Inside Technoport

Here you’ll find press releases about Technoport’s events, announcements about new projects and insights into our work and vision.

Liz Wald Indiegogo
14Hermann Ørn Vidarsson

Hermann Ørn VidarssonOctober 7, 2014

Technoport 2015 Starts Here

Technoport summons challengers, creators and capital providers to Trondheim for the Technoport 2015 conference.

Together we shall awaken the entrepreneurial mindset and answer:

  • How can the entrepreneurial mindset improve established businesses?
  • What is the dark side of the entrepreneurial mindset?
  • How can adopting an entrepreneurial mindset solve global challenges?

From 18-19 March, Technoport 2015 will mash-up the freshest thoughts and trends within innovation, brought to you by top-notch, thought-provoking speakers from around the globe. We will introduce you to new concepts and innovations, while testing out new tools for idea development and problem-solving.

At Technoport 2015 we want YOU to:

THINK about emerging trends and new ways of doing things

MEET & SHARE to build your network, both locally and globally

EXPERIMENT and try out new approaches for evoking innovation

ACT! Use this creative input to change behaviours in your startup or workplace

Before we release the full program, we offer a strictly limited number of super early bird tickets. To reward you – the most creative, challenging and innovative minds out there – we offer the tickets at just NOK 1,000, one-third of the cost of the full-price ticket.

DON’T MISS OUT – REGISTER TODAY FOR JUST NOK 1,000

Buy Now

(Are you a student? Click here to register)

NTNU Trondheim
3Marie Jacobsen Lauvås

Marie Jacobsen LauvåsSeptember 22, 2014

3 signs your company should hire an ’entrepreneur in residence’

”I WANT YOU TO COME HERE AND MAKE SOME NOISE!” was the message from my recruiter at the NTNU Technology Transfer department, a company working on creating value out of research results and good ideas.

”We see great potential in exploring new recruitment strategies in order to increase the annual spin-off rate from our company. We believe the right way to do this is by hiring risk-willing people like you. Thus we have proposed a new experiment – a one-year employment for you as our entrepreneur in residence”.

Seeing what has triggered NTNU Technology Transfer to hire a total of 4 entrepreneurs in residence (EIRs) over the past year has made me think of 3 signals suggesting an entrepreneur in residence might be valuable to any company!

You are brave enough to think new!

Everyone knows the feeling of ‘falling behind’ from following a problem-solving process built on formulas that used to be successful earlier on, but as Albert Einstein once stated “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”.

NTNU Technology Transfer was extremely brave when hiring their first in-house entrepreneurs with one mission: question and challenge everything! They were willing to listen to new thoughts and challenge how things were being done, thus constantly thriving innovation in the workplace! Now European tech trans organizations start looking towards Norway to explore the new model.

EIRs can embody a range of skillsets, backgrounds and interests, and if you are lucky to find an EIR who truly complements your team, this could add significant value to your company, both by cultivating new ideas and bringing in outside perspectives.

You see unexploited potential outside your company’s core business

Being innovative often require big investments in time, focus and money tied to a high risk. Sometimes great opportunities lie within reach; the only thing missing is someone daring to take the next step.

Karl Klingsheim, the director of NTNU Technology Transfer says: “We need more people who are both able AND willing to create commercial value from our techtrans-projects. Serial entrepreneurs are few and far between, and we try very hard to use them as role models for others while we repeatedly provide them with new, tantalizing business opportunities emerging from unique knowledge and technologies from research at NTNU, St.Olavs Hospital and HiST.”.

If your company is able to find EIRs who is in a phase of life where they are not bound to heavy personal investments then, if the timing is right, they might me more willing to take on the required risk to take ideas to the next level. Thus your company can minimize risk by constraining employment to a limited period, while increasing the chances of success by giving the in-house entrepreneur a time limit to build and execute.

You are overwhelmed with new tools and opportunities

New innovative tools, incubators and communities are developed at a constant high pace and you know it takes time and focus to build new relations and keep up with everything new. As EIRs are used to travel new roads and build connections, they can add value to your company by introducing new tools for business development and bridge the gap between your company’s core business and the startup community.

When NTNU Technology Transfer chose to recruit entrepreneurs from the master program NTNUs School of Entrepreneurship they signalled 3 things:

  • They see high potential for a valuable collaboration with students that master entrepreneurship skills
  • They wish to build strong bonds to young entrepreneurs with their new thoughts and high pulse
  • They are brave enough to listen to new input and let entrepreneurs challenge their core business

If a company like NTNU Technology Transfer, whose pure purpose is to commercialise new research, sees value in ‘new entrepreneurial blood’, then there is certainly a huge potential for similar experiments among other businesses in other sectors as well.

What do you think?

Confessions of a gold digger
4Gøril Forbord

Gøril ForbordAugust 27, 2014

Confessions of a Gold Digger, part 1

Originally published in Norwegian on TrondheimTech.no

Have you heard of the Consul General Adolf Øiens startup grant? To a gold digger, this grant represents the ultimate prize.

In January 2009 I was hired as CEO of the tiny NTNU startup, MemfoACT AS. We were to commercialize a patented membrane technology, but the company had no money, an unfinished product and just two aspiring employees.

You don’t need to be well versed in tech-speak to understand my main task as CEO was to raise money. This kicked off the 18-month era in my life that I call the eternal money hunt. My CEO position could just as easily have been termed “gold digger” in the employment contract.

The learning curve was very steep during this period and now a few years have passed, I think it’s time to talk about the hunt that ended with NOK 16m. It might serve as inspiration for some, but for me it’s just a fun story to tell. I’ve never written a hunting story before, so I choose to begin the story with the bird that laid the golden egg.

No clue

How do you raise money? I really had no idea. It was completely uncharted territory. What do you do when you don’t have a clue? You try all sorts of things, so I chose to follow every possible path.
Most ended up as dead-ends.

The Consul General Adolf Øiens startup grant would, however, prove to lay the beautiful golden egg of a grant that was well worth pursuing.

What kind of bird is a Consul General?

Adolf ØiensAdolf Øien himself was Trondheim’s leading trader in the period from 1895 to 1918, and was later the city’s biggest legacy since Thomas Angell. In his name today are five funds and the board for the largest of these, the capital fund, decided in 2009 to give out an annual startup grant of half a million kroner. A wonderful decision.

The grant itself is an ingenious creation. It covers a year’s work to develop a business idea. Applicants who graduated from NTNU or Trondheim Business School have priority, but applicants with relevant skills and professional experience may also be considered.

I encourage you all to apply but be aware the deadline for this year is this Friday 29 August.

Weeping in the bathroom

Since the grant was brand new and unknown in the autumn of 2009, I followed this path simply because it was a path. The application was written in the departures hall at Værnes and submitted merely hours before the deadline.

Preparations for the jury meeting quickly turned sour. I hadn’t had time to shrink our standard presentation down to the allotted ten minutes. A mistake you only make once, but of course it’s best to never make it at all.

I had hardly glanced in the mirror that morning or thought to iron clothes the night before.

I remember needing the toilet during the interrogation and, still sweaty from the interruption halfway through the presentation, I shed a tear in the bathroom when I was finally through with the jury questioning.

An unexpected success

Fortunately enough, our company had an exciting business idea, an abnormally strong research team in the back and fine plans to build a factory and create new industrial jobs for Norway.

Miraculously enough, the fine folks on the fund’s board chose to look past the shambles of a gold digger they had in front of them. I could not believe my ears one week later when the phone rang. Our hunt was over and the ultimate prize was ours – the golden egg worth half a million kroner!

As good hunters do, we went home and celebrated with family, but swapping our hunting gear for sparkling liquids – a real gold digger marks their triumph in the most unsavory manner.

How to apply

The application deadline for this year’s grant is August 29. You can apply by filling out this form via Adolf Øiens website. They require some additional attachments that deserve a little explanation:

1) The business plan
This is the main document. Write a short precise description rather than a long rambling one. Focus on your core business idea, business model, market opportunities and development plans / status. My tip is you limit yourself to three to five pages, and absolutely no longer than ten.

2) Borrowing requirements
The important thing here is to present a credible financing plan in which all aid, loans and any other finance appears. It is considered positive if the project has received support from public institutions or others.

3) Loan security
Not a required attachment, but submit if you have this.

4) Other personal information
Here you can attach a CV or other personal details that may be relevant to the application.

Good Luck! If you have questions, call Torkel Ranum from the Adolf Øiens Funds on 91 00 31 80, or you can ask me.

Photo credit: William Warby

Trondheim Tech Capital
60David Nikel

David NikelAugust 13, 2014

Welcome to Trondheim! There’s an app for that

It’s that time of year when our home city of Trondheim changes from the summer lull to a frenzied centre of activity. International students are arriving from every corner of the world to spend a year or longer in Norway’s technology capital.

Here at Technoport we have a close relationship with the student population and rely on student volunteers to help deliver our conference and other events throughout the year. So as a special welcome to those students (and possible future Technoport volunteers!) we’ve put together a list of must-have apps for your smartphone:

Get from A to B

Trondheim’s transport company AtB has been steadily improving its digital offer over the past few years. It now offers a suite of three apps all designed to make your travel experience easier.

First up is the ticketing app AtB Mobillett, which allows you to purchase single, day, night-bus and weekly/monthly tickets on your mobile phone. The period tickets cost the same as a normal ticket, but the single tickets are available at a 25% discount, making the app great value for those who only use the bus occasionally.

AtB Reise offers a travel planner to pinpoint what bus(es) you need to catch from where, while companion app AtB Sanntid gives the same real-time information that is available on some (but not all) bus stops.

Mattilbud

All major supermarkets offer their own app, but Mattilbud (food offers) brings what you really care about into one app – what’s cheapest where! The simple app shows you the special offers from each supermarket brand during the current week. It’s the perfect companion for the student on a tight budget (which let’s face it, is every student in Norway), especially if you live in a student area like Moholt, where almost every supermarket brand is available within a five-minute walk.

NSB

The app from national train company NSB offers a timetable search and the ability to buy tickets digitally. If you buy tickets online, you can also download them onto the app to show the inspector on-board, saving you the bother of printing them out.

Smartpark Trondheim Parking

SmartPark allows you to buy parking tickets on your mobile phone – simple and useful.

Aurora Forecast

If you’re new to Norway and never seen the northern lights before, Trondheim offers you a reasonable chance when the nights draw in. The Aurora Forecast app from TINAC gives you an amazing amount of space weather data, and even a (paid) push notification service when the forecast goes above a certain level.

TRD Airport

Airport operator Avinor presents its Trondheim edition, featuring live departure and arrivals time, public transport information, a live webcam showing the length of the security queue, and the latest shopping offers.

There’s many more, of course, but these will get your stay in Trondheim off to a flying start.

We look forward to meeting you!

DIGS street-front entrance
60David Nikel

David NikelJuly 15, 2014

Developing Trondheim’s entrepreneurial scene

Recently Technoport held a small workshop to discuss what is missing from Trondheim’s entrepreneurial scene and what Technoport can do to help fill those gaps. Representatives from Leiv Eiriksson Nyskaping, the NTNU Technology Transfer Office, Entreprenørskolen, DIGS and other interested parties gathered for a session on the high seas (!)

I sat down with Technoport CEO Gøril Forbord and Head of Events Hermann Ørn Vidarsson to find out what they wanted to know, and whether they found out.

Hermann – “as every lean startup thinks, you need to test your hypothesis with the customer. so we are trying to think like that. We wanted to talk to those who represent some of our target groups, in particular startups. The question we posed was simple really – How can our operation, events and activities sustain and support their needs? More specifically, how can we increase commercialisation of knowledge and technology in the region, how can we create a better entrepreneurial ecosystem, and what can Technoport do to support this?”

If you missed the event then don’t worry. It’s likely you’ll have another chance to have your say, as repeating this event on a regular basis was one of the key takeaways, with many participants saying it was their first opportunity to meet some of the other players in Trondheim’s entrepreneurial community.

Hermann – “It’s absolutely the start of something, not just a one-off workshop. We discussed the idea of hosting a quarterly sector meeting to bring all the parties together more often to enhance visibility.”

Goril – “We want to improve and always be relevant for our target groups now and in the future. Their needs could change so we need to continue this discussion to keep ourselves up to date.”

The Technoport workshop boat

On the boat (yes, the venue was a boat. This is Norway, after all!), the participants were split into three groups to discuss the questions in-depth. Here’s what happened!

Lowering the entry barriers to entrepreneurship in Norway

One of the biggest talking points was about bridging the gap from being employed in a big company to entrepreneurship, a problem very specific to Norway where the benefits of employment are so high. But that lead on to some interesting takeaways for Technoport, including a whole new potential target group, the unemployed.

Gøril – “It’s about not only lowering the barriers for the currently employed, but lowering the barriers for anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur. We mean psychological barriers as well as money. We can’t have too many people working on lowering these barriers.”

Hermann – “We haven’t looked at the unemployed as a target group previously, but there is a big need there. In Norway entrepreneurship seems to be a last resort. You need to have lost your job and been applying for jobs for a while before the limited support from Nav becomes available to you.”

Let’s get customers, not investors

One surprise was the focus on getting pilot customers rather than investors. A lot of events already facilitate the meeting of entrepreneurs with investors, but relatively little information is out there about getting your first sales. This touches on the excellent talk from Jonas Kjellberg, former VP of Global Sales at Skype, which is well worth a watch:

Specific to Trondheim

Creating meeting places, social get-togethers and the importance of making the entrepreneurship environment visible were the main takeaways specific to Trondheim.

Hermann – “All three groups were in unison that the Technoport conference should remain an international event, but we should host smaller events with a local focus throughout the year.”

Gøril – “One of the most surprising responses was that people wanted to hear more failures than success stories, so maybe we need to have a new celebration of failures here in Trondheim. It’s harder to find these stories, but maybe that’s one of the jobs it’s important for us to do.”

Hermann – We continued our theme of open innovation and in my group we talked a lot about the need for openness and the sharing culture to succeed with innovation. We talked about creating a bank of ideas that people have but don’t have the resources to implement themselves. Of course if you publish an idea there, you waive the rights to the idea. This is something we’d like to look at developing.”

What’s next?

In total, Technoport recorded 14 clear action points from the workshop. Over the summer, all these points will be looked at and some developed further. Join our newsletter for updates and to be notified when future workshops and events will take place.

Day 3
60David Nikel

David NikelMay 4, 2014

Day Three at Technoport 2014

Technoport 2014: Day 1Day 2 – Day 3 – Live Crowdfunding Experiment

After a successful late night at the Live Crowdfunding Experiment, you could be forgiven for expecting a low turn out for the final morning of Technoport 2014.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

The main hall was bustling for “Into a Crystal Ball” to look ahead at the challenges and opportunities for all of us. David Rowan, editor of WIRED UK magazine, revealed some of the “future” technologies that are already with us, such as OMsignal’s biometric-tracking technology and the DNA-hackers of BioCurious. His talk was immediately followed by Ian Goldin, Director of the Oxford Martin School, who took a more considered approach to the opportunities and surprises of the future.

“The median age is doubling in some parts of the world – the age of youth is gone” – Ian Goldin

Technoport Day Three

Share The Problem

Wednesday’s Share The Problem with A-Aqua was the best attended of the conference. Technoport Project Manager Rob Moore tells us what happened:

“We developed ideas for enhancing an emergency response system for processing human waste in crisis zones. A-Aqua gave us problem areas which went beyond their expertise in engineering – things like energy supply, secondary uses of waste and training end-users in how to use the system.”

“One of the outcomes was the suggestion that A-Aqua build the manual onto the system directly – meaning the user manual would be built onto the wall of the system with graphics. The company exchanged details with the participant who suggested this, and will look into potentially collaborating with NTNU industrial designers to develop this idea.”

Technoport

Third Day

Later on Wednesday, a selection of speakers looked at what we can learn from the art of visual storytelling when we are trying to make sense of an ever-growing flow of unsifted data. Italian information designer Valentina D’Efilippo wrapped up the session by showcasing the latest in infographics to aid data visualisation.

Our excellent host Leo Johnson, who kept us smiling, engaged and hugged-up all week, then unveiled the brand new film from Technoport 2014, which you can watch below.

That was Technoport 2014 – thank you so much for playing a part!

Live Crowdfunding
60David Nikel

David NikelMay 1, 2014

Technoport’s Live Crowdfunding Beats Expectations

Technoport 2014: Day 1Day 2Day 3 – Live Crowdfunding Experiment

What a night!

I’d been looking forward to Technoport’s Live Crowdfunding Experiment since it was first announced months ago – and it didn’t disappoint.

Even though we’d all got to know the startups during the week, noone really knew what to expect as we entered Studenterdamfundet in Trondheim for the live show.

Kahoot’s Johan Brand hosted the evening, which also featured a jury comprising Rune Sævik from Investinor, Anders Mjåset from MESH, and Kim Daniel Arthur formerly of Playfish. The jury grilled the startups after their pitches and as several musical acts took the stage, the investment floor opened up.

Jury

Technoport

Money had already been pledged on FundedByMe beforehand, but around half of the total money invested during the campaigns was invested during the live event itself. There were even investments from Sweden and Germany, thanks to the live feed that attracted interest all around the world.

Assistep the big winners

Trondheim-based assisted stair-climbing technology company Assistep were the big winners, raising almost 600,000 kroner, almost half of that on the night itself. This beat their expectations and leaves them with a “luxury problem” according to co-founder and CEO Halvor Wold:

“We got more than we hoped for and now we have a luxury problem as we are oversubscribed. It was a new experience for us all, fun and a great atmosphere.”

“The investment will be used for tooling and production costs for the first batch. It’s a huge step for us.”

Other startups receiving investment were Rom & Tonik, designers of natural wool sound absorbers (50,000 kroner from 7 investors) and Dimension10, developers of 3D scanning technology (90,000 kroner from 14 investors)

Live Crowdfunding Experiment

Aleksander Langmyhr and Johan Brand

Is equity crowdfunding right for Norway?

The answer according to Aleksander Langmyhr, Country Manager Norway at event partner FundedByMe, is a resounding yes.

“I have to admit, the startups raised more than we expected! But the pitches were good and the company presentations on the FundedByMe were excellent.”

“This is definitely something that should be repeated as a series of events held all over Norway. It would enable the startup ecosystem to evolve, making investments in startups available for the public in Norway and it would become an arena for promising startups to showcase themselves.”

We’re going to look at what we can learn from this experiment in a future post here on the Technoport Playground, but for now let’s congratulate all the startups for an excellent evening of entertainment and investment.

As one attendee put it: “It’s just like Dragons Den, but with beer!”

Technoport 2014
60David Nikel

David NikelApril 29, 2014

Day Two at Technoport 2014

Technoport 2014: Day 1 – Day 2 – Day 3Live Crowdfunding Experiment

Attention turned to the power of the crowd on day two of the Technoport 2014 innovation conference.

On the first day we learned all about social entrepreneurship, specifically how to use technology and innovation to drive social change around the globe. Today, we learned how to utilise the crowd to get our ideas off the ground, whether for passion, profit, or the greater good.

The crowd shared their findings with an even wider crowd on social media, some here in Trondheim, and others around the world following our Twitter account and live stream:

#technoport14

Skype’s Jonas Kjellberg talked about focusing on your millions of potential customers, not marketing strategies, with this simple yet powerful statement:

“There are many marketing professors, but very few sales professors.”

Jonas Kjellberg

Funding your idea

A gloomy outlook on the shrinking Norwegian Venture Capital scene was followed by an exciting look at crowdfunding from IndieGoGo’s Liz Wald, who followed up her talk with a hands-on workshop for budding crowdfunders. The workshop was attended by, amongst others, students who had exhibited their business ideas earlier in the conference.

“Crowdfunding is not just about raising money. You can understand if there is demand for your project, build brand and awareness, capture data and identify influencers” – Liz Wald, IndieGoGo

Liz Wald Indiegogo

Share The Problem

Today’s Share the Problem workshop, hosted by Ericsson and the Scandinavian Design Group, focused on developing business models to take advantage of the decentralised mobile networks of the future (5G). Ericsson staff members joined the session to form three multi-disciplined groups to create particular models for different industries: food supply chains, education, and clothing retail. Ericsson staff enjoyed the opportunity to join in on the workshop model that they frequently run themselves.

Share the Problem

Learning from failure

A common mantra in the entrepreneurship world is it’s good to fail and you shouldn’t be scared of it. Technoport 2014 explored the concept of learning from failure with talks from two people with experience.

Jan van Kranendonk explained how he chose to fail, against the wishes of most people around him, with his solar power startup Sunuru. Kim Daniel Arthur then described how he led Playfish to a quick rise and a successful exit to EA, but suffered a quick fall soon afterwards.

“Jan and Kim were some of the most exciting people I’ve heard speak at the conference. They had a lot of energy because it wasn’t the end, it was part of an ongoing story that anyone could learn from, especially about the concept of choosing to fail. It had personal relevance as well as business relevance” – Megan Jones, Technoport 2014 participant

“Playing games you accept “Game Over” every 30 seconds. Making games you have to accept failure too” – Kim Daniel Arthur

Around the globe

Technoport 2014 welcomed guests from Canada’s MaRS Discovery District who spoke about the strategies used to help tech companies start, grow and succeed in Toronto and Waterloo.

“Your dream job does not exist. You must create it” – Keri Damen, MaRS Discovery District

Keri Damen

Pedro Oliveira travelled from Portugal to describe his Patient Innovation project, which allows patients and caregivers to share the solutions they have created for themselves or their loved ones.

Technoport Crowd

The Technoport Crowd

Now, we’re all off to tonight’s Live Crowdfunding Experiment!

Stay tuned to find out what happens…

Live Crowdfunding Experiment

Assistep Live Crowdfunding
60David Nikel

David NikelApril 28, 2014

Day One at Technoport 2014

Technoport 2014: Day 1 – Day 2Day 3Live Crowdfunding Experiment

Social entrepreneurship took centre stage as Technoport 2014 opened in Trondheim today.

The opening session of the innovation conference showed how significant change is possible using the power of entrepreneurship and innovation.

A Tool For Change

Johan Andresen, owner and Chairman of investment company FERD, described how his group invest in a wide range of social projects in lieu of bigger dividends. They range from Pøbelprosjektet – which aims to get young people who, for one reason or another are outside the established school system and the labour market into further education or a job – to Lyk-Z & Døtre, who work with children with schizophrenia.

The most valuable asset you have is time. The longer you wait, the less future there is to change – Johan Andresen

Pär Almqvist, Chief Marketing Officer at OMC Power, described how his company builds small-scale power plants with renewable sources where there is no reliable power grid today, mainly in one district of India where some of the country’s poorest people live. Evocative images and hard-hitting stats showed the positive impact of OMC’s work, but also the sheer amount of people out there who need solutions like this.

“Of the 1.2 billion people without energy access in the world, 400 million are in India. We need to change how we produce things, distribute things and consume things,” said Almqvist, adding that investment in renewable energy has actually fallen since 2011, and that 80% of the world’s energy still comes from fossil fuels.

Leila Janah rounded off the session with the story of her company Samasource. It’s outsourcing with a twist – as Samasource create thousands of “micro-work” tasks from major corporate projects, and assign them to individuals in places like Uganda, Ghana and Haiti that are trained to do those jobs. Over 24 million tasks have been completed by Samasource workers, including SEO, data mining, classification, data clean-up and machine learning, but most important was the difference it makes to those people’s lives.

This venture is still young. The first step is showing this model is economically viable. By completing work for corporations like Google, Microsoft and LinkedIn, we are doing just that – Leila Janah

Leila Janah

Share The Problem

Our highly-anticipated Share The Problem sessions featured presentations from OMC Power and Transnova.

OMC Power asked how we create applications and services that make good use of the fast local (solar-powered) wireless that meets the needs of rural communities in India.

The multi-skilled group identified the needs of the communities, with the help and guidance of Pär Almqvist. From here, the group honed in on three low-bandwidth and easy-to-use applications, developing plans and business models for each.

  • Local live radio run by and for the community funded by advertisements
  • A marketplace for group-buying products
  • A comprehensive tiered educational tool in partnership with big companies and NGOs

“You never end up where you think you’re going”, said an excited Almqvist. “Rural wifi is burgeoning market with massive potential space for entrepreneurship, as this session has proved.”

Transnova asked that if we free ourselves from basing the electric car on the traditional fossil-fuel powered cars, what would the electric car of the future and the system within which it functions look like?

Led by Carl André Nørstebø from EGGS Design, the participants split into three groups. Each group held an idea creation session, designed to develop as many ideas as possible, picked one to develop a prototype for and presented to the rest of the group. Transnova particularly liked the idea of a portable battery charger that you could pick up at a service station, attach to your vehicle so it charges as you drive, before dropping it at the next station. Battery sharing rather than car sharing!

Share The Problem - Transnova

Share The Problem – Transnova

As participants were enjoying the Share The Problem sessions, others attended Beyond the Buzzword and Less is More sessions in the main room.

Beyond the Buzzword examined the “knowledge economy” buzzword, looking at how intellectual property helps or hampers open innovation. Marshal Phelps from ArticleOne Partners summed up open innovation nicely:

“Open Innovation just means you can’t do everything yourself!”

During Less is More, the panel of speakers looked at what business opportunities can drive the fight against climate change. Dr Jonathan Cullen from the University of Cambridge suggested industrial recycling not consumer recycling is the big story, before Frode Hvattum from Accenture discussed several potential business models for firms that want to grow their business without being dependent on raw materials, such as recycling and reusing. He used the example of Norwegian company Borregaard, who is a leading global supplier of lignin-based binding and dispersing agents.

193A0225

193A0301

TPnh_1_small _015

Technoport 2014 continues tomorrow (Tuesday) with a focus on entrepreneurs and crowdfunding.

Technoport Share The Problem Statoil
4Gøril Forbord

Gøril ForbordFebruary 24, 2014

Share The Problem – From the CEO

My one and only assignment during Technoport’s very first Share the Problem event featuring Statoil was to take some notes. Unfortunately, I totally forgot!

I don’t think it happened because I am a forgetful person. I was simply too focused on Statoil’s problem! It was really complex, and not within any of my areas of expertise.

So here goes…

Statoil has a vision. Some time in the future they want to develop on-line monitoring of the environment they are operating in, and thereby be able to operate and take desicions that protects the environment before potential damage is done. An ocean observatory placed in Vesterålen is the first step towards this and they now need input on what sensors to use, how to analyse and use the huge amount of data collected and how to visualise the data from the ocean observatory.

No wonder I needed to focus!

After Statoil’s Innovation Director and Technoport board member, Per Sandberg, had told us about how Statoil is really enthusiastic about this new way of working with open innovation and outsourcing of their innovation challenges, it was the turn of Statoil Project Manager, Mona Låte.

She walked us through the problem, and then the 40 people in the room formed groups to discuss and understand the problem. There were six groups and we were six in my group. Two from start-up companies, one assosiate professor in instrumentation, two from Statoil, whereas one new a lot about the project, and my self. We asked the expert from Statoil many, many questions:

  • Why do you want to monitor the environment?
  • What are the most important metrics?
  • How do you analyze the data?
  • Why is it placed in Vesterålen where you have no operations?

These were all my questions, by the way. My fellow solvers asked some more intelligent questions!

We were then sorted into different groups, with different focus on sensors, visualisation and data analysis. We asked new questions, yet more questions, and then our final task was to give Statoil an advice. It was really interesting trying to come up with ideas, new angels and new questions. My group ended up advising Statoil to decide which are the most important paramenters and use an AUV to collect the data and use wireless transmition of them. So after three hours of constant questioning, some idea sharing, I think I sort of understood what it was really all about.

There is definitely is a business opportunity here, just waiting for the right solvers. If someone can provide Statoil with a simple device with wireless transmission of a few essential metrics, which transform the huge amount of data in a user friendly way into a environmental desition tool for operators, they could sell a lot of devices. Unfortunately for me, I am not that solver. But to be honest, I have done a lot of thinking about on-line environmental monitoring lately. Perhaps one of my fellow Share The Problem participants with greater solver potential than me also does on-line monitor thinking at this very moment!

As a pilot event, we weren’t sure how it would go and what direction it would take, but we were all very excited. A bit nervous in fact, even though there was really no pressure, I wondered what would be the outcome of the workshop, how would the participants react, how many would actually show up? on the outcome of the workshop, or on the number of participants?

A job well done!