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North-South-South Business Informatics on the Ground (BIG) -project organizes a one week intensive course in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The theme of the course is Business Informatics on the Ground (BIG) Challenge. During the course the participant, in teams of 3-5, will be working with two BIG Challenges.


Big Challenge I:  Food street vendors

Street vending is a common type of informal business activity in various countries. Often street vendors’ business strategies are simple, and they lack knowledge and education to improve their business skills. Usually, the street vendors do not have possibilities to attend training, and their modest education level prohibits them to study formal education. In the BIG Challenge I, the purpose is to think and brainstorm what kind of ICT-based solutions could be created to support food street vendors and other food related micro-enterpreneurs regarding the challenges they meet in their everyday business activities, for example in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

BIG Challenge II: Open data Helsinki

City of Helsinki has released regional information for free for anyone to use via the Helsinki Region Infoshare (HRI) service; The published data is mainly statistics, giving a comprehensive and diverse view on different urban phenomena, such as living conditions, economics and well-being, employment and transport. Most of the data available in the services is GIS based. The data can be used in research and development activities, decision-making, visualization, data journalism and in the development of apps.

In the BIG Challenge II, the aim is to create a concept design or early prototype of a mobile app that utilized Helsinki Open data (or open data from other city). The data is available at

Pedagogical approach

During the course, the teams will follow a problem-based learning approach, which will be mentored by the course instructors and experts. The course consists of various activities:

  1. Introduction of the course participants
  2.  Introductory lessons by course instructors to the concept of Business Informatics on the Ground and problem-based learning approach.
  3. Problem identification: discussion, fact finding, brainstorming and planning sessions in teams
  4. Problem solution: Design of tentative technological solution to the BIG Challenge
  5. Presentation and reflection of the proposed solutions.

Course instructors

The course will be lead by two course instructors:

1) Dr. Carolina Islas Sedano, Post-doc researcher at School of Computing, UEF, expert on mobile games, and founder of Ubium Ltd.  Dr Carolina Islas Sedano has worked in industry and academia, her current research work focusing in serious games. The themes involving her research in serious games include: smart tourism, prevention of natural disasters, accessibility and XXI century skills. The special emphasis of Islas Sedano's research is in the conceptualization, development and implementation of applications in context, in particular games. Her other research interests include multimedia, innovation and design. Carolina defended her doctoral dissertation "Hypercontextualised Games" at the University of Eastern Finland, in the School of Computing. She obtained her B.Sc. in Electronic Engineering from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, and her M.Sc. in Communication and Media Engineering in Offenburg, Germany. To date, she has published over 40 international research articles and offered workshops on game design in several countries (e.g. Mexico, Korea, Thailand, Germany, Tanzania).

2) Dr. Marcus Duveskog, ICT for Development expert, is the "Cape to Cape" coordinator at University of Eastern Finland. The "Cape to Cape" is an expedition planned for researchers and academic explorers from different backgrounds and countries that will travel from Cape Town in South Africa to North Cape in Norway by car. He did his PhD research at the Educational Technology Research Unit at University of Eastern Finland, School of Computing. He works with digital storytelling and computer-aided HIV education in the African context. His research also includes working with technology clubs for youth run as living labs, affordable technologies and platform design together with youth using the principles of participatory design

Tentative Schedule

MONDAY, APRIL 13, 2015

9:30 - 12:00 Kick-off

  • Welcome speech by Prof. Nguyen Hay, President, Nong Lam University, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Opening words & Introductions by the course instructors: Dr. Islas Sedano & Dr. Duveskog
  • Get to know each other -activity
  • Introductory presentations
    • Outline of the week, working methods and expectations
    • Big Challenge I: Food street Vendors
    • Big Challenge II: Open data Helsinki

12:00 - 13:00 Lunch

13:00 - 15:45 Start of the teamwork - IDEA

  • Formation of teams, selection of team leaders and selection of the Challenges
  • Spaghetti activity
  • Lecture: How you are going to start to tackle your challenge?
  • Team work: Brainstorming, idea conceptualisation & create an action plan


9:30 - 12:00 Concept Design & Action Plan

  • Wake-up  activity
  • Presentation of brainstorming results and action plan
  • Lecture: Research, business and marketing
  • Teamwork: from an idea to a concept and distribution of work (who is doing what?)

12:00 - 13:00 Lunch

13:00 - 15:45 Concept Design & Action Plan

  • Teamwork: from an idea to a concept and distribution of work (who is doing what?)


9:30 - 12:00 Team work presentations

  • Concept design and action plan development
  • Questions, feedback and suggestions from the course participants

12:00 - 13:00 Lunch

13:00 - 15:45 Prototype Phase I

  • Lecture on Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  • Teamwork on defining their MVP


9:30 - 12:00 Prototype Building and Testing

  • Lecture: Testing and data gathering
  • Teamwork on Prototype Building and Testing

12:00 - 13:00 Lunch

13:00 - 15:45 Prototype Building and Testing

  • Teamwork on Prototype Building and Testing
  • Lecture: Presentation of results and pitching

18:00 Networking Party at Hoa Dang Vegetarian Restaurant – 38 Huynh Khuong Ninh.

FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2015

9:30 - 10:30 Campus Tour

11:00 - 14:00 BIG Challenge - presentations of the solutions

  • Teamwork presentations - Final Products
  • Questions and feedback
  • Course certificates

14:00 - 15:00 Lunch

Course certificate and credit points

The participants will receive a course certificate after the course. The groups are required to submit a written report (min. 2 pages) about their work. The course is equivalent to 2 ECTS credits.


For more information about the course, please contact Jarkko Suhonen: jarkko.suhonen(at)

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