Moving experiences / Home
When we embarked on creating Koru we selected a few themes that would underpin what we do. One of these themes is Clustering. There are big transformations around Health and Wellness industry driven by Internet and mobility. This means lots of startups emerge, solving part of the puzzle. By clustering and working together we can be much stronger. Last summer seeing that 4 of 9 startups from the Startup Sauna's Summer of Start-ups programme were in the Health and Wellness space, I decided to try to help them and bring them and other players into a health and wellness cluster; and so the idea of HealthSPA was born. With the entusiastic support of Marko Turpeinen EIT's ICT Lab Helsinki director, we arranged the first event in January. Next week on the 10th at 5PM we are holding the second event at Aalto University's Open Innovation House and the interest has been overwhelming. With the tireless effort of Sebastien Gianelli from Koru and John Sperry from Wellbring, we have over 90 people attending and more than 70 companies signed-up of which 20 will be doing demos. We even have one company selecting to launch at the event. This is really amazing. Thanks for supporting the idea of Clustering and empowering HealthSPA. Lets continue to reboot Finland together.
During our annual family crayfish party I got an idea after drinking a blackcurrant wine made by a guy that my father used to work with. Let create a re-union of the advertising and graphic design gurus that shaped Finland in the decades of rapid growth, from the 60’s to the early 90’s. (I keep this post anonymous, in the spirit of this blog.)
During the dinner a single question was asked: What was the spark that got you into advertising and design. Amazing tales were told. At one point I was wiping tears from my eyes.
What was telling was all of them started out with no formal training. One of them got told that he should go into advertising by some priest’s wife when he was 10. At the age of 14 he moved away from home with no money no plan. In some ways these were the classic rags to richness stories. But as an avid fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, I saw a bunch of outliers, a bunch of geniuses. In Gladwells view; I saw support systems, I saw environments of creativity.
The clearest outliers in the groups and probably the ones making the biggest impact, had clearly started earlier. Initially by typesetting and decorating windows in shops. They had their 10.000 hours together in these supporting or fundamental topics way before others selecting an academic route had even started.
They all were of the opinion that they were not exceptional at art. They were of mixed success in school from poor grades to excellent grades. They were a mixed group of extroverts and introverts.
The support systems that stimulated these young men were competitions in typesetting, layouts and stuff like that. This enabled them to build their self-esteem and get awareness early on. This seemed crucial for their progress. There is thus a merit of competitions in design.
After a few years of working they got an opportunity to get a formal education at Ateneum, the premier art school. They had a day programme and an evening programme. These gents started in the evening programme, it was cheaper and they could not afford to be full-time students. Here they performed well as they had the empirical education to back them up. They went to school to get better, not to learn the basics.
Later they all aspired to work a one specific agency, where they all eventually worked. This was their growth platform. It was the epi-center of creativity, best jobs, biggest accounts were all there. They worked hard and prospered. When wanting to move on or when headhunted they were typically offered a double salary and perks. No-one stayed, but self-esteem was hurt and the feelings toward the past employer were destroyed. One of them had asked their employers how could my value suddenly double in two weeks.
My father was entry to the business was different. My grandfather had an academic education and was the head of marketing at one of the biggest ironworks in Finland, he and my grandmother were able to stretch and send my father to be educated in London, where he also met my Danish mother. As he then moved to Finland and set up his studio in our home, the place became a continental breath of fresh air in the local advertising community. They said it shaped the type of advertising that they made, and as advertising was something sexy and cool it collected artist, models.
On the other hand the big money and power was aggregated at the advertising agencies, but there the money men were ruled, so dynamic was somehow different. Eventually these all set up own agencies.
In one of the closing speeches an anecdote of the power of advertising was told. My father wanted to build a library of ordinary people to use in picture depicting life, for example countless car adverts. For example my current wife, her sister and mother-in law were car models for Honda. Many of my friends featured in soda ads. A single add was crafted and placed in Helsingin Sanomat’s looking for people section. During the next three weeks there was a steady flow of people arriving at the studio. A total of 5000 people showed up, in a city with a population of 500.000, so this single ad mobilized 1% of the population. The creators of called it their most successful advert. It was a hilarious story as at some point they ran out of film, but the show had to go on. I guess those people never got a career as a model.
It was interesting as these gents were the last pre-computer generation. Their relationship to Internet is very different from mine. For example some of them could write in Times, Helvetica or other classic typefaces.
We also touched on the future of advertising and graphic design. They seemed to all note that advertising needs to be close to the product and that advertising should be a bridge from the product to the consumer. With Internet this bridge is shorter or even non existent. They clearly acknowledged that that will change everything, but a challenge for the next generation to grapple with.
1. Once you discover a life-work passion pursue it relentlessly.
2. Raw talent can be compensated by hard work and persistence.
3. Get yourself into places where you can learn.
The change towards a mobile first tech world has been a revolution in front of our eyes. As Facebook correctly acknowledged in their IPO filings, they do not have a solution for monetising on mobiles.
Olof Schybergson most recent writing captures many of the issues brilliantly published on Fortune's site. The title is approriately labelled "The trend that terrifies Big Tech:" http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/08/21/mobile/ Do read it it should provide a wakeup call.
The complexities of a mobile first world are best illustrated by Facebook. Over two and half years ago I wrote an article on Bloomberg BusinessWeek predicting that Facebook should get into phones, as they have not other chance to play in the context awareness game, critical for proactive behaviour where Facebook comes to you with timely meaningful, locally relevant information that you are willing to pay for. If you are interested read my thoughts back then here Facebookphone . I think the core of the article is still relevant. They need to get into middleware, rather than just the app layer. Not easy to do with Google controlling the dominant platform.
Since then Google has made massive strides forward and they are now fantastically positioned to capitalise as the engine of perpetual life recording and discovery. With millions of pocket drones they are able to make a good sense of the real-time world and make the world universilly organised and accessible.
For a conceptual experience how this context machine should be presented to user I suggest getting familiar with Foursquare, they are continiously iterating themselves into the concext epi-center of mobile, if you are looking at it from a business point of view Foursquare is approaching a big goldmine, the verb Explore is critical, whoever owns the mindshare for Exploration is onto something very valubale. I am also cheering for GroupOn with their Now another word worth owning.
So my question is when you are around and about and you want inspiration where do you go? I do not think the answer is Facebook.
I have been a researching the mobile health and digital health space while at Fjord and one of the clear trends is the drive towards proactive healthcare leveraging digital tools like pedometers like Fitbit, fitness platforms like Nike+ and wellness communities like HeiaHeia. These tools are generating data, which generates information and ultimate knowledge.
In my research I have developed a deeper interest in my own wellbeing. I log several factors using my Fuelband, my Withings scale and my iPhone using platforms like HeiaHeia and Cyclemeter. I changed my diet towards lower carb intake, more vegetables and started jogging actively. Starting jogging was a real boost. I now do 2-3 times a week, I run typically about 10km and always listen to books while I run, I have not read as many books in years as I have while running. I have done acupuncture and tuina massage for a several years at my chinese doctor in London’s Chinatown, it works very well.
The space I find fascinating is sleep. Sleep is something we know very little of. It was not until the emergence of the Zeo band that it was possible to monitor sleep at home. I do not suffer from sleep apne, all I know is, if I do not sleep well I become grumpy and underperforming, after longer periods of poor sleep my short term memory seems to deteriorate.
I have for a longtime been aware that I do not breathe through my nose when sleeping, something we are evolved to do. This leads to a dry mouth, which leads to the need to drink during the night, which leads to waking up. None of this is scientifically validated. I did some experiments and realized that my left nostril was almost blocked. I then read about and discussed about having an operation to open it up called Rhinoplasty, essentially plastic surgery in the nose. I went to the GP and discussed it and he sent me to the specialist and this week after waiting for 6 months I was on the operation table.
What I find so amazing is that I could have this as part of our healthcare system in Finland, one of the best in the world. This is a proof point that Finland is one of the best countries to live in. The surgery is not in this case a form of vanity, nor is it clinically needed, so it has to be a case of proactive medicine for a better life quality. Thus the state invests in its people. Thank you. The question who is the judge on this, who benefits and why should the state pay.
I think it is very good that the surgeons make a decision, should it be done, can it help. They did offer me drugs, I declined.
I think the state can benefit, as I will be more creative and productive, generate more output and as part of it of is taxed and put in circulation.
I had to wait for the operation for 6 months, two weeks before they changed the date, so one could argue that I was filling up a gap in the system. Giving state employed surgeons practice, yes they do need practice to perfect their skills.
It will be incredibly interesting to follow is how does this affect my life and my sleeping and subsequently my energy level, my short term memory, my teeth and the sleeping patterns of my wife. I will let you know.
My heart was bleeding blue yesterday as the Salo R&D site is closed. This was the epicenter of the business for twenty years. Many of the iconic phones were developed there, many of the heroes of Nokia walked the halls of the center. This is where I started my Nokia career. The place is a small sleepy town en route to Turku, the second most important city in Finland. The highway 1 compared to its importance was a winding road through the Finnish forest. Once in Salo it was heaven of technology, the sheer knowledge of the sandal wearing engineers was amazing. I have memories for life. Thanks to everyone for the time, if I only can help you now, I will!
Nokia is saying that the market has changed faster than anticipated. It is mindblowing to think that the founders of GSM are 'out of business', Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia.
I really like the last batches of phones and particularly the Lumia 800, I really thought it was a stunning design. Others also liked it, it was different and fresh. Yet, like Stephen Elop says it is now a war of Ecosystems, rather than a battle of devices.
There is so much truth in that statement, but yet this is maybe where the problem lies. Consumers do not care about eco-system they care about getting stuff done, and communicating. For those tasks all eco-systems work well enough, and when things are good enough the consumers lose interest. The phone has become an emotional commodity.
The phone is absolutely not a commodity, the entry barriers are high, the technical sophistication is high, yet consumers take all of this for granted. The phone is just a natural part of digital life, like a hammer. A tool every household has, but no one gets excited about.
All the conversations are about apps, all the sex appeal is in apps and all transformation takes place in apps, and this space is a jungle. In this some make magic and create billions in wealth, others fall into the sediment of long lists.
Recently a friend asked what phone she should buy, a question I have answered a thousand times before, and there has always been a good answer. Now there is not, it depends, do you use Mac, or do you want to store your stuff in the cloud? Do you use PC, will you use lots of apps, do you want local apps, will you buy content, do you have content, do you want to??? Remember she asked what phone she should buy. . . In the end, I said it doesn't matter they are all great, pick the one you like most.
When you get this kind of answer, then thoughts gets focused on price and that is a signal of commodity.
The emotional commodity state of phones is rather worrying, and as you can get a brick with mostly screen from €100 to €600 then you start wondering what is the real difference is, and as Manufacturers panic, they go down the rabbit hole of gigahertz, gigabytes and other commodity jargon.
This leads me to believe we are in the calm before a new emotional gadget storm, discovering the gadget that we all want to talk about, show off and rave about. Perhaps the era of wearables and intimate electronics?
A new era in my partnership with Fjord starts as I move from an operational role of Chief Innovation Officer to become a part-time member of the board and advisor to the management business. This is an important transition for me because I believe in the business and want to help it grow to the next level.
On a very personal level I’ve always been inspired all that is new and by change. One of my guiding principles is to hire people smarter than me and make myself redundant. This then allows me to go on and explore what's new.
I’ve been creating things all my life. It's a deep passion of mine. When I was very young I made things with lego, as I crew older I made bikes which I sold to my friends, and then I built radio controlled miniature sailing boats and sold them around Europe. Professionally, I’ve created mobile UI's that have been sold in every corner of the world and now I yearn to go back to creation.
I’d like to thank my fellow Fjordians for teaching me so much and for pushing me out of my comfort zone. My sense of design is wider and deeper than ever before. When I look around Fjord, I see what I believe to be the smartest team in service design. When I joined in 2007 we were a team of 27, today, Fjord has grown to become the definitive service design consultancy with a team of over 200, operating from eight offices around the world.
I’m very proud of this Fjord creation and I’m looking forward to nuking from the outside.’
So what's next? Firstly, I am going to continue to build the touch and force sensor business, Tech21 Sensor, that I helped to found a few years ago. The business is in Berlin. What makes Tech21 so interesting for me is that it sits in the emerging space between technology and biology, making man-machine interfaces analogue. It is a fantastic enabler opportunity. I will also help a couple of start-ups grow and internationalise and then I want to build something on my own. But more on that later…
Nike Fuelband has managed to seduce me. I love the soft feel, and the way it comes to life. I got it two weeks ago and set-up worked very well. Turning it on is close to magical, the device lits up and you get progress feedback on the line of colour LEDs, showing how much you have to your daily goal. The Nike Fuelband takes the Nike brand into the casual space. The emergence of 24/7 wearables was one of the themes of the 2012 Fjord digital trends, for which I am the editor for. I also wrote about them in Wired in September 2011. The Fuelband is a 16/7 wearable, I wear it during my awake time. It took only few days to get me to want to put it on along my clothes in the morning.
Last Tuesday it could not sync, I tried the app, the Mac app, nothing worked. Suddenly I got a new feeling, I had crashed. My day was not getting recorded. I finally reset the Fuelband to loose the day of recording. (Valeria from the Nike support team suggested a fix that worked, thanks! To empty the cache and cookies for Nike in the browser.) I was really surprised about my reaction. I then started thinking about it. I have worked with crashing technology for past 20 years, yet this crash was different. I finally came to the conclusion that the Fuelband had crossed a line from personal to intimate technology. The Fuelband is in some way an extension of self. I suspect this is an inflection point. I am of the opinion that wearables is the next mobile frontier, for example expressed here.
The Fuelband is more jewelry than sports instrument. It has been criticized for not being exact and factors like weight and age has no impact. I am not sure if this is a problem or not. My assumption is that function creates a longer lasting relationship than form. At Fjord we argue that one can create a business that either appeals to the brain or the hearth. Businesses that appear to the hearth have a greater potential to create value. The Fuelband in some ways challenges this concept by making jewelery more scientific it should lock me deeper, appealing to my brain and making it more jewelry like increases its value as an object. It is thus on a trajectory of mega value, creating passionate users. I think we could have passionate love relationships to our jewelry wearables, it is what makes them intimate. This is big.
When I first got home with the Fuelband, we were sitting having dinner. At the end of the dinner Lu asks what I am wearing. I say it is the Nike Fuelband. No reaction, neither her, nor Sofia 14. I would try to surprise them. I stretched out my hand pressed the button, the Fuelband lit up and then something surprising takes place. Both scream in amazement, spontaneous WOWs and immediately Lu says she want one. Lu wants it in a different colour and wonder if one could have one with hooks for Charmes. Sofia starts a super active campaign to get one, or atleast take mine to school. This frenzy lasts for 20 minutes. I have brought home lots of different gadgets, and the reaction to this is in a class of its own. It supports my intuition. The ‘Wife and Teenage Daughter’ test is past with great clear margin.
I think there is a killer opportunity to fuse jewelry and functionality for a 24/7 wearable. The Jawbone UP is also supposed to be used 24/7, but sleep detection is a manual activity, and forgetting it creates wrong data. This creates problems for users and they loose interest. The problem is that these gadgets do not naturally latch onto a ritual. One close at hand with wearables is setting the alarm for the next morning. It should be possible to design a new digital ritual, where one sets an alarm and confirm by going to sleep. I was thinking how to keep the jewelry like feel and create a richer, yet elegantly simple interface. My thoughts naturally gravitate to my force and touch sensor and the ability to make one or two keys into smart keys enabling click, touch and force sensing. With two keys one should be able to design a usable interface enabling for example alarm or sleep activation. It is still early days for wearable jewelry, but it is absolutely a fascinating domain.
About 10 months ago I started a new hobby running. Today I have my first milestone big milestone, running the Helsinki City Run, a half marathon. I started running, mainly as I realised that my energy levels were low last spring and I felt I was gaining weight. The catalyst for the change was the amazing Fjord Journey to the glaciers and Fjord of Greenland. On a 8 day adventure we were hiking and living in primitive environment, and I wanted to be sure I was fit for it. I trained for 3 months, and after that I was in the groove and continued. In the winter I thought, lets go further, to the Half Marathon. Fjord was setting up a running group, though I did not train with the group, it gave some good spiritual support. Last week I did a 17.75km run in 2.08, which felt good. Now my goal is just to complete it.
I get double motivation for running as it has become my special reading time, or actually listening to audio books. It is the time I have for myself, and being able to supertask, by running and listening to audiobooks, make the time spent extra special. I have read more book in the past year than I have in the recent 5 years.
I have also tracked my running, initially using Cyclemeter and lately on HeiaHeia. I currently track it on both services.
Since the early nineties when Joe Pine, published his seminal book on mass customization, I have been a fan of him. I had the chance to get to know him. He has time after time been a re-occurring inspiration for me.
As running has become a new hobby of mine, I want to be able to combine running and handluggage travel., Thus shoes had to shrink. At a jogging event, I studied the different models, and realized that the Nike Free runs would be my choice. I did not like the colours and saw my opportunity to live mass customization of Nike ID. Live the vision of Joe Pine.
The Nike ID concept is not a new thing. It has been live for more than 7 years. Today it offer amazing opportunities to design your own shoes. Shoes for a segment of one – Me. This is a moving experience. What blows me away is that there is no significant premium. I guess over the years some novelty value has worn off. When I start to think of what is going on I am still blown away. I design my own shoes and it does not blow the budget.
Bespoke clothing is not new, it was how clothing started. Today Bespoke is seen as luxury. The Nike ID experience is a very solid service experience, it has a clear and powerful proposition. You see the shoe in 3D, you can make own lables, you can even combine different element of different shoes. It is killer sophisticated and I recommend testing it if you have not done it before.
Joe, you were right this is the ultimate for of consumerism, these shoes are unique, they are designed by me, for me. It will be interesting to see if I will care & nurture for them more, due to the fact that I spent time thinking and designing them. There is a small piece of me in them.
Mass consumerism brings about a neglectence in the relationship to the object. A shirt bought, has little of you in it, so you just use it, you don’t care for it. If you take the effort to put skin in the game, then you probably increase the effort of care. If we would consume better and custom, would might stimulate care, and thus prolong the life cycle of objects, and subsequently use less resources as in most cases time and money are finite resources. If this would become the norm done on an aggregate scale it could become a green trend. Lets see.
There has been a very distrubing blogpost written by Helena Eronen yesterday. She is an aid to a member of parlaiment James Hirvesaari. You can google translate the Helsingin Sanomat reference to the original post, now removed, why?. In it she suggested that minorities and ethnic people living in Finland should wear armbands, like jews wore in the Nazi Germany. This is such an absurd idea, that I urge Helena to resign or to James Hirvessaari to fire her.
I really do not think Finns are this stupid.
There are so many distrubing elements to this blogpost. First, if you blog, you blog. That means you put something out forever and you should be able to stand by it. The web does not forget. The whole point with blogging is you are your own editor and the rest of the web is your judge. If you write clever things you will be praised if you write stupid things you will be disliked. Once you press publish it is there forever. Every idea that one gets into ones head, might not be worth publishing. You are what you blog. Google, Facebook and Twitter makes it discoverable.
My second point about this blogpost is a total disqust. As a Swedish speaking Finnish Dane working globally, who trives from cultural diversity, who is liberal regarding sexual minorities, who is passionate about the good things in the Nordics and paranoid about the future (no natural resources, people getting lazier, I know Norway has oil, does not solve much.), this kind of writing makes me puke.
I sincerely appologize as a Finn to all my foreign friends living in Finland. Helena Eronen is an exception and should pay the price with her reputation.
Having these kind of workers in our government is a disgrace. What makes the world so interesting is that we have different cultures and rituals that we do not understand, that gives anyone interested an opportunity to learn. Learning is one essence of life.
Looking a very narrow example; Starbuck's, British Airways and English language. If these things would be everywhere the world would be a dull place. For reference, I am huge fan and regular of both Starbuck's and British Airways and English is how I communicate on-line. I just do not want the things I like to be omnipresent. Diversity Rules!