Monday, May 28, 2012

Karneval der Kulturen

This weekend we enjoyed the Carnaval of the Cultures: A four-day carnival that celebrates different cultures in Berlin, an amazing opportunity to see and live the cultural richness of Berlin, highlighting the hidden treasures of its international cultural scene. Apart from a 5 or even 6 hours parade on Sunday, there are many stands of arts and crafts as well as international food and beverages, and 4 different stages (Latinauta, Bazaar Berlin, Farafina and Eurasia) to showcase the music rhythms from around the world. A wonderful experience lived for the first time of many I am sure! Some blog posts in Spanish here and here, another one in English and my own photos here! Videos from the organization on Vimeo from other years here.

Global Virtual Host?

Today I had a great interview with Gabriela Albescu and Simon Ulvund about becoming global virtual host for the network on both, the global platform and the practice platform. It would be a part-time position on top of the Hub Associate as an internal consultant for the network.

They made some very good questions and it was interesting to try to answer them, because of course it being a first approach to the different issues:
  • What excites me about the position? For me its about taking what we do to the next level, the global level which many members and teams have been requesting for some time now. Its about serving two different "clients":
    • Members from Hubs around the world:  Need to know what is going on in their field in different countries, search with suppliers or partners, connect with other people to have more impact or to find out better ways to address the issues they are addressing with their projects, etc.
    • Teams from Hubs around the world: Need to have access to the knowledge and best practices in an easy way, hosted into the tools already there while also fostering new practices coming along. A space to unleash the learnings within the network
  • Which are the projects you would work on?
    • Connect, understand the dependencies and create the links with the Management Team, the Practice Coordinator, the HUBnet/Tech manager, and the Communications expert as well as this work needs to be aligned with all of them and the internal/external communications strategy.
    • Also, identify the local representatives of Hub teams, generate the contact and the rhythm of engagement with them at different stages of the pipeline (once they are initiatives) but evaluate the needs from the imagination stage as well.
    • A concrete project would be to map the members and the teams in Hubs around the world to understand what their needs are so that we can provide quality in the connections and content.
    • Members have been wanting to meet physically in a gathering for some time now, it would be fantastic to create a members world gathering for 2013!
  • What does success look like? I would need to know the exact needs, strategy and prioritization (its a part-time position so far!) that we agree on but I think that I will feel I have succeded if everything is flowing in the platform without me being everywhere or having to post everything. If people are hosting themselves and each other virtually, if there is less of me and more of others there.
  • What are the challenges? Time availability of people, both members/entrepreneurs trying to run or develop their projects and team members. Also to respect myself the part-time commitment to this and not go over the top.
  • In terms of practice, what are the practices that you see relevant for the next stages of the HUB? The two that are being mentioned more are: incubation and education. What I wonder is that there are so many programmes of this type and organizations that do them, that I´d like to explore how our offering would be different from others...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Graphic Recording

Landed in Berlin on Thursday and for the past two days I was in a graphic recording workshop at K Salon: the reason I had to come back so quickly and could not stay in Myanmar more time. Anne Madsen,  a kaos pilot graduate from Denmark who works professionally on this, was facilitating the workshop and we (art of hosting and art of transformation lab friends) co-organized it.

I have to say it had a perfect mix of teaching and practice, a perfectly designed two-day process where you, even if you were jetlagged, could make the most of it. There was a good mix also between the individual work, in pairs, groups, table or the whole room as well. Here are more photos!

So, I was the shy type when requested to draw as a child, but we got in touch with our child memories and departed from there (I remembered that I always used to draw ponds with water and trees/mountains around, what nature means to me I guess...). Since 2008 when I got to know of the company Xplane (love their discovery cards!) with my Hub work, I have wanted to work on this: making the complex simple by visualizing it in drawings with icons and sketches. This work also comes from infographics in media that had the same purpose.

We started with a check-in, moved to the purpose, outcome and principles of it and got to know of the differences between visual recording, visual strategic communication and graphic facilitation. The first one involves harvesting, while the second working with a team for them to use the tool afterwards and the third actually to facilitate a workshop (the one that needs mastery to be able to do everything at the same time: guide the process, make the good question and cristalize it visually at the same time). They all need practice though!

We also played pictionary and learned from that experience. We drew our life stories and also worked on a personal project. Part of the learnings was to listen in a structured way, listening for different categories or concepts to later put in images. We created an icon library with words proposed by the group that were important to us: co-creation, purpose, collaboration, among others. Wonderful experience which I hope to use in my everyday work! Some ideas I´d like to keep in mind and that also come from design/communications:
  • The way we read images in each culture is similar to the way we read text, and we need to provide a clear way of reading it!
  • Reach clarity yourself before drawing to be able to make complex things simple
  • Give "air" (white) to your images letting the eye rest in some places
  • Provide a frame to your drawings, it grounds them
  • Include a main headline and also smaller ones (not more than 5-6 per poster)
  • Color-coding: Using the same colour for similar type of information. 2 or 3 colours are enough.
  • If you have time, you can use post-its first and then draw the complete thing
  • Balance: There has to be balance between icons and text (content is the king! but visual the queen!)
  • Templates: Its good to use them, some can be more static or descriptive or more dynamic or action-oriented (depending on the type of work and meeting)
  • Practice practice practice!
  • Choosing an angle: Stories are not linear so chosing a structure is important to thread the story/topic.
  • Cheat! Yes, in this discipline its ok to cheat, give and take, re-interpret, etc. There are loads of icon library resources... :-)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Myanmar Tourist

On Wednesday after lunch Debasmita Dasgupta (find her blog here) and me managed to get to the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the biggest, oldest and most impressive ones that we could just not visit. It was great because being the two of us only we got to talk a lot about ASEF where she works and about media convergence in general as well as social media coverage of social entrepreneurs. Here are some of my photos, but if you´d like to check out hers here, they are much better with a good camera (and eye!)! Even if it was really hot and we were tired, it was amazing to whitness the peace in this place and the way people enjoy it, either praying, reflecting, talking to mates or even having a siesta!

The entrance to it is 5 USD and you have to take off your shoes to get in the premises as well as have proper length in your clothes. The back of the ticket you can read this: "The origin of the Shwedagon Pagoda materialized in brillian epoch in Buddhist history over 2500 years ago. In India, Prince Siddhartha had just attained Buddhahood when he was visited by two brothers Tapussa and Bhallika, merchants from Myamar who offered a gift of honey cakes. In return, the Buddha personally removed eight hairs from his head and gave these to the two brothers for enshrinement in their native town of Okkalapa which is now the City of Yangon. On their return, the two brothers presented the Buddha´s hairs to the King of Okkalapa who erected the pagoda and enshrined the eight hairs together witht he relics of the previous three Buddhas.

The original height of the pagoda was 66 feet. From the 14th Centruy onward successive monarchs in Myanmar rebuilt or regilded it until it reached its present height of 326 feet. It has ten unique different sections, namely, the base, the three terraces called "Pyisayan" the "Khaung Laung" so called because of its bell shaped, the "Baung Yit" with distinct embossed bands, the "Thabeik" (monk´s food bowl), the "Kya-lan" an ornamental lotus flower, the "Hngnet Pyaw-Bu" (Banana Bud), th "Hti" (Umbrella), the "Hngetmana", the flag shape vane which revolves to the direction of the wind, and the Seinbu (Diamond bud). The "Hti" and the "Hngetmana" and the "Seinbu" are decorated enlaid with 3154 gold bells, 79569 diamonds and other precious stones". The video is not mine but it definitely shows what this place is like!

The following day we departed back to our homes, transformed by the experience and with good ideas to think about and implement. I enjoyed the ride to the airport with Jacek from Poland (Klub Gaja) and Mogkol from Thailand (the papas of the group as per Anton´s saying!) as well as Orapin from the same country who had just gotten a new land for her project: Kokoboard. We enjoyed some good expresso at the airport and the last few conversations! Usually I don´t enjoy so much talking to people on planes anymore, I use it as my thinking/reflecting time, but this short flight to Bangkok I did have an amazing chat with Niels W. Guenther from the Three Diseases Fund from UNOps. Nice to meet you all and let´s see when our paths cross again...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Myanmar Day 3

On the third day, I had offered to Tristan Ace and Mi Mi Myo Win organizing this event to facilitate a process to help the group reflect, plan some actions and build community around social enterprise for impact. After meeting Kathrine Rasmussen from Action Tank in Denmark on Monday I invited her to co-host these activities with me and it was grand to work with her. We both hoped to have other opportunities to host together!

We started outside with a short check-in to arrive and share our dreams with a few people. You can see the Pro-Action cafe process and harvest here. And some photos from that awesome morning! Some media repercusions of the whole event are to be found in The Nation and Myanmar Times. It is exciting to whitness and be part of a country in a change process! Thankful to the British Council and ASEF for the invitation!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Myanmar Day 2

On the second day, people from the British Council and different organzations/companies/institutions from Asia (Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Phillipines India and Vietnam) and Europe (Denmark, Sweden, Poland, UK and Germany) gathered again at the British Club to start the activities around four different tracks: education, public health, environment and tourism and heritage. More photos here!

We did informal visits during the day so that we could reflect about the social opportunities and challenges in Yangon proposing enterprising solutions. We were taken around the city to understand the sector and by the end of the day we presented some ideas to local potential social entrepreneurs and emerging leaders.

I was attracted by the Education track but finally chose the Tourism and Heritage one encouraged by Tristan Ace. Our hosts were Shun Lei Swe Yee and Cham Tha Kyaw. We started with a meeting at the Yangon Heritage Trust at Kandawgyi tower, a recently formed group who are currently working on how to preserve the colonial architecture in Yangon. The group is led by Than Myint U, a leading historian.
  • Some thoughts on this:
    • Buildings from 200 years ago are well protected, mostly religious sites, but buildings from 1960s are not and this is what they would like to focus on
    • They need government regulations for urban planning
    • There are not enough technical skills in architects/builders
    • They will have a hearitage conference in June to formulate the way forward, bringing people from abroad, trying to combine the new with the old
    • When seeing the buildings we realized that some of them are not in use, some are in use by official authorities or companies, and some are being used as normal houses so the motivations for this three different type of users to maintain these buildings will be different
    • What about the intangibles of heritage that needs "protection" and that are not buildings?
We also visited the Bogyioke Market briefly and we did a walking tour of Pansodan Road, discovering the best examples of colonial architecture in Yangon. We also went to Latha Township (China Town), one of the most energetic areas seen as with great potential for tourism. We saw many things that social entrepreneurs and the government could start working on right away:
  • Community-based and eco-tourism (example from Madrid: Alice Faveau from Focus on Women)
  • Lowering property taxes to people and companies that mantain their buildings properly
  • Renovate one as an example creating value to local community
  • Make video mapping and documentation to give visibility
  • Create a good quality yet cheap taxi meter to sell to taxis-owners for tourists not to have to negotiate every trip
  • Do something about trash recycling as currently trash is on the streets, very near food and where people live daily
  • Riverside development: Currently the city turns its back to the river, they could open it more and make it a place tourists would like to visit!
  • The main important thing we see is to be having these conversations now to be able to face development with the right tools instead of just doing it as in other asian countries, there is a lot to learn from their experiences!
  • More ideas in our presentation (will include the link when I get it)
For some reasons I thought it would be great if these guys got in touch with Jessica Chandler from Cinema for Peace Foundation (for the video and documentation project) and invite the Hub network´s architects and interior designers (Cristina Rebolo, Andrea Paoletti, Oliver Marlow, Josemaría de Churtichaga+Quadra-Salcedo) to the conference in June although their agendas might be full already!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Myanmar Day 1

By the end of the first day (out of three) of the Field Learning and Networking event for social entrepreneurs at Yangon (Myanmar/Burma/Birmania) organized by the British Council and supported by ASEF, I have run out of my Moo business cards and that can be not-so-nice in an asian country where there tradition is to exchange them in a very respectful way, with half a bow, reading them carefully, asking questions and understanding more about what the other person does.

The good news is that I have met today so many interesting people that where worth exchanging cards with! I gave the last one to a lady from PSI Myanmar, a global health organization dedicating to improving the health of people in the developing world by focusing on serious challenges like lack of family planning, HIV/AIDS, barriers to maternal health and the greatest threats to children under five, including malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. She has been here for two years and has whitnessed the transition that this country is undergoing. When asked by other people if she had seen the docummentary "Burma VJ", she answered negatively as they still don´t have access to some content here.

During dinner, I found about two different projects but somehow related: Action Tank from Kathrine (Denmark) and Future City game from Andreas in Sweden trained by the British Council in Warsaw to be a Game Master. The Future City game is a team-based process designed to create new thinking and actions to improve quality of life in cities. Both KaosPilots graduates (an innovative university if you haven´t heard of it) and driving amazing initiatives in their countries and beyond! We were also dining with Bodil (Sweden) who shared the project-management she is doing for Radio Totalnormal a radio that was inspired by La Colifata in Argentina, although it has its differences with it.

Earlier this evening at The Strand Hotel I met a HUB Seattle member, Pwint P. Htun, who is from Myanmar originally but lives in that northamerican city working in technology, and is looking forward to exploring how and with what projects to come back to her home country. I also shared my situation with coming back to Argentina, that I am in the same exploration, but it will probably take several years as I wanted to engage with the city of Berlin where I am living more. Pwint and Kathrine shared an incredible initiative by the city of Seattle! They will open a Food Forrest in the city, do follow the link and read about it because it seems like taken from a fairytale (Beacon Food Forrest).

It was also interesting to meet Prof. Dr. Aung Tun Thet, Senior Advisor to UN Coordinator´s Officer, who was also involved in the launch of the Global Compact UN initiative in Myanmar this same month! It was fun to hear him say that many people think they are social entrepreneurs but they actually are not... to which I replied that in the Hub network we are trying to transcend the terms social enterprise and social innovation as the entrepreneurs themselves sometimes don´t identify with those categories or denominations. ;-)

I was invited to represent the Hub Network with a short keynote speech about "Social Enterprise in Transition", which I gladly did sharing what we stand for, the vision, purpose and values, as well as the transition we had undergone for two years and how each one of us in the network had to hold space for some time letting things emerge so that the network had the distributed governance model with the legal and financial structure its members wanted from the start. Finalized by referring to what I personally think is the leadership type that we need in times of transition, moving from heroes that need to predict and make decisions on their own, to hosts that enable people and let things emerge in co-creation and collaboration. It was interesting that the BC Director, Alan Smart, really digged into "ordinary people doing extraordinary things".

During the day, I shared a lot of bus (lovely kept and with purple curtains by the way) conversations with Rambie Katrina R. Lim from Manila in the Philippines. She was full of energy and ideas about sustainable fashion and design, with many projects already in place (one of the being Tepiña, luxuriously green) and some on her head as well. I got to know about the pineapple fiber they use in some traditional outfits (saw some truly beautiful photos in her mobile phone) and update them to modern design but keeping the traditional weaving. I suggested that she should check out the IOYOU project as the work they are doing with the Madras fabric in India is totally amazing! She suggested that I should check-out the Invisible Sisters work, when talking about waste management as they are re-using plastic bags to create new things. Did you know that the potato starch bag so trendy nowadays takes 10 years to degrade? Not so biodegradable as I thought...

So, this first day was exactly about that, meeting the participant´s of this event initiatives and also visiting two local ventures: FXB in the morning and Proximity Designs in the afternoon. Both have quite different models but were very intelligent chosen by the organizers as their impact is inmense. Interesting enough, both are associations in legal form and not a for profit company.

The very passionate lady from FXB showed us ever room in the building and explained the various programmes they have, in so many levels of society: men with woodcrafts and iron, children with HIV through non formal education, adolescents from 16 to 20 who sow for a living, young people with drama classes and sex education and women also with diverse issues to weave and make beautiful threads. We later visited their showroom, shopped too and experimeted total heat+humidity as got to know first hand that people here have maybe 3 or 4 hours of electricity per day, so you hear the power generator noise everywhere near the buildings.

The second project we visited was Proximity Designs. We were welcomed by David Klaus and Todd Murphy, in charge of design and production respectively. They made a very interactive presentation (we could not stop interrupting to ask questions!!!) and started explaining that a well designed product can have an impact in our lives, so they design, manufacture, distribute and sell affordable products that have to do with water access (pump), storage (water tank) and application (drip irrigation system). Their products cost in retail between 17 to 50 USD! And the make possible one-person farming (a huge change from two people as one of the family members can farm and the other one run errands, take kids to school, etc.)

Their focus is on quality (as they believe many of the products at the BOP -Bottom of the Pyramid- usually are cheap and not durable. The purpose? To address poverty by actually increasing the income of their customers, because that is what people are for them, not charity receivers. They never give away their products for free but sell them at an affordable cost for their customers (if a price is to hight they inmediately receive feedback from their customers!).

They manage to cover the costs for the production and distribution, but they also need to fundraise to maintain the whole organizational structure, specially design and overhead. There is two dedicated staff to fundraise. Between the design team, people working in the manufacture, logistics (dealers, agents and demonstrators) and impact, 900 people are involved and that is only in the products department. They have also other areas of work like Relief, Microfinance, EAS, public policy.

They mentioned that they don´t have an IP (intellectual property) strategy yet, but they have been thinking about it. I personally think it would be great for them to have an open source model, or a freemium one where you get a design toolkit if you pay a small fee, so they would actually increase their impact providing quality at an affordable price with some legally binding conditions to the ones that would use this for example. But I am no legal expert so its just an idea! They are always looking for talent so if you know anybody from Myanmar, do refer them!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hub @ Vision Summit

 Today I was part of a lunch at the Vision Summit in Potsdam about the HUB. It is one of the most improtant events in the world about social innovation, social entrepreneurship and social impact business, but it is held in German so I did not take part of the whole event. Hinnerk Hansen (Hub Vienna) and Christoph Birkholz (Hub Zurich) from the nearest Hubs and both german speakers themselves, hosted a session about the Hub Network and the transition it has undergone in the past two years.

They also introduced the new local teams in Germany! Carina Lugert (Munich), Nele Kaprez (Berlin) and Martin Herrndorf (Cologne). There also is a team in Hamburg under consideration. It was great to meet them and hear from them as well. The topics or questions addressed are similar as similar are the stages they are at, so I offered my support as Hub Associate (we are the internal consultants that can support the teams beyond the formal support they get from the HUB management team and the their sister HUB. Here are some photos!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Prezi for Myanmar!

So Power Point Presentations (with capital Ps) are last era, but not everybody loves Prezi yet. I started using it last year for the TEDxBarcelona conference in July, and now I need it again. I say I need it because it is specially useful when you are planning a presentation in another country, where you don´t know if you will have the mac plug for the projector (I should own one by now!), or if you will have internet, which version of Power Point you have, if your presentation format will change with it, etc.

Having a Prezi makes a real difference in these cases. At least for me. You completely forget about all issues of things being compatible. It is a total white canvas (you can use templates if you´d like) that scare some people but for me this represents endless possibilities! Yes, its a little overwhelming when you just want to achieve a 10 slide presentation of the old type. ;-)

I found an interesting tutorial in video here by Tosolino, who teaches you very simply how to include a "call to action" in your Prezi with the specific font you´d like! (a one bad thing about prezi is that there aren´t many font options... uhhh). For this one the phrase will be "#socent in transition" as Tristan Ace from the British Council in Myanmar decided to name my keynote speech for the first night of the Asia-Europe field learning and networking event that will take place in Yangon next week, and where I am very excited to participate for many reasons! This country in Asia has been under a huge transition for the past two years and everybody is mentioning the amazing opportunity it is to be able to visit at this moment, a moment where Thailand was 30 years ago as people say...

I love that the event will not be a regular conference and that we will actually not be in a conference setting everyday, but mostly in an experimental and practical setting, visiting social enterprises there and sharing experiencies from different countries in both regions. Also on the morning of the 23rd I offered to host a Pro-Action Cafe to let people present a topic/project they would like to address during the morning. Something that they would really like to see surfacing is a social entrepreneur network in East Asia. Let´s see what happens! Some little big steps in a country where a transition has been taking place over the past year.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Carnet de Conducir

Ya se que es un post aburridísimo, pero lo escribo por si a alguien le sirve tener esta información ya a mano en lugar de tener que perder tiempo buscándola. Es el turno ahora de la licencia /el permiso / el carnet de conducir!

Para empezar, de nuevo fui a parar al artículo de Berlin en español que habla del tema y me encontré con lo siguiente:
  • Una vez pasados los 6 meses de residencia y para los latinoamericanos como moi, es preciso solicitar el permiso alemán a tarvés de una escuela de manejo
  • Al tener el carnet anterior y saber conducir, no es necesario hacer el curso práctico, pero sí tomar algunas clsas para familiarizarse con las leyes de tránsito e instrucciones durante el examen. El examen práctico se da en alemán y el teórico puede rendirse en castellano
  • Es necesario tener: traducción certificada de la licencia anterior, realizar un curso de primeros auxilios y un examen de la vista.
  • También hay que llevar el pasaporte y una foto claro! 
  • Me informaron de que comenzar desde cero para tramitar una licencia cuesta aproximadamente entre 1200€ y 3000€.
Voy a averiguar como es mi caso al ya tener el carnet argentino y manejar desde los 18 años con Farhschule Amigo y con Autoescuela en Berlin (10 a 18 en Strommstr. 59, 030 39741089) para ver cómo son los pasos y cuánto cuesta realmente. Leonardo de Autoescuela en Berlín dice lo siguiente:
  1. Registrarme en una escuela (incluye 14 hrs de teoría) y hacer el contrato con ellos: 80€.
  2. Ellos te derivan con alguien que hace traducciones de licencias certificadas alemán/español (aprox. 40€) y te dicen con quién hacer el curso de primeros auxilios además del examen de la vista (todo por 25€).
  3. Luego debes ir a aplicar al Bürgeramt con el contrato de la escuela informando de que uno ha comenzado el proceso.
  4. El cuarto paso es empezar a estuidiar la teoría, que se puede hacer con una plataforma online en castallano: 40€.
  5. Realizar el examen teórico (que va antes del práctico y son 940 preguntas). Aparentemente poca gente lo pasa la primera vez: 20,83€. Fharschule kart o learn system o algo así... no entendí bien por teléfono.
  6. Hacer unas horas de práctica con la escuela, en este caso un mínimo de 3 horas con el instructor para que me evalúen (25€ x 3 = 75€).
  7. Realizar el examen práctico en alguno de los dos institutos, Dekra o Tüv (este último dicen que es más flexible): 85€.
  8. Finalmente se vuelve al Bürgeramt y se presentan todos los papeles. En total unos 450€!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Graphic Recording

No, I am not capable of doing this drawing myself at all, members at Hub Milan were. ;-) But, I wish! So, for two days (25th-26th May) I will be participating of this workshop taking place in Berlin because I really think that learning how to cristalize thoughts and concepts visually communicates more effectively! It combines deep listening, simple drawing technique and facilitation methodology to visualize complex processes and provies overview, shared language and ownership of your project, new strategy or conference.

The course will be facilitated by Anne Madsen is a Kaospilot graduate of the school of process, project and personal leadership in Denmark. With her company 'DrawMore' she is doing and teaching graphic recording. With TOOLSforSCHOOLS she is passionately working on introducing participatory methodologies and creative practice in the public primary school system in Denmark. I will be together with designers, teachers, facilitators, architects, filmakers and artists among others, that focus in communication in complexity.

This course is organized by the friends of the Berlin Art of Transformation Lab a self-organized community of practice who believes change starts from taking action, from learning by doing and by sharing knowledge between peers. Collaboration also provided by Becota. Check out the event on Facebook or the Art of Hosting Ning platform. Let the organizers know by email if you are interested or register here directly

Networking Women

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to connect with professional women from an organization called BPW (International Federeation of Business and Professional Women) and get to know some of them in Berlin. It was interesting to hear about an organization that I didn´t know and is apparently very active internationally and within the UN. They have a local chapter for Berlin and Germany in general as well.

The event I attended together with two friends (and invited by another friend) was the networking in English evening and it started with us arriving and getting to know people spontaneously before sitting at the table. Once we found our seat we were introduced to the organization and got to know about the recent changes in the local board to then had a check-in round to meet women from the most diverse professions, from a lobbyist to a marketer, a career counselor and a coach.

Apart from the normal professional presentation we were invited to share what we had had for lunch the day before. This important piece of information showed us other aspects of the people attending the event: who were the organic freaks, the vegeterians, the ones that didn´t have time to have lunch at all and even the ones that took time or had time to cook...

Through dinner conversation flowed easily and we switched from English to German or even Spanish to find the words that best described what we wanted to say. We started talking about the mentoring program that they are planning to launch and it reminded me of several issues that I learnt while been the MET Program coordinator (Women, Enterprise and Technology, a mentoring program specially targetted for women doing an MBA at IE Business School and supported with a LiderA Grant from Comunidad de Madrid). The program was run from the diversity department of the business school and is still running although with different focus and purpose, more related to academic issues.

I had a few insights to share about mentoring in general and how 2008 was the moment to develop one of the first applications together with RIM (the company behind BlackBerry smartphone solutions) to manage the program from the smartphone and also mentees and mentors to connect and communicate with each other. Organizing the mentoring one-to-one takes a lot of time, so an application really helps to make it happen.

Another learning those days came from the EPWN in Madrid was their group mentoring, where not only the more experienced mentor organices, facilitates the group and also shares her experience, but also peer mentoring between the 2-3 or even 4 women with diverse profiles and perspectives in the group support each other on everyday basis.

We also discussed Women Empowerment Principles after dessert, and how active (or not) we were about them and the general feeling around that was that women in general don´t need to make inequality so explicit but work with confidence and support other ladies to be an example of leadership without gender being an issue. I remembered how importat it is for me to be a professional woman with everything this means, instead of trying to use men´s type of leadership, simply because its different, not good or bad. Just focus on blooming instead of the negative!

Nice to meet you Uta, Sabine Deschauer, Sandy Weiner and Jacqueline von Saldern among others! 

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Myanmar #socent!

Si todo sale bien la semana que viene con la solicitud de visa que hice hoy, estaré desde el 21 al 23 de mayo (sí, en sólo 10 días!) en Myanmar representando a la red de Hubs en una conferencia sobre social enterprise (#socent) que organiza Active Citizens del British Council y se llamará East Asian Social Entreprise networking event. Les interesa que comparta el trabajo que se viene haciendo al crear una comunidad global y la creación de Hubs en economías de países emergentes.

Les interesan las experiencias que pueda tener en: 1) desarrollar redes/comunidades alrededor del concepto de empresa social y 2) el apoyo a empresas sociales incipientes y el inspirar a que cada vez más personas se animen a hacerlo en economías emergentes. Por supuesto en el contexto del Hub, pero es algo que se puede aplicar a cualquier sector en realidad.

Por lo pronto, los temas que se tratarán son super interesantes y de paso podré conocer Yangon, la capital de Myanmar! Será mi primera vez en Asia también. Aunque no me de tiempo a conocer el país y su gente, ya que tengo que volver corriendo para llegar a un curso en Berlin. Veremos qué tal va todo con los vuelos...

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Experiencia Car2Go

Anoche tuvimos nuestra primera experiencia de compartir coche (car sharing) con Car2Go. Obtienes la tarjeta de socio pagando 9,90€ por única vez, y luego sólo pagas lo que utilices el auto. No hay cuotas mensuales y la disponibilidad es impresionante, ya que hay una flota de 1000 vehículos Smart distribuidos por toda la ciudad. Sin ir más allá, en la calle donde vivo hay dos o tres cada día desde hace menos de 10 días cuando se lanzó la iniciativa alemana en Berlín, luego de que exista en varias ciudades del mundo. Es un nuevo concepto de movilidad que me llama la atención, ya que conocía Comuto o Amovens por el Hub, o Cambio, pero esto es diferente y quien está detrás es la empresa Daimler también con Europcar. Me llama la atención que sean empresas grandes y "viejas" como estas la que estén innovando de esta manera.

Lo llaman el primer transporte público del mundo porque intenta suplir las necesidades de las personas que diariamente utilizan el bus, el metro o el tren (hasta la bicicleta), pero que realmente de vez en cuando hace falta tener disponibilidad de un choche. Es una iniciativa también que ayudaría a que haya menos coches individuales por los problemas de tráfico y estacionamiento que están teniendo muchas ciudades del mundo y tener menos emisiones.

Por lo pronto mi novio se hizo socio (yo todavía no tengo licencia de conducir aquí) y anoche a la vuelta de una cena con amigos decidimos probarlo. Abrimos la aplicación del smartphone y comprobamos que a cuatro cuadras había dos disponibles. Lo encontramos y acercamos la tarjeta a un dispositivo electrónico que hay sobre el tablero y pegado al cristal delantero (parabrisas). El auto se abrió solo y entramos. Nunca habíamos conducido un Smart, por lo que nos llevó un par de minutos descubrir un par de cosillas.

Lo más impresionante fue descubrir que la llave se encuentra en un hueco destinado para tal fin... sobre el tablero!!! Inmediatamente pensé que en cualquiera de los lugares en los que he vivido seguramente no funcionaría, ya que alguien rompería el cristal y se llevaría el coche nomás... a no ser que los dispositivos de rastreo electrónicos sean tan sofisticados que no sea fácil desactivarlos claro. ¡Fotos por aquí!

Pones la llave en su sitio y arrancas nomás el auto, que de hecho no se enciende ni se mueve si no tienes las luces prendidas y el cinturón de seguridad puesto en los dos asientos. Era un coche automático, por lo que no hizo falta más que cambiar la marcha de Neutro a 1, apretar el acelerador y volver a casa guiados por el navegador, donde encontramos aparcamiento fácilmente también. Lo único que no pudimos hacer y nos avergonzó bastante, deberemos preguntar si era una falla nuestra o del coche, es retroceder. Pusimos la palanca de cambios en R (supuestamente retroceso/reversa o como uno quiera llamarle) pero no hubo manera. Actualización posterior: En la siguiente vez que utilizamos un Smart encontramos un manualcito de instrucciones de cómo conducirlo y había que apretar un botón en la palanca para que entrara la reversa. ;-)

La experiencia fue realmente grata, rápida y fácil, por lo que estoy segura de en otras oportunidades seguiremos utilizando el servicio! Lo interesante es que el car sharing se está convirtiendo en una estrategia donde las empresas de transporte público y los ayuntamientos/municipalidades de las ciudades colaboran para mejorar el tránsito, para que cada persona no necesite tener su coche, ya que la mayoría de las veces no se utilizan más que unos pocos trayectos al día, al mes o al año en algunos casos. Para quien entienda alemán, puede ver este video!

La pregunta que me queda... ¿Será verdad lo de la pantallita del navegador del auto que te indica cuán "ECO" has manejado? Para la próxima, más información...

Friday, May 04, 2012

Embajada Argentina

La Embajada Argentina en Berlín se está especializando en mostrarme que organizan eventos a horarios extraños... Es como si quisieran que, de hecho, no quisieran que la gente vaya. Lo hicieron en el Día del Malbec y lo vuelven a hacer ahora, con la invitación de los festejos del 25 de mayo. Es el 24 de mayo, jueves, no feriado en Berlin por supuesto, y al mediodía! En plena jornada labora... Les escribí preguntándoles, pero nadie me ha contestado. Creo que será porque el viernes 25 de mayo será el festejo real en la residencia del embajador al cual la ciudadanía no estará invitada para la fiesta patria, supongo... ;-)