Q&A with Jens Ahrengot: Update on HelloScience’s new features and infrastructure

HelloScience’s coder in residence Jens Ahrengot has been busy creating new collaborative tools for us that will be announced just after the New Year – however…as The HelloScience team can’t wait for 2021 to begin, we thought you should have a sneak peek of what’s in store.

2021 is not only about new features, it’s about building an infrastructure that will take the HelloScience platform to the next level. More social features, smarter user-centered algorithms and real time access to big pools of knowledge.

Jens Ahrengot Boddum is a Full-stack Developer. He is a software developer with over a decade of experience and has worked on a range of projects around the world, ranging from angel-funded startups to fortune 500’s. For the past 3 years he has been working on the 1.731.393 lines of code that keep helloscience.io running.

18 December , 2020

Q: It seems since your last update Jens that we’ve all gone digital! What have you been up to since the summer?

A: Hello again, everybody! 

Last time I gave you a update HelloScience platform update, I talked about the 3 tracks we were working on.

To recap, they were Track one: The Community Board, which was completed in July:

Community Board:

The way we approach designing, building and deploying new features is via an iterative process. You may have heard of a minimum viable product, but what we have done is to initially roll out a minimum lovable product — Something that does just enough to determine if you – our community – find the feature useful or not. And your feedback really matters!

Why? Because it enables us to continuously improve updates to those features until any rough edges have been smoothed out, leaving us with a result that supports you – and overall structure of the HelloScience platform. Anything built on strong foundations has lasting power and enables us to add more features in the future.

The Community Board will launch in 2021 on the HelloScience homepage. It allows you to reach out to everyone on HelloScience. You can post announcements, share knowledge and ask questions that will help you – and others – grow.

The Community Board is no different, and although its only been a few months we already have improvements scheduled for early 2021. Those improvements include faster load times and better mentions/tagging that will allow you to filter the posts/updates in whichever way is most relevant to you.

The next big update is track two.

Collaboration space:

The case pages that outline start-ups, projects and initiatives will receive a major revamp, focusing on utilizing our network graph to find the most relevant people and related cases, so it’s easier for you to connect the dots between everything that’s happening on helloscience.io

We’re also improving the tagging/mention feature in our comments throughout all of our comment sections, to make it easier to include the right people in the discussions taking place.

The Collaboration space centers around a specific case, but it opens up to other cases alike in ‘related cases’ and suggests potential collaborators in ‘suggested mentors’. The comment section is where the magic happens sharing your knowledge, asking questions or connecting with the team.

Next up, is track three.

Infrastructure update:

As you know, I like to fix up old cars in my spare time, and with this update, we are really going “under the hood” and giving the engine running HelloScience a tune up. To get a touch geeky for a moment, we’re re-architecting the underlying infrastructure to support more social and real-time capabilities in 2021.

In simple terms, it means we’re moving more towards a more social platform where keeping track of conversations and partnerships become as frictionless as possible. This is related to the messaging system I touched on in my last update but it digs deeper than that.

We want to be able to integrate and engage with relevant platforms outside of helloscience.io in a way that’s easy to navigate but powerful in terms of the content available. We’re also expanding our network graphs, to envelop much more research and data than what is currently available today. To do that, we are starting by integrating with databases from universities and other relevant institutions.

Q: How do you think all these changes will improve HelloScience?

A: I think we’ll see a platform with much, much more content without becoming overwhelming. That is of course a big challenge to manage, but we’ve been planning ahead for quite a while now and with the infrastructure updates we should be all set to succeed.

I also think we’ll see a higher level of engagement between people, organizations and startups, given the new social features, which is really important.

Q: As a coder, why are you so excited about creating infrastructure for collaboration?

A: I feel the need… the need for speed! With updated infrastructure, so will be able to move much faster when pushing out new improvements and features.

Getting online collaboration right way, is a big and difficult task, but I believe very much in our team, and maybe even more importantly – in the people using our platform.

2021 will be a fantastic year!

Q&A with Henrik: From HelloScience LiveLab in 2019 to Lake clean-up in 2021

In the words of its Founder Poul Due Jensen; “the world is full of problems that can be solved in a better way.” Grundfos is a global water technology company committed to pioneering solutions to the world’s water and climate challenges and improving the quality of life for people. It has a strong focus on Purpose, Sustainability and Innovation.

As part of its relationship with HelloScience, Henrik Juul Nielsen, Director at Grundfos outlines the actions that Grundfos has taken in the last year to support lake clean-up and restoration in India – and why this is relevant to the organization as a whole.

18 December, 2020

Q: Henrik, can you tell us about your journey this year with the ‘Restoring Lakes in India‘ project?

A: Inspired by the HelloScience LiveLab around Jakkur Lake that we participated in back in early 2019, my colleague Marianne Knudsen and I developed a concept centered around cleaning up lakes in India. Later that year back in Grundfos’ Headquarters in Denmark, we pitched this and it was selected as one of two lighthouse initiatives for the company – from 200 proposed projects.

From the start we knew that we could only achieve real-world outcomes through collaboration with others. Thanks to our great team in India we entered into dialogue with Cognizant, one of the world’s leading professional service companies, and put together a collaborative coalition of stakeholders. This now includes the Indian chapter of The Nature Conservancy, one of the world’s largest conservation organizations, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and Chennai-based Care Earth Trust, a non-governmental organization that works in the area of biodiversity conservation. Read more here

What everybody has in common is the desire, drive and passion to make a difference, especially with something as fundamentally important as clean water and supporting ecosystems. During 2021, we expect to have completed the construction of an eco-friendly wastewater treatment system, walkways and green buffer zones along the lake.

And if you ask me what excites me the most about this project? Simple- I the fact that we are just doing it! There is a long list of potential projects in this space – including in India. Some get funded by the public, but they usually don’t make it that far. In this project Cognizant and Grundfos made sure that there is sufficient funding to deliver on the promise.

It is very important for me to mention that we are not saving the world, we are just helping to enable and supporting people who are already engaged, and making our own, specific contributions. But If we hadn’t have stepped up, we wouldn’t be seeing this happening.

Q: How did the HelloScience LiveLab in Bangalore back in 2019 spark this idea?

A: It was exciting for me to see with my own eyes how the local community and different stakeholders have managed to restore Jakkur Lake and create recreational areas around it, where the natural biodiversity can flourish.

I really liked the holistic way of thinking and the symbiotic relationship between municipality, small businesses and citizens. But it wasn’t just about cleaning the lake, it was about how the community and the environment benefits as a result.

„For me there’s no doubt that the value of those perspectives was a catalyst for future action and our lake clean-up work. If we had only been there in 2019 with Grundfos we wouldn’t have done it.“

The HelloScience LiveLab in 2019 at Jakkur Lake

Q: What are the next steps and how can HelloScience support your innovation journey?

A: Lake clean ups are needed in so many places globally. A lot are polluted in many different ways. Sometimes – sadly – there are cases where lakes are used as dumps for industrial waste.

We would love to use our current lake restoration project an inspiration and exploration activity for future sustainable business opportunities for our company.

To create a sustainable business around this starts with – most importantly – seeing these activities not as a donation, but as a business offering to do something significant by applying its know-how and solutions to meet the needs of local environments, economies and communities. It’s complex, because the benefits go out to so many different parties, but I’m ready to take on the challenge.

The most important question for me is how to create snowball effect on this. HelloScience can help support in accelerating the collaboration with startups and universities and potentially other corporate partners – and helping them visualize not just what’s possible in your mind – but also what can be achieved on the ground.

Revisit the HelloScience LiveLab at Jakkur Lake where it all started . . .

Q&A with llze: Perspectives on sustainability, business and collaboration from UN Foundation

Since its creation in 1998 by global news media pioneer Ted Turner, the UN Foundation has helped mobilize over US $2bn to solve and scale cross-sector Sustainability issues, including climate, health, gender, diversity and poverty eradication. Through its private-sector focused leadership group, the Business Council for the United Nations (BCUN), the organization has long been at the forefront of working with leaders from a multitude of geographies, backgrounds and viewpoints. It has facilitated the sharing of best practices and real-life examples and worked with leaders across industries and sectors as they look to leverage their capabilities to inspire, nurture and scale innovative solutions to the complex issues that we as a global community are trying to tackle.

A long-time friend, mentor and supporter of HelloScience, Ilze Melngailis from the UN Foundation and BCUN, shares her thoughts and perspectives with us.

Ilze Melngailis, Senior Director, Business Council for the UN and Private Sector Engagement, UN Foundation:

Ilze Melngailis’ career has focused on applying business approaches to international development – accelerating gains in health, gender equality and poverty alleviation. She leads the Business Council for the UN (BCUN) and Private Sector Engagement at the United Nations Foundation, where she connects business with the UN and promotes companies’ participation in the UN’s historic Sustainable Development Goals.

She also develops innovative corporate partnerships with the UN and other partners that help elevate the impact of each sector’s ability to drive progress. Previously, Ilze has developed and overseen social marketing programs and public-private partnerships in over 30 developing and emerging-market countries through leadership positions at GBC Health where she was Vice President, Partnerships and Impact Initiatives, and prior roles at the USAID-funded ACQUIRE Project at EngenderHealth, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and consulting roles for the UN and other clients. A professional point of pride is having been the youngest-ever Executive Director of a global IPPF affiliate, when she founded and ran Latvia’s Association for Family Planning and Sexual Health, the first organization of its kind in the region following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

IIze earned her Bachelor’s degree at McGill University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration with academic distinction from Yale University School of Management.

18 December, 2020

Q: UN Foundation and BCUN and its core group of 30 or so Corporates are pioneering sustainability related approaches, from innovation to inclusion. How has that space evolved in the past few years?

A: This is definitely an exciting time to be working with companies because the most enlightened corporations are embedding sustainability into their corporate strategies and they are striving for transformational, not incremental change – it’s not enough to simply map existing ‘corporate responsibility’ activities to the SDGs.

In fact, Novozymes was the one of the first, if not the first, company to fully embrace the SDGs holistically and throughout the company – to do so was bold at the time but is now the gold standard for the most sophisticated and enlightened global multinationals. The shift underway in the financial sector toward investing in sustainable, purpose-led companies is a critical driving force toward (not away from) sustainability. This shift took hold in climate but is spreading now to areas ranging from anti-microbial resistance to diversity and inclusion. One of the ‘cutting edge’ challenges now is the need for transformational system change at tremendous speed and scale, but how to put that into practice is where we need to rapidly evolve new forms of innovation and collaboration and for everyone to stretch outside our comfort zones.

Q: UN Foundation and BCUN have worked alongside both Novozymes and HelloScience for several years now: What are the stand-out elements from HelloScience’s activities that most resonate with you?

A: Openness, scientific inquiry, creativity, collaboration, commitment, and passion are what stand out about HelloScience. Of course, at the UN Foundation and BCUN we were thrilled to see this investment grounded in solutions for the SDGs.

But beyond that I have been impressed by the open-source approach of HelloScience. The initiative is also bringing fresh thinking and new voices into the world of sustainability and global development. It has covered a lot of ground since its founding. Finally, it has a cheery and a bit cheeky culture – HelloScience stories exude the excitement of discovery which we need to sustain the energy and focus required to achieve the SDGs.

Q: As we end 2020, and look forward to “building back better” in 2021, from your long experience combining business approaches with international development, where do you see innovative corporate partnerships making the biggest positive impact?

A: The collaboration between competitors that emerged in response to the pandemic is intriguing and ideally will remain. Issue-based industry coalitions and cross-industry collaborations on climate, food systems etc. have the potential to drive truly transformative, widespread change – in both policy and practice.

We need nothing short of this in order to achieve the kind of impact the world expects on big complex issues such as climate change, global health and meaningfully tackling inequality. Insofar as we need to build back not only better, but differently – I will say perhaps provocatively, that at this juncture, many of us need to have the ‘courage to be second’, to find a way to foster adaptation of the most promising innovations and solutions regardless of the innovator, company or country that originated it.

Q&A with Rakesh: The vision behind JALODBUST and its mission to create positive impact

JALODBUST being demonstrated to colleagues during initial demonstrations during 2019.

JALODBUST: A life-changing startup

JALODBUST is a low cost and low maintenance, portable device that is designed to work as a sewage pump, agitator and declogger. Simple and robust, it can remove sludge from septic tanks, manholes or drains to clear domestic drainage, local sanitation systems or even clean up lakes. In India, many of these functions are carried out manually, impacting the health of sanitation workers, many of whom are at the bottom of the social pyramid.

A project founded by Rakesh Kasba, a civil engineer turned entrepreneur, we were fortunate to meet him back in 2019 as he began his journey to create a sustainable business with social impact.

Jalodbust received a HelloScience Microgrant and helped kickstart it journey in 2019. In 2020, they won several social innovation awards, and are now turning their efforts to meeting their next challenge – raising the necessary funds to scale up.

Rakesh Kasba explain JALODBUST when HelloScience first met him in 2019

18 December, 2020

Q: Dear Rakesh, tell us about JALODBUST. What has happened in the last few months?

A: Last few months have been interesting to say the least! Although we have received a lot in attention for the past year, due to COVID-19 we had to suspend our outdoor testing activities, and of course as a young start up the pandemic has also had a financial impact as well.

However, we did not let our enthusiasm die, and have kept building up contacts and interacting with partners and stakeholders across the sector. What has excited me most in the past year is the amount of positive recognition and attention that JALODBUST has received. This includes:

October 28th: Signing an agreement with Catapult Design to help produce the physical JALODBUST unit.

November 19th: The Smart-Bio-2020 Award from K-BITS (Best Social Enterprise/Institution), Government of Karnataka, India, presented by Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka State. Read more

November 24th: Being shortlisted among the top-30 from 1000+ startups worldwide as part of the TIA (Together in action) challenge to change 1 Billion lives by 2030 Read more

November 26th: The ISC-FICCI (Indian Sanitation Coalition- Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) award for ‘Best in category for Upliftment of Sanitation Workers’. Read more

And a media feature on YourStory as part of efforts to liberate 2 Million workers handling fecal waste globally. Read more

I have to thank HelloScience.io and Alfred Birkegaard in particular for the continued support: HelloScience deserves a special reward as the 1st one to recognize and support JALODBUST.

And whilst the awards and recognition are great, what we want to do next is to secure the funding necessary that will enable JALODBUST to move to the next level and have the biggest positive impact – eradicating manual scavenging by sanitation workers.

Q: What are you most proud of and how has HelloScience helped you in your journey?

A: I am proud of being the person ‘chosen by destiny’ to be part of the mission to end manual scavenging. By education I am a civil engineer and spent many years working in HydroPower construction almost 3000 kms from where I live today. All that has changed now, and I working full time trying to find engineering solutions to the problems of sanitation – especially supporting the “bottom of the social pyramid”. You just need to look – just once – at an image of what I am talking about to understand the positive impact that this change will have on so many lives.

Photo by: Sharada Prasad CS Sanitation workers in the Manholes brimming with waste water and settled sludge at the bottom to manually unblock the clogged sewer line. At the bottom of the Social Pyramid in India are ‘Manual Scavengers’, who clean and clear drains and sewers, usually with no equipment or protective gear, and for very low wages. JALODBUST aims improve the lives of thousands of sanitation workers in India by deploying its solution.

Q: What are the next steps for JALODBUST?

A: HelloScience helped validate my thoughts and ideas and visualize them for others. This was done through video interviews and Social Media exposure, as well as providing me a microgrant to get started. That was a real game changer for me and was the starting point for the current JALODBUST journey.

Since then I have received a financial award from the ASME in the United States and a prototyping grant from SOCIAL ALPHA, India: But what needs to happen next is for JALODBUST to find and align with the right financial partner who can commit to the solution and support both its human and business value over the longer term. I believe that this partner is there, and I am open to any form of funding that can help – for example Grants, Philanthropic or Social Impact Funds, direct (equity) investment or loans. That funding will be used to:

1. Further enhance our current product design so that we are ready for and can scale up manufacturing

2. Deploy 1-2 vehicle-based JALODBUST units so that sanitation workers can be trained in the use and operation of the solution. From there we will also begin to work to develop entrepreneurial skill sets for those workers, for example setting up of Sanitation Entrepreneurships and create a self-sustaining economic model.

I am convinced that we can create ladders out of both poverty and some of the worst working conditions imaginable for our fellow human beings. I know that the HelloScience network is there to help and as been very helpful so far, and my resolve is as strong as ever.

If you would like to learn more or help, especially in helping us lift JALODBUST to the next level of development and impact, please contact me via my HelloScience profile here

Follow JALODBUST on HelloScience

Q&A with Aks2tal: Putting data to work through collaborative partnerships

Meet Aks2tal

Aks2tal is a company that produces and delivers environmentally friendly products, equipment and solutions to support a better indoor environment, with a specific focus on reduction of dust.  

Company founder Allan Schmidt spoke to us about how they are looking to benefit from the building of an app to gather relevant data insights from all the variables they need to work with, and how they are looking to build on their recent participation at the HelloScience “LiveLab” on Sustainable Cleaning.

Q: Allan, tell us about your journey with HelloScience and your experience with the “Future of Cleaning“ LiveLab.

A: At the LiveLab, many competent and skilled companies from the hygiene and cleaning industry participated, and they came with a wide range of inspiration and knowledge.

The LiveLab was professional, there was control of the moderator and a redline throughout the process, despite the fact that it was new for many of us to do a presentation that could minimize the spread of Corona in 3 minutes via Skype – but we managed!.

All the material from HelloScience has been high quality and the follow-up has also exceeded my expectations. In terms of some concrete outcomes, not only were we introduced to both HelloScience through Forenede Service, (FS), which is a partner, but also Novozymes.

And with the ongoing focus on Covid-19, we are really excited that those conversations have turned into an initial pilot project with ourselves, ISS, Gladsaxe Municipality, Forenede Service and Novozymes. The aim is to use our App that we have developed to communicate, document and keep track on data that is generated when we put Novozymes probiotic cleaning solutions into a “real-world” environment.

Q: What excites you most about moving into real world problem solving?

A: Aks2tal can contribute with test methods and support fact-based implementation, as we have knowledge across different cleaning environments.

To succeed, it is important to forge ties between the world of research and the everyday lives of those user cleaning solutions. What has impressed and excited me the most is the sheer level of enthusiasm and high spirits of everyone involved and the “can-do” attitude they all bring.

Q: With the pilot testing you are now doing with your IoT App. Can you explain how it all works?

The aks2tal app’s purpose is to create a cost-effective solution to support indoor climate processes, based around documentation and data driven actions. This can be applied for quality assurance reporting for example by environmental organizations, for veterinary control or for labor inspection – or in schools, offices, nursing homes.

To support this, we have developed the following feature sets:

Error reporting:

Since we work with dust reduction and cleaning, we have repeatedly experienced that floor washing machines that are not maintained, or cleaned will not function properly, or worse, not at all.

So we developed a simple visual error reporting system where anyone with the app can take pictures, describe and report errors which can then be discussed and resolved internally.

This solution is good for example if you work on 3 team shifts and there are only service people on one shift. So instead of spending a long time describing it in words, you can take a photo that you have no doubt about what the error is and categorize them more easily.

Audit planning:

We have developed a simple checklist feature where you can create a template to automate the cleaning audit process. Here you can have your quality system, cleaning plan etc., and if you exceed the planned deadline, the user will be notified by email.

Cleaning log with stock:

Here, cleaning staff can help monitor and record the state of the area that has been cleaned, and informed by email on when a product reorder is needed so that the right amount of cleaning solution is used in relation to getting the optimal indoor climate.

Access control:

This gives the opportunity to provide personal access to one or more departments, companies and the like. as required.

Sensor (IoT) data collection:

We have developed a set of sensors that can collect data on e.g. dust (pm10, / pm2.5), CO2, temperature and more to document the effect of applying a cleaning process or solution.

In addition, we can create reports that can be audited at weekly meetings and used as documentation to authorities and the like.

Check-in system:

We are also currently working on a geofencing check-in system to document that, for example, the cleaning staff were at the location when they checked in, to create trust between customer and supplier. This creates an overview for a manager whose staff is out in many locations.

For all functions, you can have the app notify you if the function is not performed or if there is a limit value that is exceeded.

The app is structured in such a way that it is easy to work in, with a flat structure, you decide which levels to give access to. Here, both user and customer can follow to perform the task, so you can be at the forefront and remedy any problems before they arise.

When we put all these pieces together we effectively create an information ecosystem, and we hope that this will enable some great results for everyone participating – including seeing how Novozymes new probiotic cleaners perform.

Piloting with the Municipality of Gladsaxe

Gladsaxe is a part of the Greater Copenhagen area, and is one of the fastest growing and largest business areas in Denmark. It places a strong focus on sustainable growth and business possibilities linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The HelloScience “Future of Clean” LiveLab has helped bring together stakeholders in the area to help challenge what “Clean” means, creating new relationships and new opportunities.

Freja Ludvigsen, Chief Consultant of Gladsaxe Municipality updates us.

Status Report

As a part of our build back better business strategy in Gladsaxe in response to COVID-19, we are focusing on the potential of innovation in the hygiene and cleaning industry. The impact of COVID-19 means there will be opportunities for new products and services that can bring people safely back to work and leisure without damaging the environment. Gladsaxe has some of the largest corporations in Denmark and as a business development manager for the Municipality I created a hub where we can explore new products and services together. We aim to combine the scale of large companies with the speed of the small startups. This has led to ISS Denmark, Berendsen, Forenede Service, Novozymes, MoveInnovation, Gladsaxe Intern Service and startups engaging in an open, confident dialogue on new business opportunities, and HelloScience has also participated.

At our first meeting in September we identified four lines of innovation:

Sustainable cleaning

Biological solutions

Datadriven solutions

Behavioral design

Our first line of innovation is centered around Novozymes probiotic surface cleaners. We are currently co-designing an initial test in the headquarters of ISS Denmark, Forenede Service og Partneren in Gladsaxe that will be undertaken at the start of 2021. From a Gladsaxe Municipality perspective, I hope that this work support the development and deployment of new products and solutions for sustainable cleaning service that are affordable, safe, better for the environment, as well as those working in the cleaning industry.

Read more about Municipality of Gladsaxe in the LiveLab magazine

Meet Dansk Erhverv

This month is about warming up for our HelloScience LiveLab on 4th November 2020 and we are testing our system innovation approach. We got 4 different perspectives for you.

We set down for a Q&A with Jasmina Pless from Dansk Erhverv to talk about why this collaboration is relevant for them and get a Framer’s perspective for you. We are really happy to have them on board.