City Boy Goes Rural

…Well not really – I am born in Joensuu, which is hardly a city, and raised in Juva, which is even less so. So I am just the right person to join the Smart Rural World Congress in Penela, Portugal, next week. The event is organised by Smart Rural Living Lab, and I will discuss the possibilities and challenges of smart solutions for scarcely populated regions (we are experts in that, as basically the whole of Finland counts as such).

Familiar buzzwords there… Participatory Design, Open Innovation and Design Thinking. Let’s see if they really do as they preach; one of the recognised problems of the Living Labs scene is that despite saying that the activities are user-driven, they are actually producer-driven; the companies rarely are willing to challenge their concepts beyond basic user-testing. The ones who actually do go all the way can get remarkable results, like the famous Lego case.

Anyway, while in Penela, maybe I could do some mountain biking as well. But maybe not as hc as the guys going downhill in the video…

The Death and Rise of Collectible Record Business

I am addicted to vinyl. Cannot help it. I had a break of almost a decade (the dark age of CD’s) but never sold my vinyls, and now in our new house with a music room the addiction is back with a vengeance. I have bought more than a 100 records in the last half a year.


My Transrotor Leonardo Turntable, spinning a clear vinyl issue of Hunky Dory by David Bowie.

Besides the primal urge to own more and more vinyls in general, the other problem in trying to control the urge is my eclectic taste in music. So, I always find something to buy in almost any store or flea market, since I like funk, punk, indie, jazz, avantgarde, soul, Latin, African… you name it.

Anyway, the business of collectible records (as all collectibles) has really changes shape since the last time I was keen on analogue media, in the early 90’s. It is the most concrete example of the long tail I have ever seen. The small record stores are vanishing (too bad for the record stores, really), but in eBay there are at the moment 3,5 million records for sale (on the US eBay only). The rarity has become a commodity; almost ANY record is available at ANY time (for a price).

The long tail, social media -driven marketplace is also increasingly transparent. Sites like Popsike publish information about the value of the records, and the fast-growing Discogs combines the features of a wiki-style music database (currently 4 million entries from all over the globe, and counting), marketplace, social platform (you can find me there) and record value indicator. One more proof that communities can do things which are impossible otherwise.

For the collector, this really is the golden age. I am setting up a vinyl store with my daughter. We will trade really rare records, which I have purchased over the years. Finland used to be a lousy place to buy & sell really obscure music, because the local market is small and the tastes conservative. But now we just operate from Finland – we know that there will be a market, because the market is the world.

ISPIM Conference Comes To Town

The International Society for Professional Innovation Management – ISPIM – are starting their annual conference in Helsinki today.

I am the first one in the line of fire, as I will be doing THE most frightening speaking task: give a dinner speech. DInner speech sums up the basic fact of performing: the shorter the time, the harder the task. While performing, people build barricades of powerpoint slides or umpteen words (messing upo event schedules). None of that for a dinner speech. It should also be funny. So the task is close to stand-up-comedy, actually. Maybe I should grab a trick or two from Louis C.K.?

I will be speaking about TRUST, STEALING and FORGETTING. More specifically, about trust as the basis for being innovative – for an individual, for a company, and for a nation; about stealing (ideas) as the fundamental way we innovate; and about forgetting (what you think you know) as the core ingredient of learning.

Tomorrow there will be a Living Lab session (session 1.5, 2 pm)  where I will be speaking too. There are great people in the session, like Pieter Ballon of iMinds and Petra Turkama of Aalto CKIR who will be hosting the session. And thank god, there I can hide behing my slides. Tonight, it’s just me (and the flu).

The Winner Takes It All!

Oh yes, sometimes it IS sexy to collaborate in the European Commission projects (you can call me perverted if you want). Our open data project Helsinki Region Infoshare was awarded the Commission prize for the best innovation in public administration in Dublin, selected out of 203 proposals (the commission press release here).


Ville Meloni of Forum Virium, all smiles in Dublin.

The prize of 100,000 € will be used to develop services further, including access to public information about city decision making – that’s a whopping one million pages per year. The Open Ahjo API is one of the first cases in the new Helsinki Loves Developers action.


Speaking statistics 2012 – 2013

…well, that happens when you publish demos: I left empty bio pages under the “Speaking” header. Here’s the updated info.

Gathering info is fascinating. Some statistics:

2013 (so far) – 15 major presentations, speeches or moderator tasks in nine different countries. Total time on stage: app. 8 hours. Time spent in airplanes traveling to the events: app. 90 hours. Travel days so far: 23.

2012 – 40 major presentations, speeches or session moderator tasks in 16 different countries. Total time on stage: app. 23,5 hours. Time spent in airplanes traveling to the events: app. 230 hours. Total travel days: 65,5.

The proportion between speaking and airplane is about 1:10. So, telepresence makes sense (but then again, nothing beats F2F communications).

On top of the speaking assignments come project preparation, management and review meetings – app. 20 days more, last year.