Operation TLC – reducing energy bills at Barts Health NHS Trust

Turn off, Lights Out, Close Doors

Operation TLC is a campaign I was recently working on with Global Action Plan for Barts Health NHS Trust. The campaign was designed to engage with the Trust’s hospital staff to encourage them to reduce their energy bill by communicating the benefits of carrying out each action. Operation TLC stands for Turn off (unnecessary equipment), Lights out (when possible), Close doors (where possible). These actions were determined following various research to understand where energy was being lost but also where the patient experience could be improved. For example, not only does closing doors help to reduce drafts and keep warmth in, it means that patients experience peace and quiet during their stay, especially at night time.

The campaign aimed to be simple to carry out, quick to understand and accessible. The three actions could be adopted by everyone through out their working day around the hospitals.

Here is a video (containing footage I shot) which explains what Operation TLC means to range of Barts Health staff,

To celebrate NHS Sustainability Day and to help raise awarness of the campaign, a team of volunteers stood outside a number of the hospitals to encourage ‘High Fives’ in support of Operation TLC. You can see photos here from outside the Royal London Hospital:

Operation TLC

Operation TLC

Operation TLC

1,200 people were reached that day simply by high fiving everyone that entered the Royal London Hospital and St Bartholomews Hospital. The day contained a range of events from Global Action Plans ‘eco interactive’ displays, workshops, site visits and energy saving stand. The Guardian newspaper wrote a great piece about how the day empowered and encouraged innovation: NHS Sustainability Day: empowering and encouraging innovation

The Guardian, NHS Sustainability Day

You can read more about Operation TLC here in the Global Action Plan website: Operation TLC – Nudging in the NHS

The team were very pleased with the results of the campaign and how well engaged the staff were but there’s nothing more satisfying than to win an award for all the hard work.  Barts Health NHS Trust won the HSJ Award for Improving Environmental and Social Sustainability. More information can be found here on the Sustainable Development Unit website: HSJ Awards 2013: Improving Environmental and Social Sustainability
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iBehaveSex: Increasing condom usage among men through tech

iBehave logo

Changing behaviours for good, in general can be an incredibly powerful way to encourage new habits and change attitudes. There are particular societal issues where behaviour change is commonly used and recognised as a valuable tool. Behaviour change is often used to protect our environment, to help reduce climate change and more and more to benefit our health.

Behaviour change contains a broad range of activities and approaches which focus on the individual, community, and environmental influences on behaviour. If you’re not familiar with how to achieve this, I recommend having a read of BJ Fogg’s website where he explains the importance of motivation, ability, and trigger.

Behaviour change can be achieved through simple messaging, focused communications, engagement and empowerment. But, to add an interesting angle to behaviour change, iBehave is looking at how technology can be used to benefit our health:

iBehave is a meetup focused on the usage of technology as an enabler of behaviour change by enabling behavioural transition from risk behaviours to those akin with positive health outcomes. Our mission is to provide an OPEN INNOVATION ecosystem designed to:

1. Enable the achievement of game changing health outcomes by showcasing, encouraging and accelerating technical innovations where game mechanics related techniques can be used to drive behaviour change and compliance.

2. Foster a community of companies and individuals interested in enacting behavioural change in the healthcare industry through game mechanics related behaviour change techniques.

iBehave hosted a MeetUp on 26 March titled ‘Increasing condom usage among men through Tech – how do you change behaviour?’

Dr Julia Bailey, a clinical senior lecturer in Primary Care at UCL and Damian Hampton, head of technology for Illumina Digital gave an insightful presentation about project SexUnzipped: a website about sex, relationships and sexual health for young people over 16. 

  • Did you know that STI’s cost the NHS a £1 billion a year!?
  • Did you know that gonorrhoea will become untreatable in the future with the resistance to antibiotics?

The presentations were excellent at setting the scene, gave us a better understanding of how technology is currently being used to change behaviour around sexual health and created an opportunity to ask questions. Following the presentations, the behaviour mechanics that attended the MeetUp broke into groups to take part in an innovation session to unlock ideas on how technology can address the challenge of ‘Increasing condom usage among men through tech’.

ibehave innovation groups

Here are some of the questions put to the behaviour mechanics that attended the innovation session:
–How do you get a man to decide he’s going to wear a condom before things start getting heated up?
–How can we get women to veto sex without a condom?
–How can we reduce/eliminate the embarrassment, time and cost to getting condoms?
–How can you use technology to “sex educate” our target audience?
–How would you incentivise our target audience to engage with the content?

iBehave innovation session

And here is a little video which explains what the behaviour mechanics thought of the event:

Interested in coming along to the next MeetUp? We’ll be discussing obesity in low income communities on 13 May – it will be provocative. It will be interesting! Be sure to sign up through the MeetUp page to guarantee your place.

Easy to cook, healthy Indian food!

I recently had the pleasure of filming Cyrus Todiwala, (chef and owner of Café Spice Namasté), cook a dish for NHS Sustainability Day.

NHS Sustainability Day, hosted by Barts Health NHS Trust is intended to initiate action around sustainability for the Trust and community. There will be a number of events happening on the day, there are celebrities endorsing the day and there are a variety of ways to get involved. For more information, have a look at the website.

Cyrus Todiwala came up with a Pink Fir Apple Potato with Sesame Seed recipe. Pink fir apple potatoes are in season at the moment and make a delicious, healthy and easy to cook recipe. The following video was filmed in Café Spice Namasté:

It was fantastic to hear how all of the ingredients used were locally sourced, seasonal and organic. And, I can vouch for how easy it is to cook! Here is a version I made:

20130324-224413.jpg

and I used the left over ginger skins to flavor tea. A trick Cyrus taught us (but which unfortunately had to be left out of the edit)

20130324-224637.jpg

I can’t wait to visit the restaurant and try more food on the menu.

10 tips on life as a freelance creative

Are you new to freelancing, considering freelancing or never had the courage to leave your job but would like to? If yes, please read on.

I work with a number of companies, speak to friends who work in full time positions and teach students looking to move into a new career. I’m often faced with questions like how do you manage life as a freelancer? or don’t you miss the security of a full time job? My passion is to meet like minded people, do what I enjoy doing and have time to work on my own projects – this is why I work as a freelance creative. I won’t work on projects I don’t believe in and although I enjoy some more than others, I’m proud of my work/play balance.

I have put a few of my thoughts into writing for those curious about what it is to be a freelance creative like me. I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts, hear suggestions on how you manage freelance life and hear your questions based on these 10 thoughts below:

1. Have a web presence: Do you realise how easy it is to have a website or blog up and running? The joys of wordpress allow anyone to choose a name, change the colours, add some text and have a blog style website set up. This could either be used as a portfolio, an information point or have a point of view and keep an online journal updated. If you want to be more ambitious, you could learn to edit wordpress in more detail, in which case wordpress.org is a fantastic starting point. You will need to buy a domain name and pay for hosting (where as wordpress.com is a free, more basic service) but you will have the flexibility of editing the themes code base.

If you want to know if a particular domain name is available, I recommend using Name Checker. It will tell you if the twitter handle, YouTube channel etc etc is also available for that name.

Having a website is a great place for people to learn about you. Maybe they heard your name mentioned, did a google search or saw your thoughts on twitter. If you don’t have a web presence, how will a potential client or collaborator find you?

REMEMBER, if you choose to start a blog, you will need to keep it updated (which is time you need to factor in) – an updated (spell checked) blog could be detremental to your career…

example: Hubert Consulting

Hubert Consulting wordpress.org website

Hubert Consulting wordpress.org website

David Hubert became a freelance consultant at the start of 2013 and realised that if he wanted to attract EU and International clients he would need a website to explain his services. The domain HubertConsulting.com was available to buy and using wordpress.org (using bluehost hosting), a simple, clean website was uploaded to the internet.

2. Use social media: Get yourself on twitter. It’s the best tool for putting your name out to the wider world. It allows you to have a voice, share your expertise and ‘meet’ people from other backgrounds. Of course there is etiquette that you will need to learn (start watching how others compose their tweets), hashtags that will attract followers and ways to encourage more followers but more information on etiquette will have to wait for another blog entry!

You can always use twitter to curate your news feed, reply to other people’s tweets or share new and interesting information for others. But don’t forget, there are many versions of social media you can use. I don’t use Pinterest for example but I can completely see the value if you want others to see your taste, understand your creativity or simply gain a better understanding of you as a person.

Although you could choose to hide your tweets (I’m not sure why anyone wanting to promote themselves would do this!), REMEMBER that anything you put on twitter can be seen by anyone, even if they don’t have a twitter account or follow you.

example: Dokker.com

Dokker.com twitter page

Dokker.com twitter page

Dokker.com is a tech start-up who have built a platform for allowing document templates to be shared. I did some work with Dokker.com to help them launch their product in the UK – we used social media to raise their profile. In a small amount of space it is clear what Dokker.com does through their description, their website link is visible and their account let’s you see their point of view through their tweets.

3. Collaborate with others: Freelancing is about being open to new projects and being creative means you are always curious. There are a number of online platforms which can be used to carry out pro-bono work and develop your own skills while helping others. I’m a big fan of OpenIDEO. The platform where people design better, together. Taking part in their challenges gives you exposure to real life briefs but gives you the flexibility of working on the brief when it suits you. Because the online community are there to help each other you will receive near instant feedback on your work and learn how others think!

You can always take your skills offline and attend ‘Hack Day‘ events where a range of people come together to work on a creative brief in a short amount of time. Whether this is a whole weekend with socially conscious Good for Nothing, 36 hours at an IDEO Make-A-Thon or a service design focused event like the Global Service Jam you are guaranteed to meet inspiring people and be forced to test your creativity.

REMEMBER though that if you are going to take part in an online community or attend a Hack Day, you need give as well as get! Your input is essential.

example: My Fail Tale

My Fail Tale on OpenIDEO

My Fail Tale on OpenIDEO

I took part in the OpenIDEO web entrepreneur challenge where they were looking for concepts to help EU web entrepreneurs be more sustainable. My concept ‘TED Positive’ (now My Fail Tale) was chosen as one of the 10 winners and was presented at the European Commission’s Digital Agenda Assembly. The best part of taking part in the challenge is that I have my own project up and running and I was lucky enough to meet some exciting and inspiring people while in Brussels at the European Commission.

4. Network, network, network: this does not mean simply giving out business cards (in fact, I don’t usually bother with business cards), it means go and talk to people. Online this can be done through LinkedIn or offline at events, talks or conferences. How do people know who you are, what you do or what you’re good at/your interests are if you don’t tell them?

There are some fantastic places to look for events; look on company’s website or use eventbrite or MeetUp to find out what’s coming up near you. Use the event hashtag to focus your tweets, write a blog piece about what you’ve learnt or use the event as an excuse to meet people you haven’t met before in person.

REMEMBER that you need to be confident and approach people if you want to network. There is no point in attending an event then sitting back hoping people will approach you. It is also essential that you too follow up with people you meet – drop them an email or link in with them.

example: iBehave

iBehave MeetUp page

iBehave MeetUp page

I have recently become involved with a MeetUp that is focussed on using technology to change people’s behaviours around health. We run a montly MeetUp and encourage a wide range of people from academics to entrepreneurs to developers and funders to attend. It creates a fantastic room full of inspiring people all interested in the same topic. The discussions are facinating and new connections are always made.

5. Learn what you’re good at: working freelance can make describing your job title that bit harder. You no longer have one strict job title and your potential to work across a number of projects is much greater. Do you know how to describe yourself or explain what you’re good at? Look at how others describe themselves and read other people’s blogs. Do you have ex-colleagues you could share your thoughts with to see if they agree? It is a good exercise to look over your CV or write down all the skills you have and also list all the skills you enjoy using. From these lists, start to sculpt a job description or a short bio for yourself which captures all of this and looks focussed.

REMEMBER, whatever you write as your bio on your website, linkedIn account or Twitter profile, it can be changed!

example: LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn expertise section

LinkedIn expertise section

LinkedIn is a great tool for sharing your CV with a wide audience. Gaining recommendations from past colleagues helps to reinforce your skills and show potential clients what you are good at. The new ‘skills and expertise’ section that LinkedIn have recently introduced is a quick way to tell others what you are good at. You may find this a useful tool for self promotion.

6. Find a creative work place: When you work in a full time position, you are likely to have a desk, an office to go to everyday and colleagues to speak to on a regular basis. Working freelance can be a lonely experience for some people and it is important to build a routine that suits you. Maybe you enjoy working from home or maybe you miss the daily interaction with others.

Luckily, with more and more start-ups appearing (especially in London) and more people becoming self employed, finding somewhere to work that has power points and WiFi isn’t difficult.

REMEMBER, whatever way you like to work, make sure you create a working environment that suits you, not what you think you’re expected to do.

example: Google Campus, Central Working cafe

I have started to work at the Google Campus, central working cafe which is close to Old Street in London. Upstairs is TechHub, the shared working space for tech start-ups. It is a cafe which you need to register to use but once you’re inside is full of creative, like minded people. The number of tables is limited but the coffee is good and the atmosphere is perfect for me to sit and work. It can be noisey and sometimes a bit hectic but that is the type of environment I feel inspired to work in.

7. Combine your hobbies: I have a love for motorbikes. This is often news to people and not something you associate with a girl in her 30’s. The freedom that two wheels give you is unstoppable and riding on a motorbike often starts conversations with strangers – something else I love! I like to use my passion for motorbikes to take me to places where I can pick up new insights and learn from my experiences.

REMEMBER though that you need make sure that your freelance work and hobbies have some relevance 😉

example: Two Wheel Exploring

twowheelexploring.com

twowheelexploring.com

At the end of 2012, I went on a motorbike adventure from London to The Gambia to go and experience different cultures, face the unknown and have an advenuture. I took five weeks away from work and would never have been able to do this when I was full time employed. Riding from London, through Spain and down through Africa took me past villages and into communities which I would never normally have the chance to experience. I took a video camera and filmed the encounters I came across. I just need time to edit this film into a 45 minute documentary ‘What we can learn from developing countries’

8. Learn new skills: In a full time position you may be lucky enough to be sent on courses for your own personal development.  As a freelancer you need to do this yourself and these courses can be costly. Instead, why not attend events at organisations like General Assembly where you can learn new skills at affordable prices? There are plenty of online learning tools which could either help you brush up your skills or teach you something totally new.

REMEMBER new skills will always look good on your CV but you will need to be disciplined to keep these skills fresh if you don’t have a freelance project to use them on.

example: Code Academy

Codeacademy.com

codeacademy.com

Code Academy is a very accessible online tool to learn how to code. You will be exposed to coding from the second you launch the website and soon realise how simple the site is. Once you have completed a few of the tasks you will begin to earn points which will motivate you to keep going.

9. Get good at doing your own tax: Having to file your own tax return is clearly one of the biggest barriers to people wanting to becoming their own boss. Ok, you can pay an accountant to do this for you (which is fantastic if you have the money) but I believe it’s important to at least do the first one yourself so that you gain an understanding of what’s involved. Don’t let people put you off doing your tax return by them telling you it’s complicated. It’s as complicated as you make it – the secret is to be organised and to set up a system for recording your expenses. I’m also often surprised at how few people use the HMRC website for help. I have called them a number of times and have always spoken to a very helpful person.

REMEMBER there are also the HMRC webinars which are a good starting point for understanding how self employed taxes work.

examples:  expensify.com

expensify.com website

expensify.com website

There are a number of tools on the internet which are designed to help you with your self employed tax return. I recently read about expensify.com in the The Sunday Times as a tool to help you record your receipts. I recommend using any tools that help you!

I’ve recently discovered but not yet used SimpleTax.com

10. Don’t get disheartened: when you first start looking for freelance work, you may not have constant work. This could easily happen between jobs too but remember that is the nature of working for yourself. You don’t have a boss anymore, no one is telling you what to do and you can choose the projects you work on. If you have a few days spare, work on your tax return, find a conference to attend, write a blog piece or go and do something non work related!

REMEMBER to enjoy it.

Insights from a motorbike

On Wednesday 17th October I left on a motorbike for an adventure to The Gambia. We plan to ride 3,000 miles in five weeks; we caught a ferry to Santander, rode through Spain and are now in Morocco.

Ahead of us we have the disputed Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia where we fly home from Banjul.

Many people have asked why?

  • What makes you want to travel to The Gambia?
  • Why do you want to ride your motorbikes that far?
  • Isn’t it going to be dangerous?
  • And how will you carry all your luggage?
  • The main reason was to leave our London lives behind for 5 weeks and experience new cultures. Being on two wheels allows you to visit places most travelers don’t reach, having no set itinerary will allow us to get immersed in local cultures and completing the whole journey on motorbikes means we have a 180degree view the whole way.

    It has taken a few months of planning, mainly bike preparation and paper work organisation but now we are in Africa our adventures really start here.

    The work I do ‘back home’ is all about collecting insights, understanding people and finding ways to help communities. I love being immersed into different cultures and finding out how we can influence behaviours for good.

    So, another aim of this adventure is to document what we see, who we meet and what we experience. We have a Canon HF10 video camera and where possible intend to film as much as possible. This may, however prove hard at times, especially in Western Sahara and Mauritania where reporters and journalists are forbidden. Luckily though, David is a native French speaker which helps for negotiating….

    I’m interested in social innovation and sustainability, especially when focused on communities and making people happy. This is what we’ll be looking out for en route.

  • What brings communities together? and
    How do communities survive, especially in developing countries?
  • What we’ve experienced so far:

    Our stay in Spain was only a few days but while with friends in Madrid, we went to their friend’s house for a birthday dinner. The evening revolved around chatting while eating tortillas, cheese and olives and drinking Rioja. Exactly what comes to my mind when Spanish food is mentioned. When we arrived at our camp site outside of Granada, the owner said we’d just missed the paella! There was a large group of locals sitting around a table with an empty paella dish…

    When we arrived at the Moroccan border at Ceuta there were lots of men trying to ‘stamp our passport’ and ‘help us through customs’. We had been warned of this and knew not to accept their help but they were clearly being very innovative and even had ‘official’ looking name tags around their necks. Morocco came with animals all over the streets, men on scooters piled high with luggage, taxis with broken suspensions and far too many passengers in them and women selling branches on the side of the road.

    From now on we can start looking for local insights and discover what makes each community different and what cultural differences occur. Two things we quickly learnt in Chefchaouen were that ‘every street has a guardian’ and ‘however little you trust a Moroccan, he will trust a Moroccan half of that’. Let’s hope Abdul really is looking after our motorbikes while we stay in the Medina.

    Motorbike focused updates are being posted at http://www.twowheelexploring.com and @twowheelexp on twitter if you want to follow our journey, otherwise we plan to have a film edited together in the new year.

    And to answer the questions asked of me previously, here are some quick replies:
    1. Heading south to The Gambia means things become cheaper, the weather gets better and the cultures become more interesting.
    2. We wanted to ride our bikes to Cape Town but political situations are insecure in parts at thr moment and it would take much longer to plan/save up for.
    3. We don’t plan to travel any where ‘dangerous’. We are looking for an adventure but will move on if we feel unsafe.
    4. We have three panniers each to carry our luggage. The saying ‘over packed is under prepared’ is very true and we have packed what we need without going over the top. Yes, we will need to wash our underwear frequently…!20121023-160327.jpg

    Sharing Failures in Paris: FailCon

    25th September marked the day of FailCon Paris when the fantastic FailCon team came over from California to help the French embrace failure!

    Cass introducing the FailCon Paris sponsors

    The conference hosted a full day of speakers, Q&As and excellent networking opportunities at Microsoft’s offices in Paris. I went along as I’m particularly interested in encouraging people to understand that any business, start up, venture or entrepreneurial idea will at some point, inevitably experience failure. That, however is not a negative occurance but a means of learning to succeed at what you want to achieve.

    The speakers were excellent. Some were fairly big names, others were less well known but the thing, for me, that made the event was the atmosphere in the room. Everyone that attended the conference was ready to accept failure, had failed at some point, wanted their business to succeed and/or understood the value of learning from other people’s mistakes.

    Prepare For and Avoid Common Startup Mistakes
    You aren’t a real entrepreneur until you’ve had to deal with failure, and recovering from it –
    financially emotionally and practically – can be challenging. Hear how entrepreneurial
    leaders have dealt with failure while keeping a positive and tenacious attitude.
    Failcon

    FailCon Paris

    Learnings from the morning’s speakers

    JB Rudelle CEO and cofounder of Critero talked about the differences between being a hare and a tortoise when it comes to business start ups. You may feel the need to run quickly and reach your goals quicker than planned but this can be a curse. ‘If it’s not quick and easy, it is a bad idea’ – WRONG! Success comes from hard work and persistance. Deals should be done when opportunities arise or ‘me-toos’ will creep in! All of this must, however take metrics into consideration. You must force yourself to measure your actions and outputs properly or it will become very difficult to know if you are being successful or not.

    Eric Mittelette from Microsoft told the story of Microsoft’s web servers being hit by a virus which gave them a bad name. The virus took 15 minutes to infect 75,000 servers! The flaw in their single product meant that customers had a negative opinion of the entire company. Their failure came from their product having too many features and they did not know enough about security. Their piece of advice for businesses is to always have someone look over your code and use fresh eyes when reviewing work. This not only finds flaws and irons out problems but creates fun,positive competition in the workplace.

    Jean-Christophe Capelli, CEO and cofounder of FriendsClear encountered regulation issues when starting his money lending via the internet business. His business was a small start-up trying to work with big businesses but both were on different time lines. Jean’s advice is to avoid working in regulated industries (!) but the overall learnings were to never give up, be prepared for hurdles and be aware of the pace of your partner companies. He had to stop working for 9 months and take a breather. Something that is not unheard of by a number of start-ups.

    Next came a panel session titled ‘Investment Pitfalls’

    On the panels was:

    Jean David entertained everyone with this opening remark. ‘the first pancake never looks good’ Very true and interestingly linked to the fact that VCs will hardly ever admit they failed after an investment! VCs need to trust the entrepreneurs more and trust what they are doing with their money. When someone is investing, they are buildling the company and know one knows what will happen to that company. ‘how do you make people row in the right direction? you can’t…’
    Sean went on to discuss the directions that failure can take. Often failure occurs because the technology has failed or because a me-too has entered and possibly saturated the market. There needs to be trust between the investor and shareholders. Breakdown in trust is when failure gets nasty. Know your numbers, show your enthusiams but don’t be afraid of having doubts.
    Philippe said it’s important to paint a vision but also be able to tackle situations and take control.

    Learning’s from the afternoon speakers

    Olivier Fecherolle, Viadeo realised that he was too early with his start-up but didn’t have the money to wait. He made an interesting point that the UK is an island and you need to think that way if you want to launch there. You must base yourself in the place that you want to launch in to be able to set yourself up commercially. You must be in the same place as your company for success and look at your business globally if you want to scale it.

    Thom Cummings, SoundCloud piece of advice from starting up his company was that it is easy to under recognise your achievement yet it’s also easy to over recognise milestones! It is common to have access to too much information and too many paths which makes focussing challenging. Start-ups must pick the right metric and be able to recognise when good enough is good enough. ‘Be a navigator, not a chauffeur’, ‘choose the right path, give support and let them drive’

    Thom Cummings at FailCon
    Next came the panel session Location: Can It Ruin You?

    This session discussed building trust with your brand and the necessity of having a website that your stakeholders like and can relate to. Good branding is essential for gaining this trust. Markus explained how he tried to scale the marketing too slowly. It is important to have big numbers and faith to spend money on your marketing!

    Gabriel was confident that you don’t necessarily want two years of runway to grow your start-up. It’s more important to spend what money you have wisely!

    Lara Rouyres and Tatiana Lara, LivingSocial had some very wise words to share as the last speakers of the day. The culture of a small start-up will change when it becomes a bigger business and people need to be ready for this. ‘Make sure you get management to write down their values each month, then choose who represents those values best’ was a technique they have adopted.

    Anticipate transition, don’t rush into hiring people and remember that communication amongst the team is crucial.

    What I learnt from the whole event

    Starting a business can be done by nearly anyone but understanding what is ahead of you needs confidence, management and planning. We can plan for inevitable hurdles but we never know when we will come across them and need to be ready to pivot. Every time we fail, those hurdles become more obvious and the time it takes to pivot reduces.

    You must believe in yourself but be mature enough to listen to others and know when to take their advice!

    The conference was incredibly valuable for anyone running a business and what I heard definitely rings true with the start-ups I am currently working with.

    Ignite Athens

    On 20th September 2012, a fantastic event happened in Athens, Greece. Entrepreneurs, business start ups, VCs, angel investors and mentors all gathered at the Onassis Cultural Centre to share their passion for innovation. I was honoured to be invited to speak about My Fail Tale, making failure positive.

    Ignite Athens place card

    Ignite Athens a fast-paced geek event started by Brady Forrest, Technology Evangelist for O’Reilly Media, and Bre Pettis of marketbomb.com, formerly of MAKE Magazine‘ was organised for companies and leaders to share innovation. Based on a pecha kucha style presentation, each speaker was given 5 minutes (20 timed slides, each 15 seconds long) to talk.

    The morning session…

    The day opened with a message from Nellie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission who talked about the Digital Agenda for Europe and the importance of supporting entrepreneurs in Europe.

    Neelie Kroes video message

    The morning then heard a number of speakers all connected with entrepreneurship either as mentors, business support, interesting initatives or with successful companies.

    Here is a summary of the insights I picked up from the speakers:

    • Tolis Aivalis, (@aivalis) a business mentor and serial entrepreneur kicked off the event by talking about the important characteristics of an entrepreneur. Autonomy, strength and liberty were interesting key words.
    • Ryan from The Ink Factory (@the_ink_factory) demonstrated (via an animation) their amazing talent at graphic recording. ‘You talk, we draw, it’s that simple.’ Well, they make it look that simple but actually, they are fantastic at capturing the essence of your talk in a matter of minutes. Here is a photo of one of the boards they created throughout the morning.

    Graphic recording by The Ink Factory

    • endeavor(@endeavorGR) gave an interesting talk about growth and how to support entrepreneurs. Apparently only 15% of entrepreneurs in Greece are female whereas only 8% are female in the EU. Why is this? These numbers are both incredibly low.We need to be more realistic about where we are and what we can achieve: aim high, dream but make sure you can reach that dream!
      Explore the power of corporations; but don’t boycot and create issues and share you ideas.
      Have a strong commitment to your start-up: solutions are not handed to us!
    • Ydir Vissers from Monitor Group explained their view on the paths to becoming an entrepreneur.
      – You could set yourself up in Silicon Valley and immerse yourself in the entrepreneurial surroundings.
      – Spawn off others through an anchor model path.
      – Follow heros that represent entrepreneurship.
      – Be put into an event driven environment where you have to succeed!
    • I added to the conversation by presenting the My Fail Tale project (video below), working to create a movement of change people’s attitude towards failure. The great news it that the subject was warmly welcomed and people were happy to discuss their failures. Well, more their fear of failure as most people in the room were entrepreneurs about to fail! The Ink Factory created this great representation of my talk:My Fail Tale

    The afternoon session…

    The afternoon session introduced a huge list of budding entrepreneurs in Greece. There were so many of them that it’s best you look them up yourselves if you’re interested. Here are some of my favourite:

    Healthster ‘The smartphone app Hippocrates himself would endorse. Be CEO of your own well being. Taste health one bite at a time with Healthster’ @healthsternow

    Gnostix ‘Social Media Monitoring & Analytics tool for results driven Social Media Marketing’ @gnostix

    Weendy ‘Share the action, fun and conditions from any spot as it happens. Simple. Social.’ @weendyapp

    Suibee ‘Suibee collects inspiring posts from people like you’ @suibeeapp

    WOTgroup ‘helping women find mentoring in business’ @WOTgroup

    Buddy Traffic ‘Buddytraffic is a fun and exciting crowdsourced app that helps you and your buddies report and avoid traffic’ @buddytraffic

    Fashinating ‘Fashinating is online window shopping! Thousands of fashion products – apparel, shoes, bags, accessories, jewelry – from the best online stores worldwide are gathered in one place, to enable you to easily discover and buy the items you like.’ @fashinating

    To sum up…
    Ignite Athens did a great job at bringing entrepreneurs, innovators, business minded, inspiring people together in one place. The passion and excitement in the room created the foundations for business initiatives and forward thinking. I met people from all types of business with different skills and different dreams. I wish them all the best of luck and thank everyone for the insights and contacts I took away.

    The talks can all be found here on YouTube.

    You can watch Louise speak about My Fail Tale below: