«1,000 leaders discuss public service innovation in Colombia»

Winnie Agbonlahor. Global Government Forum

«Around 1,000 decision-makers from more than 100 countries will meet in Colombia today to discuss innovation in the delivery of public services to mark the United Nations Public Service Day.

»The UN General Assembly in 2003 designated 23 June as Public Service Day and since then, the day’s celebrations have been accompanied by a global discussion forum.

»Hosted by the government of Colombia this year, the forum is taking place over four days starting today.

»Topics discussed will include accountability in the public services of Latin America countries; e-government; innovations in gender responsive service delivery; public service management models; and Internet governance for innovations and sustainable development.

Topics discussed will include accountability in the public services of Latin America countries; e-government; innovations in gender responsive service delivery; public service management models; and Internet governance for innovations and sustainable development.

»Participants will include senior civil servants, as well as leaders of international and regional organisations, academic institutions, non-profit organisations and the private sector.

»Since its formation the UN’s Public Service Day also features the Public Service Awards, which “reward the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide.”

»Run by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the awards this year received 848 nominations, of which 638 – from across 71 countries – met the eligibility criteria, growing from 510 eligible nominations from 55 countries in 2014.

»Winners of the awards’ four categories – improving the delivery of public services; promoting whole-of-government; fostering participation in policy-making decisions through innovative mechanisms; and promoting gender-responsive delivery of public services – will be revealed at a special ceremony on 26 June.»

Public Administration and innovation


«Newsletter L&I» (n.º 59, 2015-06-29)

Administração Pública e inovação | Administración Pública e innovación |
Administration Publique et innovation | Public Administration and innovation

Um inovador | Un innovador | Un innovateur | An innovator

Uma inovação | Una innovación | Une innovation | An innovation

A execução da inovaçao | La ejecución de la innovación | L’exécution de l’innovation |
The innovation execution

Liderar Inovando (BR)

«CCT faz audiência para discutir marco legal para conhecimento e inovação» [web] [intro]
Cinco pequenos negócios entre os dez vencedores do Prêmio Nacional de Inovação 2015, instituído pelo Sebrae e pela Confederação Nacional da Indústria (CNI) [web] [intro]
«Direitos políticos das mulheres: resistência brasileira» [web] [intro]
«Parques tecnológicos compartilhados são a nova aposta da parceria Brasil-China» [web] [intro]

Liderar Inovando (PT)

«BICMinho e AID dão prioridade à inovação no design com o apoio do Governo» [web] [intro]
«Empresas portuguesas destacam-se em feira tecnológica no México» [web] [intro]
«Empresa nacional lança veículo de combate a incêndio inovador com nome “Lusitano”» [web] [intro]
«Informalidade em África pode ser oportunidade para o desenvolvimento, considera Carlos Lopes» [web] [intro]

Liderar Innovando (ES)

«Los agentes sociales piden más apoyo a las empresas» [web] [intro]
«¿Qué motiva a los empleados más innovadores?» [web] [intro]
«Experiencia culinaria en la octava planta» [web] [intro]
«El nuevo modelo logístico global Physical Internet en París» [web] [intro]

Mener avec Innovation (FR)

«L’innovation territoriale, sur un fil d’équilibriste» [web] [intro]
«"Je veux que Solvay mérite un Nobel", l’innovation vue par Patrick Maestro, médaille de l'innovation 2015 du CNRS» [web] [intro]
«Conférence-débat publique: L’innovation, un état d’esprit» [web] [intro]
«Le gouvernement présente sa stratégie numérique pour la France» [web] [intro]

Leadership and Innovation (EN)

«China supports start-ups & public innovation» [web] [intro]
«Terry Funk Shares His Memories And Thoughts On Dusty Rhodes. Talks Dusty's Relationship With Vince McMahon» [web] [intro]
«Africa’s tech innovation ecosystem: The Missing Middle» [web] [intro]
«EU regional innovation must unite public, private and third sectors» [web] [intro]

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Atribución-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional


«EU regional innovation must unite public, private and third sectors»

Markku Markkula, president of the Committee of the Regions:
The Parliament Magazine

«If we are to make research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3) a success in our regions we must be led by three clear principles. First, RIS3 is above all a process - an economic transformation using innovations for the wellbeing of a region.

»Currently, high priority actions focus on a few crucial political and industrial business areas defined by regional decision makers.

»Second, political decision makers need to start thinking about their region from the perspective of becoming innovation ecosystems built on strengthening human capital.

»The key success factor is a positive attitude towards curiosity, creativity, entrepreneurship and knowledge-sharing based on the principles of open innovation.

»And third, pioneering regions which open new avenues for European success in RIS3 policy develop their collaboration mentality and working culture based on crossing boundaries and creating European partnerships through the help of new digitalised open innovation platforms and processes.

»These platforms consist of several parallel physical and virtual elements forming processes for a strong co-creation culture.

»In the Committee of the Regions (CoR) we have produced opinions in recent years calling for pioneering regions to be forerunners in implementing the Europe 2020 strategy and through that in creating our desired future.

»Lifelong learning and digitalisation are the cornerstones of this change in mind-set towards entrepreneurship and innovation.

»We need a dynamic understanding of regional innovation ecosystems where the public, private and third sectors learn to operate together.

»We need to modernise triple helix practices - creating more cooperation between companies, universities and cities - by increasing the role of citizens. In many cases citizens are the true drivers of development as customers but also as active contributors throughout the innovation processes.

We need to modernise triple helix practices - creating more cooperation between companies, universities and cities - by increasing the role of citizens.

»We need methodologies that mobilise public-private partnerships and encourage people participation through user-driven open innovation and living labs.

»We need to speed up change through scalability and implementation for the benefit of people throughout Europe. We must energise our urban ecosystems.

»Digitalisation through apps, the cloud, and other services enables new forms of learning and collaborative work. This also means new ecosystem creation, evolution, and business models. This development should have a strong influence on urban planning and construction industries.

»The innovation garden is a regional innovation ecosystem in my home city of Espoo, the second largest city in Finland with close to 300,000 inhabitants. We have an extensive €20m research programme called 'energising urban ecosystems' which uses a multi-dimensional urban development approach.

»We combine physical and digital infrastructures on shared innovation platforms.

»This means that city decision makers must address urban development challenges as a mutually complementing integrated system of urban infrastructures, socioeconomic objectives, enabling technologies and facilitating mechanisms. Different stakeholder groups are integrated in different ways.

»We describe this as a smart urban design process with a strong human focus. This can be portrayed as a layered structure of built and natural environments, integrating physical and virtual platforms, human-centric applications and user-driven collaborative processes, which constitute the emerging socioeconomic system. It is argued that this 'design' should and could be improved with digital means and with enabling digital technologies.

»Accordingly, in future cities (which are already emerging) hardware and ICT infrastructures become an integral part of urban infrastructures, ICT platforms merge with industry platforms, smart living labs and mobile apps complement human-centric living environments, eGovernance processes match with user-driven needs and systems, thus extending the reach, depth and relevance of the re-engineered socioeconomic realities.

»Let me conclude by openly inviting and challenging the European commission's DG Research, DG Regio and the joint research centre to form a team of experts to review the outcomes of this and previous Week of innovative regions in Europe (Wire) conferences.

»This team will answer the following questions. How do we encourage regions to take a pioneering role? And how do we make use of the experiences of RIS3 strategies and their implementation processes in increasing the renewal capital of regions and giving a special focus on the role of decision makers?

»I would also bring three to four experts from the CoR to participate in this co-creation process. Why do I offer this open challenge? I have contributed to three of the recent Wire conferences and I value their atmosphere and their key findings. However, the potential for its outcomes is much higher than is currently being made use of.

»Learning is the key to innovation and we need to focus on our own learning processes - individually and collectively. Let us ensure future Wire conferences are instruments for European regions to become ever more innovative and learning-oriented.»

The innovation execution


«Africa’s tech innovation ecosystem: The Missing Middle»

Keith Jones, Sw7 co-founder: Disrupt Africa

«Firstly, we are going to split the market into local and global opportunities. We are encouraged by the best practice accelerators to solve a local problem, or one that you have a deep understanding of. For the purposes of this article, I am going to consider the global stage as the normal market, one that is being analysed by cleverer folk than I. We are going to discuss the local opportunities as those that are specific to Africa, or African in nature, which could be aligned to pan-African opportunities or be positioned to scale into the emerging markets, or the “majority market”, as Philip Kiracofe, a United States (US) venture capitalist (VC), calls it.

»What defines your business is how you are innovating, and the market you are addressing, whether B2C or B2B.

»Innovation is done in the following ways (thank you Clayton Christiansen of Innovators Dilemma, for the foundation):

»True innovation – you build or create a technology or process that is truly new.

»Incremental innovation – you take an existing process or technology and improve on it.

»Sector innovation – you bring technology and process from one market sector and either combine it or introduce it to a new market.

»Market innovation – you are either first to market in that market, or you have found a new way to access the market that is faster and more cost effective than the alternatives.

»To create a high-growth businesses, the market needs to be both accessible and addressable. The rate at which the market is innovating is driven by these two factors. In Africa, accessibility is driven exclusively by smartphone adoption; we are a mobile first economy. Once the market is accessible, addressability, how you can reach out to and connect to these users, is the next challenge.

»The lack of accessibility and addressability of the majority market is The Missing Middle in Africa. They can’t be found or reached digitally with any ease and this prevents the creation of the high growth businesses we are seeing in the developed markets. As we are a mobile first market, we have to build on device, which brings the higher costs and complexity associated with building a multi-channel product.

The lack of accessibility and addressability of the majority market is The Missing Middle in Africa. They can’t be found or reached digitally with any ease and this prevents the creation of the high growth businesses we are seeing in the developed markets.

»A significant point of departure, here, is the mobile first statement. The developed markets bring a web, desktop, tablet, phone mindset with them. Everything they build is based on this premise. When we say Africa is mobile first, what we really mean is we are mobile only, and the on-device app must be useful when used in the context of helping the user interact with the bricks and mortar world they live in. Andre De Wet, one of our mentors, articulates this point more eloquently that I could.

»The large incumbent players in Africa, the banks, telcos and retailers, have access to the majority market in a way that no one else does. These businesses would be the ideal partners to slingshot innovators to the top of the market. The problem is they can’t, they don’t know how. They will take the innovators in to nine to twelve month sales cycles and then take another year to roll the product out. As an innovator, the majority market is either inaccessible or too expensive to access directly.

»The consumer base is not tech savvy and has a low disposable income, so the revenue per user (RPU) will be low. Many people have figured this out and realise they have to go for the top of the market where the RPU is higher. I believe that at the top end of the market in countries like South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, we have one of the most stalked consumer markets on the planet. This makes these users less open, more fickle, and even harder to engage with than in developed markets.

»The large incumbents have a stranglehold on our market at the moment, but the good news for entrepreneurs is that the rate of adoption of smartphones is outstripping the rate at which they can innovate. The gap in the market is opening at the rate of smartphone adoption. This is the opportunity we have in Africa, to engage with a new community of users that the developed markets do not understand in a market they don’t know how to access.

»If you want to build a high growth business in Africa, you need to be a very strong market innovator, or you need to look at the B2B market. If you go B2B, the chances of success are much higher, but the opportunity to have explosive growth is diminished. Your growth will be limited to how quickly the large players can adopt or scale your offering. The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

»If you are positioned to lead a niche as the market lifts, it probably won’t happen. The market is opening up in fits and starts, which means that if you are waiting for your niche to flip, you will probably run out of runway before it does. Your strategy needs to include a plan of how you are going to go and get your market, rather than waiting for it to come to you.

»The biggest factor that drives how much market share you need is the definition of success in an African context. There is no safety net in Africa, and success for many is the ability to put food on the table, create jobs, live well and offer their children a good education. The best chance an entrepreneur has of doing this is by bootstrapping a geared B2B business. World domination is a great concept, but the culture of ‘good’ failure has to be approached with caution in Africa. The first question that has to be answered is “Why are you doing this and what do you hope to get out of it?” The second is “What are the consequences of failure?” The West encourages a high risk, high return model, jump right in and you’ll figure it out. Driving this into our markets without any understanding of the consequences is irresponsible.

»If you want to be a high growth business in Africa, you need to have a heavy dose of market innovation in your offering. The opportunities in the B2B market will increase as the larger players fall further behind the innovation curve, but their ability to absorb and scale new technologies is unlikely to keep pace.»

An innovation


«Terry Funk Shares His Memories And Thoughts On Dusty Rhodes. Talks Dusty's Relationship With Vince McMahon»

Sean Ross Sapp: Wrestling Inc.

«WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk appeared on Busted Open Radio to talk about his memories of Dusty Rhodes. You can read the highlights below, and check out the full podcast at this link.

»Dusty's connection with the fans:

»"He just had a great amount of charisma. Why did I love going in the ring with him? Was it because I was his great buddy? I was his friend, was that the reason? No. What the great reason was that why I enjoyed so much going in the ring with him... and believe me, as I loved him too and everything else and I love him for those two other reasons... but I loved going in the ring with him because I made more money with him than I did with anybody else. He was a tremendous attraction. That's why I enjoyed going with him (laughs) ya make more money with him. The Dream was something special. He was a phenomenal in-ring performer but his greatest attribute was his mind and his ability to interact and talk to the people themselves... to the fans themselves."

Dusty was an innovator. Dusty wasn't just a wrestler, he was a manipulator... and that's very true. He was great at whatever he did. He had such compassion, such love and he instilled that love into his two kids.

»His last time speaking to Dusty Rhodes:

»"Oh heck, I don't know when it was. Probably a year or two ago... that's how we always went. Wrestlers are that way. We say we love each other and we say goodbye then we go onto the next town. We don't ever really say goodbye,vjust go to the next town... the next day. And whether you see those guys, you see them again. I talked to him a few times through the years... probably a couple times a year. Telling him,vwhatever, you know, or just running into him. We always feel like we are going to run into each other again, we never say goodbye... it's just like, going down the road.

»Having Dusty induct him into the WWE Hall of Fame:

»"It was [a special moment]. Of course it was. Like I said, he was a special guy. I just had so much compassion for him. You don't start out with somebody and go up and down the roads with em and learn together like we did. I would say that it was an education traveling with him and he would have told you the same thing about traveling with me, it was an education traveling with me."

»Dusty Rhodes' relationship with Vince McMahon, and WWE moving into NWA's territory:

»"If going to the WWE was like going to school, he was just in his freshman year. The WWE is a wonderful, wonderful, great place. And Dusty had so much ability and they realized that too, that's why he was there. Dusty was the best at talking and teaching people to talk. Dusty was an innovator. Dusty wasn't just a wrestler, he was a manipulator... and that's very true. He was great at whatever he did. He had such compassion, such love and he instilled that love into his two kids. You watch those kids, and I call them kids now and they aren't kids anymore, but they are going into their prime now and you watch them in the next 10 years. They are going to be very well known in the business for one reason: they idolize Dusty, both of them. And they should have idolized him because he was one of the very best in the country. I truly believe both of them are just wonderful pieces of talent that are going to be pushed to a different level than what they have been... at least I'm hoping that they will... I think that's the smart thing."»

An innovator


«China supports start-ups & public innovation»


«China's State Council has published a guideline that aims to support and encourage more people to launch businesses and make innovations.The guideline released Monday includes 96 rules, covering 30 directions in nine fields.

»The guideline says that among other things, China will make it easier for people to open a business and get financing and create a better environment for start-ups and public innovation.

»The guideline also says that start-ups and public innovation can help China adjust its economic structure, and create more jobs.»

Public Administration and innovation


«Newsletter L&I» (n.º 58, 2015-06-22)

Administração Pública e inovação | Administración Pública e innovación |
Administration Publique et innovation | Public Administration and innovation

Um inovador | Un innovador | Un innovateur | An innovator

Uma inovação | Una innovación | Une innovation | An innovation

A execução da inovaçao | La ejecución de la innovación | L’exécution de l’innovation |
The innovation execution

Liderar Inovando (BR)

«Projeto Curitiba Ecoelétrico evita emissão de 6,6 toneladas de CO2 com veículos Renault Zero Emissão» [web] [intro]
«Colégio de BH cria projeto para estimular alunos gerir os próprios negócios» [web] [intro]
«Óculos para cego criado por brasileiros ganha prêmio internacional de inovação» [web] [intro]
«Você tem uma grande ideia? E daí?» [web] [intro]

Liderar Inovando (PT)

«Fibrenamics: Nova plataforma para promover inovação à base de fibras apresentada em Guimarães» [web] [intro]
«Há mais empreendedores, mas poucos valorizam a ciência» [web] [intro]
«A ópera de dois músicos na produção biológica de goji fresco» [web] [intro]
«Internet das Coisas: europeus e americanos estão em guerra» [web] [intro]

Liderar Innovando (ES)

«El BOE publica los requisitos para ser una pyme innovadora» [web] [intro]
«La perseverancia, la innovación y la fe son las claves del éxito» [web] [intro]
«Eurofins lanza innovadora tecnología de chip de ADN que permite la identificación de 21 especies animales en la alimentación humana y animal» [web] [intro]
«El director de museo que reivindica la ingeniería: "El hombre ha inventado casi todo lo que le rodea". Ioannis Miaoulis, presidente y director del Museo de Ciencia de Boston» [web] [intro]

Mener avec Innovation (FR)

«Bpifrance déploie son Salon de l’entreprise dédié à l’innovation» [web] [intro]
«Ikimo9, la start up qui veut révolutionner l'immobilier» [web] [intro]
«Les mégadonnées exigent une vision innovatrice des droits» [web] [intro]
«Vague de surf urbaine au centre-ville de Sherbrooke: grand gagnant de La bonne IDée» [web] [intro]

Leadership and Innovation (EN)

«Limits of public sector innovation» [web] [intro]
«From zeal to appeal: inspiring stories of 20 Indian innovators» [web] [intro]
«Under the 'Hood: How Tech Is Transforming Goose Island» [web] [intro]
«Introducing The Bridge, The Innovation Hub Of New York City's $2 Billion Tech Campus» [web] [intro]

Licencia Creative Commons Licencia Creative Commons
Atribución-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional


«Introducing The Bridge, The Innovation Hub Of New York City's $2 Billion Tech Campus»

Jessica Leber: Co.Exist

«At New York City’s newest university, the Ivory Tower is being declared dead before it even gets built.

»That’s the philosophy embodied in the name the Bridge, one of three buildings slated to open in 2017 during the first phase of construction of Cornell Tech’s new $2 billion, 12-acre campus on Roosevelt Island. The graduate school—a pillar of New York City’s efforts to grow its tech economy—is not shy about its desire to knock down traditional barriers between academia and industry collaboration. The Bridge, formerly referred to as the "corporate co-location" building, is where the action will happen.

»"It's taking this notion of the commercialization of academia to a higher plane," says MaryAnne Gilmartin, CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies, the owner and developer of the building. She revealed the name exclusively to Co.Exist before a groundbreaking ceremony on June 16 (see a promo video here). Cornell Tech will lease about one-third of the seven-story building, while a co-working space and a mix of startups and larger companies will occupy much of the rest of 200,000 square-feet.

»Stanford University is probably the school best known for working closely with the tech economy it helped create. For better, or some say for worse, the walls between Silicon Valley and the school are fluid today. Cornell Tech is looking for similar deep connections with industry, but it knows it needs to go about it more deliberately.

»"We’re trying to build a different type of tech ecosystem in a different city with a different character," says Greg Pass, Cornell Tech’s Chief Entrepreneurial Officer and the former CTO of Twitter. "Stanford is really sitting adjacent to industry—it’s more natural and organic, the collaborations there. New York is a much bigger city, and it’s a much more diverse city. There’s so much more going on, which is wonderful, but it also requires a bit more design to make the collaboration happen. It can’t be as organic."

»The Bridge is unusual for New York office space in that it doesn't have pre-leased anchor tenants other than Cornell Tech. The companies in the building will be carefully curated by Forest City Ratner, in discussions with the university. The goal is to bring in an eclectic mix of startups (ideally involving the school's graduates) and larger companies working on applications that match Cornell’s program areas: connective media, the built environment, and health tech. However, established companies won't be an ideal fit unless they bring in an R&D unit or entrepreneurial project detached from headquarters, says Gilmartin. Nor will leases generally last more than a few years, so there can be a constantly rotating mix of ideas. Right now, the team has a list of first-choice tenants it's courting.

Established companies won't be an ideal fit unless they bring in an R&D unit or entrepreneurial project detached from headquarters, says Gilmartin. Nor will leases generally last more than a few years, so there can be a constantly rotating mix of ideas.

»"Much about academia is rooted in the industrial age," says Pass. "We're about reinventing academia for digital age."

»The design of the open, loft-like glass building, which will sit alongside an academic building and residential building, is meant to facilitate interactions between and among students and companies. Designed by architects Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, it will contain indoor and outdoor shared spaces for conversations, gatherings, and events. At the campus level, there will be a glass central atrium that opens to the campus and offers stunning views of Manhattan and Queens. Though there will be private spaces for companies with intellectual property needs, anyone will be able to walk by a studio space in the building and see what’s being built in inside. "That kind of transparency is not common for a building—to be able to walk around and get a sense of its production," says Pass.

»Today, Cornell Tech, which is actually a partnership between Cornell University and Israel’s Technion university, is already up and running at a much small scale, using space inside Google’s Chelsea headquarters. An emphasis on real-world applications runs through everything the program does, from its unorthodox hiring criteria for faculty to its requirement that students design products or businesses to graduate, advised by mentors who from the tech or business world. Five spin-out companies came from the most recent graduating class, says Pass. So far, almost 100 students have graduated in the first two years of the program.

»For the city, which launched the campus by awarding the prime real estate and putting in $100 million, there is a bet that Cornell Tech can help the innovation economy flourish and create more companies rooted in New York. While the city’s tech and startup clout has grown a lot over the years, it’s yet to birth many major companies like Google or Facebook. In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, the U.S. Department of Commerce even plans to station a U.S. patent officer there.

»Gilmartin believes that the building itself is a model for a new type of office building that fosters collaboration among tenants.

»"Individual companies have done it in their space—you see places that have been designed for high performance, high connectivity, and high creativity. But I think the idea that it’s happening beyond the boundaries of a particular company [or university] is interesting," she says. "Our job is not to hyper manage it, but to allow it to become whatever it wants to become."

»[Image credited to architects Weiss/Manfredi.]»

The innovation execution


«Under the 'Hood: How Tech Is Transforming Goose Island»

Jim Dallke: ChicagoInno

«This is part of our ongoing series called Under the 'Hood, which takes a look at how technology is shaping Chicago neighborhoods. You can see our feature on Pilsen here.

»As far as manufactured nicknames for tech neighborhoods go, you can't do much better than Innovation Island.

»That's what UI Labs spokesman Marty Malone hopes becomes the new moniker for Goose Island, the 160 acre island on the Chicago river that's quickly becoming a center for technology and innovation in the city. Often overlooked by the beer brand that shares its name (you can't find any Goose Island neighborhood information on a Google search until page 2), Goose Island is ready to make itself known as a tech hub in Chicago.

»“We realize the island is called 'Goose', but we truly see so much more potential,” Malone said. “From technology, to old and new school manufacturing...it’s our hope that people will look to this island to see working Chicago at its finest.”

»There are numerous technology projects that have launched, or will launch soon, that are helping transform Goose Island — an area that was once a thriving hub of industrialization in the 19th century but has since seen businesses and residents flee the island. Today, UI Labs' Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute — a 94,000 square foot facility created to transform manufacturing in the US — is officially open and will make Chicago the “epicenter of digital manufacturing.” And soon, Amazon expects to open a 51,970-square-foot space on Goose Island that could be one of several “last mile distribution centers” that the e-commerce company plans to open in Chicago to support same-day deliveries, according to Crain's.

»“You can image in 5-10 years drones flying out of the island,” Malone said, referring to Amazon's plans to launch drone deliveries.

»27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, whose constituents include Goose Island, believes the area can see the same revitalization that the West Loop has seen with Google, Uber, and other prominent tech companies moving to the neighborhood.

»“I’m anticipating the tech boom that's happening (on Goose Island) to attract more people to buy houses in the area and move there,” Burnett said. “I think it's going to be able to attract other businesses to move to the area.”

»“One thing I see with tech development, it really enhances property values,” he added.

»The tech boom on Goose Island starts with UI Labs and the future Amazon building, but there's more to be found on the Island. Here's a rundown of all the tech and innovation happening on Goose Island.

The tech boom on Goose Island starts with UI Labs and the future Amazon building, but there's more to be found on the Island. Here's a rundown of all the tech and innovation happening on Goose Island.


»When President Obama selected Chicago as the future home for for DMDII, people were saying things like the facility will “develop advanced capabilities that the world has never seen.” The $70 million center was designed to drive economic growth and improve the country's global competitiveness in manufacturing. Both nationally and globally significant, the DMDII is expected to cement Chicago as the center for the digital manufacturing revolution.

»Broken into seven “cells,” the DMDII is designed to develop and demonstrate different types of manufacturing technology in a digital environment. Cells include thing like 3D printing machines, robotics, and multi-axis machines that can cut away material from multiple directions in a single setup.

»“I think (the DMDII) is great for the city and it's great for the state,” Burnett said. “It's going to help enhance our tax base in the area. It brings a lot of tourists to the area. It allows them to experience our city.”


»E-commerce giant Amazon is reportedly opening a warehouse on Goose Island in an effort to get deliveries in the hands of Chicago customers even faster. The 51,970 sq. ft. facility, located at 1111 N. Cherry Ave., could be used as a “last mile distribution center” to make same-day deliveries a reality. Amazon is also reportedly opening a much larger 475,104-sq. ft. distribution center in Joliet. The warehouses come as Amazon announced in October that it would plan to spend $75 million on at least one facility in Illinois.

»“I think it's really big,” Burnett said of Amazon. “With Amazon, it brings a very diverse type of job to the area.”

»Wrigley Global Innovation Center

»Located on Goose Island, the Wrigley Global Innovation Center is a three-story lab and office building that opened in 2005 and became the company headquarters in 2012. The gum maker uses the facility to test new machinery and manufacturing processes, and produce product samples that are used for screening prototypes, consumer testing and analytical evaluations, Wrigley says.

»“From the latest technology and flexible workspace to the Winter Garden and Pilot Plant, the GIC is a global resource that supports Wrigley's vision of creating simple pleasures to brighten everyone's day,” Wrigley says on its website.

»Trunk Club

»Trunk Club, the popular Chicago-based e-commerce site for men's clothing, recently leased a 170,000 square foot warehouse space on Goose Island. The building, which tripled Trunk Club's available warehouse space, gives Trunk Club more room to grow as it was recently acquired by Nordstrom in a deal reportedly worth $350 million.

»R2 Tech Offices

»Developer R2 has bought 2 properties on Goose Island and is looking to court 1-2 anchor tenants that could be tech businesses. R2 owns eight acres on Goose Island and 350,000 square feet of building space. Developers like R2 could be what continues to fuel the tech infusion on Goose Island.

»“We believe it's undervalued, and our goal is to have a big position on Goose Island,” Managing Principal Matt Garrison told Crain's.

»The Naru Project

»The Naru Project is an innovative initiative created to redesign the east side of Goose Island by implementing a park consisting of floating gardens, wildlife habitat, and other features for the community. The project aims to build up landscapes, provide a canvas for local artists, increase traction to local businesses and clean up the river.

»“Imagine paddling through native vegetation, taking in the local wildlife among murals and sculptures created by local artists,” the project's website reads. “This is a vision of the Naru Project.”

»With tech companies and initiatives like the DMDII and Trunk Club, future projects like Amazon's warehouse and the arrival of new tech companies, and creative initiatives like the Naru project, we could be calling the area Innovation Island sooner rather than later.»

An innovation


«From zeal to appeal: inspiring stories of 20 Indian innovators»

Madanmohan Rao (@MadanRao): YourStory

«India needs much more creative thinking and effective innovation to solve its numerous problems and tap global opportunity; indeed, the problems faced by entrepreneurs in India are often much greater than in mature economies.

»The 210-page book ‘Indian Innovators: 20 Brilliant Thinkers Who Are Changing India’ by Akshat Agrawal presents a new facet of India – innovators who refuse to accept defeat and are hell-bent on proving the country’s potential.

»The 20 stories cover a wide range of innovation, from nanotechnology and augmented reality to road construction materials and sanitary pad machines. Each chapter ends with advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, and an appendix provides resources on the patenting process. The book makes for an absorbing read, full of the ups and downs of the founders’ journeys.

»Here are my key takeaways on the innovator profiles and messages; see also my reviews of the related books ‘Recasting India’ by Hindol Sengupta, ‘Young Turks’ by Shereen Bhan and Syna Dehnugara, and ‘Arise, Awake’ by Rashmi Bansal.

»Anirudh Sharma has created a haptic shoe for the visually impaired. He was a ‘troublemaker’ and tinkerer in childhood, and moved from Delhi to Rajashtan to study at RTU Bikaner. His team of fellow students won competitions at BITS Pilani, and he worked at the Google Summer of Code programme. Sharma had a good mentor at his job with HP Labs in Bangalore, when he hit upon the idea of haptic sensors in shoes to aid the visually impaired. The shoe works with a smartphone app to guide users, and has been tested at the LV Prasad Eye Institute. Sharma has set up his own company, Ducere, to work on commercialising the haptic shoe.

»Hemanth Satyanarayana has developed augmented reality-based virtual trial rooms for consumers to try out clothes digitally. He graduated from IIT Madras and SUNY Buffalo, where he worked with a startup on training simulators. He returned to India and worked on laparoscopic simulators as well as gesture-based gaming, and then hit upon his AR idea when he noticed how difficult it was for women to choose and try out saris in stores. He has formed the company Imaginate to develop the TrialAR solution, and has won awards from NASSCOM and MIT.

»Mrinmayee Bhushan has developed a nanotechnology-based herbal hair removal cream. She has an MS in microbiology, and worked at the National Toxicology Centre in Pune. She founded the company Mindfarm Nanotech, and has filed patents for her products. Her company won a Technopreneur Promotion Program (TEPP) grant from India’s Department of Science and Technology for her product, called Romantaque.

»Shyam Vasudev Rao, a graduate of IISc Bangalore, has developed a preventive eye care device. He worked in Ericsson and Philips, and then set up his own company, Forus Healthcare. The company’s affordable eye screening devices like 3Nethra help tackle preventive blindness in India. India has the highest number of visually impaired people in the world (15 million out of a total 40 million). The company has received investments from Accel Partners and IDG Ventures, and is working on a range of pediatric devices.

»Mansukhbhai Prajapati is the inventor of the MittiCool Refrigerator. Born in Gujarat, his marriage was fixed at the age of seven. He worked in tile factories and sweet shops, and at 22 he married the woman he was betrothed to. He entered the clay pottery business, with clay tawas and colourful pots. In the aftermath of the Gujarat earthquake, he turned his attention to making cost-effective clay refrigerators, and caught the attention of the Honeybee Network and Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network (GIAN). He is now working on MittiCool cookers, hot cases and non-stick pans, with design inputs from NID.

»Nelvin Joseph has developed SPARA, an artificial intelligence-based power saver for computers and electronic devices. He was absorbed in books and computers right from his school days, and become more interested in games than coursework during his college days in Kerala. He hit upon the idea of remote device management, and started a company called Artin Dynamics. Incubated at Technopark, the startup received funding from a Middle East investor, and aims at reducing electricity wastage which can be as high as three per cent of the total operating costs for some companies.

»Nitin Joshi is working on non-intravenous chemotherapy solutions. He has a PhD in biomedical engineering from IIT Bombay and is now at Harvard. He worked on nano-particles capable of delivering drugs for different kinds of diseases such as cancer, which accounts for eight million deaths each year. India is home to three million cancer patients, which includes a large proportion of rural women.

»Prateek Bumb and Aniruddha Sharma have developed technology for removal of carbon dioxide from emissions of industrial plants such as power, cement, steel and bottling. They met at IIT Kharagpur and won a prize at the IIT Bombay Ideas business plan competition. With mentorship and seed capital, they formed Carbon Clean Solutions and now have clients in the US and Europe as well.

»Priyanka Sharma has developed an ultra low-cost immuno-sensor biochip for detecting environmental pollutants. She grew up in Punjab and was moved by the sight of farmers working with dangerous pesticides. She decided to develop an inexpensive, portable device for quick detection of pesticide levels in soil. She has published papers on the topic, filed for patents, and won awards from Agilent, CII and DST.

»Sachidanand Swami founded the company Invoxel to develop interactive touch surfaces, which can include tables and walls and not just tablet devices. He graduated from IIT Delhi and worked on a project at University of Denmark. He worked on surface solutions for sectors like real estate and automtive, and has filed five patents.

»Sriram Kannan has developed location tracking solutions which work independently of GPS. He graduated from IISc and worked at TI in Japan. He stumbled upon the need for mobile tracking solutions due to the unpredictable times of train stops at night in Whitefield near Bangalore, when he would have to pick up his visiting father. He developed his solution called Verayu based on cell clustering technology, raised venture funding, and markets the LaaS (location as a service) offering to clients such as fleet management firms.

»Abhijeet Joshi has developed implantable biosensors for diabetes monitoring. He studied at University of Mumbai and NIPER, and finished his PhD in biomedical engineering from IIT Bombay. The company Intellectual Ventures helped him with the patenting process. Joshi hopes to tackle the diabetes problem in India; India is the diabetes capital of the planet with 55 million patients out of 250 million worldwide (11 per cent of India’s urban population is diabetic).

»Ganesh and Pragyanandesh are the founders of VORWIS (Virtual Object in Real World, Interaction and Sharing), an imaging platform based on VRD (Virtual Retina Display). They met at IIT and became active in the electronics club. They won college festival awards for projects like digital diaries and smart meter monitoring. They were later inspired by Pranav Mistry’s work on SixthSense gesture interfaces, and are now working with VRD vendors on their project.

»Ahmed Khan is the founder of KK Plastic Waste Management, which develops road construction materials using plastic waste. He grew up in Mandya, near Bangalore, and worked in the plastics industry. Realising that plastic did have advantages as a packing material but also challenges in recycling practices, he developed a mix of bitumen and molten plastic waste which could be used in road construction. The solution has proven to be long-lasting and durable, but government officials drag their feet on its widespread adoption for a number of reasons. He is also working on a mix of wood shavings and plastic waste as furniture material, after a number of tests. “Take failure as an opportunity to make a new, more intelligent start,” advises Khan.

»Pratik Mahapatra, Anurag Kyal, Snehasis Patra and Subham Debnath have formed Team Papyrus Efficiencia, a company developing environment-friendly paper. Graduates of KIIT (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology), the students hit upon the idea during a project to manage the weeds on Chilika Lake. The weed’s high cellulose content made it good for B2B and B2C paper products. The team’s products have won a range of awards and they were invited to join the Stanford Global Innovation Programme as well.

»Shantanu Pathak, Swapnil Kokade, Vaibhav Tidke, Shital Somani, Shital Munde and Aditya Kulkarni formed a people-centred technology collective called Science for Society. It has developed tools such as the CareMother testing kit and platform for pregnancy care. India has the world’s highest rate of pregnancy-related deaths – 150 mothers die every day. Shantanu Pathak was from Lokmanya Tilak College of Engineering in Navi Mumbai, and his colleagues scattered around the world after graduation. They re-grouped to develop CareMother, which is now being used by a number of hospitals and NGOs. Other offerings include CareChild, an m-health solution to prevent early childhood deaths (India unfortunately has the world’s largest number of deaths of children below five years of age).

»Chinmay Deodhar has developed a dual-purpose laparoscopic surgery instrument. He studied engineering design and automotive engineering at IIT Madras, and his entrepreneurial flair showed when he developed and sold a GRE vocabulary app called QuickWord for Rs. 1.5 lakh to the coaching class Dilip Oak’s Academy. A stint on precision robotics at PARI in Pune led him to the idea of combining a grasper and scissors for surgery, and he make a trip to Germany to find customers in the town Tuttlingen, which makes 50 per cent of the world’s surgical instruments. He then found a product partner in California-based Intuitive Surgical, thanks to Stanford leads. Deodhar is now working on birth asphyxia solutions, and has sponsored a fund at IIT Madras to support innovators in their roller coaster journey. “It is important to experience rejection because without it, success would never seem as sweet,” says Deodhar.

»Arunachalam Muruganantham, sometimes referred to as ‘The Menstrual Man,’ has developed a low-cost sanitary pad making machine. He was born in a village near Coimbatore, and worked on welding and grill designs. After marriage, he discovered through his wife the problems that women in India face with regard to menstruation – just two per cent of menstruating women in rural India use sanitary napkins, and they face many social taboos and stigmas. Over a number of years, he experimented on a range of cotton fibre solutions, despite facing strong social disapproval from his own family. Eventually he won the IIT Madras award for Best Social Innovation of the Year, and started Jayashree Industries to make the machines which are now sold in other developing countries as well.

»Deepak Ravindran is the founder of Innoz, which offers offline Internet on mobile phones. During his LBSCE college days in Kerala he stumbled upon the idea of SMS-based queries of the Internet. His project was mentioned in a local newspaper, and he was supported by Technopark Incubator and IIM Ahmedabad iAccelerator. The product was branded SMS Gyaan via an Airtel partnership, and also marketed to other operators. Innoz received funding from Infosys CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan and Mahesh Murthy’s Seed Fund, and services millions of queries a month. Innoz also helped set up Startup Village in Kochi. Ironically, Innoz is now the largest recruiter for the college from where its founders did not graduate. Storytelling has been a useful marketing tool for the startup. “Consider yourself a storyteller,” advises Ravindran.

»Ankit Mehta, Vipul Joshi, Ashish Bhat, Amardeep Singh and Rahul Singh are the co-founders of IdeaForge, which makes the Netra UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). They met at IIT Bombay and took part in the robotics competition Yantriki. They represented India at Robocon 2005 in Beijing. Ankit worked at a consulting firm for six months, saved enough money, and quit to form IdeaForge with the help of IIT Bombay’s Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (see YourStory profile of SINE here). They worked on products like a mechanical charger, and then developed drones for DRDO. Netra received publicity in the movie ‘3 Idiots,’ and then was used for crowd management in Ahmedabad and Mumbai as well as rescue operations in the Uttarakhand floods (where it located 190 trapped survivors).

Anirudh Sharma has created a haptic shoe for the visually impaired. The shoe works with a smartphone app to guide users, and has been tested at the LV Prasad Eye Institute.

»Advice for aspiring innovators

»Each chapter ends with a paragraph or page of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs; here are some samplings of the success tips (see also my reviews of the books ‘Make Your Mark’ by Jocelyn Glei and ‘Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder’ by Jim Clifton and Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal).

»Prepare yourself mentally, physically and emotionally for the innovation journey. Expose yourself to a diverse range of fields to get as many different perspectives as possible. College is a great time for experimentation when the risk of loss is low. If you are nervous about financial stability, work part-time on your innovation till it matures. But if you are talented and motivated you will anyway be able to get a job later, so it may be better to pursue your innovation fulltime.

»Be prepared for the uncertainties of the innovation journey, including harsh realities and unexpected surprises. Learn how to manage your material wants and focus on your creative pursuit. Learn how to treat failures as a learning experience and not a cause for disappointment. Learn about your own strengths and weaknesses, and be willing to change your product and focus based on the journey. Get feedback from others about your ideas to overcome your biases, but stay away from the naysayers and doubters who will offer nothing but negativity.

»Be patient during the potentially long wait for market acceptance even after your product is ready; success sometimes comes after the very last minute. At the same, enjoy the process and journey of your innovation as well, and celebrate the small wins. Test your product early enough with customers, don’t keep it in stealth mode for too long, and never compromise on quality. Develop a convincing story to pitch your product to customers and investors. Understand your customers, and build a team with complementary skills.

»If you want to do serious academic research, choose your host institution and guide carefully. Spend a lot of time and energy understanding the patenting process; hire a good patent lawyer or find good resources at technology institutes. Do thorough market research to understand the scope and power of your patent. For innovators pitching to Indian companies, the irony is that many of them will accept your product only if it first receives approval from Western companies.

»As for social entrepreneurs, aim for simplicity in what you do. Help others make money and you will make money yourself too. When you are on the right track, people will help you and do good. And finally, take your chances and leap into your destiny!

»About the author of the book: Akshat Agarwal holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT-Delhi and an MBA from the University of Oklahoma. During his IIT days, he was engaged in the design and fabrication of an artificial knee joint for above-the-knee amputees. Akshat is currently a Director at Alpha Beta Classes, a startup that aims to improve access to quality education in India.»

An innovator


«Limits of public sector innovation»

Vishal Beri: The Mandarin

«Public sector managers are under pressure to be innovative. Soon it may be de rigueur to be a creator, and career limiting if you’re not. Like when wearing cardigans to work became unfashionable.

»Public administration literature dedicates more text to why and how bureaucrats should inhale and exhale the innovation infection. Ministers with the bug demand responses they haven’t seen before. The Australian government’s Innovation Guidelines 101 normalise the virus by advising on getting it.

»When I worked in the public sector over a decade ago, innovation was generally about finding fresh ways to decisively tell ministers their ideas were stupid.

»Today innovation in government involves searching for an illuminating process to discover a novel solution that can attach to confounding problems.

»Processes include prototyping or piloting approaches; reaching out to a diaspora of opinions in physical and virtual mind labs; and adjusting procurement to source ideas and journey partners.

»However the problems needing solving are the same age old ones. Ministers want to spend less, but can’t ask communities to lower their expectations. Regulation petrifies those in need of it. Individuals make poor life choices they expect government to fix. Emerging economies displace our industries. The inequality of opportunity for some gets worse the richer we become.

»Except one unique challenge comes with the modern technology revolution. Generations of consumers will now be asking — where’s my app with that?

»Proponents of innovation often recommend it as an end in itself. They argue there is equal need for it in the public and private sectors. But this is not supported by reality.

»In business, small enterprises like the ones I own have to constantly readapt themselves to earn a living. We have to invent new services or products, or create smarter ways of supplying the things we do to remain competitive and responsive to customers.

»Without this continuous reapplication we lose market share to new entrants and existing larger competitors who have deep pockets of scale and can afford to loss lead to purchase clients.

»Economists explain this need for organisational change in terms of technical, allocative or dynamic efficiency. In other words organisations are encouraged to ask themselves three fundamental questions. Are we doing the best with the least resources? Are we allocating our resources to activities that have the highest value for us? Are we embracing new ways of doing things to meet future needs?

»The fundamental thing for the public sector to understand is that asking these questions is not a natural demand in all of the private market. I’ve seen enough to know that a lot of deadweight in our economy resides in market comfortable corporations and subsidy dependent NGOs. If you’re looking for risk taking reform, they’re the last places you’ll find it.

Are we doing the best with the least resources? Are we allocating our resources to activities that have the highest value for us? Are we embracing new ways of doing things to meet future needs?

»So bureaucrats shouldn’t be fooled into judging themselves against a creativity test that doesn’t apply universally in commerce.

»The next critical issue for public servants to remember is that the conditions that may make regular change a necessity in some businesses, don’t exist for government.

»First, the fundamental purpose of government agencies is opposite to competing in a market. Whether central, line, policy or service delivery — they exist to meet whole of community need usually by providing a public good for which there is no market.

»Second, the traditional and correct purpose of the public sector, particularly in well-functioning liberal democracies, is to be a risk averse gatekeeper. This is because in society it is the only institution that has a consistent stable view on the long game of what is, and what is not, unwelcome precedent for everyone.

»Third, unlike any other institution in a democratic society, the public sector has to balance protecting the interests of its long term employers – the public; with those of its temporary managers — elected governments. Getting this balance wrong can have serious consequences for the public and politicians.

»Thus any pursuit of innovation must be initially limited by this proper and unique role of the public sector.

»Once this boundary is identified, agencies need to ask themselves why they need to innovate.

»In my experience a common answer is because they lack confidence to find solutions within themselves and their corporate knowledge. This is the wrong reason.

»Management improvement fads regularly arrive from universities and consultants. One used to be time and motion studies. Innovation obsession is no exception.

»The public sector can be particularly vulnerable to change preachers because it lacks confidence in its purpose and capacity. Downsizing, loss of corporate knowledge, process politicisation, and outsourcing have made government agencies unsure they have the right stuff to fix big problems.

»Being on edge makes bureaucrats look outside for ideas. Even though history tells us that the public sector has singlehandedly found the compelling answers to the defining problems facing each generation. These include pension security, universal health care, welfare safety nets, universal education, key infrastructure investment, national security, and equal opportunity employment.

»The Centre for Policy Development released a robust analysis in 2014, False economies: unpacking public sector efficiency, which explains how external pressure from politicians and business continuously reinforces a view that the public sector is an inherently inefficient apparatus in need of unending reform. Even though the facts strongly tell an opposite story.

»A powerful anecdote that illustrates how under confident the public sector can be in doing its day job comes from one of my experiences a few years ago.

»I was asked by the NSW Premier’s Department to help assess spending priorities in the rail capital program. The rail authority had also requested a well-known management consultancy to recommend ways it could improve its customer focus.

»The CEO committee overseeing the capital review received a briefing on the customer engagement report. We read the multi-million dollar slide pack as the rail authority official explained that it didn’t recommend anything the authority didn’t know. But the report would help the authority articulate its role to the Minister. A much better investment would have been for one of their officials to learn marketing, and how to make power points.

»On the other hand, a good reason for the public sector to be innovative is when it’s a clear means to a defined end that keeps on giving, including to their confidence. This often requires cultural change.

»In my experience the most successful entrepreneurial organisations naturally incorporate the questions about technical, allocative and dynamic efficiency into daily decision making on spending and revenue. They know that embedding these questions in their culture, and training their employees to ask them, avoids future problems and the need for specific innovation projects to find solutions.

»Sometimes obtaining this culture is dead easy.

»One of my good friends holds a very senior post in Her Majesty’s Treasury in the United Kingdom.

»He is a firm believer in the traditions and primacy of the civil service. He rejects that there is any value in the public sector with its whole of community agenda, mirroring the private one which has only sectional and transactional interests.

»So I was deeply surprised when he told me recently that he enjoyed a new initiative by the Chancellor, George Osborne, to make everyone stand in meetings with him. That’s right. To ensure that meetings achieve the maximum technical efficiency, officials are given no more than 5 minutes to make their particular contribution to an issue, and must stand while doing so.

»This might sound absurd. But my friend swears it has delivered far better results in decision making. He says it has forced officials to be fully across their brief, deliver a compelling view quickly, and only spend time discussing issues critical to outcomes. The lack of chairs reduces any appetite for lengthy yes minister obfuscation.

»A simple piece of real innovation that will keep on giving to the community, government and public sector.»

Public Administration and innovation