John Farr


Fronesys and the Open University collaborate to create an urban data course for startups

17 May 2015

The hardest part of starting a new technology business is taking the first step. This is made doubly difficult when the start-up’s big new idea relates to making sense of the increasing mountain of urban data produced by Smart City initiatives (like MK:Smart). Selecting the best business approach to these urban data projects is key to delivering fresh new ways for cities and their citizens to use technology and information to achieve their goals.

The latest collaboration between the Open University and Fronesys, as part of the MK:Smart programme, has produced a one day course geared toward start-ups with an interest in learning  about how to exploit commercial opportunities around urban data.  The course also covers the use of modern entrepreneurship tools to drive the creation and growth of new technology businesses.

The course outline is as follows:

  1. Smart Cities and Urban Data
    • Introduction to Smart Cities
    • Overview of MK:Smart and the MK data hub
  2. Creating a successful start-up
    • Customer development: identifying customers and crafting a value proposition
    • The empirical start-up process: developing and testing business model hypotheses
  3. Exploiting urban data
    • Designing data products
    • Understanding data value chains
    • Developing and testing data business models

The course will be taught by Prof. Gerd Kortuem, professor of computing at the Open University  and Jyoti Banerjee, a partner at Fronesys.  Both are on the project board of MK:Smart, a Smart Cities programme in Milton Keynes, managed by the Open University and funded by the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE).  Gerd and Jyoti have extensive experience in creating courses and curricula for entrepreneurs and start-ups. Among other programmes, they created and taught the Software Entrepreneurship course for MBA and science PhDs at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

The first instance of the course will be held on June 26, 2015 in association with University Campus Milton Keynes (UCMK), part of the University of Bedfordshire, and also a partner in the MK:Smart programme. UCMK will be hosting the first course at its Milton Keynes facility.

Sign up to the free course here. For more information about the course, please contact Rajinder


A Shift in Perspective – How Universities Create Value

Jyoti Banerjee, partner at Fronesys, highlights that by adopting the principles of integrated thinking and reporting, universities can move away from a focus on reporting short term financial metrics to a multi-stakeholder approach which offers compelling narratives about their value.