Digital Innovation Awards, Netexplo at Unesco

by Nicolas Bry

What is more refreshing and inspiring than innovations waves coming from all over the world? During 2 days, the annual award ceremony from Netexplo sets the pace for international digital innovation, and it’s an awesome moment.

What is Netexplo?

“Netexplo is a unique setup for detecting, analysing and putting into perspective future mainstream practices in digital society. As an international observatory, since 2008 Netexplo has drawn on a network of more than 200 experts around the world. Every year these journalists, scientists and academics detect outstanding initiatives in the internet and digital technology.

Zéro Gâchis

The 100 most significant form the Netexplo 100, showing the big picture of the changes already at work in society. Finally, a jury comprised of independent personalities from the academic world, research and international organisations elect the Grand Prix from those 10 award winners. The Grand Prix trophy is announced and given out at the Netexplo Forum held at Unesco.”

2013 award winners

Electronic Tattoos from China is the Grand prix award winner.

Electronic Tattoos

The 9 other award winners are:

  • PVI, ‘testing for Parkinson’s disease by voice alone’;
  • Sparx, ‘Treating depression in adolescents through virtual worlds’;
  • Yoza Cellphone Stories, ‘Encouraging and helping young people to read through mobile phones’;
  • Zéro Gâchis, ‘Giving consumers spending power while fighting food wastage’;
  • Woo, ‘turning car windows into interactive, connected screens for passenger entertainment and information’;
  • CareSquare, ‘helping the elderly stay autonomous in their homes’, with the help of Internet services delivered via a genuinely designed tablet;
  • China Survival Manual, ‘alerting Chinese smartphones users to health risks and food scares’;
  • ConnectCubed, ‘helping recruiters to source skilled candidates through games’;
  • Lazy Truth, ‘Screening information to fight online rumours and hoaxes’;


Amidst these brilliant initiatives, I have a top 6 favorites list:

  • Electronic Tattoo: I believe it can make a huge impact;
  • PVI: the idea of using voice to detect Parkinson is amazing and illustrate what creative thinking and strategic intuition are about;
  • Sparx: I feel close to adolescent depression issue, and I was moved by the generosity of this entrepreneurship;
  • Yoza: it’s a ‘low-cost high-value’ innovation, and ‘its simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’;
  • Zéro Gâchis: food wastage is a true issue which is worth addressing;
  • Woo: I’m a man of entertainment and connected screens.

Part of the ten laureates, I also remember:  Artefacto (augmented reality applied to urban planning, visualizing 3D plans in real life),  O2amp (detecting pathology, understanding connection between our colour vision and blood physiology… or checking if someone is lying!),  Pantone 107SH 5 (smartphone spectrography, take one’s own radiation measurements), My voice (a device that can read sign language and translate it into audible words, giving voice to deaf-mute people), Fight back (SOS button on smartphones to alert friends and family and improve Indian women safety), Kid rescue (creating a database of illegal child labour activity).


Trend report

2 main trends, geographical and industrial, emerge this year:

  • China influence in the digital field is constantly increasing: there are now 564 millions of Chinese Internet users, penetration is 42%, which indicates still a strong growth potential; mobile Internet and social networks are on the rise (including small social networks with 2 to 4 people in the circle): Baibu, Renren, Youku are Chinese Internet giants; Chinese patents uptake outstanding: one can replace the famous “made in China” by “designed in China”;
  • e-health services are booming: half of the laureates operate in this domain, and there are many more in the Netexplo 100; interesting initiatives combine inventions detected in the previous years like 3D printer and Exoskeleton to lower the cost of manufacturing.

Parkinson Voice Initiative

Other trends observed are as follows: Cloud care (my life with a cloud, crowd cop), My life beyond apparences (decoding, fact-checking), My life without borders (seamlessnes, immersive interfaces), Internet immanence (digital encompassing the material world).

Food for thought

There were a number of moving testimonies and thoughtful presentations. Here is a selection of the Tweets which have punctuated these highlights:

‘The new portable device is the phablet, a mix of tablet and smartphone. For no phone call!” by @dunstewart (Deloitte, predictions 2013)

‘Tablet will not replace PC but smartphone” by @dunstewart – I rather think we will have both in our pockets!

“Uptake of fingerprinting for ID: the iPhone button has just the same size as your fingerprint!” by @dunstewart

“Digital reality in Africa: when a lady touches her hair 20 times a day, an African citizen touches his phone 84 times a day’ by @AMahtarBa (Internet and Innovation in Africa)

Improving school attendance for girls: “Girls drop schools because of unproper sanitation in Kenya” by @AMahtarBa

“One key lever stays in greater connectivity to collect, visualize, interpret, and improve social and human life” by @AMahtarBa

“Kenya is leading the #innovation in digital media, way before South Africa, thanks to positive regulation” by @AMahtarBa

“In incredible number of user interactions, 1% are contextual. Might be a room for improvement’ @neil_morgan_uk (Adobe, the digital self) – Welcome to the Contextual Web!

‘China survival kit is updated every day with latest health risks and food scares’ by @pierrehaski (Rue 89) So are there new food problems every day?

Entrepreneurship international variations: A teacher to his student: in France “What a great idea, be a scientist!”  In Israel: “What a great idea, set-up your start-up!” during Edouard Cukierman speech (Israel innovation model)

Yoza Cellphone Stories

Open data and letting go : ‘Open data is the ability to open access to data to enable an ecosystem to prosper with’ by Patrick Ropert @sncf @SNCFOpenData

‘Innovate requires a 720° view, 360° across industries, 360° geographically” by @francispisani (Multipolar world of digital innovation)

“I did not fail, I found 10,000 solutions which did not work” Thomas Edison via @francispisani “The main difference is failure acceptance”

“Distributed Innovation is a substantial trend, both in open and mixed physical working spaces, and in cultivating differences, and harnessing diversity” by @FrancisPisani

“Innovation is a new assembly of improbable elements, combined to exploit a new opportunity” by @francispisani – Innovate is stealing!

“Hyperconnectivity is a challenge to master together, by sharing views in mutual respect”  by @DelphineErnotte (Orange, coping with perconnectivity)

‘Behaving like an owner, Motivation is about autonomy, not about money’

‘What you do and what you think impact on what you feel’ #sparx

‘Today shows how there isn’t an Internet world separated from the real world, there is one pervasively digitalized world’

“Mobile data is cheap and reliable in Africa. With mobile, you can tell if someone has finished the book!” #YozaCellphoneStories


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future of TV - Leading by InnovatingNicolas is a senior VP at Orange Innovation Group. Serial innovator, he set-up creative BU with an international challenge, and a focus on new TV experiences. Forward thinker, he completed a thesis on “Rapid Innovation”, implemented successfully at Orange, and further developed at He tweets @nicobry

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