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Pan de Bono Diplomacy (PBD) powers up scientific collaboration between Colombia and Finland

November 2, 2018 Leave a comment
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‘Pan de Bono Diplomacy’ in action with
Colombian Ambassador in Finland (H.E. Dr. Betty ESCORCIA BAQUERO) and 
Colombian Consul in Finland (Dr. Jose Camilo SANDOVAL ROJAS)

Longlasting strategic partnerships are built on trust and a common agenda. With this in mind VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and UCC Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia have been co-creating scientific research and innovation collaboration opportunities between Colombia and Finland.

On October 12th and November 2nd VTT successfully piloted a new and rather promising Pan de Bono Diplomacy (PBD) approach while hosting a series of high-level meetings in Finland with representatives from:

At some point during the discussions my lovely, caring and thoughtful Polish wife (Monika Popper) brought a special package – still warm from the oven! – full of homemade Colombian cheese bread (aka Pan de Bono), which is very difficult to find outside of Colombia (It was a big surprise indeed. A real wild card!).

Our original idea was to make the Ambassador and the Consul of Colombia feel at home in VTT-organised meetings but, due to its positive impact in the group dynamics, this innovative “approach” was soon baptised as Pan de Bono Diplomacy (PBD), as it proved to be an excellent trust-building and multi-stakeholder engagement tool 😉

The overall purpose of the PBD meetings is to jointly identify and scope future opportunities for collaborative research, technology development, innovation and education activities in areas such as bioeconomy (e.g. biorefining), circular economy (e.g. waste to energy), strategic foresight and intelligent leadership, among others.

The first two PBD meetings have resulted in over a dozen concrete ideas for future collaboration (including customer projects, shared benefit projects and collaborative projects, among others).

A third, and follow up PBD will take place on Wednesday November 7th at the Embassy of Colombia in Helsinki and will focus on the most advanced project ideas related to circular economy and bioeconomy. This meeting will try to mobilise representatives from Business Finland, SITRA and the Finnish Ministry of Environment in order to discuss about the most suitable instruments to help us transform ideas and opportunities into winning project proposals and action roadmaps. More updates on the outcomes of PBD meetings will be shared in future blog posts, so stay tuned if you would like to learn more…

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Towards a forest-based bioeconomy strategy in Uruguay

October 25, 2018 Leave a comment

 

In the context of the ongoing VTT-led project on Strategic openings for key forest based bioeconomy areas (FBA) in Uruguay an Action Roadmap workshop was organised in Montevideo (Uruguay) on October 25th. The workshop was attended by carefully selected experts and stakeholders with the capacity and interest of shaping the future of the following five FBAs in Uruguay:

  • FBA1 – Forest management
  • FBA2 – Mechanical wood processing
  • FBA3 – Fibre-based biomaterial processing
  • FBA4 – Biorefining for chemicals and energy products
  • FBA5 – Bioenergy

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The workshop was designed and facilitated by the following organisations:

The background material (i.e. Draft Action Roadmaps) was also shared with a team from the Faculty of Engineering of the Universidad de la República as well as several other organisations from a wider FBA-Uruguay project ‘Governance Group’ (GG).

 

A total of 15 Draft Action Roadmaps were discussed at the workshop, which was part of the fifth and final step of the FBA-Uruguay foresight process.

 

At the end of the journey the VTT-LUKE-OPP-GG teams will produce a consolidated Action Roadmap aimed to pave the way towards a forest-based bioeconomy strategy in Uruguay by 2050. While the workshop results are currently being processed by the project team, an ad hoc progress meeting was organised with the Ambassador of Uruguay in Finland (H.E. Dr. Pablo Sader) in order to share key insights and support other ongoing initiatives between Finland and Uruguay in the bioeconomy, which is a highly strategic and important area for both countries today and in the future.

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With the Ambassador of Uruguay in Finland (H.E. Dr. Pablo Sader)

ECLAC’s International Seminar on Planning for Development with a Vision of the Future (Santiago de Chile)

October 23, 2018 Leave a comment

eclac_70_banner_675x380_ingThis year the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) celebrates its 70th anniversary contributing to the forging of sustainable development with equality for all the peoples of the Latin American and Caribbean region.

As highlighted in an ECLAC’s press release:

ECLAC was founded on February 25, 1948 via resolution number 106 (VI) of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It is one of five United Nations regional commissions and is the only intergovernmental body of the United Nations Secretariat in Latin America and the Caribbean. It acts as a bridge between global and national levels with regard to development. Since its inception, the Commission has worked to contribute to Latin America and the Caribbean’s economic development, coordinate actions aimed at its promotion, strengthen economic relations among countries and between them and other nations of the world, and promote social development.

In the context of the 70th Anniversary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC, aka CEPAL in Spanish), the Economic and Social Planning Institute of Latin America and the Caribbean (ILPES) organized an International Seminar on “Planning for Development with a Vision of the Future”. The seminar was held in Santiago de Chile during 22-23 October 2018 and hosted over 180 delegates from 15 countries.

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Luis Mauricio Cuervo (ILPES/ECLAC), Elena Diez (Alerta Democrática),
Cielo Morales (ILPES/ECLAC), Rafael Popper (VTT), 
Freya Windle-Wehrle (ESPAS, European Parliament) and Javier Medina (Universidad del Valle)

This year ECLAC invited researchers, scholars, experts, civil servants and public administration authorities to present and discuss research studies, cases and experiences related to the following thematic areas:

  • Foresight for development.
  • Territorial development.
  • Planning: Management of planning systems for development, experiences of synergies between planning and budgeting, participatory planning and/or with a focus on gender issues.
  • Building public leadership competences for development.

 

The plenary sessions of the seminar were structured around four panels where ECLAC and international experts were invited to make keynote presentations on the following topics:

  • Panel 1: Global drivers of change.
  • Panel 2: New technological revolution and its challenges.
  • Panel 3: Democratic governance and future challenges.
  • Panel 4: Agenda 2030 and foresight.

Panel 1 on Global drivers of change focused on the main long-term global change and transformation trends in demography, society and the environment. The panel was moderated by Luis Riffo (Senior Researcher at ILPES/ECLAC) and included three keynotes:

  • Keynote 1: Dynamics and challenges of demographic change in the LAC region by Marta Duda-Nyczak (Associate Officer of the Population Affairs at CELADE/ECLAC).
  • Keynote 2: Dynamics and challenges of climate change in the LAC region by Joseluis Samaniego (DDSAH Director at ECLAC)
  • Keynote 3: Dynamics and challenges of social protection in the LAC region by Lais Abramo (DDS Director at ECLAC)

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Panel 2 on New technological revolution and its challenges focused on the main impacts on the production and labour markets as a result of technological change and the digital economy. The panel was moderated by Luis Mauricio Cuervo (Economic Affairs Officer at ILPES/ECLAC) and included three keynotes:

  • Keynote 1: The digital era: opportunities and challenges in the production, labour and social spheres by Jürgen Weller, Rodrigo Martinez and Mario Castillo (DDE-DDS-DDP Working Group from ECLAC).
  • Keynote 2: Technological change and its potential impacts on employment in Latin America – Possible actions by Sergio Bitar (Chilean Foresight Council)
  • Keynote 3: Global technological changes – Challenges of the future by Rafael Popper (Principal Scientist in Business, Innovation and Foresight at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland)

 

Panel 3 on Democratic governance and future challenges focused on the current state of democracy in the world and the LAC region with particular emphasis on future challenges for governments and the political system. The panel was moderated by Alicia Williner (Senior Researcher at ILPES/ECLAC) and included three keynotes:

  • Keynote 1: Shaping the Future – Strategic Foresight in the European Parliament by Freya Windle-Wehrle (Member of ESPAS, European Parliament).
  • Keynote 2: The future of democracy in Latin America by Elena Diez (Alerta Democrática)
  • Keynote 3: Governing the future – The pillars of a new State for citizens by Alejandra Naser (Open government and public management division of ILPES/ECLAC)

 

Finally, panel 4 on Agenda 2030 and foresight: theory and experiences focused on the linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Agenda 2030 and foresight. The panel was moderated by Cielo Morales (Director of ILPES/ECLAC) and included three keynotes:

  • Keynote 1: International experiences in the use of foresight to implement the 2030 Agenda and SDGs by Catarina Tully (SOIF).
  • Keynote 2: Future scenarios for the region and challenges of the SDGs by Carlos Sandoval and Luis Mauricio Cuervo (ILPES/ECLAC)
  • Keynote 3: Challenges of foresight as a discipline and a tool to address current and future challenges of the LAC region by Javier Medina (Universidad del Valle)

 

Innovation 2050 – Responding to the social and technological megatrends of the future

October 17, 2018 Leave a comment

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Conrad von Igel (Director Ejecutivo del Centro de Innovación UC), Rajesh Kalidindi (Senior Manager, Microsoft Seattle), Ignacio Sánchez (Rector, UC), María de los Ángeles Romo (Gerenta Corporativa, CORFO), Ricardo Paredes (Rector, DUOC UC), Riel Miller (Head of Future Literacy, UNESCO) and Rafael Popper (Principal Scientist of Business, Innovation & Foresight, VTT).

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The Innovation Centre UC Anacleto Angelini of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile organised an international seminar aimed to position, promote, discuss and establish innovation capacities around some social and technological megatrends that will impact on quality of life by 2050, such as digital transformation, ageing society and sustainable cities, among others.

The seminar gathered national and international specialists with multiple visions of the future but a common and strong believe that innovation is one of the best ways to transform societal challenges into opportunities for sustainable development.

Around two hundred people attended the event, which also included participants via live streaming in Facebook and a much wider audience reached through mass media coverage from Radio Bio Bio and the National Television (TVN) of Chile.

The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, represented by Rafael Popper, presented foresight as a systematic, participatory, prospective and policy-oriented process aimed to Scope, Mobilise, Anticipate, Recommend and Transform (SMART) technological, economic, environmental, political, social and ethical (TEEPSE) futures.

VTT’s presentation also focused on how to assess and manage sustainable innovation, understood as any incremental or radical change in the social, service, product, governance, organisational, system or marketing spheres that leads to positive environmental, economic and social transformation without compromising the needs, welfare and wellbeing of current and future generations (Read more at CASI Tutorial) .

Programme of the session on ‘Digital transformation and accessibility’

Opening remarks

  • Ricardo Paredes – Rector, DUOC UC
  • Ignacio Sánchez – Rector, UC

Chile by 2050: Challenges and opportunities

  • María de los Ángeles Romo – Gerenta Corporativa, CORFO

The importance of looking into the future

  • Riel Miller – Head of Future Literacy, UNESCO

Smart foresight for sustainable innovation

  • Rafael Popper – Principal Scientist of Business, Innovation & Foresight, VTT

Accessibility for human technology

  • Rajesh Kalidindi – Senior Manager, Community Experience & Accessibility, Microsoft Seattle

Panel on Digital transformation by 2050: Impact on quality of life (moderated by Conrad von Igel, Director Ejecutivo del Centro de Innovación UC)

  • Rajesh Kalidindi – Senior Manager, Community, Experience & Accessibility, Microsoft Seattle
  • Katherine Villarroel – Secretaria Ejecutiva, CNID
  • Jorge Vera – Director, Instituto de Ingeniería _Matemática y Computacional UC
  • Nayat Sánchez-Pi – Directora Ejecutiva, Inria Chile

The 10 capital sins in the design and development of social inclusion technologies

  • Ricardo Rosas – Director, CEDETI

Web accessibility: Are we allowing, facilitating or including everyone?

  • Pablo Chiuminatto – Director, OCULAB UC

 

Strengthening scientific collaboration between Colombia and Finland

October 10, 2018 Leave a comment

In the context of the 1st Congress on Bio-refineries and Renewable Energies supported by ICT (BRESICT) held in the city of Medellín (Colombia) on 17-20 September 2018, representatives from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia (UCC) have strengthened their collaboration in a wide range of scientific and technological areas.

The Rector of UCC (Prof. Dr. Maritza Rondón Rangel) and the Director of Research in Engineering at UCC (Prof. Dr. Fernando Colmenares) expressed their commitment to accelerate the transformation of ideas and opportunities generated during the various events and meetings into winning project proposals and concrete action roadmaps.

 

Some clear indicators of the success and immediate positive impacts of the Congress and its related Co-creation Workshop on Sustainable Bioeconomy & Foresight Cooperation Opportunities are 8 flagship collaboration ideas between UCC, VTT and several organisations from Finland, United Kingdom, Norway, France, Spain, Poland, USA, Israel, China, Greece and Colombia.

These flagship opportunities will be further discussed in a High-level meeting between VTT and UCC with the participation of the Ambassador and the Consul of the Embassy of Colombia as well as representatives from oil and gas companies form Colombia (ECOPETROL) and Finland (NESTE) on the 12th of October 2018 at VTT premises in Espoo (Finland). In addition, a strategic meeting between VTT, UCC and the Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC) from the University of Turku will explore new possibilities to advance research and education collaboration between Finland and Colombia.

 

The future of Innovation Diplomacy and the role of foreign & diplomatic services in handling complex innovation issues

October 4, 2018 Leave a comment

In the context of the Horizon 2020 EL-CSID project, focused on the analysis of developments in science and cultural diplomacy and the role of Europe’s foreign policies, the Joint Institute of Innovation Policy (JIIP) organised a workshop in Brussels to explore the impact of competition driven innovation in collaboration oriented science diplomacy.

Key questions of the EL-CSID workshop

  1. Do the principles of “open innovation” and “open to the world” hold as long-term guidelines in an increasingly competitive and sometimes even hostile global environment?
  2. Are there critical technology fields for Europe that need special attention (fostering, protecting), and if so which? What is the role of foreign policy and innovation diplomacy here?
  3. How can the foreign and diplomatic services handle the increasingly complex innovation related issues? Do they need to grow and adopt a different skills-profile? Or can networking fulfil the growing need for expertise? How?

The workshop was chaired by Dr. Jos Leijten and brought together some 20 experts and practitioners of science and innovation diplomacy. All participants gave their views on one or more of the questions raised. The outcome of the workshop will help to draft shared visions on the role of ‘innovation diplomacy’ and promote discussions on open issues in the final EL-CSID conference and research.

For further information, visit the EL-CSID project website: https://www.el-csid.eu/.

Interview with the HSE News Service

June 5, 2018 Leave a comment

logo_с_hse_cmyk_eConsistently ranked as one of Russia’s top universities, the Higher School of Economics (HSE) is a leader in Russian education and one of the preeminent economics and social sciences universities in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Having rapidly grown into a well-renowned research university over two decades, HSE sets itself apart with its international presence and cooperation.

In a recent interview with the HSE News Service, I spoke in depth about my research interests, teaching philosophy and long-lasting collaboration with HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge and Laboratory for Economics of Innovation.

Click here to read the full interview in HSE website

See original interview text below…

Building a Career Dedicated to Foresight and STI Policy Research

Following years of study and work in South America and Europe, Rafael Popper joined HSE Moscow as Professor of Foresight and STI Governance in January 2018. In addition to his job at HSE, he is Principal Scientist in Business, Innovation and Foresight at a world leading research and technology organization (RTO) called VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. With a PhD on 21st Century Foresight from the University of Manchester, Popper has built a career on wide-ranging research of issues in foresight and STI policy. In a recent interview with the HSE News Service, he spoke in depth about his research interests, philosophy on teaching, collaboration across HSE and his love of languages, among other topics.

— Tell us a little about your background, and some of your biggest career achievements so far.

— I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where I spent most of my childhood, but thanks to both personal and professional opportunities, I ended up living a couple of years in Brazil and Italy, five years in Hungary and 15 years in the United Kingdom, where I became British and completed my PhD at the University of Manchester. In 2016, I moved to Espoo in Finland to work at the VTT Technical Research Centre. One could therefore say that I am virtually a global citizen.

With such an international background, my main personal achievements so far have been the consolidation of a lovely family with my wonderful Polish wife Monika and my adorable sons Ricky and Sammy, while at the same time keeping a great relationship with my relatives and ever-growing network of friends, colleagues, business and research partners, and customers. On the professional front, I have many significant achievements in my career, which could be summarized in my capacity to continuously advance concepts and practices in what I have recently termed Foresight Knowledge Diamond (FKD), i.e., Foresight Education, Foresight Research, Foresight Innovation and Foresight Institution.

— What is your favourite topic and why?

— Given my foresight background, it is probably not surprising that in the HSE Master’s Programme in Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) my favourite topic is called ‘Looking forward: the future of STI policies’. Besides this topic being the most future oriented, which makes it fascinating by default, it allows students to think creatively about the dynamics of multi-level actions – strategic, tactical and operational – that are needed to transform STI systems and relevant actors for the better, for example government, business, research/education and civil society.

— How widely have foresight methods been adopted in modern economics? What are some of the benefits that can come from using foresight methods?

— Foresight methods such as backcasting, roadmapping and scenarios are increasingly being embedded into modern economics and practically every field of science due to the fact that scientific, technological and innovation activities of the knowledge-based global economy are becoming increasingly multidisciplinary. Hence, the most significant achievement of foresight methods is the capacity to interconnect knowledge from multiple sources, combining evidence, expertise, interaction and creativity, which has come to be better known as the Foresight Diamond.

— What are some of your teaching methods? Is there any particular teaching philosophy that you follow? 

— I have around 20 years of experience in teaching, including PhD, MSc and MBA courses, as well as executive education and short courses on STI policy, foresight, and sustainable innovation assessment and management. My single ‘secret’ method in teaching has always been building the right connection with students. While in theory this may sound too simplistic, in practice it requires certain interpersonal and other skills, including creativity, originality and ability to motivate and engage students into learning and discussing about the course topics before, during and after the lectures.

— You have long been a friend and collaborator with the HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge and the Laboratory for Economics of Innovation. Do you have any joint research or publication activity planned?

— The HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge and Laboratory for Economics of Innovation have been a point of reference as well as a natural choice for research and education collaboration in the areas of foresight and STI policy. We have several research and education plans. For example, we recently submitted a proposal in a very competitive European Commission tender to build and pilot a Strategic Intelligence Foresight System supporting future research and innovation programmes in Europe and across the world. Regardless of whether the tender is actually funded by the European Commission, I plan to pursue this and similar research objectives together with HSE/ISSEK colleagues in the future.

Regarding publications, several ideas are already in the pipeline, including journal articles, chapters and books, contributing to foresight and STI policy theory, methodology and practice.

— You speak many languages. How did you manage to learn so many? Do you have any plans to learn Russian?

Being born in Latin America and the Caribbean region and raised by two university professors of mathematics with Venezuelan and Austrian background probably blessed me with the spirit of curiosity-driven optimism and a natural in-built capacity to love and rapidly adapt to both multicultural and multidisciplinary environments. My life pathway has made Spanish and English my strongest communication channels, followed closely by Hungarian. I understand and feel comfortable reading and listening to Italian, French and Portuguese, although my speaking skills are becoming a bit rusty due to lack of practice.

Polish, Finnish and Russian are definitely the next target languages in line, but time has been the most challenging resource; I have not been able to devote enough to this endeavour. Nevertheless, the good news is that my wife also studied Russian and Ukrainian philology; thus, she is always there to help, especially with paperwork and other requests in Russian.

— You’ve been to Moscow a number of times. What are your favourite places here? What are some of your plans outside of work?

My first visit to Russia was in 2004 when I was invited to a seminar in Ufa, where I presented experiences and best practices on foresight programmes in selected countries with the overall objective of stimulating the organization of technology foresight activities for the Republic of Bashkortostan. The seminar was developed in cooperation with the UNIDO Moscow office, the European Commission and the British Council. Since then, I have visited Russia several times, mainly Moscow and St. Petersburg.

In Moscow, my favourite places are definitely around the Red Square area where plenty of historical buildings, restaurants and lively places offer a magnificent and superb atmosphere all year long.

Apart from work, my time in Moscow is pretty much focused on two main activities, to continue exploring and enjoying the richness of the Russian cuisine and culture, and most importantly, to spend quality time with both old and new colleagues from the HSE/ISSEK family.

Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for HSE News service