The role of role models

Last month the organisation My dream Now asked me to speak about finding my path from youth to adulthood and I accepted with pleasure even when finding my path was not always so pleasurable. Being honest about it, accepting it and exploring is the valuable part to share. Meeting, speaking with and answering questions with the 9th graders at Bäcka skolans in Stockholms was a heartwarming experience I’d recommend.

Role-models have been central and meaningful in my life, showing me that everything is possible. Role models can come at any point in life but they were extra meaningful to me when I was young. The role models that lead the way before me lead by example boosted my curiosity and creative confidence, and that is exactly what was behind the creation of GeekGirlMeetup, my work with user experience and my startups.

In general it is hard to serve up a one-answer-fits all type version with this type of engagements, all one can do is speak about ones truth. I was happy the young adults had questions about how I chose my education, how to use a possibility mindset (use your possibility glasses). We ended up making a spontaneous idea development workshop to challenge their boundries of what is possible hopefully widening both my own and their mental models. I dearly hope I managed to spark the importance of doing what you love independently of your background or where you come from just as my role models once did for me for at least one of them.

Make a difference by inspiring the future bright minds of tomorrow
If you too want to make a difference, contribute by signing up to speak about your job at the “My dream Now” link or Transfer that is another organisation I have done talks with to promote the connection between working life and everyday life at school.

 

Future Perfect – on involment in growth regions

Open Dialogues future perfect
I spent a delightful second weekend of August speaking at Future Perfect, a festival for cross-disciplinary dialogue on sustainable future(s) located at the island of Grinda in the Stockholm archipelago. At the roundtable discussion I was invited to in the pre-dialogue, I was in with Therese Engstöm  (Sime Non-Profit) Shawn Westcott (Impact Invest), Bill Peduto (Mayor of Pittsburgh), and John Manoochehri (Future Perfect’s founder) on how to build a sustainable growth region and thinking on what can be done for Pittsburgh to attract and maintain talent.

My suggestions were as follows in an extended version:

• Coding is the new literacy (enabling).
Adapt code as a language in school from class 1. Everyone should have the chance to learn  the very basic functions of a practical (coding) language, a knowledge need for whatever you pursue later in life. Everything will have elements being built and created by code, just look and think of the internet of things, and of the things you use daily; they all contain tech. Everyone should be given the privilege to have the choice to pursue coding as a language.

Even though there are brilliant initiatives such as Kiddshackday.com it’s still a private initiative that (only) benefits the children with enthusiastic parents. On the national level of every country the government should step in and make sure that every kid has the possibility to learn,  as we don’t know where the next Einstein will come from – a privileged area or not. Conclusion: coding is the new literacy for the decades to come.

The US GeekGirlMeetup is looking froward to do a joint venture GeekGirlMeetup event in Pittsburgh later this year or in the following spring.

• Involving everyone – (diversity involvement on grassroots levels)
To maintain a nation’s innovation strength that leads to growth, we need to have a diverse uptake of ideas. Having women’s ideas being a contributor to the industry is of crucial importance. Increasing the numbers of women working within tech, development and entrepreneurial roles (the STEM area) is first and foremost accomplished by elevating role-models that already exist. There is of course no easy fix, or a single answer on how to go about it, but rather a collaborative effort over boundaries of education leadership, governmental efforts, and non-profit and private actors.

I was once told that a culture takes 30 years to change. It seems clear to me that if we are dependent on this change to happen, and we really want results, we need to commit and take the challenge into a long term perspective.

Why coding is so important that it should be seen as a school subject like a language, is for inclusion of everyone, like stated in the paragraph above, involving kids from all areas of a city, and including women – especially women. 

• The UI of Growth – citizen (user) involvement
As a UI/UX-designer my job is to think about people’s behavior and  about how to make people feel smart. When people ask me what that means I try to describe to people that when they are using their  ____ (insert internet service of choice) and they get angry or confused because they don’t understand what to do, then I have failed in my profession. When a service works seamlessly and makes you feel like it’s a piece of cake, then I’ve done a good job as an interaction designer or user experience designer.

If we are to apply the same thinking to our surroundings: in a society the users are called citizens, and social-innovation is the impact that we’re looking for instead of a fancy new site or app. If the user or citizen is to be empowered, the result is benefits that all citizens can use.

When technology provides an arena (previously less accessible due to cost or availability) to act and create possibilities where feedback loops between government and citizens exist this opens up for an amazing dialogue.

That’s how politicians/governments have the possibility to think too: “How can we make this easier for people to live amazing lives, build growth businesses, and create sustainable and growth regions, and live happy and healthy lives”.

Due to having lived in many countries where systems function differently and with different perks and quirks, I have learned to see that there are no perfect systems. However, there exist smooth ways to including citizens in social innovation, for example Sweden has Vinnova (Sweden’s innovation Agency) similar to the UK’s NESTA who are both governmental organs supporting the nations to include and make it possible for entrepreneurs and organizations to innovate. Spending time in the US, this works a bit differently as the private sector often pushes money into the innovation sector. But we need to remember that the base of Silicon Valley was not built on only private investors’ investment. Silicon Valley was supported by the government in the early 1950s as the US was racing Russia to the moon with great enthusiasm for the future. I’m not quite sure where that went; do we need an enemy to keep up our enthusiasm?  (If you haven’t read Peter Thiel’s excellent book “From Zero to One” that is out in September, pre-order a copy here. Thank you Dinelle for the gift!).

“What we know Silicon Valley to be today, a land of startups didn’t just magically appear out of no where, the region has had so much money pushed in to it, beyond belief.”
– Paula Graham, Flossie. (This quote was picked up at a talk we both did at G.Hack Thursdays Club at Goldsmith University, London)

Setting up an innovation and co-creation process starts with including a wide variety of people representing society and anyone who wants to participate in the value chain. When many have a possibility to participate, we create a society where citizens take responsibility as they know that they can impact their everyday life and surroundings. 

PhD Eric von Hippel describes this well in his book “Democratizing Innovation” even if from a more commercial perspective. It all starts by understanding the user and that starts with  a communication unafraid of being wrong and with out accusation towards any of the parties. It starts with an open dialogue, where both parties are trying to understand the expert user and their aim for making thing better and discovering how to do this together.

What I take with me from the event where Future Perfect set the frame for creating an arena (both in smaller pro-dialogues and open dialogues) for dialogue on future sustainability very well during is that it doesn’t start from one actor in only the environment or the government. It takes strong  leaders unafraid to collaborate who are unafraid of potentially being wrong, looking beyond failures and quick wins for new answers and possibilities who are yet unknown to us. It should be possible, after all, we have sent people to the moon.

(Please note, I’m trilingual if not more, however, Im not a native english speaker. Excuse any blurs.)

Related:

•  Peter Thiel’s excellent book “From Zero to One” that is out in September, pre-order a copy here)
• Eric von Hippel’s book “Democratising Innovation”. A free PDF of it from MIT.

#WIM2014 Outpasing the sceptics

“Outpase the skeptics” – Cristina Stenbeck

On saturday (International Women’s day) Women in Tech day was held by MTGx, Spotify and Google at the Hilton in Stockholm. It was a fun afternoon with awesome speakers from Sweden’s Startup ecosystem such as Mai Lee Hammargren (Mutewatch), Rochelle King (Global VP of Design at Spotify) with her brilliant speech on how to lead new design principles and Michelle Guthrie (Google).

Amongst other Swedes the scene was also occupied by Stina Ehrensvärd (CEO at Yubico) and Karin Nilsdotter (CEO at Spaceport Sweden) who we had at GeekGirlMeetup last year for our enter.space theme – she is always a pleasure to watch.

The key takeaway that I took with me was Cristina Stenbeck’s (Kinnevik) quote on people doubting you for whatever reason. Few of us will inherit an empire, never less all of us regardless of financial background can understand the emotion of doubt being directed at us. “We have to outpace the sceptics” – and with that I get on with my business!

MAKE IT! @ #GGM14 Save the date

ggm14_makeit

Time for the annual Meetup in Stockholm. This year’s theme is MAKE IT! Tapping into the trend of makers this year’s Geek Girl Meetup will cover all kinds of items in the makers hands. Watch out for all DIY from electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, CNC tools, metalworking, woodworking and traditional arts and crafts. With the uprising of Makers fairs and maker spaces we dig in deep into it.

Save the date for 24-25 of May. The meetup will take place at Tekniska Museet, Stockholm.

Are you keen on taking part in any way in this year’s unconference, be sure to submit your interest here.

Sponsring
Are you as a company interested in sponsoring this year’s event. Contribute to the biggest Geek Girl Meetup event this year and get your logo on the badge! Contact makeit@geekgirlmeetup.com

Tickets to the meetup will be released later on this spring!

 

Note: (this is a crosspost from www.geekgirlmeetup.com, written by Ellen Sundh)

What if, what GeekGirlMeetup IF.

Tekniska museet

Five years ago Andie Nordgren and I both asked “What if” the IT industry sector surrounding us could be altered into being more diverse? By the rate of how we were meeting other women in the industry it would take for ever to have a representative group of ladies to go drink wine and talk web, code and startups with, not to mention role models for ourselves and our future kids.

We needed more female role models, stronger networks and active knowledge exchange to support our own growth all in a participatory driven manner.
Five years down the line we operate internationally in Sweden (Stockholm, Malmö, Göteborg, Umeå, Norrköping), Denmark, Mexico, London, Berlin, Oxford, Hong Kong, Tunisia and we have just ties know its with a sister organisation in Zambia. 4 continents down the line, we have a company in the UK, and an organisation in Sweden, GeekGirlMeetup IF (Ideel Förening similar Nonprofit org) is an organisation form were trying out with an appointed board.

Many of us have become co-founders, speakers, role models, connectors and supporters of each others work making startup life easier and more fun.

As I focus on my startup that goes under project name while in the BonnierAccelerator D2D I am confident that the ladies across the board have all that it takes to keep these this movement and organisation a new thinking and making organisation, promoting tech for young ladies and further the aims we have set up.

On the 19th of November GeekGirlMeetup is having it’s first open board member meeting. Become a member here and participate in making it a bright future for all geek ladies in Sweden, they need one international person keeping all international strings together and one social media manager.

You can also just show up without being a member to listen to their lineup of speakers if you choose not to participate in making future happen, then read more here or sign up here.

Thank you for the past 5 years of joyful co-creation of GeekGirlMeetup:  Andie Nordgren, Maria Söderberg, Miriam Ohlsson Jeffry, Annika Lidne, Therese Göterheim, Anna Oscarsson, Maria Söderberg, Angelica Ohlsson, Matilda Sjunnesson, Louise Wikholm, Mia Strömberg, Olga Stern, Oyuki Matsumoto, Pernilla Lindh, Pernilla Näslund, Henriette Weber, Paulina Modlitba Söderberg, Judit Wolst, Therese Mannheimer, Louise Hamilton, Malin Ströman, Linda “@copylinda” Sandberg, Sanna Wickman, Pernilla Rydmark, Natsha Ehlén, Ebba Kierkegaard, Hanna Metsis, Josefin Hedlund, Emily Green, Magdalena Kron, Robyn Exton, Josephine Goube, Linda Essen-Möller, Kate Sigrist, Javeira Rizvi Kabani, Johanna Nordström, Maria Gustavsson, Ellen Sundh, Jennifer Barba, Jess Eriksson, Michelle Sun, Maryem Nasri, Ella Ethel Mbewe, Karla Gradilla, Irina Delegado, Karina, Thöndevold, Maria Gustafsson, Evelina Johansson, Tilde Mattson, Helena Lindh and you (email me if I have missed to ad you to this list, im not perfect).

Thanks you to all sponsors and connectors that have been exceptionally brilliant to us: Johan Ronnestam, Roman Pixell, Erik Arnberg, Swedish Institute, .SE, Dan Rasumssen, Eze Vidra, Kam Star, Kit Ruparel, Henrik Berggren and many more.

Image, taken by Heidi Harman at Tekniska Museet (The Science museum of Stockholm, Sweden) that has kindly supported our meetups.

 

 

Finding new ways to give with Charity API’s

I recently started working on an autumn project with the the amazing team at TheGivingLab, an R&D department at a charity aiming to find new ways of giving with Charity API’s, a project funded by NESTA amongst others.

When it’s a given that chuggers (charity muggers) hasseling you on the street for a signup doesn’t really work, and neither does starving babies on posters, we need to go further than choosing between several old-fashioned ideas of giving, making place for contemporary ideas.

By early 2013 we aim to have 5 launched ideas proving that charity API’s is the way to go and we are inviting developers, designers, UI/UX and idea-creators to a series of Hack Days we are running this autumn.
We aiming to hack together asquirky and loving ideas as possible like last week we already worked with Windows8 Code Weekend and Dev4Good, read more about the ideas here.

TheGivingLab has 3 more hack days coming up this autumn, here are the confirmed ones:

  • Mark 13+14th of October in you calendar. Eventbrite - GeekGirlMeetup Hackathon with The Giving Lab
  • Games 4 Good, with TIGA (International Gaming Association) at Birmingham University 17+18th of November.
  • TheGivingLab Charity Hack days at GoogleCampus on the 24+25th of November. The Theme is #holidayHack Eventbrite - TheGivingLAB - Hackdays 24+25th of November

Links to the previous and already hosted Hackathons:


London calling + SkrivaPå = Scrive.com

. I’ve moved to London.

. I´ve joined the Stockholm based startup SkrivaPå.se to internationalize the service with the new name Scrive, opening up the London Office, yet we are still a highly boot-strapped, lean start-up developing in Haskell. SkrivaPå & Scrive.com do digital signatures for contracts and legal-papers.

I first met lead-developer Gracjan Polak, while presenting my last startups RunAlong API at Disruptive Code conference in Stockholm autumn 2010 (post from Programmable web). The Startup community is Sweden is a close knitted newtork and we know eachother, and here was this new guy asking excellent questions, who was he?
Gracjan Polak, the Polish technical co-founder of SkrivaPå, introduced me to the Swedish founder and Stockholm School of Economics student Lukas Duczko. We ended up talking all evening about API´s, scrum, web-strategy, and how to manage distributed teams and other fellow founders startup-issues.

As we continued talking  about business and strategy during autum 2010 and spring 2011. To make a long story short, i moved to London, the UK working on opening up the RunAlong.se API publicly, and letting go of that for a bit. Lucas was fast to ask me to join SkrivaPå, after all the discussions i knew the product well, understood the business model and had no doubt when i said yes to working with this garage startup.

The fun part that i discover what it is like working with a highly effective distrubuted team. Scrive has 3 people working in Sweden, 3 in Poland, 3 in London, one in Turkey, and one travelling. We have things like the Tibetan Patches, pieces of code that our developer Eric Normand wrote in Tibet and Xian, and pushed up to the dev server when accessing wifi in the Himalayas. How wonderful insn’t that. Let me put it this way, i feel like I work for the most modern startup i can ever imagine, giving co-workes and co-owners freedom to do what they love.

As part of my work with Scrive i can also continue my work with GeekGirlMeetup.com, an un-conferance about web, code and startups aiming to create more female role-models in tech, new networks for women in tech and active knowledge exchange. Conclusion, Scrive gives GeekGirlMeetup.com an active sponsorship, it’s the first of the organisations sort.

Week 51 Radio + Illustrated thoughts

After giving a talk at the incubator Aturn, I recieved a mindmap illustration of my talk, made by Pernilla Karlsson at AddGender. It made me think of the power of images and the importance of illustrating your thoughts, to keep visions, dreams and goals clear and focused. Thanks Pernilla, highly apreshiated!

I was also happy about being invited to Studio One, to portrait RunAlong.se and GeekGirlMeetup at Radio P1. It doesn’t get much better than P1, still i did enjoy being inteviewed at P3 Kultur with Johanna Koljonen a while back.

Weekly post in Nya Affärer, Running Business was focused on “how little is enough”.

Christmas goodies:

  • And a litte eyecandy for the easier infograpghics, Google Demo Slam: Epic Docs Animation.
  • One of the most Tweeted about in Denmark, GeekGirlmeetup CPH.

Hello Oyuki Matsumoto! [A portrait/Interview]


Hello Oyuki Matsumoto
! How are you?
Fine thanks, little jetlag but happy to be in my country again!

You are the organizer of GeekGirlMeetup in Mexico, could you tell me about how that came to happen?
I had the oportunity to be at the Geek Girl Meetup in Helsinborg this springtime and I just became so inspired to see so many girls together sharing experiences that i thought i should definetely bring it to Mexico. I think my country is growing really fast, but unfortunately is still very man dominated, so I thought this would be a great project to “spread” and see what happen… and well i contacted some of my friends here and they got interested also so we started planing it in the late summer…

And so who is showing up?
We have 102 girls registered, its all from programers, IT developers, fashion designers, artists that use technology in their work, girls working in emarketing, community managers, and bloggers…

We are still getting mails today about empty places so we have decided to have the registration from 9-9.45 and all the empty places we will give them to the girls that never got a place in those 100….

What do you do in the daytime Oyuki?
I work in Malmö as a projectmanager at Stapelbäddsparken. I have a bachelor in Media and Communication from Mexico. I studied university here in Guadalajara where this meetup is happening. I use a lot social media in order to get inspiration for my work..and that is how i found on the first place about Geek Girl Meetup….

I also hear you are a DJ, “the DJ plugged in to bring the GGM to Mexico”. Is that true?
I heard once someone said “Im a closet dj” haha.. I love music and i listen to all kinds of music…but Im not really a DJ… I dont mix.. I just program music… a music geek maybe?! heheh

Any other tips for people how to get ther geek on?
Well I think Social Media and all the new ways of communication is opening so many doors, I think is just about to take the chance… get inspiration and spread your knowledge… Share…and connect…

How does the Mexican tech, code and startup scene look like, who are the local heroes we should know of?
Well first of all these girls producing this together with me Elizabeth and Jackeline Maldonado, Ericka Garcia & Karla Gradilla…they are full on and have been doing such a great work to put up a great event together… The tech, code and starup scene in Mexico…uff though question as i  dont live here anymore…but just right now going through the registration forms I see a lot of interesting girls doing so many cool projects, I think Geek Girl Meetup can help to get all these girls connected and start new things… find new way of cooperation…that is one of our main aims…

Well, i think that i speak for all of us back here in Sweden, who wish we could join you on the other side of the atlantic. best of luck, have a blast!

O: Thank you and hello to all the girls up there…thanks for spreading these..and lets keep on working!!

H: You betcha.

Week 48 Cest tres populár

Proud to present, GeekGirlMeetup was featured in the leading Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter wednesday last week, with almost 70 hits per minute during lunch time, and hundreds of comments, and still the top ten after a week, that is what DN calls, popular.

The title was changed a few times, and from GeekGirls Sweeet Revenge(.jpg), loosley miss-interpreted to Sweet Geek Girls Revenge(.jpg). It was later, more correctly called, “The Dream Network (.jpg)” on the front side of the economy section.

With no one to take revenge upon, we are happy about the the article as it communicates the our aim with new networks and local rolemodels within internet, code and startups and creating the future we need and want for women in the tech scene.

  • Lina Thomsgård at Rättviseförmedlingen also added us up on the list of internetexperts, entrepreneurs for seminars, panels and juries. Thank you @LinaT!
  • 2 students from the University are writing their final thesis about GeekGirlMeetup as a phenomenon, exciting! More about this later.

TALKING ABOUT FEAR AND ANGER AS CONSTRUCTIVE FUEL

  • I am remembering how important it is to use your your fear constructively after discussions with musican Rebekka Karijord, who adresses it more like “Wear it like a crown“, and yet did this fantastic interpretation of my favourite “Smells like teen spirit”.
  • (And i promise to never be late for dinner again)

  • The Egyptian election makes me remeber my visit to Egypt with the Swedish Institute. To sum it up im linking in Måns Adlers startup, Bambuser tweet on the democratic importance of his start up service Bambuser.

  • I also cant seem to forget the Harrasmap that both me and Joakim Jardenberg listened to as we were both speaking at the YLVP´s Cairo Social Media Cafe this passed month. @jocke sums it up really well.

Jardenberg also disses the new apps for the iPad, by the major Swedish Media houses, and wether i agree or not I am suggesting some Margret Wheatly reading of  for the people in charge of the apps, preferably Leadership and the new Science.

WIKILEAKS AND ASSANGE

@brokep micro finance focused startup Flattr makes it possible to donate to whatever you like.

[Edit: this is not avaliable anymore, as Flattr was based on a Paypal Plugin. More about that at TechChrunch, via The Guardian]