Yet another amazing World Innovations Forum Conference, all online. Attendees from 59 countries and speakers from 22 countries made it a great event.

The conference started with the 10-year agenda of the World Innovations Forum Foundation. Our Chairman talked about the time it takes to make startups into big companies and how many are needed to turn a developing country into a prosper economy. The aim of the forum and its members from over 20 countries is to double the number of developed countries by the end of this decade – 2030. Later on he spoke about the Innovations age where currently 30 patents are registered every minute. By inspiring more innovation this number will grow exponentially in the next ten years.

WIForum Digital Conference_Day 1_Axel Schultze

A WHOLE GROUP OF ORGANIZATIONS ALIGNED

WIForum Digital Conference Fabio SeguraThe World Innovations Forum is not the only organization with big ambitions. Another organization in our ecosystem are helping entrepreneurs to thrive, create large number of jobs and get their country to prosperity is the Jacobs Foundation. Their contribution to 2030 is to help with education and embracing learning variability. From a one fits all education system to learner adjusted education.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT

WIForum Digital Conference_Entrepreneurs DevelopmentIn the following entrepreneurs round table, representatives from Tech in Africa, Axel Peyrier, the Happel foundation, Alexander Lanz and SwissContact, Teresa Widmer spoke about what it takes to actually inspire entrepreneurs, not telling them what to do. Great discussions and a variety of perspectives.

AMAZINGLY INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURS

We saw a total of 9 amazing startups and scaleups that only proves, that there are extraordinary and innovative startups in any country on Earth.

Owen Sakawa from RepairNet, Kenya, is building a platform for a roughly billion people market and their repair needs in Africa. And Eddy Richauvet from ShopRunBack in Cambodia is building possibly the most powerful addon to the e-commerce world, a complete “Return-Platform” including the logistics network for the 65% of the eCommerce market not covered by Amazon.

WIForum Digital Conference_Owen Sakawa_RepairNet

WIForum Digital Conference_Eddy Richauvet_ShopRunBack

 

 

 

 

Lin Hwang from Damogo, Indonesia is fighting food waste and how they turned on the heat in just a few months. Tobias Gunzenhauser, from Yamo, another Accelerator graduate, shared how he and his co-founders built Yamo into a super fast growing  baby-food powerhouse.

WIForum Digital Conference_Lin Hwang_DamoGo

WIForum Digital Conference_Tobias Gunzenhauser_Yamo

 

 

 

 

Agudor Agabas from AppCycle in Ghana presented their idea and how they transform waste to new products and use almost exclusively waste to produce everything from clothes to accessories in a very innovative way. A different innovator was Ibrahim Abdulmalik from Farmula in Kenya, he shared how they help revitalize the supply chain of farmers’ businesses, as it is to a large degree destroyed from western food business. Expired food from the developed nations are brought into Africa as “development aid” but ruins in some sections the entire local food chain. How can a chicken farmer compete with their free range chicken against chicken for free, even if it is already a bit rotten.

WIForum Digital Conference_Agudor Kwaku Agabas_AppCcylers

WIForum Digital Conference_Ibrahim Abdulmalik_Farmula

 

 

 

 

Moving virtually back to Asia, Phi Nguyen from sPhoton presented a new Artificial Intelligence based Corporate Communication System, taking modern voice interaction aka Alexa into the corporate world. It may not apply in the West, but the 6 billion Asian market with managers half the average age and hungry for digital experiences, is certainly a pristine market for it. Africa is seeking talents very much like Asia. Emmanuel Leslie, from TalentsInAfrica in Ghana presented another AI based solution for talent development and talent match. With a number of startups that exceed the number of Silicon Valley startups, Africa is moving extremely fast and talent acquisition is one of the limiting factors.

WIForum Digital Conference_Mutembei Kariuki_FastaggerWIForum Digital Conference_Peter Muchemi_Megashift

 

 

 

 

Two more innovators presented, Mutembei Kariuk from Fastagger in Kenya and Peter Muchemi from Megashift, also in Kenya. Last and definitely not least was a special highlight. Binay Raut, from Paaila in Nepal presented the first Artificial intelligence based Robot from Nepal. In less than a year, the team built a first greeting robot, then a more sophisticated robot for banks and was even able to export their robots to the US. During the pandemic, Paaila was the first to build a robot for hospitals, serving patience and reducing the risks for the care personnel. Just a few years ago, it was unthinkable to create AI based robots made in Nepal.

WIForum Digital Conference_Binay Raut_Paalia Technology

FINANCIAL COMPANY VALUATIONS

WIForum Digital Conference_Karim Raffa_Company ValuationThe most challenging finance question for startups is to create a meaningful and defensible company valuation. This challenge is the same, all over the planet. Karim Raffa, a finance expert, former entrepreneur and investor himself is educating startups to create valuations that attract investors but not ruining their capital. Karim is also helping investors to make meaningful offers, because asking for too much equity in the beginning may change the discussion quickly against both, investor and entrepreneur.

INVESTOR ROUND TABLE

WIForum Digital Conference_Fundraising PodiumWith investors from Cambodia [Christophe Forsinetti], Switzerland [Thomas Kern], and Vietnam [Duc Viet Nguyen], we had a great mix of representation from developing, fast emerging and developed nations. Investors from around the world look for gold nuggets. Average quality startups are nearing a million and have the highest risk. Lack of well structured FDI policies for equity foreign direct investments however still prohibit deep pocket investors to invest in these new countries. In Asia most startups move their HQs to Singapore and African companies to the UK, Singapore or Switzerland.

INNOVATION OF NATIONS

WIForum Digital Conference_Ndubuisi Ekekwe_Building the Innovation of Nations

We heard an intellectually demanding but to the point speech from Ndubuisi Ekekwe, about the importance of innovation for each nation as a key to competitiveness and prosperity. He talked about how good policies can unleash the power of innovation or limit them, and what economic frameworks can do to empower entrepreneurship to thrive and create jobs or disable their abilities and make them possibly leave their countries. He essentially delivered the recipe for politicians to make their countries thrive.

DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA

Emmanuel Ndonga spoke about the unique opportunities for Africa. Almost 60% of the African population is under the age of 25 with untapped opportunities for growth and development. But Africa is not a country with a culture, it is continent 54 sovereign countries and a total population of 1.3 Billion with a fast growing number of university graduates. Emmanuel presented an amazing list of activities for governments and the population to get up and get autonomous, reducing external influence and becoming innovative – because they can. Similarly a great presentation from Ashwin Ravichandran who spent many years in Africa, and helped hundreds of entrepreneurs build their businesses and thrive. Africa has changed dramatically in the past 10 years and the biggest shift is yet to come.

THE INFLUENCE OF EDUCATION

WIForum Digital Conference_Dr. Ram Shrestha_Innovation in NepalEducation, in particular education for innovative thinking, like it is practices in Switzerland, was addressed by Dr. Ram Shrestha Ph.D., Vice Chancellor of the Kathmandu University. He gave insights into how and why Nepal should accelerate their motivation to more entrepreneurship in Nepal. Later on Dr. Matthes Fleck, Ph.D. from the University for Science and Arts in Lucerne spoke about the talent development of entrepreneurs from western universities and the importance for startups to get access to those talents early on.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP GENDER NEUTRAL

WIForum Digital Conference_Female Entrepreneurship PodiumWIForum Chair and co-founder Marita Schultze organized a round table where female entrepreneurs including Clarisse Iribagiza from Rwanda, Sophie Meas from Cambodia and Prativa Pandey, Ph.D. from Nepal had a partly controversial discussion about the role women in entrepreneurship. In some countries it is not even a discussion about the gender sensitivity, yet in others societies, women are still discriminated in so many ways, like in Nepal, so that the entrepreneurship aspect is just a side effect.

NEURO IDEATION

WIForum Digital Conference_Neuro IdeationThe most advanced technique to create innovative and disruptive ideas and turn them into reality is Neuro Ideation. Attendees learned how the brain actually composes ideas and how they are processed so that innovation can happen. The concept of Neuro Ideation is brand new and puts emerging countries and developed countries on a even playing level. Rapid idea development, accompanied by a disruptive business model can happen as quickly as 3 weeks but no longer than 6 months. The Deep Innovation Design method, with neuro ideation at its core fundamentally changes the act of innovation and disrupts innovation itself. The world Innovations Forum, together with the Society3 Group will be empowering entrepreneurs independent of which country they are from.

INNOVATION FIGHTING PANDEMICS

WIForum Digital Conference_Cafer Tosun_Innovate Fighting PandemicsAnother highly innovation related topic, that is very timely as well, was presented by Cafer Tosun, an SAP executive and Advisory Board Member to the WIForum. Innovation Fighting Pandemic, is an initiative, led by Cafer Tosun, leveraging the innovative spirit to fight covid-19. After a short but intense campaign to wear a mask, the campaign was reduced in intensity after 62 countries announced masks are mandatory or at least highly recommended. He shared some details about a new project where innovative thinking was applied in its truest sense. A concept to eradicate covid-19 neither by vaccines or treatment but by mass testing and stopping the transfer of the virus. The method and concept to do so came neither from the technology sector nor from the medical sector, but from the genetics space. There is a good chance to test millions of people per day and up to 5 billion in a week. We will be providing updates after the next tests in a few days.

THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE VISION IN EACH COUNTRY

During the three days we also heard from our Country Ambassadors: Dung Trung Nguyen [Vietnam], Khem Lakai [Nepal], Christella Uwamahoro [Rwanda],  Eunice Nyandat [Kenya] and MacCarthy Mac-Gbathy [Ghana]. With each of them we discussed what is attractive in their country for those seeking entrepreneurship opportunities, how fast they develop and what the possibilities are for foreigner who may help build their respecting nations. History has shown that there have been many “Lands of Opportunity” in the past: Egypt, Greece, Rome, the UK, the US to name just a few. All have been nearly world dominating – none have ever seen true world domination. Now, there are many different lands of opportunities popping up almost at the same time. Maybe it is the time humankind realizes that we can only reach our best potential when all other nations reach their best potential as well.

WIForum Digital Conference_Vietnam AmbassadorWIForum Digital Conference_Nepal Ambassador

WIForum Digital Conference_Rwanda AmbassadorWIForum Digital Conference_Kenya Ambassador

 

 

 

 

WIForum Digital Conference_Ghana Ambassador

THE FUTURE OF NATIONS

It is no longer a futuristic vision, that emerging countries will become a significant contributor to our global economy. Well aware of what worked and what didn’t in the past, most entrepreneurs of the future are very well aware that companies with 100,000+ employees are most likely not the future of the global economy but highly agile specialists connecting and collaborating with each other. The makers movement in China has already proven that millions of people are producing a small number of unique components faster, better and less expensive than any other nation. The advantage is not the cheap labor as labor cost rises in Shenzhen very quickly as well – the advantage is an unparalleled agility. The other mega challenge is global energy consumption. As more and more emerging countries are rising, so is their energy hunger. Also here, ingenuity and unique entrepreneurs working on various energy related projects such as geothermal energy development in Kenya, where 40% of Kenya’s energy consumption is generated by that technology. Geothermal development in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda will provide much-needed environmentally sustainable energy, maybe one day for all of us. Similarly is the development in South East Asia rapidly moving towards better technology, far more automation than in any other area in the World. Singapore can be called the most advanced nation in the world with an unseen before balance between human development, nature protection, sustainable planning for the future and a nowhere else achieved lifestyle. The 4.4 Billion Asians plus 1.4 billion Africans represent not only by far the largest markets on earth but also the most agile development and most innovation hungry young generation. The biggest advantage of this 5.8 billion population (75% of all people) is their low level of protectionism, bureaucracy and innovation blocking interest groups.

By 2030 we can expect developed nations will be doubling and by 2040 doubling again, which means more than half of the nations are having a status of developed country.

WIForum Digital Conference_Axel Schultze

Axel Schultze, the World Innovations Forum chairman closes by saying “Even the world’s strongest nation will unfold it’s biggest potential, at the day every other country has reached theirs”.

The next World Innovations Forum Global Conference is scheduled to be held in June 2022.

The whole WIForum Team in Switzerland as well as all our national teams in the respective countries like to thank everybody for their amazing contribution and participation in this years event.

 

The world needs more 007s

When you look for successful companies who have somewhere more than 25-50 employees, you will find about 400,000 companies. And when we assume about 6 billion adults you will come to 0.007% of people founding, co-founding and running those companies. Entrepreneurs are clearly a extremely rare minority. Now – the number is obviously dominated by the developed nations who have a culture of business builders. One may think also a much better education system. But the argument of education is not quite holding. Most of the successful entrepreneurs actually quit school before graduation and just started their company. Many of today’s or even yesterday’s entrepreneurs did not come from a wealthy family or from a family with entrepreneurial background or had a great education. Researching the background of hundreds of entrepreneurs we worked with made it pretty clear: The only pattern is no pattern.


How Many More Hidden Gems are there?


Now the most interesting question arises: How many of those hidden gems do we have all over Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the rest of the world?

At the World Innovations Forum we are looking especially for that minority of often laughed at, crazy people with amazing ideas that seem to be completely unrealistic. We are not necessarily looking for people who want to start a company but also those who would love to become a co-founder or work in a startup like environment in a corporate innovation lab.

Test Your Entrepreneurial DNA

If you like to know whether you maybe a good entrepreneur or a good co-founder or somebody living your entrepreneurial dream in a corporate innovation lab, do your your test. This project is not funded by any corporation. Therefor we need to fund it ourselves and ask for $2.50 to contribute to the WIForum organization. You will win regardless. If you know you are an entrepreneur, great, if you know you are probably not, you can safe time and money from trying and if you still want to try – you actually should anyway.

After you completed the test we will review it and let you know. Those who appear to be especially talented will be invited to an interview to possibly join the WIForum Entrepreneurum, a special entrepreneurship preparation program that may lead to an entry into the Innopreneurs Academy.

Join the Innopreneurs Academy

The Innopreneurs Academy will work with participants deeply on innovation design, creating ground breaking innovation and building their company within a six month period. The developed world was built on the shoulders of a handful of amazing entrepreneurs. We see no reason to experience the same in all nations. The only difference we are looking at: Don’t make the same mistakes the old world did and grow monster companies that can no longer innovate. Instead build highly specialized highly connected enterprises where many other enterprises deliver specialized parts or services. Economies with a small number of monster organizations are doomed to fail, while highly agile economies with lots of innovative companies collaborating show the most stable societies.

NOTE: this concept may look completely contradicting the idea of inclusion. But in the case of entrepreneurship we cannot circumvent mother nature. There are only so many talents on earth – but we want to include all of them. Democratizing entrepreneurship.

 

 

June 23-25, the second World Innovations Forum Conference, will be held online. Broadcasted from our innovation studios in Lucerne Switzerland, attendees will meet innovative minds from fast-emerging countries discussing needs and dreams, plans and programs to bring the “New World” on eye-level with the “Old World.” Ingenuity, curiosity, determination, networking power, unbreakable will-power, and top education, all of the necessities of top-level entrepreneurs are seen in the fearless and risk-taking entrepreneurs in South East Asia and Africa. Many of those countries are on the verge of profound change. Let’s be straight forward; self-confidence and eagerness unfolds ingenuity.

EMERGING DETERMINATION

The same determination drives the WIForum Foundation members such as country ambassadors, champions, partners, volunteers from Cambodia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Vietnam, as well as industry partners from developed nations. The goal is to elevate the economic level of those nations to become autonomous and able to compete in global markets – but more importantly, contribute to human progress. The fact of life: 1 billion people can only feed the other 6 billion people if that is their sole focus. But, 7 billion people together are able to solve most of the biggest problems we see today in the near future and can truly be considered equal. Togetherness empowers us to get to sustainable innovation in our industry, energy needs, care and social development while building out our comfortable lives – without sacrificing our planet. 

WORLDS LARGEST INNOVATION POTENTIAL

The two largest continents by size, Asia and Africa, and also by population, with 6 of the 7.7 billion people, represent the most substantial innovation potential on earth. The WIForum Digital 2020 Conference offers an insight into what to expect from the most significant parts of our planet and where it may take us. You will get a glimpse into the world of top-notch startups from Africa and Asia and how they shape to win the world. By the end of this decade we will see a boost of innovation of seismic proportion.

SPEAKERS

If you are looking for the globally well known speakers – we will need to disappoint you. The innovative minds from tomorrow are not the heroes from yesterday. We also don’t want to list the same problems that one always hears and the same successes that we already know. We decided to give you insights from what is actually happening today and where it must lead to tomorrow. Join us on the ground and draw your own trajectory for the real tomorrow.

Startups from Cambodia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Vietnam are still invited to apply to present 

wiforum.org/wifdigital-entrepreneurs/ 

 

 

By Cafer Tosun, Alyssa King, Axel Schultze

Everyone from young to old, wants to know when this pandemic is going to be over. We need a plan to end Covid-19. There are many companies and researchers around the world working feverishly to find a cure. Some vaccines companies in various countries have started their clinical trial phases. It will be the fastest in history to enter the market for a vaccine. And yet there is no concrete plan when this will be. It might take one, two or more years. With KnockOut-19 we have started a campaign to end the Covid-19 pandemic in 19 weeks.

Campaign – KnockOut-19

Yes, in 19 weeks! In about 5 months this could be over. And it doesn’t take much. If everyone wore a mask. Covid-19 could be over, because there would be no host for the virus. With no host there will be no virus. It’s that simple. This is where we need you to support the campaign. The goal of the campaign is that we are faster in getting everyone to wear a mask than the virus can spread. We need you to join the campaign, wear a mask and ask your friends to do the same. If you get only 3 friends within a week to wear a mask, and your friends do the same, we could reach the entire world population of 7.8 Billion people in 19 weeks, based on pure math. And if everyone wears a mask it significantly reduces the probability of becoming infected with the coronavirus. The good thing is that this works even if it is a simple mask or a scarf, with which you cover your mouth and nose.

Probability of Contagion

Join the campaign KnockOut-19 by wearing a mask, give our Facebook site a like and ask 3 of your friends to do the same. By doing so you will create a chain which will be faster than the virus can spread, and the Covid-19 pandemic can be knocked out in 19 weeks’ timeframe. Hence the campaign name KnockOut-19. If everyone protects everyone else by wearing a mask the virus will have less chance to spread and may well disappear. See illustration Probability of Contagion.

Here is the message we want you to pass over to your friends:

“Wear a mask – keep a distance”
No host – no virus
Tell anybody you know – we will spread faster than the virus.
And ask them to like fb.com/kout19 to count supporters.

 

Wear a Mask

If you don’t have a mask. Don’t worry it is not difficult to make masks.  You can find more info about masks further below. Spread the word, be part of KnockOut-19! There are plenty of instructions on YouTube on how to make masks yourself. Some we have listed below. Share these with your friends.  Make sure your friends wear the masks and join the initiative too. In 19 weeks Covid19 could be knocked-out. Sounds too easy to be true. Give it a try and see what happens. You can make the difference.

Knockout-19 Timeline

Be part of the KnockOut-19 challenge! Take a picture with your friends wearing the mask and send it to the World Innovation Forum. As a token of appreciation, you will receive your electronic KnockOut-19 certificate from the World Innovation Forum.

World population 7.8 Billion as of May 2020: https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

Wearing a mask might not protect you from getting infected, but it will protect others from becoming infected. Now, imagine if everyone wears a mask, then the spread of the virus can be stopped no one will be infected. And as a result, Covid-19 is knocked out and we save many lives!

Make sure you give the KnockOut-19 campaign a like on fb.com/kout19 to count the friends numbers.

Use Hashtag #kout19
Please use it on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, WhatsApp, messenger – anywhere.

Thank you for caring about your friends!

Masks and Terminology

While simply covering your mouth and nose will work to reduce the probability of becoming infected. There are various types of masks, which you might be interested to know about. Masks are available in various protection levels – called FFP with a number, i.e. FFP1, FFP2 or FFP3. FFP stands for filtering face piece. The numbering defines the various protection levels. The higher the number the higher the protection level. FFP3 has the highest level of protection. The equivalent in US for FFP2 masks are the N95, which is a comparable classification of air filtration. N95 means that it filters at least 95% of airborne particles. There are N99 and N100, where the number provides you with the efficiency of the mask, meaning the minimum percentage for filtering airborne particles.

Since there is global shortage for these types of masks and they should be primarily used by healthcare workers, you can use homemade masks too. That’s why some countries are hesitant asking the public to wear masks. They are afraid they’ll run out of masks for their healthcare workers. To avoid that you can find below some links and suggestions for how to make masks at home. Or just use a scarf or bandana to cover your mouth and nose.

Instructions on how to make masks yourself – Do it yourself (DIY) masks:

https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-diy-coronavirus-homemade-mask-material-covid/

https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Cloth-Face-Mask/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJWhZJZoAe4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IiT9cSD-Ec

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUasSmReIVo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRfhuRNua_E 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIuQMZ1Iw5M

https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-diy-coronavirus-homemade-mask-material-covid/

https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Cloth-Face-Mask/

And many more instructions on YouTube!

 


 

What the World Innovations Forum asks you is: be creative and let the world know about your ideas and best practices to fight the pandemic.

Find out more about the initiative at: https://wiforum.org/innovate-fighting-pandemics/

Start participating in the conversation and join one of our dedicated groups:

LinkedIn Facebook

The World Innovation Forum provides you a platform to share, engage, accelerate the adoption and scale your innovation with its global network of innovative minds. Be part of the innovation acceleration to fight the pandemic.

Thank you!

The World Innovation Forum

PS: Do you want to be part of the team? It is a global initiative driven by volunteers around the world. It is a growing effort. We need more volunteers to work with us on the innovation acceleration initiative of the World Innovation Forum. If you are interested to support us with your time and network, please send us an email to innovate.fighting.pandemics@wiforum.org and include a few words about yourself and what you can contribute to the initiative.

The world is introduced to two more ways to be divided. In the past we divide between east and west, north and south, good and mediocre education, blue collar and white collar, religious and non religious and so forth. The digital divide has been discussed more on a local level and language divide is an almost none issue.

In just 4 months however, the digital divide became a global topic and the discussions around the language divide has moved from scientific and sociologic discussions to a global divide of English and Non-English speaking groups.

LANGUAGE DIVIDE

Politicians with less English language capabilities have less global insights in the virus development and take much longer to respond. Those, who are fluently speaking English have usually a faster response time, with a few exceptions. The German chancellor for instance explored all globally available date and decided with a very clear answer and very well educated. We see the late start but the radical results. And even within countries one can experience the divide based on language skills or the lack thereof.

DIGITAL DIVIDE

Rapidly setup digital home office or not. Using conference calls or not. Business continuation plans or not. Staying connected or not. Remaining social or being isolated. What was “BAD” and having potentially long term negative impact –  all of a sudden became a social LIFE SAVER.

Even most stubborn businesses or governments rationalized that we are divided in two worlds: the digitally connected and the physically connected. One can switch behavior and work modi in an instant others not at all.

And we learned more: Those who work from home over a longer period of time, now either start working later and really sleep in – but are usually up later in the evening and vice versa. I realized getting emails from some people already at 6am, long before I usually be up and have even phone calls at 11pm because that is more like my time :) Funny – it not only doesn’t hurt – it actually makes life much more natural.Everybody can live their life by their inner clock. Did I mention daylight savings time? NO I actually get only disrupted by the change of my clock – but not my inner cycle.

COMBiNATION OF BOTH

Both together: the digital and the language divide are a powerful couple or a serious threat. When running innovation development programs with participants from literally around the world we realized a phenomenal effect: NO matter whether the participants are from Ghana, Vietnam, South Korea, California or Switzerland, the digitally literate and fluently English speaking attendees show no sign of any difference. Even not when one comes from one of the top universities and others from mid level education. Innovators seem to speak a universal language of fearlessness, creativity, curiosity and ambition.

In the end, all the good intention and experiments to bring more equality to the world, with at least moderate impact pushed a 0.3 micron small virus rapidly forward. Only time will tell the real impact past corona. For now the degree of unification however shows amazing progress.

 

The most successful startups in the world start with an amazing business idea. Even though the initial value of even the grandest idea is zero, it is the very moment that sets everything in motion and possibly changes the world – again.

I’m asked weekly the same questions in may different ways of course: “I want to start my own business, what would be a good business idea.” Years ago I had a rather gruffy answer: “Why do you want to start a business if you don’t know what to do – just because its trendy?” Over time I learned that there is a global urge for doing something more meaningful, more creative, more important and become the center of that meaning yourselves. And if that is the purpose – than people asking that question deserve a great answer.  Yet the question is essentially the same:

What can I do to be more meaningful in live. 

Interestingly enough, that question leads to a very different answer. It isn’t to look for a business that is in demand right now, or a business based on the persons education or expertise, or a business that may provide best and fastest return of investment. It isn’t a business category or type answer at all.

The better answer is to look where people have problems and finding solutions. Looking for people that are at risk and find ways to make their job less risky. Or people that do jobs they are not built for and helping find ways to match them. And the whole slew of problems from purified water, to better hygiene, to reducing energy consumption, energy storage, and the approximately millions of other ideas.

So you cannot start a new business with no business idea, it would not be a business. What you can do however is trying to solve a real problem, no matter how big and complex it may be.

AirBnB solved the problem that millions of traveler had, staying in a cozy with a full size refrigerator, a living room to meet with friend, where you can have breakfast whenever you like and a room to work that is more than is bigger than closet without booking a suite.

Uber solved the problem people had when using a taxi that you were never sure that it comes in time and it takes you the best way to your destination.

Space-X solved the problem that government driven space agencies have to build efficient rockets for commercial or private use.

Systec solved the problem of stranded shopping carts at large shopping centers by simply connecting all cars with a chain and releasing the cart by putting in a dollar or Euro or whatever currency and getting it back once the cart is returned.

Whether its a simply chain lock or a reusable space ship – and everything in between, solving real problems in a real simple way creates super successful businesses.

On aggregate there are millions of hours wasted every month my millions of people looking for an idea somebody else already had to copy. Instead of looking for problems nobody had solved yet. People my think they are not capable to solve problems, too weak to start something new, too inexperienced to come up with a radical shift, too “little” to do something valuable, have too less money to do something big. All of those fears are usually coming to mind when you are educated to be of no value, too stupid, to “little” too poore…. Than think about the other way like we put the question upside down: Are you too “little” to be helpful? And if that is hopefully a NO – than go solve whatever problem you identify to solve. Find co-founders to complement your skillset and collaborate for a purpose – nut for just running a business.

And if you are still not sure, study the most influential inventors of the past 10 years,  past 50 years or past 200 years. You will notice that most of them started with nothing, a lot of respect for the problem they are trying to solve and a ton of energy to never give up.

You may want to join our upcoming Idea Seeker webinar.
It’s on May 4th and part of the Knowledge Transfer series for young entrepreneurs.

All it takes: nothing but respect and energy :)

The super boys and girls never win – the humble, respectful and never quitting, always will. Go for it!

 

Innovate Fighting Pandemics – The power of us!

By Cafer Tosun, Jaideep Adhvaryu, Alyssa King, Axel Schultze  

The Coronavirus COVID-19 has brought our life globally to a halt. While all current measures are necessary to prevent the virus from spreading to most of the population, we must accelerate innovation to get our life back to normal and save people’s life. The virus is taking human life hour by hour. Time is critical and we must put our minds together to accelerate innovation on a global scale. The World Innovation Forum has taken the leadership to bring innovative minds throughout the world together to fight the pandemics. Since the virus doesn’t care about borders, we must do the same. We are stronger together. We are not bound to borders and can win faster when we collaborate. Currently, we see uncoordinated local leadership and no globally coordinated efforts to fight the pandemics. The measures are driven by the local outbreak numbers. And even worse countries are fighting over medical supplies. 

We already see many fantastic local innovations happening around the world to ease the situation and fight the pandemic. My favorite examples are when Italian engineers have turned scuba diving masks into ventilators to support hospitals. And published the how-to in a YouTube video to share with the rest of the world. Or when local breweries in Tampa switch from producing alcoholic beverages to produce hand Sanitzer, for which there is a huge demand. When South Korea has scaled testing the virus by setting up drive-thru clinics. And when car manufacturers stop production and produce medical supply to fight the Virus. The list can go on and you can be part of it!

More importantly, the innovation and out-of-box thinking is required not just in the medical sphere. We need impactful solutions and agile approaches to identify, communicate, respond, recover and repair communities  in near-real time speed and at global scale while optimizing limited knowledge, resources and people.

What the World Innovations Forum asks you is: be creative and let the world know about your ideas and best practices to fight the pandemic. 

Find out more about the initiative at: https://wiforum.org/innovate-fighting-pandemics/

The World Innovation Forum provides you a platform to share, engage, accelerate the adoption and scale your innovation with its global network of innovative minds. Be part of the innovation acceleration to fight the pandemic. We are stronger together!

Start participating in the conversation and join one of our dedicated groups: 

Thank you!

The World Innovation Forum

PS: Do you want to be part of the team? It is a global initiative driven by volunteers around the world. It is a growing effort. We need more volunteers to work with us on the innovation acceleration initiative of the World Innovation Forum. If you are interested to support us with your time and network, please send us an email at innovate.fighting.pandemics@wiforum.org and include a few words about yourself and what you can contribute to the initiative.

 

Let us celebrate all those excellent and innovative startup entrepreneurs from around the world!

In the last eight years, we had the pleasure, working with hundreds of startups, attended and organized entrepreneur events, saw more than 200 Startup Pitch Events, Demo Days, Techdays, Exhibitions across the globe. We have seen top talents in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Cambodia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Nepal, Switzerland, France, Germany, Japan, or South Korea, and we had guests in our events from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda or Mexico, Peru, Chile, and many other countries. 

Listening to more than 1000 Founders, who shared their ideas, concepts, and dreams, we learned a lot about one of the biggest challenges ALL ENTREPRENEURS have, no matter where they come from, “Reaching out to the world” and going global.

Hence we came up with the idea to acknowledge all entrepreneurs one day in all our busy lives and support them with sharing their innovative solutions. 

Let’s think about it: Everything we humans built, tables chairs, houses, tools, wells, knives, boats, cars, airplanes, lamps, ovens, all the way to the internet has been brought to market by entrepreneurs.

Give them a global round of applause on April 21.

And to make them hear it, we all could do a few easy things:

Let’s use the hashtag #widay for World Innovations Day

  • Post about your favorite entrepreneur in your neighborhood #widay
  • Or share cool stories from your friends #widay
  • If you know about any great startup in your town, share their story #widay
  • Somebody with a promising concept of how to deal with corona – share it #widay
  • You know somebody with a bright idea that did not get through – it was worth trying. Failure is nothing bad. #widay

Share it – lets spread the word about Innovations with the #widay hashtag – and join our group on Facebook

Let us know if you have a great blog post; we can syndicate your post on the #widay dedicated blog at the World Innovations Forum. 

The 7 virtues of idea validation

  1. The absolute very first people you go to, are your potential customers. Listen very carefully what they say.
  2. Never ever fear that anybody can “steal” your idea. This is a myth that seem to never go away under first time entrepreneurs. That fear, by the way, is the no.1 reason why millions of great ideas vanish away and never see the light of day. Don’t bother your future clients with NDAs or other legal confrontation. This makes no sense.
  3. Interview your target audience BEFORE you spend a single penny or minute in prototyping or writing your first lines of code. Everything you do prior to speaking with them is pre-conditioning your thoughts. That bears the risk that you may start arguing with your contact.
  4. Structure the interview around 3 strategically craft questions:
    a) “How would the proposed idea help you?” Let them tell you their possible story, don’t “sell” your idea.
    b) “If you would build it, what would you charge, where would you see a good price point”. Find out what value they see.
    c) “What would you do 9 month later, if I would tell you the product is no longer available. What would be your alternative?” Find out if you have just a nice to have or it would be a serious problem when your idea is not maturing.
  5. Put yourself in a state of “very awake meditation”. Meaning you are hyper carefully listen, you never argue even a tiny bit, and you document not only what they say but also the emotions you noticed. Consider yourself an emotionless AI based Robot. When they don’t get what you say, make a note and trim your presentation.
  6. Don’t ever bother ‘potential customers’ with any type of faceless survey.
  7. Make sure you speak with at least 42 people. That number is important:
    – it has some undocumented statistical value
    – it forces you to find enough potential customers to start with
    – if you find only less than 42, it indicates that it will never warrant a business
    – you get the necessary feedback to decide your MVP functionality
    – it helps you understand how much time you spend to find, reach and talk with your audience – first indication for customer acquisition cost.
    – if you can’t get at least 20 positive feedbacks, continue until you have 20,

This is called idea & first market validation and is a key process in every top notch startup – BEFORE it was a real startup.

Most people just go and run. They fail but fail far later and have a 90% failure rate. Even though every startup entrepreneur today knows, that they ave only a 10% chance to win, they are sloppy right out of the gate :)

I get about 5 questions like that every day. And since I’m rather lazy, I wrote this post :)

Hope it’s helpful.

 

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