Archive: July 2014

Inteligencia Creativa & Kiva by dreamer LuisMa

It’s 6:30 am. I open my eyes and, like every morning, the first thing I see through the windows is a skyscraper that reminds me where I am. I’m feeling sleepy and with a smile on my face. It’s time to wake up. Another day in paradise!!

A fast shower to be in time at the hall of the hotel with all the other Dreamers, otherwise I’ll have to pay 1$ as the Sura Team has threatened us with his secret “experiment”!!

Once at the office and with a coffee in our hands we start with the daily activities. Today, Philippe from Inteligencia Creativa is going to kick of the prototyping phase! The first thing that he wants us to make sure we know crystal clear is that we have to ask the user and make sure that “we are building the right “it”, before we build it right”!!

He also teaches us the difference between the  pretotype vs prototype or how the first is used to learn and the second one to check. With a pretotype (before a prototype) we can validate our first hypothesis with a very initial design. For example, Palm made a first version with wood to ask people and check if the dimensions were the correct ones.!
Finaly he shows us what he describes as the checklist when prototyping, and asks us to identify this in our projects:

NEEDS: Who is the client? What need does this covers? How much do they need it?!
APPROACH: How can we make it happen? How do I solve the problem?!
BENEFITS: What is our value? Are there negative effects?!
COMPETITORS: Who else has tried to solve it? Which are the boundaries?!

After answering these questions you will have a good approach to your prototype and will be defined enough to take next steps.
To finish this first session about the phase of prototyping he remembers us that the proposal needs to be synthesized into a clear and concise message.!
After Philippe it’s Montse’s turns. She is going to talk about the Proof of Concept when validating an idea. For that purpose you have to:
· Validate your prototype, using it and letting other people use it.
· Improve it with the feedback received.
· Learn and start again.

and you will have to follow some steps. These are:

STEP1: Test demo!
Test Cases: What to prototype? How to prototype? !
Test Plan: Prepare a 3-5 minutes demo to show at your final presentation, visualise it and control timing.
To test your demo you should follow these simple steps: prepare your test scenario, test data/ materials, test it, control timing and review the results.
STEP2: “Mamma mía” effect!
For sure you will find some troubles that you thought would never happen and this will turn into a stressful situation, that is what she calls the “Mamma mía!” effect. She has some recommendations to be successful: first, when the test FAILS you have to ask yourself and find out what has gone wrong, why has it happened that way and, after applying that learning, try again. Again and again!

 

Once you have a good demo you will get a “WOW!” effect and will be able to continue to the next level, where you will have to ask yourself again what has gone well, why it was  successful and get ready to take it further!!


Kiva

After a quick lunch we go to Kiva, only a few blocks away from our offices.
Kiva was founded 10 years ago by Jessica and Matt, a software engineer and philosopher during a trip to Uganda. Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending, to alleviate poverty.

Once at Kiva, Jacob Schulz welcomes us. He is VP of people at the company. “Half of the world’s population lives on less than 3$ a day” he says. A big difference between first and third world is about the lack of access to opportunity,  at Kiva they entrepreneurs in developing countries with people all over the world who lend them money to be able to go forward with their projects.   Out of hope, equality and dignity, Kiva connects people through  crowd-founded loans.

“how do you know the people are going to pay back the money?” a Dreamer asked.
He tells us that it is controlled through partners (micro-finance institutions, NGOs, …) that are doing due-dilligence and managing re-payments. Besides, money is flowing towards risk instead of towards return, because people tend to lend to crisis areas like Afghanistan. It is an interesting phenomenon since money is normally flowing in the opposite direction. Kiva lenders are risk friendly. “And the money continues to have impact as most lenders re-invest the money!” he concludes.

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Social networks makes it very easy to refer people to Kiva. Just share your activity on Facebook and invite people to join the community. Besides, they have “lending teams”: you can join a team and the teams compete among each other (Christian lenders vs atheist lenders for example). It’s entirely up to the community how they want to manage themselves. As a matter of fact, there are even groups of women lending to men wearing no shirts!

They have found that the best way to advertise themselves is through the word of mouth.
Jacob also told us about an new project they are working on:  Kiva Zip, a way to make loans to startups. In Kiva’s model they work through partners, at Kiva Zip the money goes straight to the borrower  with the help of a trustee. “I know this borrower and I stick my reputation to his borrower”. It’s still an experiment and they are testing  it in US and Kenia but is a very interesting initiative!

After the visit we come back to the Imagine Office at Folsom Street to keep working, there is a lot of prototyping work to do and there is no time to lose. After the work we will have our ‘reward’ and will go have dinner. It’s a good way to recharge batteries before going to bed and getting ready for another day in paradise.

 

Dreamer LuisMa

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Second weekend at Imagine Silicon Valley 2014

Our second weekend: IDEAMI TIME

It has been a very busy weekend. We started on Saturday morning with a delicious breakfast at La Boulange in Palo Alto, where coffee was fantastic and huge. After that we continued our day to Stanford. There we took an inspiring course about A3 thinking: a powerful scientific approach to Problem – Solving.

During the afternoon, we went to Ocean Beach. Once there, Javi Ideami was waiting for us with a paper w(ith a rocket-drawing and 35 spatial references between one another – a total of a 30 square meters approximately) and a goal: we had to recreate the drawing, with the same proportions, colors and details.
The challenge was really difficult, but even more when we realized that the half piece of land we had selected to recreate the rocket was completely dry. We decided to swap to a smaller drawing but even with this version, still there was sand dry. So it was really maddening to draw there, we had to work hard and remove an enormous amount of sand. In order to achieve the goal, in the time giben, we try to organize ourselves in different groups to define roles and optimize resources.
At the end, we learned how to coordinate better and found new ways to act as a living organism, where every organ has its function and, conscious of the other’s work, is autonomous and interdependent at the same time.
We only figured saw the result of our effort after hiking up a  hill and look behind us. We all felt really surprised. We had created that wonderful image – the rocket and the moon– from nothing! I realized that when you work alone, you cannot achieve the same results. After that, we went to the hotel and enjoyed the first free night in San Francisco.

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On Sunday morning, we watched the final world cup between Germans and Argentinians in the city center. After watching Gotze finish the World Cup with his left foot during the extra time, we went to the center. There, Ideami was waiting for us to do a workshop that would help us get a better understanding of the power of the communication between conscious and subconscious. We did plenty of activities trying to connect this two parts, that sometime we have very disconnected.

I would like to summarize what we learnt with Javi:
• Use all your potential to face your challenges
• To coordinate and lead a team is always a difficult issue
• How to balance analytical with creative thinking
• Collaboration is strictly necessary when you share a common goal
• You need to boost the creativity. This is an attitude.
• How to generate specific results, insights and solutions
• Ask yourself different questions, applying different methodologies and frameworks. It is necessary if you want to get new ideas.
“OK MY FRIENDS, get ready for the upcoming week.”

 

By dreamer Daniel Benito 

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Pere Gifre, Cintia Cavalcante and Marta Emerson by dreamer Cataliana Balseiro

The day began at 7:07 in the morning, as usual Xavier Verdaguer picked us at our hotel to go the Center. After a good breakfast (we need a lot of energy to keep our creativity up!) we went on working on the idea generation, trying to look for the best solutions for our challenges.

 

At 9:00 we had an amazing presentation with Pere Gifre. Pere Grife is an industrial designer and conceptual artist born in Figueres,  and currently living in San Francisco. He is an specialist in Visual effects design and development for sculpture, scenography and motion pictures. He showed us how technological advances enable the materialization of nature and water on his sculptures. We went through the process some of his fantastic projects such as the SPLASH sculpture for Expo Zaragoza or ElBulli Tableware Collection. More than 70 people worked on the SPLASH sculpture during 6 months, awesome!

 

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Then, the hypnotherapist Cintia Cavalcante, former journalist and Radio/TV Hostess born in Amazon-Brazil, helped us to open our minds and enhance our positive thinking process through a hypnosis’s session. It was the perfect activity to recharge energy and come back to work with a more positive attitude.
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Last but not least we received the visit of Marta Emerson. She is Vice President at Scaale Group, a Venture resource group dedicated to implement solutions for startups, SMB’s, Corporations and Governments through innovation, sales, capital and talent.

Marta told us some important factors to raise funds and success as an start up in Silicon Valley. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity of talking to her and learning from her wide experience.

Some tips that I would like to highlight are:

  • Every company should be a micro multinational, putting the right budget in the right placer for the right reason. Nowadays, successful start ups has its management team in San Francisco and globalize its development and production teams to other more cost effective countries
  • Not all money is good money. Before raising money you should think what do I need from an investor beyond capital?
  • You need an unique and strong value proposition for your company
  • If you are a “me too company” (companies with similar business models to already successful american companies)  Silicon Valley is not the best place to raise money for your company
  • You will not raise capital in Silicon Valley until you are a EEUU company and you have obtained traction here
  • if you want somebody else to risk for you, you will need to risk first. It is required you invest additional resources to human capital in your project
  • Explain investors how much money you need and how long you can survive without it. It is needed to adapt your funding requirements to the economic reality of EEUU, asking less than one hundred thousand does not seem very ambitious here
  • Franchise model could be a successful model, she advices us to create your own office in the different countries to coordinate your franchisees

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A wonderful day full of new experiences! Keep on dreaming in Imagine CC!

 

Dreamer Catalina Balseiro

 

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SLAC & Angelika Blendstrup by Dreamer Marc Mateu

At 7:07 in the morning, Xavier picked us at the hotel, then we went to the Imagine Creativity Center, where we began to work on idea generation.

After the whole morning trying to be creative, we went to the SLAC linear accelerator in Stanford, where Roberto Alonso Mori Phd showed to us the accelerator.

 

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The accelerator is 3 miles long, it accelerates an electron beam through this distance using magnets, and in the last 300 meters, there is a machine that makes the electron emit an x-ray beam. Then another colossal magnet captures the electrons leaving only the x-ray. This x-ray are used to study all kinds of particles and materials, for example to study the photosynthesis or to understand how certain proteins work.

Then we left the SLAC facility and we headed back to the Startup Embassy in Palo Alto where Angelika Blendstrup was already expecting us.

Angelika Blendstrup is an amazing woman, full of energy and passion for her work. Her mission is to help startups grow in the SV ecosystem.

She does all of this while teaching in many international groups and manages her own company, and of course all of this work is supervised by Charlie, her mini Dachshund dog.

She began explaining us the differences between the chain of thoughts of a european person and  an american one, then she explained to us the cultural differences between the two cultures.

After that introduction, we began an exercise, that exercise was about writing down in six or less words a “definition” of one self.

After that, she explained to us what the main cultural issues of american people are, and how we should learn to deal with them. For example: americans in terms of distance between two people, the minimum distance should be of a meter or more between them!

Towards the end of the workshop she taught us how to speak properly in public, and how we need to tell things to the american people so we don’t bore them while giving our presentation.

Finally we took the Imagineta to San Francisco heading towards the hotel.

 

By Dreamer Marc Mateu

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Give before you get or how to face investors in SV by dreamer Gerardo Díaz

Spending a whole day working at the Imagine Creativity Center is not common at all in our schedule. We usually split our day working at the office and ridding the Imagineta van to go to amazing places where we meet exiting people who share their knowledge. Today, however, the fun and wisdom came to us.

We have done so many things and have met so many people that sometimes I forget we have only been in San Francisco for eight days. We have just started our second week: after reframing the problems outlined in our challenges, we face a whole week to generate a bunch of great ideas to solve them.  Fortunately we have Katherine Lawson to help us; she had already taught us how to incubate dreams in order to achieve our creativity goals and today the session was about analyzing them. A whole new way to understand dreams and how to use them to awake our creativity sparks was shown to us.

Ramon Tisaire and Daniel Tapias took us from the dreams to the reality of business, investors and capital. They are both real experts with solid experience. Ramón Tisaire advises senior leadership worldwide on strategy, growth, execution and access to capital while Daniel Tapias is the CEO of Sigma Technologies. They shared their vision about business in the United States and how their experience of leaving great multinationals companies to start their own businesses. was We have listened to people encouraging us to rise funds after getting real traction in order to go global soon however Daniel Tapias advised us to focus on clients and get a strong revenue stream before rising money to grow the business.

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Gorka Sadowski visited us during the afternoon to share his Silicon Valley expertise. He has plenty of experience offering innovative European startups to benefit from the bay area ecosystem accelerators. So, when Gorka talks about how to pitch to an investor you should listen carefully and we did; his advice: use storytelling techniques to build your pitch and be prepared to have different length pitches (15 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes…) That’s because you’ll never know how much time will investors share with you; so start always from the main message and make sure you can grow your pitch with longer explanations and examples but reinforcing your main ideas. This way you can make sure to keep selling your startup to the investor as long as he keeps interest in it. Gorka also told us not to be afraid of sharing our ideas; perhaps they are not that original and people don’t really care about them. Everybody has plenty of ideas in this ecosystem; they care much more about teams and business than ideas so, if you don’t share yours you will lose the chance to get valuable feedback. Even really important people in the Valley are usually accessible at least for a couple of minutes; just make sure to follow the code when addressing them: “give before you get”. It doesn’t mean to bring always a gift but even ideas, suggestion, compliments are really appreciated.

 

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Dreamer Gerardo Díaz Polaino

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Dreamwork and Facebook by Dreamer Albert Mikkelsen

I start my monday with a walk around the city. I’m walking down Market Street and from there I take a left on Valencia, stroll down a few blocks checking out all the galleries, shops and cafés. Towards the end of it, I discover a store plenty of cool objects, jewellery, books and art pieces. But from the moment I walk in I notice this massive long chain exposed in a sort of cabinet right at the entrance. It has a red, shiny, plastic, cheap but cool and sexy red apple. I stare at it. I’m so curious. The old bronze and soulful chain contrasts with the Pop aesthetic of that apple. I ask someone at the store to take it out so that I can try it on. It feels strange. I like it but it’s too big, too long. And the apple is cool but I wouldn’t wear it. It’s way too tacky. But for some reason I just go and buy it; there’s something that leads me to purchase it, instinctively, impulsively. It is too interesting, too cool, too different not to have it. I feel too curious about it. Strange innit?

 

Katherine Lawson asks me about how I feel about the chain, how I feel about the apple. Someone is laughing about the cheapness, dirtiness, popiness and sexyness of that apple. And Katherine keeps speaking to me. She asks me to concentrate on the emotions I feel about that chain. And then, after a while, when I almost feel like I am the chain, she asks me to slowly come back. I untangle my eyelashes, cautiously open my eyes and gently wake up. I’m mind-blown; relaxed in a strange way. The other Dreamers at Imagine stare at me, smiling. I feel kind of awkward; the depth of my unconscious has been very exposed to the whole group by the Dreamwork session that Katherine Lawson, MA in Counseling Psychology and Dreamwork, has led me through.

 

 

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Actually, the day, the physical and conscious one, started as late as usual: 7.15. Yet all of us Dreamers were celebrating that we still had a whole week of work ahead to recover from the weekend. The first hours of the morning were spent practicing our first presentation at Imagine, where we explain the problem reframing of our projects. Well, we were actually rushing the PowerPoints and loudly discussing what to include in them. As you readers know, we’ve been sugared up with amazing and inspiring visits, conferences, talks, paellas and barbeques, so this morning we had way too many ideas, routes and possibilities on how to reframe our problems and how to present them. That is probably why we did the Dreamwork Session with Katherine Lawson that I told you about above.

 

Just a few hours later, we have to start doing our presentations. But of course this is Imagine, and everything must be at least slightly disruptive. Before we start presenting they handed the people in the audience some sort of diadems or coronettes, of which some had white angel halos and the others pinkish devil horns. The angels were obliged to give positive feedback and the devils to criticise or make incisive questions about the content presented. So despite the fact that the whole room looked slightly (or very) kinky, the methodology did work: it helped us start to think about the part of the process that we will work on this second week: creativity and idea generation.

 

Once every presentation was done, Josep Maria didn’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of the inspiration we got from disrupting our looks with the saucy coronets, and gave us a creativity and idea-generation master-class. The result was as surreal yet as brilliant as the Dalí creations we saw during our warm-up weekend in Cadaqués.

 

Thankfully Imagine copes well with disruption, so the staff still dared to take us to one of the most inspiring visits we have done so far: the Facebook Headquarters. The visit was guided by Sergi Herrero, who gave a speech about his professional career in Silicon Valley, company culture at Facebook and future tech trends. And it was literally like a dream. We went from our night-real dreams to a dream in real life. We were awed to hear about the ideal of transparency throughout the whole company, the easiness to reach anyone at the company with ideas or projects. Sergi literally told us ‘’If you have an interesting project you just book a meeting with Mark to present it’’. Just like that. Waw!

 

 

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For some, all of this might sound a bit sugared-up, a bit of something they brag about but isn’t actually true. Well, Sergi walked us through the campus and made us feel it and see it first hand. The height of it was walking past by Mark’s office, right in the middle of the campus, with huge glass windows allowing everyone to see the inside and with a little poster claiming ‘’Do Not Take Pictures of the Animals’’.

 

The result: All the Dreamers were dreaming of transforming the organisations where we work today or to start-up our own companies with such a philosophy.

 

After such a day it is confirmed that it will be very hard to leave Silicon Valley. When we fly back to Spain we’ll definitely need Katherine’s dreamwork techniques in order to stay as inspired, active and creative as these days.

 

By Dreamer Albert Mikkelsen 

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Our first weekend in Silicon Valley by dreamer Fernando García

Just a few days ago we started this amazing adventure. After two intense days, the weekend is not going to bemore relaxed, but very different.

It’s Friday 4th of July, nobody is at work here in USA because they’re celebrating Independence Day. Imagine staff will not be taking us to the working center today, but this doesn’t mean we can’t do other things like sports, networking and learning about american culture.

The Imagineta picked us up early to go hiking close to Stanford University. The Stanford Dish Hike is a route of about 6.5 kms where Stanford University students as well as Silicon Valley professionals use for walking or running, also you can notice that those fields are used by the university for experimentation.

After the hiking session we went to the Startup Embassy, where a typical american barbecue was waiting for us! Based in Palo Alto, Startup Embassy is a community of international entrepreneurs. Once we started meeting some people that is living there at that moment it was easy to understand how helpful it can be to be housed there when you’re new in a foreign country and want to start a business. In San Francisco, networking is everything and helping you making those connections is a great advantage.

The barbecue was amazing, a lot of meat, some vegetables, a lot of beers thanks to Estrella Damm, and the most important ingredient: great people to talk about their experiences and advices. After that, we drove back to San Francisco to see the fireworks at the bay.

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Saturday 5th was a quiet day in the sense we were allowed to stay working at the center. With all the knowledgereceived along the week, it was the perfect time to put everything together and also some groups like mine, Vincles from Barcelona City Council, started programming the applications we want to test with real users. We also received the visit from Alfons Cornella, a reference in innovation. He talked about how they introduce innovation in large companies and also let us thinking with such interesting questions like: is it possible to innovate without being a innovator?

On Sunday, as you may expect, there was also a full agenda of activities. The day started with a videoconference of Juan Prego from Actitud Creativa. He gave us a masterclass about Open Innovation and how it can be achieved through new technologies like creative OS, an operative system they are at Actitud Creativa building to manage different aspects of innovation in companies.

The next plan was to go cycling from Imagine Creativity Center to Sausalito, crossing the Golden Gate bridge, awesome! isn’t it?! An unexpected visitor came to talk about his experience. He was Javier Colorado from http://coloradoontheroad.com. His goal is to go around the world with his bike, he is in the middle of his travel and decided to cross the Golden Gate with us. His story is simply impressive, take a look at his site to know about all his adventure through Europe, Asia and now America. Good luck Javier!

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The bike ride wasn’t very hard because the route is mostly flat. The weather was perfect, and was easy to notice the increase of temperature just after crossing the brige. After arriving to Sausalito the reward was to eat all together a great hamburger on the grass with beatiful sea view.

The day finished when we come back from Sausalito by ferry, passing close to Alcatraz prison, and going to the work center to be ready to finish up the first phase of the imagine methodology.

With this intense week is impossible to guess what is coming next, we’re all very tired but also eager to be surprised and keep learning every day.

By dreamer Fernando Garcia

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Waze, Stanford and a very special Paella by dreamer Malwine Steinbock

What a day!

It is only the second day at Imagine and it already feels like we have been here for a week – every minute is full of inspiration. Today was like a day in a candy store. For the first time we entered Palo Alto, put foot on Google territory, met with Di-Ann, the vice president of Waze, visited Stanford and went to our first Palo Alto summer party where we had the honor to cook and prepare a Cookbooth photorecipe.

7.27h. A morning ride in our Imagineta to the offices and second reframing session with Josep Lluis with most probably the most interesting exercise to dig deeper into our problems: When you identify a problem, ask why. And when you have the answer, ask why. An example: We only think of insurance when we are afraid something bad could happen. Why? Because insurance pays you only if something bad happens. Why? So why not create an insurance that pays you if nothing happens? First reframing example!

After the session, we left still foggy and freezing San Francisco behind driving the first kilometers of the famous highway 101 towards the much sunnier Silicon Valley. It doesn’t look at all like the creative center of the world where people are working really hard. The Valley consists of several villages along the bay and looks much more like a friendly suburb where people live a relaxed life – after work.

Trespassing the sign of Palo Alto, the first candy of the day, we entered the Google parking lot. Completely empty! One eve of the 4th of July, Google employees were all off to a long weekend. Unlocked red-yellow-green-blue bicycles are standing everywhere on the parking lot for employees to be used. The buildings are surrounded by gardens full of lilies and corporately colorful benches; the famous Google Street view car in front of the building where Waze’s office is located.

Di-Ann Eisnor, vice president of Waze, a social mapping service that is outperforming traditional satellite based navigation systems, welcomed us and let us into a completely empty Google building.

Meeting her was like meeting a real-life super hero. She and her team had grown Waze from 100k users in 2009 to 50m active users in June 2013 when Waze was purchased by Google for 1.3bn USD. And what is most impressive, she makes it sound playful and fun and says that they are still just at the very beginning.

Waze‘s mission is “to save every driver 5 minutes every day” or “outsmarting traffic together.”

“Crowdsourcing has become mass participation, we are all working together to achieve a common goal.”

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She told us the following story of a connected city. During the superstorm Sandy in autumn 2012 Waze received a call from the White House asking for help. Fuel was running out and many cars were lining up at gas stations with no fuel left. The administration had no way to find out at which gas stations were still operating. So Waze decided to send a push notification to all wazers asking for their support and got a massive response. More than 10k users got back to them and helped them redirect the drivers to other gas stations.

According to Di-Ann, this was one of several “lucky” events that gave Waze an important boost in awareness and users. Actually, I think it’s not so much about being lucky but about having a product that is solving a real problem in real time.

So what was or is the key to Waze’s success if it’s not the lucky events?

Get your product recommended. Get reviews on blogs and in the media. Get recommended in the AppStore, tell the story at conferences and to the press.

Know your data. Engagement is key and you need to dig into the numbers to find out what your users are doing and what they are not doing.

Make your product your marketing. Waze didn’t hire a marketing person until last year (2013). Their product was good enough to get massive attention from the media. 60 TV stations are using is today for their morning traffic report.

The next candy of the day: visiting Stanford, the center of this particular ecosystem called Silicon Valley. When you are entering through the gate and put your foot on the main square, it feels like entering a sanctuary. I couldn’t be more excited about visiting the Taj Machal. It is the university with the second highest number of billionaires among its alumni. The founders of Google met here, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Paypal, Instagram, Snapchat, Techcrunch, IDEO, Whatsapp, to just name a few of those companies that are our references today.
Since only 7% of the students that apply get the chance to study at this expensive private university, you can listen to Stanford’s entrepreneurial thought leaders with the Stitcher app.

 

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In a beautiful little amphitheater outdoors, next to the building where you can find Google’s first server (that looks like a self-made Lego computer tower), we had the chance to listen to the experience of 10+ years on the Valley of Jordi Argente as an entrepreneur, investor and tech startup advisor.

“If you think about rising money in the US, you should rise your first million in Spain and with it proof your market in the US. Investors believe that if it works in the US, it will work anywhere. And unlike Spain, investors here are no MBAs but engineers who have made an exit and know a lot about technology, so be prepared for the questions.”

They value traction because it means that you have validated your project and they don’t invest money, they manage risk. If you manage to reduce their risk, they will consider you.

Last and maybe sweetest candy of the day was an invitation to Di-Ann’s and Elies Campo’s house in Palo Alto. Elies is a serial entrepreneur since the age of 14 and has joined Whatsapp just before the acquisition by Facebook this year. We had the pleasure to prepare the first and original dreamer paella at the hands of head chef Marc Mateu and his prep boy Blai Carandell. Photorecipe by Cookbooth included. Meet the chef and get the Dreamer’s Paella on Cookbooth.

What a day! At imagine you learn and experience more on a single day than in an entire year.

 

Malwine Steinbock

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First day at Imagine Creativity Center SV 2014 by dreamer Carolina Uribe

2 weeks later, we meet again in San Francisco, CA. Taking advantage of the jetlag, we get picked up at the hotel at 6:57 a.m. sharp, this time in a white Imagineta. Shoes and shirts are still yellow; the color of imagination and creativity. But pay close attention to the number seven from now on. Wonder why? People usually take three minutes to be on time. Now, this is called punctuality; the art of being punctual.

 

On the way to the Creativity Center (CC), we stop for coffee and some breakfast at the Ferry Building, Embarcadero. The sky is bright blue, the wind is cool and the ocean is calm; perfect setting for a creative day. You can feel everyone still looks a little dreamy after an unbelievable weekend in Cadaqués. Are we still dreaming? I try to realize this is not a dream but it is hard to believe we are fortunate enough to be in San Francisco, the land of disruptive innovation, entrepreneurship and knowledge. Not only that, the privilege of being surrounded by these dreamers and wonderful staff. Let’s just say: never stop dreaming.

 

Day one is about to begin. We get into this big room; a collaborative space with a yellow wall and five huge tables that makes you just want to co-create and stand around. Of course, there is a sixth table against the wall full of apples, gummies, water, and other goodies for the mind and energy boosts. Physical space plays a strong role in the creative process, by encouraging brilliant, ridiculous and potentially groundbreaking ideas to flow for future innovation.

 

To spark the mind, we are surprised with a spectacular video from Laura Cladellas to revive the energy and great moments lived in Cadaqués. Continued by an inspirational lecture on Silicon Valley’s Ecosystem, Xavi describes eight learnings from his personal experience in San Francisco after going bankrupt and starting all over again. In summary, Xavi suggests to think but think differently, to run and use your time wisely, to jump by taking risks that lead you to change, to start your own business based on disruptive ideas, to listen carefully in a competitive environment through proper networking, to talk and be generous with the people who you explain your idea to, to play and have fun creating, and to dream big by enjoying what you do and having a positive mental attitude. Sometimes, there will be people who will tell you something is impossible, but that is only a sign that you can do it. Just be thankful for that push and keep fighting for your dreams.

 

“Life is about the people you meet and the things you can create with them. So go out and start creating.” Holstee Manifesto.

 

To put you back in context, the purpose of Imagine CC is to find world-changing solutions and to change the lives of people who join the program. Recall we are four teams of three working in four different challenges assigned by Audi, Aqualogy, Ayuntamiento de Barcelona and Grupo Sura. Each week covers a stage that will end with a deliverable and a group critique. Josep Lluis, expert in creative thinking and dictatorship, will be leading the idea development process up until the prototyping phase (week 3).

 

Week one is about reframing your innovation focus to boost creative thinking. Call it reframing, rethinking, reformulating, rewriting, you name it. This stage is about understanding the context that defines the problem instead of trying to immediately find a solution. Try breaking down your problem and you will suffer, but you will suffer less if you don’t understand it.

 

Innovation is based on the tools and methodologies you use. We will be using the Lombard Methodology phase one that will help us push the boundaries to discover new insights, analyze the stakeholders and other key factors involved in the problem. Feeling creative is the best way to be creative, being open-minded, postponing your judgment, searching for more alternatives, and being challenging with new ideas is called having an innovative attitude. This is the attitude people want to see in this fast-growing world. If we follow this thinking process, we will RULE THE WORLD.

 

Imagine CC is not about punishment. Killing ideas can kill your future. At Imagine, all ideas are welcomed once put into context.

 

The whole month we will be meeting with top entrepreneurs based in Silicon Valley for inspiring stories and feedback based on their personal/professional experience. Now, after an inspiring long workshop session, the workday is about to end. Jean Claude Rodríguez, co-founder of Puddle, stops by to share his start-up story with us. Puddle is a new credit network that lets friends put money together, to save with and invest in each other. Jean Claude reveals several entrepreneurial myths based on his experience. Here we learn about the importance of scaling your ideas to a higher level if you want to keep innovating, where your market has to be huge, the team is more important than your idea, and the mission is more important than the money, among other interesting facts. Check out how Malwine, one of us dreamers, reflects on Jean Claude’s interesting startup story here.

 

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Imagine for a second if you could somehow put on your dreamers shoes and combine creative chaos with physical fun. You’d go on visits to the most innovative companies, brainstorm all day, squeeze out crazy ideas, play with the World Cup soccer ball, hang out with dreamers/staff, and be awed by inspiring stories on a daily basis. Sounds unbelievable? For Imagine CC, having a balanced life is key to mental and physical health. At 7:15 p.m. brave dreamers go out for a run and the hungry ones to the supermarket for food. At the end of the day, not everything is work, work and work. Playing is part of the innovation process.

 

Get ready for day 2, pick up at the hotel at 8:27 a.m. sharp.

 

By Dreamer Carolina Uribe

 

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The How-to guide to create an “Imagine” kick-off weekend by Dreamer Blai

Plan a weekend getaway with friends and beer at the beach and you cannot possibly go wrong. However, this time, do it differently. Let’s imagine these “friends” are people you have never even met. Make your destination one of the most beautiful places on earth, Cadaqués and its creativity-inducing landscapes. Make beer, through the challenge launched by Estrella Damm, the battleground for the “dreamers” to get a taste of what disruptive innovation is like. Make it an excuse for the staff to observe and configure the teams, examining the roles and profiles of each of the dreamers.

 

Begin with color coding: black shirts represent staff, blue those that have already lived the adventure once, and yellow, those dreamers who do not yet exactly know what to expect. The yellow shoes will visually hold the group together and will draw curious glances everywhere you go. Give them four new-generation Audis to get there, with the respective names of the other sponsors: Sura, Aquology and the Barcelona City Council. Additionally, plan for a yellow van which gasps for air on ignition and barely drives over 80km/h to carry the important luggage and equipment for the weekend.

 

Then, switch up the basics. Ditch the all-to-classic selfies taken from the ground, and have a drone hovering over your heads despite the menacing winds. Who needs sleep? Join a graduate dreamer for some meditation and relaxation at 7:00 a.m. at the beach to prepare for the day ahead. Substitute lying around doing nothing for lying around and listening to experts explain their amazing feats: from apps which allow 20 random and normal people to detect malaria to weekly summaries of everything that is important in the world of technology.

 

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As the weekend progresses, add a touch of surrealism. Start off by visiting Salvador Dalí’s house in Port Lligat after a 20 minute shaky boat ride. Try to understand how come a stick, when lifted by 12 people screaming in frustration, is somehow filled with helium. Divide these people into four groups and give them each an egg with the instruction to throw it from a height of 4 meters while leaving it intact. Visit an open-air museum with 4.5 billion year-old rocks that have been cut by lasers into magnificent sculptures that intertwine with nature. Tell the men –and not the women – to kindly take a leak all over the museum grounds, as male urine somehow will drive the wild boars away. Finish the weekend by placing your thoughts and expectations for the adventure in a yellow balloon headed straight for the stratosphere, meant to land somewhere near the Mallorcan coast.

 

This weekend itself will leave you shaken when you go back to work on Monday morning. And most importantly, it will have driven away the fears and instead will have planted a hunger for more. You will feel a desire to keep exploring whatever that was, in a different setting and in a different continent. But what’s even better, the adventure itself is only two weeks away! See you then and #neverstopdreaming!

Warm Up Weekend 2014 from Imagine on Vimeo.

 

Blai Carandell

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