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!