My First Driverless/Autonomous Bus in Espoo

My first onboard experience on a Driverless/Autonomous Bus in Espoo near my workplace. They are piloting it for a few weeks here. It was slow, not thrilling but safe ?

Northern Finland Plans Remote Health Care Kiosks. Frugal Innovations Can Help.

Finnish state media, YLE News reported today that “Northern Finland plans self-service health care kiosks for remote villages”

Finland’s northern municipality, Sodankylä, plans to introduce self-service health care stalls for persons living in remote locations. The pop-up medical kiosks will allow users to run lab tests, check blood pressure, as well as heart and lung activity – and to call on a doctor or nurse via a video link.

As noted in various instances on this blog and other social media, there are good frugal innovations that can be used for doing tests with or without help from a healthcare worker.

Some Examples:

1) ECG monitor developed by Finnish researchers from VTT – Beat2Phone


2) PeekVision – Professional eye exams from your smartphone . One can view cataracts clearly enough for treatment classification, detect signs of glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and signs of nerve disease. Other health problems such as severe high blood pressure and diabetes can also be identified with a good view of the retina. They are also currently trialling tests that they have developed for a range of colour blindness (blue, green and red) using the high definition of a smartphone screen.


3) Just go to the website – Frugal Innovations in Medicine that is curated by researchers in epidemiology, working in an academic laboratory (CRESS, INSERM U1153) in Paris, France. They have divided the solutions under the following headlines:

  • Lean tools and techniques
  • Opportunistic solutions
  • Contextualized adaptations
  • Bottom-up innovations
    Of course there are disclaimers regarding CE and/or FDA certifications and actually a good amount of them are certifiable and still can be had at lower cost than legacy medical devices.

    Gen X, Y & Z – And The Increasing Relevance Of Frugal Solutions

    Let’s start with the “Baby Boomers”. They are defined as people born during the demographic post–World War II baby boom approximately between the mid 1940’s and the mid 1960’s.

    Gen X – They are the generation that came after the Baby Boomers, and typically covers 2 decades for people born between the mid 1960’s and the early 1980’s.

    Gen Y aka Millenials – This covers people born between the 1980’s and the year 2000.

    Gen Z – They are the generation of children born after the Year 2000.

    With those definitions out of the way, it would be interesting to see especially how the latter 2 generations are faring in their prime years going through the economic crisis of the past 8 years.

    Early in March 2016, The Guardian newspaper ran a very informative article titled “Revealed: the 30-year economic betrayal dragging down Generation Y’s income”


    Source: Luxembourg Income Study Database


    Using exclusive data from the largest database of international incomes in the world, at LIS (Luxembourg Income Study): Cross-National Data Center, the investigation into the situation in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US has also established that:

    • Prosperity has plummeted for young adults in the rich world.
    • In the US, under-30s are now poorer than retired people.
    • In the UK, pensioner disposable income has grown prodigiously – three times as fast as the income of young people.
    • Millennials have suffered real terms losses in wages in the US, Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Canada and in some countries this was underway even before the 2008 financial crisis.


    Regarding the generation after the millenials, Fast Company ran another insightful article titled “Your Guide To Generation Z: The Frugal, Brand-Wary, Determined Anti-Millennials”

    Gen Z have been growing through their teenage and college years through the worst economic crisis the world has seen since The Great Depression. The years they are also very impressionable years and the crisis is having long lasting effects on their personalities, behaviour and spending habits. This means they will be unlike any of the 3 generations that came before but more like the generation that went through the Great Depression but with a modern twist of living in a technologically advanced world.

    Take a look at this 56 slides deck prepared and shared on Slideshare by marketing agency Sparks & Honey.

    Their findings describe a generation shaped by technology and austerity imposed because of the ongoing economic crisis.

    What the below shows is increasing number of people comprising of the Gen Y and Gen Z demographics are concerned on how to use resources wisely, on working under resource constraints and are socially and technologically more adept and want to use them for doing greater good.

    I believe these are also generations that will increasingly create and consume solutions via frugal innovations- solutions that are quality, accessible, affordable and sustainable.

    Here is a snippet of the massive slide deck:







    Mantra For C-Suite Executives In Finland & EU Who Want To Really Grow Their Business (Hint: It Involves Emerging Markets)

    Source: Wikipedia
    Source: Wikipedia

    I would like all C-Suite Executives, be they from Startups, SMEs or Big Corporations, to repeat this “Mantra” every day right after they wake up.

    Domestic Growth Is Not Enough For My Business

    Exports To Developed Economies Is Not Enough For My Business

    Growth For My Business Should Increasingly Come From Sales In Emerging Economies

    The last part, especially, will not magically happen. They will need to understand the market and create or co-create solutions that B2B and B2C customers in those emerging markets will buy. There is definitely space for high cost solutions but more often than not the solutions that are needed are those that have these Frugal Innovation attributes: quality, sustainable, accessible and affordable.

    Gave A Talk At “Visit Startup India” Pre-Event At Aalto Ventures Program In Espoo Today

    The Nordic Frugal Innovation Society (TNFIS) is a partner with Startup Europe India Network.

    Startup Europe India Network (SEU-IN) connects the European and Indian Startup ecosystems. It is a partner for growth, investments, and strategic sourcing in the European and Indian digital markets. SEU-IN works with Startups, Investors, and Corporates to accelerate growth, investments and innovation. SEU-IN is set out as the key initiative for Startups in the “Agenda for action 2020” between EU and India.

    SEU-IN is organising for the first time an event to help jump start it’s mission in a big way Between October 17-20, 2016, it is taking a delegation of EU startup ecosystem actors to India. It contains 2 parts.

    Part 1: VISIT STARTUP INDIA (“VSI”) takes a selected group of European Startup ecosystem players to visit India and meet with with their counter-parts and policy makers in Delhi and Bengaluru.

    Part 2: On the final day of the visit, VSI participants also attend the Startup EU India Summit (“SEIS”) in Bengaluru.

    Did a pre-event at Aalto Ventures Program this afternoon to spread the word and Praveen Paranjothi from SEU-IN joined in via Skype to answer questions posed by the attendees. Thanks to AVP for hosting and for the free Coffee/Tea for the attendees.

    Source: Aalto Ventures Program
    Source: Aalto Ventures Program

    Interested? Check out the website links provided above or reach out to me via email or twitter.

    Winning Design Of The Affordable Dialysis Prize Can Fit In A Suitcase And Costs Less Than 1000 USD

    According to The Lancelet, somewhere between 5 and 10 million people in the world need dialysis right now for terminal kidney failure, but only 2.5 million have access to it, mostly due to cost – the rest will die an unpleasant death. The news gets worse: the number of people on dialysis is set to rise to 5 million by the year 2030, and most of the increase will be in developing countries.

    A year on dialysis costs about US$90 000 per person in the USA, and many thousands of dollars in low-income countries—an unaffordable price in places where the annual health spend might be just a few hundred dollars per citizen.

    The first dialysis machine was invented in 1943 and apparently since that time not much has changed in the design of it nor were there any real attempts at making the machine more accessible and affordable. And a dialysis machine these days can cost more than $10 000 each. And top of it these dialysis machines need to be attached to elaborate water purification systems based on reverse osmosis which also often cost at least $10 000 again. And of course the way the machines work are that most of the time the dialysis machine can only be used in a hospital setting or in homes that have all the needed infrastructure.

    To truly make a dialysis machine accessible and affordable that can also be used in infrastructure poor areas, three of the leading players in global kidney health have joined together to create a world-wide competition, with a prize of US$100,000, to design the world’s first truly affordable dialysis machine. The prize is sponsored by The George Institute, the International Society of Nephrology and the Asian Pacific Society of Nephrology with the support of the Farrell Family Foundation.

    The Affordable Dialysis Prize encouraged inventors around the world to develop an innovative dialysis system which works just as well as a conventional approach, but runs off solar power, can purify water from any source, has low running costs and can be sold for less than US$ 1000.

    The winning design by engineer Vincent Garvey is so compact it can fit into a small suitcase, and uses a standard solar panel to power a highly efficient, miniature distiller capable of producing pure water from any source.

    Source: Affordable Dialysis Machine Prize Winner,
    Source: Affordable Dialysis Machine Prize Winner,

    So, how does the winning design work? According to the Prize distributor:

    Vincent Garvey’s winning dialysis system recognises the critical barrier to affordable dialysis is the lack of cheap, sterile water in countries where the electricity supply is unreliable and water sources may be contaminated. Using a standard solar panel, it heats water taken from any local source to make steam, which is used not only to sterilise the water but also to fill empty peritoneal dialysis (PD) bags under sterile conditions. PD is potentially much cheaper than haemodialysis, but in poor countries the cost of transporting thousands of foreign manufactured two litre bags of PD fluid to remote locations can make it prohibitive.

    The winning entry will be just as useful for short term dialysis for acute kidney failure, supporting children and young adults whose kidneys have stopped working temporarily due to infection or dehydration, and for whom just a few days of dialysis can be lifesaving. The design also offers detailed plans on how the system could be used for affordable haemodialysis, the more common type of dialysis.

    A truly wonderful frugal innovation! Thank you Mr Vincent Garvey. The world needs more people like you.

    Fraunhofer-ISI & Nesta UK Just Published An Interim Report On A Conceptual Analysis, Trends And Relevant Potentials in the Field of Frugal Innovation (For Europe)

    There was an EU tender last year to write a report on Frugal Innovation that was won by Fraunhofer-ISI and Nesta UK. They have just published an interim report titled “A Conceptual Analysis, Trends and Relevant Potentials in the Field of Frugal Innovation (for Europe)”

    Source: Fraunhofer-ISI and Nesta UK
    Source: Fraunhofer-ISI and Nesta UK

    In their “Study on frugal innovation and reengineering of traditional techniques”, therefore, Fraunhofer ISI and NESTA, together with external experts, will establish what Europe can do to better capture the potential of frugal innovative activities at various levels.

  • First, by establishing if and in what way frugal innovation could be a central success strategy for and on the European market.
  • Second, by analysing European firms’ situation on emerging markets where frugal innovation remains a main driver of growth.
  • Third, by finding how frugal innovations can help address concerns with regard to resource efficiency, waste reduction and the preservation of cultural heritage.
  • I have been eagerly awaiting to read about this interim report as well as obviously the final report slated for 2017.

    I am an evangelist of Fugal Innovations and we started our non profit The Nordic Frugal Innovation Society to show these innovations’ relevance for both emerging economies and the developed markets.

    The issue here is that emerging economies require solutions that have “affordable excellence” for B2B and B2C sectors. But increasingly because of the economic crisis in 2008 and it’s repercussions even 8 years later in Finland and much of EU and other developed markets, there is an increasing relevance for frugal solutions in the developed world.

    Frugal Innovation Meaning_Urban Mill

    Coming back to the interim report from Fraunhofer-ISI and Nesta UK, they put forward 8 hypothesis and propositions as a conclusion to their report:

    On mentality
    1. A mentality for frugal innovation and technological recombination is not exclusive to emerging
    economies. It played a central role in Europe’s past development and remains prevalent in
    many market oriented, mid-sized firms. Even in technology-driven contexts, frugal mindsets
    can be (re)gained through active engagement.

    On routines
    2. Current routines of technology development will have to be substantially re-thought to enable
    frugal solutions. Concrete applications of technologies under development will have to be
    considered at much earlier stages (TRL4-5) and additional actors will have to be involved to
    integrate a market dimension from the outset.

    On openness
    3. In Europe, many innovation processes remain contained within firms and fail to relevantly
    involve potential users – creating a “closed world” with a lack of market awareness and an
    overt affection to high-tech solutions. Successfully creating frugal solutions will require firms to
    shift innovation practices towards more open models.

    On transformation
    4. Key enabling technologies (KETs) will open up new avenues for frugal innovation. In particular,
    newly available technologies such as various ICT applications, 3D printing and industry 4.0 will
    not only open up new options for frugal products but, at least equally, for new, frugal
    processes of innovation and production.

    On markets (European)
    5. In principle, many trends in European markets spur rising demand for frugal solutions – based
    on needs and out of choice. While the refugee crisis has added further momentum to the
    former, aspirations and preferences for the latter remain to be shaped. Finally, the public
    sector itself can be an important customer for frugal innovation.

    On markets (emerging)
    6. Frugal innovation is a business opportunity for European firms in emerging markets and many
    larger corporations have devised strategies on how to leverage it to the best of their ability.
    Moreover, exposure to emerging market contexts is a suitable tool to engage with differing
    mentalities, enable learning and improve business models in a holistic sense.

    On scale
    7. Achieving scale is a key challenge for frugal innovation as solutions will only develop a relevant
    impact when delivered at large scale. Localised frugal solutions of the grassroots type,
    however, may in fact not be scalable. In Europe, cultural, linguistic, regulatory and other
    barriers between nations complicate the challenge.

    On tensions
    8. Increasing access for more people is not unanimously positive with a view to ethical, ecological
    and social impact. Detrimental and potentially conflicting outcomes have to be considered.
    Hence, policy makers should not only promote frugal innovation, but also consider how to do so
    in a way that addresses and manages potential tensions.

    Nokia Cuts It’s 360 Degree VR Camera “Ozo” Price By 25% As It Enters Chinese & Other Emerging Markets


    So, if you haven’t heard of Nokia’s OZO camera, here is a brief overview.

    Ozo is touted as the world’s first professional Virtual Reality camera. As you can see from the image it can capture 360° spherical video at 30 FPS and 360×360 surround sound via it’s 8 2K cameras.

    Nokia just announced that they are now selling Ozo in the Chinese market and with that press release they also announced new global pricing of $45K USD (€40K Euros). This is down from $60K that it was priced so far.

    So Nokia is entering the Chinese market with a new global pricing that is 25% reduced from it’s original pricing

    We have also previously seen that there is a lot of activity from major players like Google to be in the VR camera business. For example this headline in The Verge – “Google is working with IMAX to build a cinema-quality Jump VR camera”

    If we checkout Google’s VR page, it shows how it wants to be in the commercial as well as the consumer sector and with collaorations with IMAX, Jump, and Go Pro; Google has the deep pockets and the knowledge base to become a competitors to Noika’s Ozo.

    Google lists that the Jump camera rig consists of 16 camera modules in a circular array and it costs $15K.


    Both Google-Gopro Jump and Nokia Ozo seem to be aimed at the professionals but at the same time there are also good, affordable alternatives aimed at the consumer market, eg: Vuze VR. Going on sale at $799, it puts VR in the hands of budding professionals who can’t afford the expensive Gopros and Ozos but also for families who want to record their own activites.

    Source: Vuze VR
    Source: Vuze VR

    Albeit $799 might be still costsly for VR to take off in the consumer market but these are really early stages, and I can imaging a sub $500 VR camera rig in a year or two.

    Few final thoughts:

  • Nokia realizes that for faster adoption to occur globally, it needs to reduce it’s original price
  • Entering and selling in China and eventually in other emerging markets also has pushed Ozo to be offered at a 25% lower price
  • There will be competitors from USA, China and maybe India who will start to offer a frugal alternative just like it happened in the smartphone arena and Nokia wants to be in the drivers seat with it’s own offerings.
  • I will Be Talking At Visit Startup India Pre-Event At Aalto Ventures Lab at 13:00 On August 30, 2016

    Would you like to hear the hottest news from Indian startup scene?

    Come on Tuesday 30.8 to AVP Space – Tongji Lounge to hear how Startup Europe’s partner TNFIS ( is connecting European and Indian startup and investor ecosystems – startups, scaleups, investors, corporates and policy makers.

    AVP Event Photo1

    I will be speaking along with a Skype video in from Praveen Paranjothi of Startup Europe India Network to answer your questions.


    VISIT STARTUP INDIA (“VSI”) is a mission to take the European startup ecosystem (startups, scaleups, corporates, investors) to meet with the key-players in the Indian digital & ICT space in Delhi and Bengaluru, two major startup hubs.

    VSI is organized by Startup Europe India Network (“SEU-IN”), in collaboration with Startup Europe initiative of the European Commission. JOIN the visit and meet with key Indian startups, investors, corporate innovators, and hear directly from the Indian policy makers on the startup environment and the Indian market opportunities. VSI participants also attend the high-profile Startup EU-India Summit in Bengaluru on their final day of the visit.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.09.03

    Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.09.39

    Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.08.33

    Startup Europe India Summit (SEIS) is a huge startup event exploring both growth and investment opportunities but also exploring insights about the European and Indian digital markets. In this pre-event you have a possibility to hear beforehand what are the biggest themes of the event and what cool is actually happening there.

    Event is free for everybody so don’t miss this chance. See you there!

    Read more about Visit Startup India Summit:

    Bloomberg – Alipay Is Keeping Chinese Tourists In It’s Ecosystem Even When They Travel In Europe


    Alipay was launched in China in 2004 by Alibaba Group and its founder Jack Ma. It is an online payment platform and currently has about 400 Million users.

    Bloomberg now reports that for the vast number of Chinese tourists visiting Europe, Alipay has started to make their lives as a tourist easier by signing deals with brick and mortar retailers in Europe to bulk up its offering for Chinese tourists and expats. It’s seeking to add extras to its mobile wallet app for Chinese travellers in France, the U.K., Germany and Italy.

    About 120 million Chinese tourists traveled last year, and their most popular destinations outside Asia were France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, data by the China Tourism Research Institute showed. They spent $875 each on average while traveling.

    In a world where all roads lead to payments, Alipay’s latest initiatives show hand-holding customers through their purchases is a key function of the business. The end-game for these digital giants, regardless of which side of the globe they’re on, is to become an important driver of commerce and put themselves in a position to take a cut of transactions they help generate.