"Innovation Happens Everywhere" said Jose Estabil, Director , Program for Entrepreneurial Innovation, SK Tech, MIT Initiative, and a former project director and current advisor at MIT Portugal, at a gathering of The Open Hub at Sherin and Lodgen last week.
You can hear Jose Estabil's welcoming comments here. As the internet reaches further and faster, the whole world becomes smaller and indeed, we are developing a global village of innovation and entrepreneurship. Jose spoke eloquently about innovators needing wider validation and introduced the group by saying, "they are good. They just don't live here."
Chad O'Connor kicked off the evening. Forty plus teams were involved in this cohort of Building Global Innovators and some twenty of them were in attendance that night. Portugal acknowledges that it hasn't always done a good job of getting their stories out to the world and there is a need to build trust beyond just the association with the MIT brand. So they brought an international assortment of teams that participated in their competition including finalists from Italy, Russia, Switzerland and Portugal.
Open Hub, itself a young organization, builds on the Boston World Partnerships tradition that great people, doing good things, can work with organizations and individuals to deliver outstanding results. The evening, co-hosted by Sherin & Lodgen, proved just that.
To succeed today, you need to understand the global phenomenon of innovation and enterprise. You also need to understand people and what's important in the human connection. While I met many at the event and exchanged business cards with a few of the represented groups, two stood out.
First, MobiREV created in Italy and here in Boston presenting their platform that will manage all interactions between people and travel. Not only did the principals give me an overview of their integrated solution for smart ticketing in any kind of public transport – but they were the only ones to send digital and printed follow up. Gives me confidence when they say billing and expense reporting made easy - I believe them.
Nothing beats a hand written thank you note – specific to the conversation we shared….and they sent me plenty of extra cards to pass around. I am a long time fan of the "Johnny Appleseed" approach to networking. One card for you – and here, take a couple for others who you think might be similarly entranced by what you've seen. They made me part of their advance marketing team. Good for you MobiREV. Micaela, here's your shoutout.
The other organization with style and a first class approach was Octodon, a Russian startup with a very practical device. They were standing in front of this framed print of a typewriter and I couldn't help but note the irony and opportunity it represented.
QWERTY was designed to slow down typists so the keys wouldn't jam. Octodon uses an intuitive approach to a personally adjustable touch sensitive keystroke system that I got a handle on it in just five minutes. I've used swype and it gets dumber as it "expects" that it has learned my writing style. Predictive completion? Auto Correction? Doesn't cut it in its current iteration. Not once have I used the expression "Hey Dude" and yet it has come up more than once in voice recognition and swype. Come on developers- pay more attention to detail and get more beta testers. I'll take Octodon any day over Auto Correct #Fail.
Here are my takeaways from Octodon.
They have my attention. My smart device is only as smart as the keystrokes I've created and not some predictive predator ready to embarrass.
Score a successful night of networking for Open Hub, Sherin Lodgen and MIT Portugal.