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EIT ICT Labs Launching Silicon Valley Innovation Outpost

For most of tomorrow, from noon until late in evening, I will be attending the EIT ICT Labs Silicon Valley center opening event in San Francisco—at RocketStudios (part of RocketSpace, that is one of the many incubators/accelerators in Silicon Valley, and its founder and CEO, Duncan Logan, is one of the Silicon Valley Advisors to EIT ICT Labs).

The program for tomorrow has at least two workshops planned, shown below, that should be of interest to our workshop on education and learning:



Anders Flodström, Education Director, EIT ICT Labs


  • Jim Plummer, Professor CS Stanford University, Dean of the Stanford School of Engineering 1999-2014, Board member Intel
  • Diana Stepner, VP, Innovation Partnerships & Developer Relations, Pearson
  • Lisa Barrett, Director, Global Partnership Strategy, Coursera
  • Christa Preston, Founder, The Olivia Project


INVESTING IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP–Building a Bridge For Entrepreneurship Between Silicon Valley and Europe

Chair: Klaus Beetz, Business Director, EIT ICT Labs (Munich)


  • Duncan Logan, Founder RocketSpace
  • Richard Horning, Counsel ReedSmith, Honorary Consul of Estonia in Silicon Valley
  • Lisa Fetterman, Co-Founder – Nomiku – Consumer cooking hardware startup
  • Oliver Hanisch, COO and Mentor, German Accelerator (To be confirmed)

I met Anders Flodstrom at a workshop at SRI on Innovation and Jobs Summit in March of last year, when Anders made a presentation on the education and learning plans of EIT ICT Labs, but could not really say too much about it at the time as he noted that they were just starting to examine details of their business model. After the session at SRI, I wrote a blog post for Silicon Vikings on “Some Thoughts on ‘Industrial MOOCs’—in a European Context”  and in the section on what I called “Industrial MOOCs in Germany” I noted:

While I find all the incipient MOOC initiatives in Europe interesting—and I hope to see greater activity on this front in the Nordic region also (and a leading Norwegian academic, June Breivik at BI (a leading Norwegian business school), recently encouraged Norwegian universities to wake up to these developments—I am especially intrigued by two developments in Germany:

  • iVersity’s platform development. This Berlin-based startup has expressed interest in developing “industrial MOOCs” and informed me that they were in discussion with a number of large German enterprises about building enterprise-focused MOOCs. Unfortunately, they have been silent for a while so I am not sure whether, or when, they will reveal what, if any, progress they are making on this front.
  • SAP’s “Academic Cube.” I have followed SAP’s involvement in learning for a number of years and have been intrigued by its learning-related acquisitions (including SuccessFactors, which in turn had previously acquired Plateau, an LMS, product and knowledge, capital and talent management provider, and Jambok, a social video and mobile learning provider). And the SAP-connected Hasso Plattner Institute (focused on IT systems engineering) has also shown growing interest in MOOCs over the last year. So perhaps it should not have been surprising that SAP recently announced that it has been involved with a number of other organizations (both enterprises, research organizations, and academic institutions) to build “Academic Cube.” This effort will connect new forms of learning (e.g. MOOCs or MOOC-like courses) with ICT-related jobs, and job openings at major German enterprises.

The connection of MOOCs to learning and training needs of enterprises is interesting, and raises questions as George Siemens recently noted in a Google Plus session that he was skeptical to industrial application of MOOCs. But perhaps SAP and its partner, and particularly EIT ICT Labs—a powerful knowledge and innovation community with a large number of European partners—which will now apparently take over the management and development of the Academic Cube platform and initiative. Can EIT ICT lab create a platform what meet the needs of European industry, and enable “next-generation” industrial training and learning, and at the same time come up with a sustainable business model to enable long-term financial support for this initiative? I hope they can, and in so doing will add another interesting element to the growing “MOOC, or MOOC-like” learning ecosystem that I hope will emerge around the world.


I look forward to getting an update from Anders tomorrow about where their “Academic Cube” (if this is still what they call their initiative) stands and where it is heading. I will report on this in my next blog post. Stay tuned.

D-School Leading Project on Stanford’s Future

On April 15 this year, I attended a very interesting seminar as part of Stanford’s Graduate School of Education’s Digital Future, on “Learning and the Life Course.” One of the panelists was Sarah Stein Greenberg, Managing Director, D-School, Stanford University, who talked about a project led by the D-School on the future of Stanford–and how it could better serve its various constituencies in the future.

I took a few notes that I thought i would share with you, as it might give “food for thought” and be a basis for some questions we might want to ask during our upcoming session at D-School next week.

You can also visit to see some more information on “@Stanford: Reimagining the Future of Learning/Living on Campus”

Here are a few notes I took on Sarah’s presentation:

o Year-long project at Stanford—Imagining the future of learning/living on campus
o Four scenarios they have examined: (1) Paced Education; (2) Purpose Learning; (3) Axis Flip (balance of skills and knowledge); and (4) Open Loop University (“alumni” term would go away, and be replaced by “members”)
o How to break the mold of traditional 4-year model?
o May 1 and 2: Experiential taste of Future Stanford
o Open Loop University: [This is the one scenario I found most interesting]
• Age blind admissions
• Six years distributed over your life
• Taking time off would no longer carry stigma
• Students would ‘loop in’ later in life to pivot careers
• On-campus learning sharpened by real-world perspectives
• Mentoring would play a bigger role as paths diverged
• The ‘late start’ advantage?
• ‘Alumni’ become….

As most of you know, Stanford is one of the world’s leading universities and has many, many more applicants than they can accept–even though the cost of tuition (and especially when you add in room and board) is VERY high. In this context, I find it very interesting that Stanford is still looking ahead to the future and realizing they need to do things differently–for the sake of its students and for Stanford to continue to be a leading university–so it will be interesting to see how this D-School project helps shape Stanford’s policies for future change at this great university.