Healthcare

Our new book is online: Navigate Change - How new approaches to public procurement will create new markets

We have now made the electronic version of our new guidebook for SMEs on new approaches to public procurement available for viewing and download. Printed copies are available in limited number, and the guidebook should soon be available in other languages. This book was published by ACC1Ó, the Catalan Competitiveness Agency as part of the European EuroPROC consortium. Base Design has done a beatuful job in illustrating the complex themes and ideas. The book contains interviews with leading decision makers from policy, business and research on the realities and opportunities in changing procurement practices. Further, it contains 18 case studies covering smaller companies experience in exporting under new procurement regimes to global markets.

Navigate Change: How new approaches to public procurement will create new marketshttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/56449250/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list&access_key=key-2btqrcebrt0lvw9xi3np(function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = "http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Our new book is online: Navigate Change - How new approaches to public procurement will create new markets

We have now made the electronic version of our new guidebook for SMEs on new approaches to public procurement available for viewing and download. Printed copies are available in limited number, and the guidebook should soon be available in other languages. This book was published by ACC1Ó, the Catalan Competitiveness Agency as part of the European EuroPROC consortium. Base Design has done a beatuful job in illustrating the complex themes and ideas. The book contains interviews with leading decision makers from policy, business and research on the realities and opportunities in changing procurement practices. Further, it contains 18 case studies covering smaller companies experience in exporting under new procurement regimes to global markets.

Navigate Change: How new approaches to public procurement will create new marketshttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/56449250/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list&access_key=key-2btqrcebrt0lvw9xi3np(function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = "http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Experience Stockholm's solution for visually impaired!

If you participate in our Stockholm Summit on Service Innovation in Cities you will have an opportunity to experience e-Adept, a groundbreaking accessibility solution at the cocktail reception taking place at the offices of Astando on May 11th in central Stockholm. E-Adept is a navigation, mobility and accessibility solution developed in partnership with the City of Stockholm. It enables visually impaired persons to navigate the city unattended - including public transport - through real-time urban data and digital map integration.

After several years of user-centric development working closely with visually impaired citizens, a group of users is now piloting e-Adept for 5 weeks as a full-life experience. You will be available to learn first-hand about the radical impact to their daily lives, provide detailed experience accounts.

Further, you will be able to try out the solution as well as meet project leaders from Astando and the City of Stockholm.

  • 161 million people globally would see their lives transformed by e-Adept
  • 30,000 citizens of Barcelona or 380,000 citizens in New York are severely visually impaired
  • E-Adept costs Stockholm only EUR 360,000 per year to maintain and creates EUR 17 million in value for the city
  • Also by Astando is Billy Bike, winner of the Future of Biking call by the City of Copenhagen in 2010
Our Handbook on Service Innovation in Cities covers e-Adept in detail.

Experience Stockholm's solution for visually impaired!

If you participate in our Stockholm Summit on Service Innovation in Cities you will have an opportunity to experience e-Adept, a groundbreaking accessibility solution at the cocktail reception taking place at the offices of Astando on May 11th in central Stockholm. E-Adept is a navigation, mobility and accessibility solution developed in partnership with the City of Stockholm. It enables visually impaired persons to navigate the city unattended - including public transport - through real-time urban data and digital map integration.

After several years of user-centric development working closely with visually impaired citizens, a group of users is now piloting e-Adept for 5 weeks as a full-life experience. You will be available to learn first-hand about the radical impact to their daily lives, provide detailed experience accounts.

Further, you will be able to try out the solution as well as meet project leaders from Astando and the City of Stockholm.

  • 161 million people globally would see their lives transformed by e-Adept
  • 30,000 citizens of Barcelona or 380,000 citizens in New York are severely visually impaired
  • E-Adept costs Stockholm only EUR 360,000 per year to maintain and creates EUR 17 million in value for the city
  • Also by Astando is Billy Bike, winner of the Future of Biking call by the City of Copenhagen in 2010
Our Handbook on Service Innovation in Cities covers e-Adept in detail.

Copenhagen Picks Billy-Bike Navigation Solution to Pilot the Future

37 companies from around the world have presented solutions for piloting the future of biking in Copenhagen. The winner was announced today at the Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities by Copenhagen's Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen: a travel plan that displays the most bike-friendly route through town.When more than 36 percent of citizens use their bikes every day to get to work, school or university, Copenhagen also needs a travel plan for cyclists, says the Mayor for Healthcare of Copenhagen, Ninna Thomsen.

Billy Bike was announced today to 20 cities and 50 companies by Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen at the Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, as the chosen solution after a 4-month competition. 37 solutions that can improve health, reduce CO2 emissions, and make it easier for citizens to move around the city were submitted from 17 countries in Europe, Asia and North America in response to a call for pilot launched by the City of Copenhagen and Living Labs Global in July.

Astando, the company that first implemented Billy Bike in Stockholm, will now engage in detailed planning meetings to bring the solution to the citizens of Copenhagen for a pilot in 2011. Billy Bike was chosen by a group of evaluators including the City of Copenhagen and the Bicycle Association of Copenhagen. All the world's cities need innovative solutions that make everyday life easier for citizens and call for green choices while allowing for improvements in efficiency of municipal services. There are plenty of companies that develop these solutions, but it is a challenge to get them into service in the city. So we try to push this by bringing together cities and companies together, says Ninna Thomsen.

A product such as Billy Bike has a great potential. For example, we imagine that the home care services in Copenhagen can use it as a tool to get faster and safer around town, just as technology can also be used to help our visually impaired citizens find their way, as they already do in Stockholm today, says Ninna Thomsen.

The Future Bike Call for Pilots has shown that already today many solutions can be found to revolutionise our cities when a city like Copenhagen presents its needs. These are solutions that exist today, helping to reduce the barrier to implementation for cities and opening international opportunities for companies like Astando, that continually invent new urban solutions like Billy Bike affecting the lives of millions of citizens. In the coming months, the pilot will bring this solution to life for the citizens of Copenhagen to build their own opinion and contribute to the future of the city's services.

MedWatcher: Medication Information from your Phone

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nN8vU-UiElw&fs=1&hl=en_US](Note: see the last 5 minutes of this video for information about MedWatcher.) Those prescription drug ads on TV won’t be the only things listing off potential side effects anymore.  Now, there’s an app that’ll bring them straight to your phone!

The University of North Carolina teamed up with Harvard Medical School and the Children’s Hospital in Boston to create MedWatcher, a new iPhone app that lets patients and doctors send and receive information on potential drug side effects and interactions. The idea is to use the power of crowd-sourcing to flag adverse events and expedite the deliverance of information to drug producers and doctors.  This allows app users to be notified quickly when trends indicate warning signs.  It also creates a forum where users can discuss their side effects or concerns with other people using the same prescriptions.

While the interaction side of the app is its strength, it also acts as a simple information dissemination tool.  Users just input a list of their prescriptions and are connected immediately with the latest FDA information about those drugs.

As with all of these crowd-sourcing tools, it’ll be interesting to see how the developers deal with all the noise that gets reported (maybe there was a reason the FDA made it difficult to report adverse events).  While the developers point out that consumer’s unfamiliarity with common interactions could actually help flag important and unforeseen associations, they make no mention of how they’ll sort out the seeds from the chaff.

-Terra Curtis

Pesinet: Micro-Insurance for Child Health Services in Mali

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6832695&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=1&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0

Flash animation from Anne Roos-Weil on Vimeo.

A nonprofit organization called Pesinet is using mobile phones and a basic java application to change the way that children are treated within the healthcare system in Mali. Though the system is basic enough--healthcare agents provide weekly checkups on children and relay the weekly results through a java-enabled application on their mobile phone to a doctor who then reviews the results--- it's strikes at the core barriers which prevent children from receiving healthcare provision in a timely fashion; The organizations founder, Ann Roos-Weil, identifies the three core barriers as: 1) access to healthcare, in many rural areas in Mali families simply do not have access to healthcare resources. 2) family finances, often times the cost of healthcare itself is prohibitively expensive. 3) An attitude towards healthcare and illness itself, often times families in Mali delay treatment until the illness is extremely advanced. As Roos-Weil puts it in rather stark terms: "In Sub-Sahara Africa you have a very, very high child mortality rate. […] In Mali, where our project is based, one child out of five dies before the age of five. What we realized is that they’re mostly dying because they don’t go to the doctor or the healthcare center early enough."

Creatively enough, the Roos-Weil's solution was to devise a system which addressed each barrier individually. Through the Pesinet program, healthcare agents visit villages on a weekly basis and report on the health of a child to a trained physician through their mobile phones. Moreover, the Pesinet system provides a micro-insurance program in which a family pays a monthly 1 euro fee to participate. In effect this covers the cost of the healthcare agents visit, a visit to the doctor if it is deemed necessary and half the cost of medication should any be prescribed. Lastly, the weekly healthcare agent visits prevent families from waiting too long in the case that a child falls violently ill.

Mobile phones have enabled the program to reach many more children than would have otherwise been possible. According to Roos-Weil "What we found useful in mobile technology is mostly a case of efficiency in the way health workers do their work. Because basically, while using mobile technology you can ensure that the agent is having proximity to families, so she can do the home-based check-up while seeing a lot of children in a short time, which allows the doctor to follow up on a great number of children. Mobile technology, in our case, […] allows a model whereby we can touch a great volume of children while using just one doctor."

To learn more about Pesinet, click here.

Pesinet: Micro-Insurance for Child Health Services in Mali

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6832695&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=1&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0

Flash animation from Anne Roos-Weil on Vimeo.

A nonprofit organization called Pesinet is using mobile phones and a basic java application to change the way that children are treated within the healthcare system in Mali. Though the system is basic enough--healthcare agents provide weekly checkups on children and relay the weekly results through a java-enabled application on their mobile phone to a doctor who then reviews the results--- it's strikes at the core barriers which prevent children from receiving healthcare provision in a timely fashion; The organizations founder, Ann Roos-Weil, identifies the three core barriers as: 1) access to healthcare, in many rural areas in Mali families simply do not have access to healthcare resources. 2) family finances, often times the cost of healthcare itself is prohibitively expensive. 3) An attitude towards healthcare and illness itself, often times families in Mali delay treatment until the illness is extremely advanced. As Roos-Weil puts it in rather stark terms: "In Sub-Sahara Africa you have a very, very high child mortality rate. […] In Mali, where our project is based, one child out of five dies before the age of five. What we realized is that they’re mostly dying because they don’t go to the doctor or the healthcare center early enough."

Creatively enough, the Roos-Weil's solution was to devise a system which addressed each barrier individually. Through the Pesinet program, healthcare agents visit villages on a weekly basis and report on the health of a child to a trained physician through their mobile phones. Moreover, the Pesinet system provides a micro-insurance program in which a family pays a monthly 1 euro fee to participate. In effect this covers the cost of the healthcare agents visit, a visit to the doctor if it is deemed necessary and half the cost of medication should any be prescribed. Lastly, the weekly healthcare agent visits prevent families from waiting too long in the case that a child falls violently ill.

Mobile phones have enabled the program to reach many more children than would have otherwise been possible. According to Roos-Weil "What we found useful in mobile technology is mostly a case of efficiency in the way health workers do their work. Because basically, while using mobile technology you can ensure that the agent is having proximity to families, so she can do the home-based check-up while seeing a lot of children in a short time, which allows the doctor to follow up on a great number of children. Mobile technology, in our case, […] allows a model whereby we can touch a great volume of children while using just one doctor."

To learn more about Pesinet, click here.

Monitoring your Ageing Parents with Technology

Over the last year, this report has highlighted numerous innovative initiatives involving elderly care. For this reason, I thought I'd feature an article that ran recently on technology and elderly care in the New York Times. The article is valuable in that it not only introduces different ways to bridge elderly-care through technology but it also dissects the challenges of these systems and recognizes the real need to personalize late-life care by providing anecdotal and empirical evidence alike. In some cases technology may simply be too invasive for and elderly parent or in other cases, the individual's lack of mobility might make independent living impossible. Moreover, the article doesn't pretend that technology can ever completely supplement the important role that family, friends and one's community play in maintaining quality of life for an elderly individual. Rather, without being redundant, it gives us an up to date glance at the potential role of technology in late-life care.

Mental Health Mobile Applications

Mobile phone applications are being developed at a rapidly to help supplement and or bolster treatment options for mental health patients. Though the idea is not novel, I thought the continued buzz about different options out there and the ever-diversifying marketplace of applications warranted our attention. In May, NPR aired a noteworthy piece on this trend, providing interested listeners with an informed survey on the methodologies and products available to patients. In part, the piece was prompted by a number of nationally sponsored studies which explore how the computing power of mobile phones can help patients monitor moods, follow treatment recommendations and manage stress. According to researchers, the mobile applications can provide new insight into a patient's emotional variability and promote patient participation in therapy sessions. In particular, the applications are being used to target certain conditions, such as depression and schizophrenia. Some researchers hope eventually to expand use of the technology to treat anxiety, phobias, eating disorders and other mental health issues.

To learn more about this push for mental health mobile apps, listen to the full story here.

Update, Corporate Cities

Briefly, I wanted to update my last post Corporate Cities.  Since writing, I discovered a couple similar ventures that I thought I’d note here. First is the Philips Livable Cities Award.  Philips wants to promote health and well-being in cities, and they’re doing this by offering 3 grants totaling €125,000.  They’re collecting simple ideas from individuals, communities, NGOs and businesses in three main categories: Well-being Outdoors; Independent Living; and, Healthy Lifestyle at Work and Home.  These areas are meant to influence public safety, personal health through diet, exercise, or engagement, and senior living.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX7qYllMteU&hl=en_US&fs=1]

Second is GE’s healthymagination program.  This is GE’s initiative to improve healthcare through innovation.  Healthymagination was started one year ago and has established a $250 million equity fund for making investments.  Its first investment was made in CardioDx, a cardiovascular genomic diagnostics company.

http://files.gecompany.com/gecom/tools/GEVideoPlayer.swf

Do you know of any other interesting public/private partnerships or corporate social responsibility investments?

-Terra Curtis

Update, Corporate Cities

Briefly, I wanted to update my last post Corporate Cities.  Since writing, I discovered a couple similar ventures that I thought I’d note here. First is the Philips Livable Cities Award.  Philips wants to promote health and well-being in cities, and they’re doing this by offering 3 grants totaling €125,000.  They’re collecting simple ideas from individuals, communities, NGOs and businesses in three main categories: Well-being Outdoors; Independent Living; and, Healthy Lifestyle at Work and Home.  These areas are meant to influence public safety, personal health through diet, exercise, or engagement, and senior living.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX7qYllMteU&hl=en_US&fs=1]

Second is GE’s healthymagination program.  This is GE’s initiative to improve healthcare through innovation.  Healthymagination was started one year ago and has established a $250 million equity fund for making investments.  Its first investment was made in CardioDx, a cardiovascular genomic diagnostics company.

http://files.gecompany.com/gecom/tools/GEVideoPlayer.swf

Do you know of any other interesting public/private partnerships or corporate social responsibility investments?

-Terra Curtis

Future of Biking: Copenhagen Calls for Innovations

Copenhagen has one of the world’s most ambitious local climate policies, striving to become a zero-emission community by the year 2025. To achieve this commitment, the city already has put several measures and lines of investment into motion, actively collaborating with companies and technology experts. Together with Living Labs Global, the City of Copenhagen invites innovators, researchers and companies to present innovative mobility solutions that help to achieve the goal of integrating Bicycles fully into a new intelligent and integrated transport system for the city. Already today, more than 55% of residents in Copenhagen use the bicycle daily, creating opportunities for new applications of IT in entertainment and safety, but also to address the several barriers that continue to exist between the excellent public transport system and bicycle uses.

Call for Pilots: The future of biking in Copenhagen.

As a result, Copenhagen is inviting companies and organisations from around the world to present their solutions for a pilot this autumn (deadline 31st of August) to evaluate impact of new systems, policies, technologies or planning tools to achieve the goal of an attractive and fully integrated inter-modal transport system, incorporating the large percentage of bicycle usage.

Solutions can address, but do not need to be limited to, the following challenges:

  • Can bike paths be smarter and indicate dangers such as frost, indicate congestion or incorporate sensors to monitor activities and respond to usage needs and link to traffic light systems offering green waves for cyclists?
  • Can technology in bicycles such as health sensors, location information, theft protection, entertainment and fitness monitors be applied for entertainment, wellbeing, security and other purposes?
  • Can mobile services link bicycles and riders to social networks, provide news and updates, to pre-book bikes or reserve parking, to plan routes and other activities?
  • Can we integrate bicycle rides to get to destinations with other modes of public transport to give more inter-modal options for commuters?
  • Can we improve bicycle parking around key intersections and meeting points?
  • Can the health and well-being impact of bicycles be maximised and monitored in the city?
  • How can we improve security and safety in relation to bicycles?
  • Can we invent intelligent or smarter clothing to deal with different weather conditions and at the same time integrate into daily activities?
  • Can bicycles replace "service vehicles" for craftsmen in the inner city?
  • What can Copenhagen do for bicycle tourism?

Submitting your solution for a Pilot is simple:

  • Submit or update your Showcase at www.livinglabs-global.com/showcase for free to publish a short description of your solution. Submission Deadline: August 31st 2010.
  • Choose "Apply for a pilot of my Showcase in Copenhagen in autumn 2010".
  • Answer a short application form for evaluation.
  • The City of Copenhagen and Living Labs Global will announce results by September 15th 2010. You will receive a short report on the evaluation results.
  • If successful, you will enter discussions with the City of Copenhagen on implementation of the pilot immediately after selection. Pilots should be running at the latest on November 15th 2010 and run for around 1-6 months.

What's new in Mobile Health?

I've rounded up a number of interesting mobile health gadgets that have emerged on the market over the last 6 months. Here are a collection of self-explanatory videos which give us a pretty good glimpse at how these gadgets work and how they can be used. Check them out below: MedApps A mobile outpatient monitoring solution that proactively alerts doctors and nurses to potential health problems. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txSnlKzbn18&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xd0d0d0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

LookTel An application that helps the visually impaired recognize objects.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFPsF8GBfqE&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xd0d0d0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

PillPhone A mobile application that helps consumers better manage their medication. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAIhxha8FOw&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xd0d0d0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

New telehealthcare service in the US

Next year, OptumHealth, will give patients in the U.S. the ability to connect with primary care physicians online through NowClinic, an online platform that uses video chat. For 45 dollars, patients with or without insurance can have a consultation with a primary physician, avoiding the stress and hassle of making appointments. OptumHealth will first offer their service in Texas and will expand the service on a state by state basis; according to OptumHealth “180 counties do not have enough physicians, 70 percent of patients cannot obtain a same-day visit with their primary care doctor, and 79 percent of emergency room visits are for routine problem” so the service may help to extend services to patients seeking care in underserviced areas. That said, the service itself is receiving extensive criticism from professional within the medical field. Professionals feel that by removing the physical component of a medical exam, doctors may miss some health-indicators and nonverbal clues. Read the full New York Times article on the service here.

Americans Want Mobile Health Services

Following months of hype grinding, partisan-politics, Obama's healthcare bill was just barely passed in the House of Representatives this past weekend, getting American just a little bit closer affordable healthcare. As the bill moves forward (it still needs to be put to the Senate floor), and as it (hopefully) reshapes American healthcare, it will be interesting to see what attention is paid to mobile healthcare initiatives. According to a study commissioned by CTIA-The Wireless Association and conducted by Harris Interactive, nearly 8 in 10 (78%) Americans are interested in receiving healthcare services through their mobile phone. Published this past month, the research conclusions were drawn from two separate studies conducted online in September, polling a total of some 5,500 US adults, 115 general practitioners and 129 specialists.

Notable results include: The study also found that more than one in ten (15%) of those surveyed are extremely/very interested in learning more about mHealth, nearly one in five (19%) would upgrade their existing wireless plan to participate, and 11% would consider switching wireless providers to receive medical services through their wireless device. Moreoveer, nearly one-fourth (23%) of respondents also say they would use mHealth, if it were available, instead of going to the doctor. Approximately four in 10 would use it to supplement doctor visits.

With high levels of mobile penetration among most American communitiess, there is little doubt that the mobile phone is poised to help deliver higher-quality, lower-cost, more-efficient, healthcare. Read more about this study here.

“It’s not rocket science, but…”

In his third law for predictions about the future, Arthur C. Clarke famously declared that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. This is truer today than ever before, and almost every day sees the introduction of some new mobile application that is widening the boundaries for what we traditionally perceive as possible. A fancy and free iPhone application like Shazam has produced astonished faces and disbelief all over the world and it’s impossible to imagine just how the next big thing will make your jaw drop. Development of applications and services is happening extremely quickly, and at the Living Labs Global Summit in Zurich on 15th May we wanted to further speed up this process by bringing together some of the prime movers within this field. The matchmaking meeting included people from private companies, the public sector, universities, and cluster organizations, and the panel sessions were divided into three major themes: ICT/media-enabled services in cities, Healthcare service innovation, and Service innovation and design in cities. The matchmaking summit took place at the Hyatt, and in-between the introductory speeches and the panel sessions there were rich possibilities for people to meet over coffee and lunch.

No matter how fascinating and high-profile a guest speaker might be, the heart of an event like this still lies in the unscheduled periods of time where participants can learn more about each other. This was also true in Zurich, where everyone were happy to engage in talks from the first minute. This success was partly due to the fact that most of the hundred participants had already met over drinks the night before; Living Labs Global and the innovation district 22@Barcelona had invited everyone to an informal cocktail party at the Hyatt, and for several hours people were enjoying the setup before going out to dinner in larger groups where they could continue their conversations.

It was already during this first stimulating evening that I heard three different people describe their own services with the almost derogatory statement: “It’s not rocket science.” This has become a catch phrase for people working with the new technology, and I’m hearing it all the time from Innovators, venture capitalists, and cluster organizations – everyone uses it. Most of the time it’s actually meant as a positive statement about the service or application, and a more correct transcription should read: “It’s not rocket science, but…” Of course, this can just be a way to talk down people’s expectations before presenting them with all the great features that the product does in fact possess. But it still poses the intriguing question: Do the people who work with service innovation believe that it normally has to be rocket science to be good?

If this is indeed the case, if the use of advanced technology in a service is seen as something inherently good, then we are just facing the old bête noir of technology push. At the Matchmaking Summit in Zürich, we had representatives from the huge market that the public sector covers, and they met with companies that are realistic and focused on the needs of the users. Many great applications and services were showcased at the event – and even though they may not be rocket science, some of them are actually indistinguishable from magic.

It's no place really, but it's real.

Hamburg - Mediterranean Matchmaking Summit, January 16. The prolific writer William Gibson has stated that we live in an age that is dominated by a post-geographical feeling. The development of the internet and the mobile generation has revolutionized the way that we view the world, and the newest incarnation of almost universal WI-FI in combination with the arrival of the 3G phone has made things move even faster. With this in mind, it was striking that Sascha Haselmayer opened the summit by stating that we haven't even seen the beginning of the new market, and he stressed that, even though the need for services is evident, we are not seeing all the mobile services that one would expect.

Why are we not seeing the new services yet? There are many reasons for this, but one important factor might be that the post-geographical feeling still has certain limitations when it comes to how we interact in the physical world. Even though a vast Gibsonesque prosthetic nervous system has spread around the globe over the last 25 years, we are still living in a physical reality defined by national borders, cultural differences, and spatial divides. There is no doubt that people all over the globe share some of the same needs and face some of the some of the same challenges, but when Europe, the smallest continent, is unable to develop common solutions and standards, how can we expect to see better results on a global scale?

Living Labs Global is aware of this divide, and in Hamburg the network and its members showed that they are ready and well equipped to tackle the work at hand. By focusing on the collaboration between companies, investors, and research centers in Barcelona and Hamburg, Living Labs Global showed how fruitful such a summit can be when the organizers are conscious of the real barriers that exist in the market. It was the first time that Living Labs Global tried to use this specific angle on matchmaking, and it proved to be something that people have needed for a very long time.

With nearly 100 participants at the Empire Riverside Hotel, the summit was fully booked. Many had asked themselves if a proper spirit of openness and readiness to speak up could be achieved in only one day, but these worries quickly turned out to be completely groundless. It has to be said that most of the participants took a head start the evening before the event by attending a very nice cocktail party arranged by the Cavas Codorniu from Barcelona and the City Council. They served drinks in the hotel lounge, and in no time the whole place was alive with large groups of people engaging in lively discussions. As the arranged get-together ended most of us found our way to restaurants and bars in the vicinity, and I myself went to a nice informal dinner with a fine dozen of people from Sweden, Spain, Germany, and Denmark. Many of the participants later met up in the magnificent sky-bar of the Empire Riverside Hotel and it was a great to end the night in good company and with the view of Hamburg below.

The summit itself began the day after with Sascha Haselmayer's welcome, and it set the tone of the event: A real value network has to be built around the mobility market and we have to make some kind of coherence in the sea of service and market islands. Introducing North and South, he rightly identified Hamburg as a gate for trade and handed the podium to Judit Romera from Barcelona City Council, and she described Barcelona as a dense and creative city - a place in which to be inspired. Barcelona is also a cultural capital and it has become the central reference in the creation of dialogue between the Northern and the Southern rim of the Mediterranean. With 3.000 companies that have a productive presence in the city, Barcelona is also the most consolidated base of foreign companies in Spain. Jordi Sacristan from 22@Barcelona confirmed that the city is able to attract talent, and the innovative new area specializing in media, ICT, energy, and biomedical research is ready to welcome even more foreign companies and students.

As is always the case at these events it was hard to choose which panel discussion not to attend. There were panels on Media & ICT - which was very fitting considering Hamburg's long tradition in this field - Concept & Design, and Healthcare Service Innovation. There were experts at all three sessions, and there were also presentations from some of the companies attending, and several of them had showcases as well. As proceedings drew to a close, people wished for more time and in the healthcare session discussions were just starting to take off after Lekshmy Parameswaran's enlightening virtual tour of the company Fuelfor's services. Luckily, the following lunch arrangements set the stage for a series of animated exchanges, and it quickly turned into one of the most valued points of the summit; people agreed that they had rarely experienced such a congenial spirit of matchmaking, and it was also agreed upon that it was partly due to the scarcity of time: Time might have been a bit scarce, but everyone were determined to make the time available of the highest quality.

The time was also well-spent on the part of Living Labs Global, and even though we had high expectations, we were surprised at how positive the outcome was. The participants all found something of value to take home with them, several of the newcomers decided to become members of Living Labs Global, and the association has found a footfall that will make the next year very exciting. William Gibson has also described the ongoing technological revolution as being just as important in human evolution as the original creation of cities. It has always been a part of Living Labs Global's ambition to spearhead this development, and in a way we feel that we are indeed creating new cities. To be able to do this in cooperation with two of the old worlds prime specimens is a pleasure and a privilege. Barcelona will continue to be in our sight, and there is no doubt that the city will be the ideal background when they host the 3GSM there in February. It will also be a good opportunity to get reacquainted with members of Living Labs Global before the next big event in Zurich. Until then we'll keep building cities.

http://mobverge.blogspot.com/2009/01/geome-at-living-labs-global-summit-in.html

http://www.22barcelona.com/content/view/558/90/lang,en/

http://www.goldengekko.com/blog/2009/01/friday-mobile-visits-hamburg.html