Archive: August 2014

Propelland and Worldreader by dreamer Carolina Uribe

It is almost the end of week three; Prototyping week. David and Manuel, from Aqualogy, came all the way from Spain for a few days to visit and give us constructive feedback on our projects. How fortunate! The week has been intense but fabulous, experiencing a long deep-dive into the Silicon Valley’s innovation ecosystem. The day focused on prototyping as well as digital education, both revolving around human needs and user-centered solutions.

We start the workday with a Prototyping Master Class by Hugo Giralt, CEO and co-funder of Propelland design studio, San Francisco. Hugo is part of a crazy team of “unicorns” with multidisciplinary backgrounds, from electrical engineers, to industrial designers, to politicians, that help clients transform their organizations for business growth, disrupt through human-centered innovation, and impact with big, scalable solutions.

To try and convey all the leanings from this day would take a long time but here are some of the highlights:

In Silicon Valley, you hear people continuously talk about transformation and what it takes to reach for innovation. According to Hugo, transformation is about changing the way you do things by reducing the frame between developing an idea and reaching the market. In other words, it is about disruptive innovation. When you disrupt, you are connecting to the human being. However, disruptive doesn’t mean innovating through technology, it means innovating by changing the way humans behave, and by designing a human centered experience that will change people’s lives.

“Solutions have to be impactful. Big ideas don’t always require big budget. What this world needs is solutions that really scale through time.”

To do all of this, you must work in a very fun and inspiring place; in a place that feels like home. Call it a unicorn stable, where you basically live and play with your superpowers in a shared, magical space. “Design studios are very important to understand all the different stakeholders in a project to later involve them in the design process,” says Hugo.

As a matter of fact, economy has changed. We have switched from an industrial to a service-based economy. To recap, in the 80’s, people (especially the Japanese) were very focused on cost and quality management of products, in the 90’s, everybody was focused on efficiency and processes because the technology started to be very cheap, and in the 2000’s, customer experience and e-business became a priority. However, when goods and services intersect, there is a big opportunity for innovation.

In Propelland and Silicon Valley in general, UX Designers are wanted. People are looking for industrial designers with several years of experience that can design user experiences, services and products, know how to code and program, and actually has some background in mechanical engineering. They call them “Unicorns.” Reality is, the market is looking for things that do not exist. Therefore, there is a tremendous opportunity for everybody to work hard and become unicorns. #keeponworking

This is the end of the specialist era. We are entering into the new renaissance era, where multidisciplinary teams are sharing knowledge and evolving into understanding human behaviors to improve the lives of other people. This is exactly the purpose of Imagine. All of us, dreamers, come from different backgrounds, ages and nationalities. Here, no one is an expert. Our key is to constantly participate, observe, ask questions, take notes, visualize our thoughts and keep our Moleskine notebooks with ideas that will later connect with powerful solutions. We are a team of superheroes with our own superpowers that, when put together, have the ability to change the world.

…What are you doing with your superpowers?

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Brian Gougherty, Senior Development Manager at Worldreader, uses his superpowers to connect Worldreader with generous individuals who are passionate about their mission to eradicate illiteracy. He is fervent about sharing stories and ideas to change people’s lives.

Worldreader is a non-profit on a mission to bring digital books to every child and his/her family, so that they can improve their lives. Through efforts with the private sector, teachers, education experts, and other organizations, Worldreader continues to work towards a world in which the practice of reading is commonplace, and where illiteracy is a thing of the past.

In the Developing world, physical books are expensive, hard to ship and a burden to carry. According to Brian, what makes Worldreader unique is that they are centered in the user needs. People in Africa, for example, don’t read books just because they don’t have books. With this cost-effective, digital solution, kids will have more opportunities to learn and transform the world.

“People look very engaged and show a lot of respect to this educational tool. They really recognize this tool as a privilege. They take it home and share it with family and friends.”

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This is how we end the day, with a rich talk on education, its importance, and Woldreader’s dream to get into every people’s home.

Two completely different talks, today is a day centered on humans and their needs. At the end of the day, life is about changing people’s lives and making the world a better place. Education has the power to change the world and hence turn people into unicorns. So, if you ever come across one, let us know. We want them. But we call them dreamers.

By Dreamer Carolina Uribe

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Headlines Dreamers SV 2014

luisma-perez jorge-gomez

catalina-balseiro garardo-diaz

jordi-tolra-blog carolina-uribe

albert-mikkelsen blai-carandell

fernando-garcia malwine-steinbock

daniel-benito marc-mateu

josep-maria-miro natalia-dominguez

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Hiking with Joaquim Trias and Yoga by dreamer LuisMa Pérez

For those who think that Imagine is only about technology: I’m sorry, you are wrong!

As an example, I want to talk about two activities that strengthened our body and mind connection.

On July 19th we went for a hike around Tamalpais. We had the pleasure to have Joaquim Trias as our guide. He is consultant, advisor  and  investor of various companies (mostly in the biotech industry) and he also deeply knows the area because he has been living there for many years.

After a foggy start, during 3 hours we enjoyed nature surrounded by green landscape and amazing company. While we were hiking we were able to explain to Joaquim our projects and get some feedback from his expert and valuable point of view.

A few kilometres later we arrived to Stinson beach. It’s surprising how close the forest and the beach are! There we had a BBQ with all American hot dogs and delicious nachos and some of us played football there. After playing we realised that maybe that had not been a great idea after eating all that food…

Once we had charged our batteries and after some pictures at the beach we started our walk back to the car entering again into the woods. We enjoyed Blai’s music and his ukelele and Laura took advantage of having her camera with her to take shot some amazing pictures. We even saw Jordi singing! It’s always fun to do activities with this group!

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The other activity I would like to talk about started early, very early in the morning.  On July 20th some of us woke up at 4am and went to the hall of the hotel with our sleepy faces to find Xavi waiting for us with the van van, as usual. He took us to a house where Nacho Fuentes, our KRI Kundalini Yoga Teacher (and also Head Of Project Development at Gestamp Solar!)  received us. We were in a house used by people who practice Yoga where they meet and practice usually. There, and for the 3 hours, we did a special kind of Yoga: Morning Sadhana. We made some special movements and meditation dynamics focused on relaxation through Mantras. For the most of us, including me, it was the very first time that did Yoga.

 

Two of the Mantras that we used were:

 

Adi Mantra:

Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo

 

Adi Shakti Mantra:

Ek    Ong Kar,

Sat   Nam. Sir,

Wa   he Guru.

 

As a total beginner with Yoga I must admit that it was specially relaxing and it made us all feel very well after finishing the activity.

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It’s always nice to learn things through experiences and, as you may see, there was no technology at all. As Imagine says, it’s not about technology, it’s all about people!

 

 
By dreamer Luis Manuel Pérez

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Extremes by dreamer Albert C. Mikkelsen

What DisneyLand is to kids aged 5, Google is to today’s 20 somethings. Something so extremely cool and/or interesting that can’t be ignored. It has all the characteristics: the place is legendary, it has that sort of mythical aura around it, something you can’t believe in until you see it, and then it’s full of cool things to see – a dinosaur skeleton, Android statues… – and of course it’s full of people working there, it’s even fuller of visitors and if you look around carefully you get to see some of your idols. The only first real difference is that at Google these characters are not from movies but from reality. The second difference is a consequence of the first one: they don’t need to wear lousy costumes that frighten the kids.

With Imagine, at our visit to Google, we noticed that the most common famous character to find at Google is… well, the Google employee. Yes, there are actual people made of skin and bones who enjoy life and work at one of the world’s most famous Campuses. We actually got to personally meet two of them who gave us feed-back on the projects we were working with at Imagine: Carlos Gomez and Albert Orriols. We started at one of those über-cool Google offices and finished speaking sitting somewhere in the gardens of the campus. And why did that happen? Because the fact that the Google employee is nice is not only a myth, it’s actually real: they paid great attention to each detail of our projects and gave us really valuable feedback. In one word: impressive.

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Like any Museum or Theme Park, the Google Campus has its own shop to which we all ran at the end of the visit. Weirdly you can only access it through an employee. When we found out panic spread through the whole group but, as I already explained, those people are über-nice and an unknown employee gave us access to it.

As entrepreneurs we are passionate, curious and slightly geeky, and we try to be loyal. But we can’t. We left Google and drove to the main shop at the Apple Campus where shopping-craze went on (editors, please make sure VC’s don’t read this).

Back to the Creativity Center we finally got some lunch – although we’re adapting to american lifestyle we’re still Spaniards who need to sit down and eat huge quantities of warm food in the middle of the day  And in the afternoon we had a talk by Alex Castellarnau, in my opinion one of the best we’ve had at Imagine.

Alex Castellarnau is one of those legendary people who can actually say they’ve gone through the 23 interviews required to enter IDEO. But he is even more special: he worked at IDEO and then quit to work for DropBox. Expectations were high. To be honest, when he entered the room I felt compassion, I thought: with that CV you must know people expect a lot from you and always delivering to such high expectations must be exhausting. Three minutes into his speech I realised we were really in front of a genius.

I wish I could recreate his speech here but it’d be impossible, so I’ll just try and give you some hints so you can kinda figure how great it was.

It was an extreme speech in every sense. Extreme in its passion, extreme in its vision, extreme in its depth, extreme in both its rationality and emotionality. Extreme in its contradictions. The speech was built upon seven stories. Yes, seven stories, each of them with a morale, a message to tell. Stories that might seem trivial at first, but were then converted into life-learning experiences. Seven stories ranging from his personal experience at Apple Wood Church to the fact that David Kelley never took a decision, a retired Navy Seal teaching at University of Virginia or a simple trip to Philz Coffee. In a way everything connected: life and profession, creativity and being practical, storytelling – or almost poetry! – with a clear message, emotion and rationality combined like Ying and Yang… the extremes, the opposites. And as I was trying to write all of this down, almost in a sort of trance, I hear him concluding his speech sentencing ‘’I believe in a world of extremes’’. And everything made extreme sense.

 

By dreamer Albert C. Mikkelsen

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A day at Juniper Networks by dreamer Marc Mateu

We arrived at the Juniper  Networks HQ at morning, they were already expecting us, we came into the office and they had prepared little breakfast for us! After having breakfast, they guided us to a conference room. The conference room was fully equipped with a screen wall and lots of cameras.

Jordi Tolrà introduced Steve Shaw (Director of SP Marketing) , David Noguer (Service Provider Senior Marketing Manager EMEA) and Ankur Singla (vice president, SDN and Orchestration Systems).

Then, Ankur Singla showed up, and he explained to us his own experience in the startup world. He started as an employee in Juniper, but after a while, he quit and started his own company with some colleges, after 10 months developing virtual data centres, his company got acquired by Juniper and he returned to Juniper. He told us all about the SV ecosystem for startups and how to approach investors and venture capitals in order to raise money. He also talked to us about the actual and future trends of technology such as the internet of things and Big Data.

 

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Then Steve Shaw explained to all of us what Juniper is currently working on. Juniper is a company that builds hardware for network infrastructure such as mobile telecommunications or optical fiber network. He also told us the future vision of the company and future trending and business models.

 

After him, David Noguer explained to us what the main issues that the ISP  (internet service providers) are confronting right now, such as low voice rates and a decreasing voice + data rates over the network, so for them the strategy is to build a new kind of market based on the internet of things or even Big Data, and offer the customer new services that right now do not exist.

David also pointed out that because the customer needs more and more bandwidth and the data exchange is so frequent right now, the user will need more secure and reliable communication channels so one new business model for the ISP could be providing those channels.

 

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After the questions of the group, they give us amazing goodies and they even allowed us to eat at the Juniper restaurant. Thank you for having us, it was a great experience full of amazing learnings!

 

By dreamer Marc Mateu

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Berkeley and pitching night by dreamer Gerardo

Life’s a pitch

 

Do you know any place in the world with parking spots reserved for Nobel laureates? We, dreamers, do: Berkeley University of California. That’s one of the many things we learned during our visit to their campus. It was a great opportunity to feel how life is in one of the world’s top universities. We received a lovely guided tour through the whole campus but let’s be honest: I wasn’t 100% focused on the explanations; why? The pitch session in the afternoon were coming up and I still needed some time to tune my text and try to memorize at least the main structure.

 

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I knew I had to include a good hook, keep it simple and don’t forget to use storytelling techniques to make sure everybody understand my product; both Cristina Salvador and Angelika Blendstrup keep teaching that during their masterclasses. However, the Imagine schedule is quite tight and we have to take advantage of every single free moment (or second!) to keep improving our pitches. No matter if we are ridding the Imagineta van or sitting on the grass of the Berkeley campus. I’m not the only one; Malwine Steinbock, Blai Carandell and Albert C. Mikkelsen also have startups and the four of us were going to be pitching that afternoon..

 

The California – Spain Chamber of Commerce invited us to the Runway HQ where they organized ‘Sell Your Idea in 3 Minutes: Pitch like a Star’; a great event including a masterclass, pitching time and a wonderful networking opportunity; what else can we ask for? Cristina Salvador says life is a pitch and she’s right; most of the times we need to sell ourselves or our ideas so we need to be prepared for that. She shared her wisdom with dreamers and many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Time for the pitches and we finally breathe peacefully; I’m definitely not one of them but we have huge pitching stars in Imagine.

 

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By dreamer Gerardo Díaz

 

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Chartboost and networking in SF by dreamer Fernando García

We’re finishing another exciting week at Imagine Creative Center. As we are working on the prototypes of the projects, the staff let us to keep working on them all the morning at the center. But they don’t want us to miss a single day to take advantage of what San Francisco can teach the dreamers. That’s why we have an amazing agenda for the evening: visit the Chartboost HQ and a startups pitch/networking event.

 

We were so lucky to be one of the first to visit the brand new offices of Chartboost, just one week after their move, thank you so much for having us! One of the most impressive and fun offices we have visited so far, it consists in a full building of three floors where each centimeter has been though to be the most comfortable place for the people at the company. As many offices at the Valley, they have large shared spaces like the kitchen or even a terrace. What is not so common is to have an entire wall in the entrance full of tablets where anyone can take funny picture of himself/herself, or a giant dinosaur that welcomes new visitors. Also every corner has lot of boxes with the logos of the clients that help Chartboost to be the great company they are.

 

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There we met Pepe Agell, Head of International at Charboost. Imagine wanted to give him a special surprise to celebrate their new offices and for hosting the dreamers another year. Here you can see the song composed and played by the dreamer Blai Carandell dedicated to Pepe, https://vimeo.com/101144406, great Blai! After the show, Pepe talked us about his experience at Charboost and his effort on making Charboost an international company. After hearing his master class, it’s obvious that the well-being culture they have created since day one, is one of the key success factors of this company. A company that has recieved several of the best recognitions that most startups just dream with, like being invested by Sequoia Capital, in only three years!. I also had the opportunity to have some time alone with Pepe to show him my personal game and get some priceless feedback. Thank you very much Pepe!

 

After the visit, we attended an event where more than 10 startups did a pitch about their product and had to pass through different filters until there was just one startup left, the final winner. This is the Startups Shark Tank Showcase. It was a great opportunity to see how startups from everywhere do their pitch and to network with other local entrepreneurs in San Francisco. Congratulations to Imaginary Number that won the final round with a great 3D game to teach kids mathematics in a very innovative way.

 

By Dreamer Fernando Garcia

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