Manchester Rocked

I spent all of last week in the 4th ENoLL Summer School, in the great city of Manchester. Summer school keeps getting better; we had a fabulous time in Helsinki last year, but this year’s event was even more intense and stimulating.

There were too many highlights to be listed here. Some of the key moments, news and touching moments were…

…the research day. The scientific community around Living Labs is growing and showing results.

… the World Bank collaboration meeting. Our Memorandum of Understanding is turning into concrete action plan and joint activities.

…and finally, farewell to Anna Kivilehto, our fantastic network manager. She goes forward in her career as she was headhunted for Laurea Living Labs network. Loss for ENoLL, great news for Laurea. Congratulations Anna, the great news is that you move to Helsinki and I’ll see you more often!

Summer school made a wave; “ENoLL(#ENoLLSS13) has reached more than 77,600 accounts with around 700,000 impressions on Twitter. 111 contributors have been posting more than 420 tweets within 7 days short period.”

See you there:ENoLL Summer School !!!

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The travel calendar for the fall starts to fill up. It’s gonna be a fantastic autumn. The first goal is Manchester, where the user driven innovation people gather together for the 4th European Network Of Living Labs Summer School. The previous three events in Paris, Barcelona and Helsinki have been great, and we can expect the same for Manchesher. One difference between the previous editions and this one is the location, which is in the middle of the (beautiful) city.

The summer school kicks off with a research day, and continues through the whole week. It will be also the launch event for the World Bank & ENoLL collaboration – community-driven Living Labs are especially valid way to do innovation int he developing countries and cities.

More info can be found in the summer school websiteSee you there!!!

Infodev Global Forum, East London, South Africa

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I am heading to Africa again, one year after my trip to the World Bank event in Kenya. Now I will speak in the innovation ecosystems track: This session will explore the relative roles the public and private sectors play in facilitating innovation, innovative enterprises and a productive economy.”

Living labs, open data and community-driven smart cities on the agenda. More insights when I get there.

Open Data in Kenya

I was fortunate to be invited by the World Bank to Nairobi, to participate in a round table organised by the Kenya Open Data Initiative and then to the Open Innovation Africa Summit.

The level of understanding the challenges regarding Open Data is high, but  combined with a genuine enthusiasm about Open Data as an accelerator of innovation. And they are moving fast. For example, Kenya is starting a code fellowships program following the Code4America model – before anyone has done it in Europe.

The OIAS deep dive tackled the innovation challenges in Africa; the full report is still on its way, but you can find a good partial report in the Balancing Act blog.

So, what’s next? It seems that we are doing something right with Helsinki Region Infoshare because Petri Kola from our office (and Aalto University) is travelling back to Nairobi this week, to participate in an open data WS using Design Thinking methods.

For boosting innovation in Africa, I think that networked local hubs like M-lab are critical. Living Labs for user-driven, grassroots-level innovation could really make the difference here.

Keep an eye on Kenya & the rest of Africa. The challenges they face are gigantic, but so is the drive.