused on responsibilities and its own agenda 2020 about science and innovation. Globally, United Nations set up scientist council. However collaboration meet some challenges. We have to monitor situation, to be quick in our reactions. Example showed by Professor Jean- Pierre Bourguignon was about illnesses: we have to be aware to deal with them because they might cause epidemy. So that, how much we are quick in particular situation might have global impact.
Second speaker was Derek Hanekom who is Minister of Science and Technology of South Africa. He described completely innovative idea of radio astronomy. This project is hosted in South Africa and have eight partner countries. Three thousand dyshes are still searching for some signals. They were proud because they noted some signals from the Universe and even they do not understand them they try to find some key. Now the plan is about establishing international consortium.
Dr Lino Baranao from Argentina talked about collaboration in South America. Three main patterns at this continent are: food, agriculture and nanotechnology. In his opinion the newest technologies need to be distributed properly then everything will go well.
Other issue was described by Jennie Yeung. She started with talking about some barriers. In her point of view the biggest one is system of education which determines another one like for example language problems. Copying and memorising are not good way of learning, young people should be creative and have to learn the same things. Cultural differentation in education provoke some unfairness between young people from different cultural societies. But culture is important component and we have to make good reserch on culture and life styles because our life style reflects demand for products.
Last voice comes from United States. Eddie Berenice Johnson, Senator from the state of Texas, focused on collaboration from a little bit another side. Like she said, world is smaller today, a now we are able to do more because of that. Especially young could use this opportunity to collaborate and this is fascinating.
Innovation meets challenges every day. How much do we have to pay to be „in”?
After responses for the questions Vivienne asked our speakers about barriers in collaboration. Money, sharing new ideas (technology gives us more opportunities), language barriers (especially problem with English proficiency), mobility problems (visas issue) were mentioned.
But the biggest one is how to engage young people, how interest them in innovation? Obvious is that we need to stimulate kids to go to science. Changing way of education may draw youngsters to science – noticed by our speakers were online education or digitalizing educational fields. First of all we need to develop our relations then science. Short deadlines are good but time has to be long enough to develop something. Other goal is mutual understanding – collaboration expose us to other cultures. And we do not need to use magic wand to solve problems but we have to collaborate as fast and as good as we can.
“What if…games were educational? …business goes social?”
Imagine, what if games were educational, but the business will be built online? Europens Blog is going to depict the short insight of this new world for you.
Can you imagine that you can play games and study at the same time? Peter Vesterbacka, the Chief Marketing Officer and Mighty Eagle of Rovio Entertainment, the creator of Angry Birds franchise and over 50 other games, claims that it is more than possible. The games that Peter have created are „full curriculum” – it has not only digital but also physical environment for learning things like math, biology , chemistry or languages. And these games really work in real life. Guess why boys speak better English in Finland than girls? It is because boys have fun playing games. According to Peter, “learning should become a healthy addiction”. “We need to learn how to learn” added Peter, and described how in his country the process of this alternative learning is already going on. Peter’s company works with the representatives from education sphere, for instance with –Helsinki University where teachers are instructed how to use these innovational methods in their teaching process. The popularity of Angry Birds educational games reach far over the borders of Finland and even Europe. Now this brand is going to be promoted in Asia – in such countries as China and South Korea. Considernig the question, what is the secret formula that helps his company to reach such a popularity, for Peter Vesterbacka the answer is simple: “My team just know how to walk on water!”
To overcome the surprise and confusion of everyone, Peter just added, that first of all they work with children who do not think over how to do things, children just do things, so walking on water for them is more than real. Why not for all of us? Even if it is in our imagination, we can still do it. And second – “most off the year in Finland the water is frozen!” So you can really walk on water in there! The idea is simple – if you look at things from different perspective –even the walking on water became quite a feasible task.
Thanks to innovations, in fact more and more things became real, for example – the innovative cloud – training program based online that teaches business online. According to Gabi Zedlmayer, Vice President and Chief Progress Officer of HP Corporate Affairs, the problem of unemployed young people all over the world can be easily changed thanks to HP’s Living Progress Initiative. The cloud-based program and HP’s business strategy is a great opportunity for all those who have a good ideas, but do not know how to realize them in real life. Just by opening the web-page, that is for free and in seven different languages, one can understand how to write a business plan or how to set up their own web-site and market themselves. Gabi Zedlmayer assures that it works well in practice, there are several examples already in Africa, China, United Kingdom, Belgium and other country of people who started their own business thanks to this program. That’s why innovation has to be with purpose and it “has to be disruptive” otherwise it will never bring a positive changes into our life. To solve the big global problems we need to become social, in individual and administrative level. As Gabi Zedlmayer said, “We all have to go social. But not just businesses, all of us have the role to play, as an employees of the company- collectively, but as an individuals. There is so much everybody can do.”
According to Gabi, one does not need to start to solve global problems all around the world, one just needs to be active and start some changes in their own neighborhood. What means that the future of our welfare is in our own hands, we just need to be active and take responsibility, but such a great innovative programs will help to put these changes in to practice.
“Are we alone in the Universe? Can humans become inter-planetary?”
I had the opportunity to take part in a panel that covers my interest. I simply adore documentaries about space and everything connected to it including strange forms of life that possibly live somewhere in the sky. In this discussion we also had the opportunity to think about a new place for humans and how we will look for habitable planets.
Dr. Seth Shostak
Dr. Shostak started his speech saying that we live in special times. Well, as he said, at the beginning of the every century people says so, but he means that we are going to finally understand the biology. That soon we will have the opportunity to change characteristics of an unborn child. The second reason why these are special times is that we are going to get off our planet – in serious way. Because we have limited resources and we surely will have to find a habitable planet. Dr. Shostack also claimed that we are going to find a life in the space. But when talking about life, we obviously should not think about green little aliens. We should look for any forms of life nearby, because in our Solar System there are some worlds which might have biology. The other way to find it, is to search for any evidence of biogenic gases in the atmospheres, that surrounds planets. We can build giant telescopes and search the space for it. The last way to find any life in space is to pick up some signals from space.
Dr Suzanne Aigrain
Twenty years ago we did not know about any other planets except those in Solar System. Currently we know about several thousand other planets. And now astronomers are trying to find habitable planets outside using starlight. What does it mean ‘habitable planet’? It is roughly Earth size, with temperature suitable for humans and water. These are not only conditions, but also other, in which people could survive. So habitable planet is related to human-centered thoughts. But actually there might be a life in the space, where a planet has completely different conditions that maintains different forms of life.
Dr Mae Jemison
Nowadays we forget about space innovation, People forget that space innovations helps us in daily life. For example we use Global Positioning System almost everyday in our cell-phones, and we do not even think about those satellites above us. So we should start to think about innovation education, because we have the opportunity to create future.
Dr Jemison works on a ‚100 Year Starship’ project, which aim is to make sure that there is a capability of sending humans to another star system if people decide so. Making a decision of sending a group of people to another planet, turns our thoughts to our behaviour that we have to learn about more. We do not know what kind of human behaviour we will have to face. But for now, we are not actually able to move to another planet. Why? Our lives are too short to survive such long journey.
Seth Shostak – Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. Lecturer at Stanford, for six years was a Distinguished Speaker for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He was a Chair of the International Academy of Astronautics’ SETI Permanent Committee.
Other speakers were:
Suzanne Aigrain – Lecturer of Astrophysics at Oxford.
Mae Jemison – Former NASA astronaut, leads 100 Year Starship. Founder and President of The Jemison Group and BioSentient. She is national advocate for Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense.
As a team we are sincerely thankful for the received invitation from the European Commission and the hospitality of workers preparing this special event.