Friday, November 25, 2016

Visiting eGovlab, SICS and more in Stockholm

In November 2016 I had the opportunity to visit the egovlab, at the Department of Computer Science in Stockholm University.  I visited the lab on the day of the celebration for the 50 years of the computer science department, so I had the chance to see a lot of friends, professors at the department.

With Vassilis Koulolias, director of eGovlab

eGovlab and our Digital Governance Research Centre have several research areas in common, that will materialise in forthcoming jointly planned projects in the areas of co-creation, open government and advanced services for citizens and businesses.

Also, I had the chance to see the way that the new DSV building is operating, covering the needs for a lot of different types of inhabitants: professors, students,  researchers, startups, collaborating companies, citizens. high school pupils, and more - all can find their place within this multi-functional, dynamically re-organised facility.  And it looks great too !

Views from the DSV building: not a typical University !

On the same day, I also spent some time at the Swedish Research Centre SICS  and be guided in some innovative embedded systems software projects by Colleague Efi.

With Efi Papatheocharous, outside SICS offices

And of course, not to forget my ex-students Antonis and Meletis, that now after their BSc in Samos and an MSc in DSV, already work in the Swedish ICT sector.  
With Antonis and Meletis, tasting Stockholm night life

Friday, July 8, 2016

Samos Summit - Samos Music and Arts days

The 7th Samos Summit on ICT-enabled Governance was held in Karlovassi, Samos on 3 to 8 July 2016.  The topic of the Summit was "Smart Cities, Smart Governance, Smart Entrepreneurship" and was attended by participants from more than 10 countries.

In conjunction with the Samos Summit, the 4th International Summer School on Open and Collaborative Governance was organised, attended by students and researchers from Greece and the world.

More than 30 presentations and workshops touched upon issues of smart governance and entrepreneurship at local and national level.

Participants of the 2016 Samos Summit

For more information on Samos Summit visit: 

In parallel with the Samos Summit, the artistic event Samos Music and Arts Days was organised. Samos Music and Arts Days took part between the 3rd and 8th July 2016 in Karlovassi, parallel to the summer schools of University of the Aegean, which attract many new students and professors from Greece and abroad. Thus, members of the academia and science have also the opportunity to attend and actively participate in the cultural activities of the festival. 

This year’s program of Samos Music and Arts Days combined from one side the art of selected professional artists and from the other side the possibility of participation of amateur artists and of the local people of Samos, whether adults or children. The program included:
  • Classical music concerts. 
  • Digital exhibition of fine arts 
  • Traditional Greek Dance Show by the ensemble of Samos Students 
  • Digital workshops of music and photography using freeware. 
  • Wine Tasting of some of the best Samos wines. 

Samos Music ant Arts Days 2016 Events

For more information on Samos Music and arts Days, visit: 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Joining the Global Venture Lab at UC Berkeley

In early January 2016 I had the chance to join the annual meeting of the Global Venture Lab at University California Berkeley.  The Global Venture Lab (GVL) is a network and collaborations of international institutions founded in 2009.  GVL seeks to foster entrepreneurship within the University and to bring Berkeley’s research capability to industry collaborations.  To these ends, the GVL members share best practices in entrepreneurship & innovation, host transnational multi-disciplinary research,  contribute to the globally-connected ecosystem of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at UC Berkeley.

During the meeting I had the pleasure to present the Aegean Startups initiative of University of the Aegean, targeting Demand-Driven entrepreneurship.  The slides of my presentation can be found here: 

Presenting Aegean Startups at UC Berkeley

The GVL members, January 2016
More information on GVL can be found here: 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Uni Aegean finishes second in Europe at the Microsoft Night of the Living Devs 2015

With the students from Aegean at Microsoft
Three student groups from the University of the Aegean formed by the Student Guru Community of the Department of Information and Communication Systems Engineering in Samos, participated in this year's round of European Microsoft "Night Of the Living Devs" - contest of 24 hours non stop programming.

The best team in the Aegean finished second in Europe among 500 teams from 15 countries, with a new social media application, operating only through video posting ! 

Well done to the boys and girls of ICSD / Student Guru, who were pioneers, making the core of the largest representation of Greek Universities.

The three Uni Aegean Teams

A different "project": Being Santa for the kids of "Kivotos tou Kosmou"

On the eve of 2016 we had the chance to visit the Kivotos tou Kosmou  (Arc of the World) organisation and give gifts to the boys and girls that stay at the shelter hostels.  Together with members of the Information Systems Laboratory of the University of the Aegean, we selected, packed and delivered more than 50 parcels with all shorts of toys for young boys and girls.

Vassiliki with the parcels
The "Ark of the World" is a Non-Profit Organization for the Special Care and Protection of Mothers and Children which operates on the care of children who were living under conditions of negligence and abandonment, without medical attendance, without a future; most of them coming from single parent families and many of them without parents. The "Ark of the World" was founded in 1998 by the twenty-six-year (then) old priest, Father Antonios Papanikolaou, having as his weapons his love for children and his wish to create a nest of affection and care for the "other children" of Athens.

The IS-Lab team at Kivotos

The joy of the kids, the interest and appreciation of the Kivotos's staff, the love of all of them were the best possible reward for us all.  

We look forward to being again with the kids, at the first possibility !

With the kids and the toys !

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The 2015 Zagreb Forum on Smart Cities

On November 24, 2015 I had the chance to be an invited speaker at the international Zagreb Forum, that was held with its main subject being Smart Cities.

The Zagreb Forum is a yearly gathering of government officials, practitioners, industrial representatives and researchers around a governance topic.  This year, the overarching issue was "Co-Creation of Creative City by Citizens". 

I had the pleasure to listen to several interesting presentations from Smart (or to-be-smart) Cities from all over Europe.  One should note the presentations from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Ljubljana and Vienna, among many others. 

I presented the SMART-MED approach, a method for developing smart city / smart islands solutions through enabling entrepreneurship in local societies.  The SMART-MED approach is already a proposal by a consortium comprising islands and municipalities from Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy.

More information on the Zagreb 2015 Forum can be found at:

My presentation on Smart Islands is at: 

Addressing Zagreb Forum, on Smart Islands 

With other speakers of the panel, at Zagreb Forum

With Blaz Golob, one of Zagreb Forum organisers, at the reception / Zagreb Palace

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Speaking on entrepreneurship in Papagou High School

Since September 2015, the 1st Lyceum of Papagou invited me for a talk on entrepreneurship, towards 2nd and 3rd grade students (that is 17 and 18 years of age).  It was only on November 2015 that I managed to spend some time with them.

Grouped in two teams, with more than 100 persons in each, it was an audience rather difficult to motivate.  We needed more than 20 minutes of ice-braking dicsussion and teasing to get in shape for the main menu: an one-hour talk on the "Facts and Myths of Entrepreneurship", my newest composition of knowledge, experience and issues for discussion.

What I learned or remembered in these 2 X 2 = 4 hours ?

- High school students are always ready to give credit or interest to non-standard presenters
- How anxious last-graders are with their university exams.
- How enjoyable it is to be next to young(er than university) students. At least, for four hours every now ant then ..

I would gladly come back !

With the 2nd grade

With the 3rd grade

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Aegean Startups Finals

In early October 2015 we organised the final day of Aegean Startups entrepreneurship competition. It was the culmination of more than 8 months of selecting and mentoring teams of students and young to-be entrepreneurs.  

More than 60 ideas were submitted in the first round, in the 4 categories of the competition: tourism and culture, agriculture and traditional food products, transportation and commerce, ICT and governance. Approximately half of them made it in the second round, having then to submit more elaborate business plans with the help of external mentors.  Each proposal was evaluated by 3 business mentors and 10 of them were given prizes and awards at the finals.

The day was combined with visits and workshops to OrangeGrove, Google Greece and Intrasoft International on the day before, giving the opportunity to team members to present and discuss their ideas with other startup-ers and business angels.

At the Orange Grove, with teams of students

At Google Greece premises in Athens

The final "ceremony" was attended by more than 100 people from business and academia, acting as a lively audience to student teams.  Awards ranged from money prizes, computers and tablets, to positions in late-stage incubators like Microsoft Innovation Centre, Orange Grove, TheAthensIncubator, etc.

The winner teams with their awards 

A nice top-up for the finals organisation was the appearance in Greek Public Television morning zone in the day after, discussing live with students on their ideas and their plans for the future.

Aegean Startups in ERT television

A nice wrap-up video of the whole experience of the two days can be seen below (video recording and editing by Orestis Zacharogiannis)

Smart Cities and Local Development - training in Samos and Rhodes

In September and October 2015 I had the chance to meet with local administration officials, young entrepreneurs and students, during one-day specialised training sessions on "Smart Cities and Local Development with the participation of Administration, Industry and Academia", held in Samos and Rhodes.

These training workshops attracted audience from local communities and were a good platform to work on a few innovative ideas for public-private partnership development - which later led to the SMART-MED project idea on developing smart-city solutions via entrepreneurship and not procurement.

With my audience in Samos
Together with colleagues from the University of the Aegean, we talked and discussed on cases for smart cities, e-government solutions in local administration, joint programmes between municipalities and enterprises, funding opportunities and the sort.

Being in Samos every week, the visit to Rhodes was the new thing: a splendid as always old town, but also a vibrant community of  hotel owners and touristic businesses laid the landscape for a two-day intensive course of training sessions and meetings.

The class in Rhodes

I promised I will certainly be revisiting the case of tourism-oriented entrepreneurship with local Union of Hotel owners - something that now materialised in the INNOVECO project idea for demand-based entrepreneurship and successfully presented at the Berkeley Global Venture Lab, in San Francisco, on January 2016.

A summary of my talk on smart cities can always be found at: 

InHeritage Entrepreneurship workshop in Lavrion

In late September 2015, I had the chance to take part in an entrepreneurship workshop oriented towards young professionals form the domain of cultural management.  The inHeritage 3-day event targeted the development of new business ideas to take advantage of industrial heritage sites and facilities (e.g. industrial museums, old factories, traditional industrial sites and so on).

The event was happening in parallel in three locations, connected via teleconferencing: the Lavrion Industrial Park where I physically was, the  Athens Industrial Gas Museum and the Museum of Industrial Olive-Oil Production of Lesvos.

View of the old factory at Lavrion
Two things were really unforgettable from my visit:

1. The impressive Lavrion Industrial Park, reminding us the once vibrant "Compagnie Francaise des Mines du Laurium" a revolutionary lead-extracting factory established at around 1880 and operating for about 80 years.  The whole investment, which was significant for Greece at that times, provided the landscape for the first large stock-scandal that shook the country, known as "lavreotika".  A very good description of the "deal" and the forces that powered and lead it can be seen (in Greek) at 

2. The gathering of young professionals (mainly architects and engineers), aiming at developing new, innovative business ideas for the exploiting of our industrial heritage.  In a world of cloud and mobile apps, working with real production sites of the past shows great interest for us - teaching and practicing entrepreneurship at the digital age.

With the team of young entrepreneurs and mentors in Lavrion inHeritage workshop

More about the InHeritage programme can be seen at: