Spending an afternoon at Movin’On Summit, the international event on sustainable mobility organized in Montreal by Michelin was very enlightening, here are a few impressions, from this first day.
Applying circular economy to mobility
This year, talking about sustainable mobility is associated with circular economy, which is quite innovative. Indeed, we usually think of recycling when we hear about circular economy, but it can be so much more than that.
Putting circularity at the core of new mobility products and services, we realize that it has to do with shifting behaviours.
For example, being circular can translate into finding solutions to commuting and therefore, working from home can be a solution to decreasing traffic jam while increasing quality of life and well-being of workers in urban areas.
Embracing climate constrains to design urban spaces
Thai architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom designs parks, gardens, green roofs and bridges that address the city’s flooding problem while also reconnecting residents to their natural environment. She has designed a stunning park in the center of Bangkok where rainwater is collected, cleaned and reduces urban heat. Considering the recent Montreal flooding, this project was truly inspiring.
Making the automotive industry greener
Did you know that there were cars working with hydrogen instead of CO2? Did you know that in Quebec, there was a 100% electrical dumpster? That Michelin is developing an air-free tire, Uptis, that was connected and 3d printed? All these innovations are happening to make the future of mobility greener and more efficient.
The solution to making mobility more circular lies in technology.
Movin’On is happening in Montreal, from 4 to 6 June 2019. More information here.
From electrical vehicles to lab-grown meat, from humanizing design to promoting circular economy, C2 Montreal is once again enchanting.
Setting its 2019 theme as Tomorrow, the 2019 edition of C2 Montreal was expected to be all about futurism but the lesson that arises from this very first day, is that tomorrow will only be possible if we start changing ourselves, the way we behave, and if we give a voice to young innovators.
Lab-grown meat anyone?
What if, instead of turning vegan, you could actually taste meat while avoiding the killing of animals? Beyond Meat has been producing plant-based meat substitutes for a decade but a 15-years old scientist explains how she wants to develop genetically modified proteins and a new generation of lab-grown meat. Isabella is part of a The Knowledge Society, an innovation programme that develops young leaders skills. She wants to disrupt food production processes through her cellular agriculture research.
Artificial intelligence is everywhere
It is a known fact that artificial intelligence was everywhere, from healthcare to transportation, from Google search to agriculture… For the general public, AI is associated to Siri, robots and sometimes machine learning (when Gmail suggests the end of your sentence). Even better, AI can be used to predict if someone is likely to contract a disease. Samarth and Ayaan, 14 and 15 years old, are working on algorithms to make diseases predictions even more accurate and better understand human biomarkers. Today, accuracy for an AI-generated diagnosis is of 90% (vs. 70% for a human).
The future is circular
Did you know that IKEA had launched a programme dedicated to circular economy? Dominique Fularski‘s mission, through Circular IKEA, is to work towards becoming the biggest circular retailer, reusing only existing material, by 2030. The giant Swedish retailer wants to work towards a better world, at its own scale. If circularity is often associated to recycling, it also has to do with refurbishing and remanufacturing. IKEA has decided to reuse, repurpose, repair and recycle, not only because it makes the company grow sustainably, but also because it is more convenient for its customers.
Stay tuned for more highlights around C2 Montreal. The 2019 edition is happening from 22 to 24 May in Montreal.
We, humans, have never been so self-conscious about the way we eat, for better or for worse! We eat differently, we seek innovations in the products we choose, we want to be healthier, but while having fun! If you recognize yourself in the “we”, you should discover these 5 Montreal startups.
Innovation MTL discovered them during Fondation Montreal Inc. annual event, La Grand’ Messe. For this 3rd edition, 100 startups were gathered to present their newly crafted products to investors, media, influencers, and the general public.
Do you also have that colleague who decided to cut off his coffee consumption because he was experiencing chest pains, insomnia, anxiety? Perhaps he or she would be interested in Mushup coffee… quality and fair trade coffee beans, roasted in Montreal, but without all the negative effects of coffee thank to a magic ingredient: mushrooms! Not magic mushrooms, but medicinal mushrooms extracts that add healthier virtues while enhancing the taste of coffee beans. Who knew that the coffee industry still had room for innovation? Try it out, it is delicious (and the branding is gorgeous too)!
Eating is about so much more than feeding yourself or even
indulging, it is about living new experiences. If you cannot afford a trip to
an exotic destination perhaps you can at least experience that change of scene
during a handful of seconds by biting in one of Cultur’ dough cookies. You can jump
from Japan to the Mediterranean, from Mexico to the Middle East, without any
visa, directly from your taste buds to your imagination. For those who seek
something different from regular cookies, it is definitely worth it.
Choco de Lea
Chocolate is a guilty pleasure in so many ways: it is rarely
fair trade, it is a calorie bomb, it uses animal products, and often comes in
non-recyclable packaging. Léa wants to solve (almost) all these problems with
her craft chocolate bars. Using soya milk and gourmet ingredients, she
advocates a more responsible consumption of chocolate. We had the opportunity
to taste the camomile and cherry flavoured white chocolate. It was surprisingly
delicious. It is brand new, so follow her adventures on Instagram!
Haumana produces baobab natural energy bars. If you wonder what a baobab is, it is a tree that grows in Africa. People there consumes the citrusy fruit that comes from the tree after drying it and making a powder out of it. It is said to have true health benefits. Haumana is working with a cooperative of women in Senegal to produce their vegan, raw and gluten-free energy bars. The light sour taste gives it a funky twist. And don’t worry, there is an option with chocolate too, it is available here.
Blue Pearl Distillery
Last but not least, if you want to make that old gin &
tonic look rejuvenated and more exciting, while supporting a Montreal based
Pearl Distillery has created a surprising, delicious and funny product to
try. With 100% Quebecois ingredients, their Bleu Royal gin has a flowery
flavour (it is distilled with juniper berries and coriander) and a natural blue
color (apparently it comes from the butterfly pea flower) and… when you mix it
with (1642) Tonic, it becomes pink. More than an ordinary liquor, Blue Pearl
wants to offer experiences, and magical ones, preferably. You can find Bleu
Royal gin at the SAQ.
After a first experience in 2017, Innovation Montreal was excited to discover the new location for Startupfest 2018 and experience the magic of networking! Here are our four impressions from last week.
1. A new location for more dynamic opportunities
The festival was happening at Parc de Dieppe, at the extreme end of the Cite-du-Havre peninsula, with an exceptional view over Montreal Old Port. From this location, the opening ceremony of Startupfest, on 11 July, coincided with the traditional summer fireworks in Montreal and provided a festive atmosphere to the launch. To access the venue, guests could arrive either by boat, bus, car or bike. This unprecedented venue encouraged small-scale networking opportunities for sure.
2. More premium fests, more targeted content
This year, the festival was divided into 9 specific mini festivals so that startups, organizations, investors, could meet with their specific communities more efficiently. For example, ScaleupFest was dedicated to providing advice and knowledge on initial investment and growing. ArtupFest aimed at gathering artists, designers and all members of the creative community to discuss ways of improving society.
3. A contest for impact-driven startups
The Quartier de l’innovation and MTL Newtech organized a pitch contest for startups that are driven by social impact considerations. Over the three days of the events, entrepreneurs got the opportunity to present their projects to a jury with the possibility of winning prizes in cash but also a promotional video produced and disseminated as well as coaching from MTL NewTech. They could either pick a technology (from those mentioned on the colourful cards) or explain how their startup impacted positively on the community. On Thursday 12 July, Aligo Innovation was part of the jury and offered the opportunity to develop already existing technologies or to help inventors and researchers move from research to development.
4. A “young” entrepreneur with a vision for a greener future
Through the brain dates system, Innovation MTL was able to meet with Gaston Beaulieu, a “young” entrepreneur of 72 years old who decided, after he retired, to develop a new concept of eco-energetic greenhouse that grows plants and vegetables without electricity nor water: Gaïa Écosystèmes. Through a concept of biomimicry, this engineer with experience in the aerospace industry invented and tested his inventions over the past 8 years. His is now ready to present his concept to investors and potential partners for prototyping. If his tests are correct, this greenhouse could provide 330,000 kg of vegetables annually. We will definitely be following his ambitious project!
What an exciting, exhausting, thrilling and inspiring 3 days… We did not know where to start, with all these conferences, workshops, networking opportunities, experiences. We tried to experience it at 200%. Here are our highlights from the most popular, selective and inspiring event that happens in Montreal.
1- To grow, you need to open your mind
The closing ceremony of C2 Montreal was long awaited by all. For this final act, world-famous rapper and weed entrepreneur, Snoop Dog came to talk about the blooming cannabis industry in Canada. As C2 aims at helping “established and aspiring leaders unlock their creativity in order tobetter face disruption and change”, mentioning cannabis growth opportunities was daring but undeniably adapted!
2- Empathy will save us all
Scientist turned robot maker, Christine Sunu showed us that robots could have a heart. Yes, they can make us feel real emotions, especially Mostly, her fluffy creation that makes sounds and purr like a cat. For mentally and socially challenged people, these robots can trigger emotions, feelings and empathy that even humans would not be able to express.
3- Design your solutions
Ideate for Impact was the place to be if you wanted to create something tangible out of your 3 days. This series of workshops allowed participants to design a real solution to make an impact on the ground. During the “Healthy Cities” lab, we learned how to articulate a design challenge, frame prototyping ideas, and implement them. This was a unique opportunity to help real people (Mark Brand and his team) on their mission to bring the homeless community upward in Vancouver through Save on meats.
4- Create with others
If you really want to bring something new to the world, you need to do it with others. Indeed, many inspirational speakers presented projects that were innovating because they were launched by a transversal and diverse team. Creativity came from the collision of their skills and personalities. Stéphane Garti is an artist and engineer that applies the tools of prototyping to dance and fashion projects. He founded Wearkit, a community of makers, coders, artists and designers contributing to open design.
5- Learn technology… or disappear
Again, this was on the mouth of several influencers such as Stephanie Carullo, COO of Box and expert in scaling tech companies: if you want to change the culture in your company, you have to excel in technology because digital tools will allow you to work towards customer centricity, diversity and… privacy!
6- Protect your data
Talking about privacy… Regulations are starting to emerge, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that went into effect on 25 May in the European Union. But beyond regulations, there is an ethical and democratic aspect to that issue. We had the privilege of listening to transparency activist Chelsea Manning talk about how marketing has turned into a massive surveillance system where it is more than ever urgent to protect our data.
7- A penny for your thought?
Have you heard of computer-brain interfaces? There are machines that allow researchers to read your minds or should we say, to “hack your brain”. At the “Reveries” lab, we got a glimpse of what happens in our minds through the use of neuro-technology. A unique visualisation of our thought patterns was offered to us after a set of electrodes was attached to our head. If today, these offer mysterious brain signals, tomorrow, tech giants like Facebook are working towards creating new devices around these computer-brain interfaces… for better or for worse!
The second day at C2 Montreal was long awaited as Chelsea Manning, world famous transparency activist was here to talk about her battle for a new democracy. But in some parts of the world, technology can be a new way of creating sustainable growth. Here is a glimpse at our lessons learnt for the day.
Data transparency in danger
Celebrating her first year out of prison last week, Chelsea Manning was on the big stage this morning to raise awareness on the risks of digital data collection and mass-surveillance from the government.
“Ten years ago, I was working on machine learning technology to find out how to better target people. Today, this has turned into aggressive surveillance. We have moved from a customer-centric marketing to a marketing for death.”
Indeed, it is more than ever urgent to create rules and work towards a greater transparency. Manning, who is a fierce whistle-blower and former US soldier got incarcerated for revealing classified documents. Today, she urges coders and software developers to assume their ethical responsibility to create more transparent tools.
If we already have encrypted text messaging or softwares like Securedrop that enables the anonymous source to upload information for journalists, the battle is only starting.
Building and scaling technology in Africa
If citizens are fighting for their privacy in our part of the world, others are embracing new technologies and creating new digital products that are both transparent and growth oriented.
Tunde Kehinde is a serial entrepreneur from Nigeria who disrupted the way Africans live and consume thanks to tech tools. He was one of the co-founders of Jumia, the “Amazon of Africa”. Despite the infrastructure challenge – Lagos was for decades among the top 15 worse cities in the world for traffic congestion (according to TomTom Index) – Tunde decided to listen to customers demand and innovate their lives.
To solve the traffic issue, he founded his own e-commerce delivery company, Africa Courrier Express (ACE). Today, his newest company, Lidya, provides African SMEs with access to credit and financing, even when they do not have a bank account.
“Africa is the next go-to market for mobile developers and a trade partner for the future for international companies.”
What we learned from this second day at C2 is that, as the theme of this year’s edition suggests, technology is definitely where the world’s privacy threats and economic growth collide.
Today was my first experience ever of C2 Montreal. If you have not heard of it, this is the most sought after event for innovation lovers in Montreal and in Canada. Here are some highlights of the first of three exciting days.
Founded by Sid Lee and Circle du Soleil, C2 – which stands for Commerce and Creativity – aims at reinventing the way international events are organized and making innovative ideas collide and burst into participants minds.
Recycling oysters shells into concrete and plastic
Introducing the “Visionary placemakers” session, Pauline Mure presented RaWMaterial, a company that works with oyster farmers and restaurants in the South of France to recycle oyster shells by designing new sustainable products: concrete for building new homes, plastic for making new toys.
Bringing love and empathy to architecture
Then we traveled to Brazil with Guto Requena. This architect from Sao Paulo made a touching presentation of his background and how he decided to dedicate his life to triggering empathy in the city through design. His Love project combines design, science and technology to transform people’s emotions into products of daily life and including them in the process. Participants are asked to tell the love story of their lives and as they speak, data is drawn and processed by a software that creates, a graphic representation is drawn and finally, objects are fabricated using a 3D printer.
The youngest VR developer
As part of the “6 under 16” presentations, we fell in love with young Sabarish Gnanamoorthy. With his brother, he launched The Knowledge Society to bring students between the age of 13 and 17 together to work on solving the world’s biggest problems through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
Design thinking to make cities healthier
For the first time at C2, a 3-day program, “Ideate for Impact”, is designed to get participants to work on solving the world’s most pressing challenges collaborating with changemakers from around the world. Using empathy and design thinking tools, we are mobilized to design, prototype and construct a vision for how these isnights and tools can be taken back to four different businesses.
As part of the Montreal Summit on Innovation organized by UQAM and Quartier de l’innovation, we experienced the Conversation market on collaborating towards social impact. Using color codes, participants debated on the urgency for social actors – NGOs, governments, corporations – to work together towards solving problems and make a difference in the world.
Stay tuned for our favourite findings for day 2 and 3!
Last Friday we got to discover truly innovative startups at a 5@7 organized by Quintus, a communication agency dedicated to sustainable projects. This edition of Quintus@7 was dedicated to urban agriculture.
Quintus@7 are free networking events organized throughout the year by Quintus marketing. They highlight best practices in sustainable living. In 2018, five events will be organized focusing on how can we become change catalysts.
Stefany Chevalier, CEO of Quintus defined change catalysts as entities that work towards changing society with a social or environmental impact and that encourage consumption patterns that are innovative and sustainable. Quintus helps change catalyst to promote their activities through accessible communication tools – videos, events, communication campaigns.
“Our intention is not to get people to consume more but to consume more sustainably.”
Among the great initiatives that we discovered last Friday were:
Crickstart & La Mexicoise, two startups that are changing eating habits by promoting the use of insect-based products. Crickstart’s mission is to open people’s minds with flavourful products made out of crickets. Yes this is pretty unusual but it is also one of the most sustainable – crickets are used in their entirety with zero waste, unlike in traditional livestock farming and meat processing, and healthy ingredient – the protein in crickets is rich with amino acids.
Chicza, a 100% natural, certified organic, biodegradable and sustainable chewing gum ever made. It is made out of chicle, a natural gum extracted from tall Chicozapote tree followingMayan traditions. This is truly innovative as most gums on the market carry no more than 5-7% of gum base, if any at all – the rest is plastics (artificial, petrol-based polymers). If you really want to get scared, you can watch “The Dark Side of the Chew” a TEDx talk by Andrew Nisker on the subject. We tasted the mint flavoured Chicza and really liked it. Other flavours include Lime, Cinnamon and Mixed Berries.
Mamie Clafoutis– to be fair, we already knew Mamie Clafoutis’s products (traditional French bakery) but it was very inspiring to listen to its co-founder Joseph Sabatier talking about organic flour and organic bakeries in Quebec. Did you know that only 2% of Quebec bread is made out of organic flour? And Mamie Clafoutis is part of that small figure. As such, it is a real innovator and pioneer in the sustainable food industry in Canada.
Vrac sur Roues, a zero waste online grocery store with bike delivery. Launched by ambitious 21-year old Simon, this new player in the sustainable urban market allows you to buy dry and liquid goods delivered by bike to your door and poured in your containers. Simon is a carpenter but he wants to bring more than wood furniture to society – as the sole manager and employee in his startup, he takes care of all aspects (website, order preparation, delivery) and has assumed all cost with his job as a carpenter, not relying on subsidies or loans. We found his passion and mission truly inspiring.
The next Quintus@7 will be held on June 8 and focus on eco-living and ecotourism. You can already get free tickets.