89. From Computer Graphics to Lisbon’s Uni: A Life in Computer Science Education with Miguel Sales Dias

Recently we’ve had the great pleasure of chatting with Miguel Dias, who has 30 years of experience, with more than 10 in the industry-leading R&D and Business Development. Miguel is a founder of BIX Citizen a Cloud Service Provider of Home Telehealth and Business Developer of Indicio Solutions, a B2B Cloud Service Provider of Spoken Communication, Data Communication Intelligence and Big Data Analytics. Currently, he’s an Associate Professor with Habilitation in the Department of Sciences and Information Technology at ISCTE University in Lisbon, teaching graduate courses in Computer Graphics and Virtual and Augmented Reality.

Main topics covered:

🤓 Being a geek in Computer Science

⌛ Graphic Design: in the past vs. nowadays

👩‍💻 How to attract young people to study

🚀 New trends in Human-Computer Interaction

A: Welcome Miguel, good to have you with us. How are you?

M: Well, very well, I’m here with friends with a good beer! Warmer than outside… Really cool. Thank you!

A: I guess you’re a geek in Computer Science. What is your interest in this industry? At what age did you become interested in this field?

M: I come from a family of engineers, my father’s background was electrotechnical and my mother’s chemistry. I got for some reason fond of maths and physics, and that helped me a bit. However, I was also interested in geography, history and, in a bit, of economics, so, at some point, I had some doubts about going into more social sciences or maths or engineering. In the end, I ended up on that path, because I was really fond of the basics. That was why.

Colégio São João de Brito’s class

A: You’re telling me that your father used to work at RARET? If we were having this conversation, six months ago, nobody, at least here in Portugal would know what it is. Now, I guess lots of people know because it has been made famous by the Netflix series “Glória”. For those that don’t know, RARET was a retransmission centre that was built by the Americans during the Cold War to make sure that the people behind the Iron Curtain were having access to information from the West. It was installed in Portugal for technical reasons because this was at a good distance to propagate shortwave signals to those countries. Your father had the exact same profession as the hero of the series!

M: My father actually, was one of the top students in his course. He was also an electrical engineer in telecommunications. At some point, he got that position on the team that designed and installed the transmission systems that we see in the movie. Actually, the job of my father was around the same environment as the hero and he was living in one of those types of homes, but 10 years before.

A: Looking back, would you change anything in your decision? Did you ever consider any other career paths?

M: When I joined Técnico (IST), I was really convinced that was the trend. We also had, in the last year, some management and economy courses. Maybe it would be a good idea to have an MBA by looking into the business side of things… Engineering and management could touch at some point. Recently I was also a board member of the Portuguese Energy Agency, I did the mandate there, which is actually a management position in the institution. I ended up doing an executive program at Católica University, in 2019 — Advanced Management Program for Executives.

A: Currently, you are a Professor in the Department of Sciences and Information Technology at ISCTE in Lisbon. How do you enjoy working as a Professor at university?

M: I started university in early 87 and then I did all my career until 2005 there. After that, I joined Microsoft for 11 years, and then the Portuguese Energy Agency for three and a half years. I got back to the university one year ago. I’m really having fun. Currently, I’m lecturing with students from the first year, up to the masters and PhD. So, I get different perspectives, different crowds. It’s nice! We should look into the youngsters with a different view, looking at their paths that are just about to start.

A: Did you use to bring work home and teach your own children Computer Science?

M: Well, I tried! But not probably with so much success. My elder one decided to go on the engineering path. So he’s now a data scientist, but he wanted to be first, a cook, and then a kickboxing professional. I think I might have had some influence there…

Miguel and his family

A: How have you been able to juggle between parenting and a professional, challenging career? Would you have done anything differently?

M: There were various challenges, especially in my 11 years at Microsoft, where I was heading a remote Development Center in Europe, based in Lisbon, but also with offices in Porto and some other countries in Europe. It turned out that we had projects with Beijing, 8 hours apart and Redmond. So, sometimes I had meetings very early and very late too. I recognized that it was, some hours out of the contact with the family that had some impact. Maybe I could have done those meetings from home…

A: Are you excited about the upcoming ski season?

M: Yes, skiing is a big passion! The thing about this pandemic situation didn’t help so much. Historically I’ve been doing that with some of my friends and we went to places like the Sierra Nevada or the Pyrenees. Let’s see…

Miguel and his ski friends

A: I know that you are also a history geek. Which historical period are you most interested in? Why?

M: I especially like Portuguese history. I find some periods that are interesting, for example, the Restoration period. It’s very interesting because it’s very complex. After John IV of Portugal was acclaimed, we went into 26/28 years of war with Spain. There was a lot of political turmoil with the Dutch, French, English, Spanish… Also the situation of our Maritime Expansion…

A: You went into computer graphics with your colleague Pedro Faria Lopes (INESC). You told me you thought that you would be working on CPU design, so how did you get into the early field of computer graphics?

M: When I was finalizing the engineering degree, that’s when INESC was founded in 1980. I was really fond of INESC because it was a research novel unit in the image of the Americans. I did a final course project on the simulation of CPU, the Intel 8085. We did a logical simulation, and I was really enthusiastic about that. Then I started my Masters in Técnico — which was really cool, I had very good professors, like Luís Vidigal, Mário Rui Gomes and Tribolet, etc — I thought I was doing microelectronics, integrating certain designs. Suddenly, I was already a friend of Pedro and he was moving from traditional movie pictures to computer graphics movies. I joined him and then he took me from CPU design into computer graphics.

A: And why was he already doing computer graphics?

M: He’s been a friend for a long time. He was doing small movies, etc. And he did the first experiments with computer graphics and movies. So, we together designed the first 3D Computer Graphics movie.

A: “The Adventures of André & Wally B” was the state of the art, I guess, set in 1984. Have you actually seen this movie?

M: Yeah, in late 1984. This was one of the references and then also, Luxo Junior from the same guys. This was the US, at that time, this was really cool. This was the best!

A: Even today, you look at this video…
M: It brings emotion, drama. There is a plot, there is an empathy with the character, there is the notion of the character that plays a role and we empathize with. But there was also an influence here in Europe: Daniel Thalmann and Nadia Thalmann did the same, a simple movie called “Dream flight (Vol de rêve)”. That was a wireframe movie but I remember the first time I saw it. I was really impressed because it also had a history.

A: Then you end up producing the first CGI movie here in Portugal, with Pedro, on a Data General minicomputer, which is a special machine called MV 8000
The funny thing is when I was searching for this machine, apparently, a book was written about it:

A book that won the Pulitzer prize, ‘’The Soul of a New Machine,’’ by Tracy Kidder, tells the story of two engineering teams of youthful computer designers — the Microkids and the Hardy Boys — who worked under high-stress days, nights and weekends on what the company called Project Eagle. — Sept. 6, 1981, The New York Times

Apparently, this is still a reference book not on computer science, but on people management, and how this company created a skunkworks to design in a very fast time, a new kind of computer. So, those days, there was no Unity, no 3D modelling, nor even rendering, how did you do?

M: There were just libraries like the Graphical Kernel System, which was a European graphical library. There were some graphical screens, but they were wireframes — black and white type of screens. The first raster graphics were being invented. There were no commercials, actually at INESC they were already working, but they were very expensive. We ended up doing our movie on a black and white screen but with graphical capabilities. So, this Data General MV 8000 was the first computer that INESC bought. Those Superminis were then adopted by the academia, then Digital Equipment with the VAX VMS, etc. We developed a team, a computer graphics team at INESC. I joined and there was a graphic package called SOLON 3D for the MV 8000 and we did the computer animation part in the first experiment.

A: So you did the animation, but more than that, you also did the 3D rendering libraries?

M: It was not just me. There was a team. We contributed to that rendering with the animation part.

A: I believe that you had a very fun weekend searching for VHS copies.

M: And that was the state of the art at least here in Portugal. So the video that I have here is a mash-up video, which is the 10 years of INESC (1990). It was fully developed by the computer graphics team of INESC. I was not directly involved in this movie, but this was directed by Pedro. This was a mixture of software that was available and software that was developed there (at INESC).

A: In 1990 you were collaborating with INESC in the Computer Animation Research Lab, headed by Pedro Faria Lopes, where he and the team produced a video of 10 years of INESC. Want to tell us more about that experience? In 1993 you were doing your PhD thesis, who was your supervisor?

M: My supervisor was José Manuel Rebordão, a physics professor at Faculdade de Ciências. His expertise is in Optics and Lasers. He was my master’s and PhD supervisor of Computer Graphics.

A: So, how did you go from Optics and Lasers to Computer Graphics?

M: I met him when I was doing the Masters in 1987. He had the project for a CAD system. We needed a CAD system to drive a laser cutter. That was my job. In my master thesis, I developed a full CAD system with two subsystems to do the pattern design and to drive the cutting of the patterns in the laser cutting machine.

A: That was part of a spin-off?

M: No, at that time, in my master’s, there was a second project doing also a CAD system for apparel from an INESC that ended up being developed further as a product.

A: Startup spinoffs at that time were still not so common, but one of the projects at INESC Corte — a CAD system for textile and later for shoe manufacturing led to the creation of Mind, a company that is still around today. Nowadays kids are much more aligned to understand startup opportunities of research and development. Was this something crossing your mind?

M: Well, not much at that time, to be honest. When I did my masters, it went well and the conclusion was it was a nice system and there were some publications. EFACEC was the builder, it had an interest in building the infrastructure, and it was a sponsor of my work. But it didn’t evolve into a product. So, I realized that maybe, and influenced by Rebordão, the good thing would be to go into the 3D world because there was also the problem of the 3D design of clothing and the 3D mechanical deformation (of cloth). They were a research topic at that time, in the early 90s. Today we see all those Hollywood movies with virtual renderings that are very cool, and all the characters are well dressed, right? That technology was developed during the 90s, and I was also a part of that effort. There was a direct relation between my masters topic and my PhD topic.

A: So, you decided to continue your research studies and you ended up co-founding an R&D centre. In 1989, you became the vice president and founding member of ADETTI. How did ADETTI come through?

M: In 1987, I got a position as an assistant lecturer at ISCTE. And then I ended up, some years after my master’s, as a lecturer. And Professor Augusto Albuquerque created that team and he designed a strategy where, after our thesis, he would like us to develop our research careers at ISCTE. So I thought, why not? I mean, I think that I accepted that challenge. I decided to leave INESC and start some effort into creating a research lab (at ISCTE). For that, of course, we needed funding and a team. I started writing proposals to the European Union because in 1986, remember, we joined the European Union. So, I got my first European project by 1993 and with that, I founded a research lab on computer graphics at ISCTE and ADETTI.

A: And the money came through…

M: Yes, we started to get some traction.

A: In the early 1990s you also were at the forefront of the TransEuropean networks IP on top of ATM, those were the days of the Netheads vs Bellheads.

Netheads vs Bellheads

Opposed to the Bellheads are the Netheads, the young Turks who connected the world’s computers to form the Internet. These engineers see the telecom industry as one more relic that will be overturned by the march of digital computing. The Netheads believe in intelligent software rather than brute-force hardware, in flexible and adaptive routing instead of fixed traffic control. It is these ideals, after all, that have allowed the Internet to grow so quickly and that are incorporated into IP — the Internet Protocol. -Wired Magazine, October.1996

You also bought some of the very first Silicon Graphics workstations here in Portugal? For the first lab of ADETTI, right?

M: Yes, INESC was the first to buy it, when I was there in 1991. In 1993, I started my own lab with a lot of silicon graphics at ISCTE. They are in the museum now.

Note the book: Distributed Virtual Worlds, 2001

A: They’re in a museum, but back then, they cost a lot of money…

M: Yes, alot of money. You needed a European project to have one.

A: And you bought then the state of the art. Do you have any funny stories? Have you seen the series The Billion Dollar Code on Netflix?

M: Yes. That project I knew because when it happened, I was still developing also in Silicon Graphics. They use it on an ONYX, which was the top! I didn’t have an ONYX. I could have had an ONYX.

A: What happened?

M: Well, at that time, I had a lot of European projects and it was a bit too much. So, I thought “I don’t need an ONYX. I’m enough with what I have.” So yeah, so I had an Indigo 2. They were also good.

A: In the late 1990s and early 2000s you took a bunch of students from my class of Telecoms and Computer Science from ISCTE 1998, like Pedro Santos, Rafael Bastos, Antonio Calado, and later Rui Varela, to AR /VR projects, and you did several breakthroughs, including the best demo at an international conference.

M: That was in Darmstadt, which is in Germany — ART 2002. That was the AR Toolkit workshop. It was the workshop of all the practitioners of AR (Augmented Reality) back then. I mean, Augmented Reality started in 1990.

ART02 in Darmstadt, Germany

A: I have the video here. This is the video from 2003, after the prize. In your lab, and we can see several of my colleagues (almost 20 years ago)… You were using this AR Toolkit, which was not developed at ISCTE, right?

M: We started looking at the AR toolkit. I had a lot of work in AR until 2005. And we developed our own platforms. We had various master’s thesis and PhD thesis. For example, Rafael Bastos did his PhD thesis in a novel texture tracking system. We had our own technology, all based on graphical processing and computer vision in C++. So, we were in the front run.

A: In a parallel universe “magicreality” which is the name of a proto-company never made it to the startup level?

M: We did, not only, some large European projects, but also we did some services and we sold licenses of our software to Dutch companies and German companies. But we didn’t really accelerate the technology… We created the brand magic-reality etc. We had technologies but we did not do the last mile…

A: Do you think Universities lack an entrepreneurial attitude from professors and even students? Why do think about that still happens? Do you think that’s because universities don’t encourage professors?

M: I mean, the university, that time, was very supportive but there was a lack of know-how on productizing. We had the context, and the market need was emerging. After that, augmented reality was jumping, like today, but I think there was a lack of knowledge.

A: In 2005 you were invited to join Microsoft because they wanted to have an RD centre to do languages in Europe. You ended up spending 11 years at Microsoft — how was that experience?

M: It was terrific! It was the best experience I’ve ever had. I mean, I must be honest. With my agreement with Microsoft, I could continue with the academic connection. And actually, I was an invited professor in 2012 and I was still doing computer graphics. So, I could have a little bit of both worlds. But then, I met the corporate world where we have different structures, different critical mass, more impact. Back then, we were developing a team, we were part of the speech group, and we were developing components of Microsoft products that went into the global market. For example, we had a project at some point where we developed 12 European languages, and some variations, including the European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese in the speech synthesis and speech recognition technologies for Microsoft products.

Late Prof. Mariano Gago, Minister of Science and Technology of Portugal

A: So for people that don’t know the difference speech — synthesis is…

M: Text to speech. So from written text to the pronunciation of a synthetic voice, i.e., we write phrases and synthetic voice pronounces those phrases with the correct sounds, that’s speech synthesis. Speech recognition is from the spoken form of the language into the written form of the language.

A: That’s what people have on their phones nowadays. Microsoft kind of killed their phone project early in 2010…

M: 2017.

A: And it now seems that Microsoft arguably was on the top of natural speech recognition and generation back then. It now seems that Google and Apple with Siri, take the lead, mostly because of the fact that they still have mobile integration. And mobile is really the place where voice still has a huge impact. People are on the go, they don’t have a way to kind of input their data, so they say, “Hey, Siri, why don’t you do this or that?” What happened here?

M: Well, I was a director, right, I was not designing the corporate strategy. But my interpretation was that at some point, as you said, the biggest scenario for speech is mobility. You speak to a phone or you receive some voice, you communicate via the phone. It’s not so evident that you do that to a desktop or even a tablet. Only for accessibility, it’s very needed. And then Windows phone was gone because the penetration in the American market was very low. That’s why.

A: Microsoft doesn’t want to be in second place…

M: Never. So, that has impacted my group and my reflection. I never spoke with the Vice President about this. But it was a Vice President that decided to stop the European speech operation and turned it into China and America, where 10 years before I did the opposite. I was delocalizing the speech development from China, and in America regarding European languages, to Europe. So, they decided the opposite. So, for just corporate decisions.

A: How being an outsider, because you came from computer graphics and AR, was that actually a good thing for you? Don’t you think that often in scientific research, you still tend to work very much in self-contained silos, and this cross-pollination would be beneficial if you allow different people from different areas to research on others?

M: Yeah, I do believe and actually, in ISCTE, we find that because we are a social science university with technology. We have sociology, social psychology, technology, engineering, architecture, management. We have this culture and so I have a bit of that culture too. In fact, when I joined Microsoft, I was a computer graphics person and I had to liaise with computational linguistics and linguistics, on one hand, and speech scientists on the other hand. There was tension back then at that time, between those two. So there were even some sayings, some speech scientists saying that, about the speech technology, whenever they fire a linguist, the speech recognition, accuracy, improves by 10%. That was the step. But it was a bit of a joke, and there was some tension. I was there in between and I was able to speak with both sides and create a team. My team at Microsoft, in the end, we were like 35 and we had software engineers and computational linguists.

A: One of the computational linguists that you hired in 2008 was Daniela Braga, who eventually went on to become a founder of DefinedAI, while she was doing her PhD (she was doing linguístics). Do you remember her interview process with such a strong personality?

M: Of course. You know Daniela too! Since I was neutral, I needed to meet the community. I went into Linguateca, which was a yearly event organized by Diana Santos, in Portugal. It was a conference and I went there and met all the community, and I also met Daniela. She was very interesting, and I wanted to develop the Portuguese voice for Microsoft products and also the Brazilian Portuguese voice. She was knowledgeable about the technology because she did a Ph.D. in the text to speech synthesis of European Portuguese. I hired her and it was terrific. She did a wonderful job and she liked the company. She eventually went into work with my colleagues in China first, and then in Redmond. She was based in Redmond and on the same team I was. It was really a wonderful experience for some years. Then she left Microsoft and created definedAI.

A: So, Microsoft decided to close the R&D here in Portugal for soft language development. The crisis of 2008 happen. You were telling me the other day that Steve Balmer was in Portugal in 2008 the day that the Lemon Brothers went down. That was bigger than covid, for lots of companies. In 2016 you joined ADENE, as a board member. How did it happen?

M: That event of 2008 impacted Microsoft a lot. It was the first time that Microsoft fired, ever, in January 2009. Out of the Lemon Brothers, but then it recovered. In 2016, the operations were closed and I was later invited to be a part of a list that was voted in the General Assembly to be a part of the next Board of ADENE (the Portuguese Energy Agency). The vote was in late 2016. I think it was December, I joined in January. This is a hybrid Association, so the board is voted by the General Assembly. So, that was the process.

A: One of the things that you brought in was that you started to understand that you could disrupt what is essentially a public agency with powerful tools like Design Thinking, Service Design, Business Model Generation. How did you come into contact with these new tools?

M: I was invited by a very good friend of mine, João Paulo Girbal, that was the president of the team. We came from the private sector, at that time. Together with other colleagues, we had a mixed vision of public administration and the private sector. So we realized that we could do some bettering, some improvement of efficiency and we did some restructuring. It was a 100 person agency, we changed the positions of 50. Half of the people changed and moved in the direction of creating an Innovation Group, an Incubation Group and an Operations Group. We were doing a pipeline where we were thinking on the mid to long term innovations that our operations would put into the society, because the agency operates some public services. So we were thinking about the future of those services and even incubating and accelerating new services, which we did. So, with these three groups, plus some support units. We thought that to accelerate innovation, design thinking, service design, and design sprints type of methodologies were the best. And actually, we counted with Productized help at that time. And there are some products of ADENE in the market today that resulted from that initiative.

A: You were also one of the founders of ISTAR in 2014 and coordinator of the Digital Living Spaces group in the period 2014–2019. Why did you change ADETTI to ISTAR?

M: While at Microsoft, I always maintained my liaison with ISCTE, especially in innovation in research. This was a strategy of the university. ADETTI was a non for profit association and the strategy was to consolidate all the research in ISCTE (which happened also in other universities, it was a natural consolidation activity). So, since I was a defender of the research at ISCTE, I was also one of the founders along with Nuno Guimarães and Fernando Brito e Abreu (of ISTAR).

We increased (the number of) people and joined hands with the mathematics department, and part of the architecture department, the part that was interested in digital technologies. It was a large operation.

A: You are actively collaborating in the Sociodigital Associated Lab, founded in 2021, that gathers 6 research units of ISCTE to coordinate the Digital Transformation Thematic Line 5 of SocioDigital Lab. Can you explain to us what’s it?

M: That was a different operation. I’m always fond of intersectoral, and multi interdisciplinary research. Here, at ISCTE, there was an opportunity, one year ago, for ISCTE as a whole to become an associated lab. There were already at that time, around 30 associated labs. And so, there was an increase and we wanted to join. If we bind together, we are around 400 professors-researchers. And joining hands, we are in the top of the Portuguese associated labs, in the area of Social Sciences and Technology.

A: Why is it difficult to teach Computers Graphics to University? Because in many Universities they stopped teaching C++ OpenGL. What do you think Universities can do about it?

M: I’m speaking especially of the ISCTE case. I mean, we have very good practices in other universities like Técnico (IST). At ISCTE, in my opinion, we have had a step back in the good strategy. I think the baseline for computer graphics and the basic libraries, including C++ programming, is a must if you want to be competing in research at the highest level. We will probably evolve in that direction.

A: What are your research topics nowadays?

M: With my experience in Microsoft, I was doing a lot of data science, data collection, data annotation. I have students now in the data science area, and I work closely with some colleagues, for example, João Carlos Ferreira, with whom I share various master and PhD students. There is this new trend of data science, and I’m following the wave too.

A: Do you think that students and young people today have a passion for sciences, data science, something which is specifically data science, something that is attractive to them, is it easy to capture students to this topic?

M: We have had a very good experience. At ISCTE this is the third year of our degree in data science, the first in Portugal. But it’s not an engineering degree. It’s a data science degree. This was an innovation, of course, in Portugal, that was followed by some other Universities. We got a lot of students and now they are excited because they are going to do their first project with companies. And one will be for sure DefinedAI, that we spoke. I already spoke with João Freitas the CTO about this. Before us there were data science’ post-grads or master’s. This was the first degree.

A: Tell me about your recent visit to Ecole42 in Lisbon, created by Pedro Santa Clara. Why did you go there? And do you think that is the future of education? No professors, mostly, peer-reviewed and so on?

M: Ecole42 (42 School) is a different approach to currently teaching code. It’s a program that lasts three years, but it has a first three months period of eligibility for the program. To have an idea, in Portugal, it started last year, with 20,000 applications reaching 300 students, currently enrolled. It’s a disruption, really.

A: Are you a believer?

M: Well, yeah. I mean, we need to rethink this education. We need to look at these experiences because they are really an interesting example of a different way [of teaching]. The students have a very good platform and it’s a kind of a game where they engage in challenges, which are project-based, individually or in groups. And, in fact, as Pedro Santa Clara was telling me, they learn how to learn over there.

A: Don’t they learn how to learn at the data science course that you’re giving at ISCTE?

M: Also, but here, too, so that’s the thing. I mean, this is something to look at, because it works, too. It’s not that the other methodologies don’t work. But to remind you, there are some differences: we are funnelling from 20,000 to 300 (in 42) where in the public system, the scenario it’s different. It’s not exactly the same.

A: It’s good to have a diversity of models. What are the new trends in Human-Computer Interaction? Are you bullish into the metaverse bandwagon?

M: Yeah. Well, I’m more of a believer of augmented reality, to be honest than virtual reality. I believe that we prefer real settings that are enhanced, than going into purely virtual settings. That’s the first start. However, I see some benefits, because sometimes there are scenarios where it would be nice to have purely synthetic worlds. The technology is improving. It’s also very popular, and you can have it on the smartphone, everybody has a smartphone, right? But I’m more a believer of augmented reality than virtual reality.

A: But do you see the scenarios with augmented reality that we have right now? People have been using it for not so useful stuff, like Pokemon GO and stuff like that. So, you know, it’s not like, “Oh, what are you just… how I’m using like, augmented reality, which is really useful to my life” like you are using current Google Sheets, or whatever it is.

M: I think there are nice scenarios in learning and teaching. You can have more flexible scenarios to teach, and all kinds of stuff, where it will be nice to have a mixture of real and virtual settings. I believe that teaching, and also industrial settings, are very nice examples.

A: One of the biggest purchases of augmented reality goggles has actually been the US Army buying 1000s to Microsoft. HoloLens. You have been actively collaborating in the Digital Innovation Hub AI4PA — “Artificial Intelligence & Data Science for Public Administration Portugal Innovation Hub”, recently approved (2021) by the Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition, representing ISCTE in the high-level management consortium of AMA, ISCTE and NOVA IMS, plus 18 other partners. Are you trying to create some kind of academic low cost data-centric consulting lab? I think you told me something on the lines of AI for public administration?

M: This innovation hub goes into the scope of the SocialDigital lab too. It gathers the best of ISCTE with the expertise in public policies and public administration, and the know-how of data science, to help the public administration. The local and central driving policy is basically based on data. And I give you, for example, the example of ADENE. I was there, in the context of the innovation group. We created a small data science team and our idea was to leverage the public data of energy efficiency of buildings, energy consumption, of electricity and gas, water consumption, of course, subject to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), to deploy that to the economy and into the academia and society, to improve policies.

A: Policies need to be data-backed.

M: ISCTE believes so.

A: Do governments actually believe so? Sometimes they do, but they just don’t act as they do…

M: They don’t… not yet because of lack of know-how. They don’t really understand the power (of data) and the trends. That’s why these (SocioDigital, Digital Innovation Hub, AI4PA) lab plans to do training, to do experimental exercises before going into production, to teach the public agencies, central and local, how to handle these huge datasets for the benefit of the society. And in line with the recent directives of the European Union, in the availability of public data for the society at large.

A: Public Good. That’s something that has been in a North Star in your public and professional life for the last 30 or more years. Thank you very much Miguel!

M: Thank you.

Books Recommendation:

People Management:

📘 Matrogiacomo, S., Osterwalder, A. (2021), High-Impact Tools for Teams, Wiley

Creativity and Innovation in Design:

📕 Lewrick, M., Link, P., Leifer, L. (2020). The Design Thinking Toolbox, Wiley

📕 Brown, T (2009), Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation, HarperCollins, 2009, ISBN-13: 978–0062856623

General Knowledge:

📒 “Introdução Á Ética Empresarial”, 2ª Ed. de João César Das Neves

📒 “Como Conduzir uma Negociação — Chegar ao Sim”, Roger Fisher, Bruce Patton e William Ury, Lua de Papel

📒 “Sapiens”, Yuval Noah Harari, 26ª Ed, Elsinore

📒 “A estranha ordem das coisas”, António Damásio, Circulo de Leitores, 2017

📒 “Sentir e Saber, A caminho da consciência”, António Damásio, Circulo de Leitores, 2020

📒 “Steve Jobs”, Walter Isacson, Simon & Schuster Ed, 2011


This podcast was hosted by André Marquet. Produced by Teresa Segismundo, with research by Katarzyna Chryczyk and sound editing by Miguel Sousa.

The Productized Podcast is produced by Productized — a series of interviews with product innovators, successful makers, and entrepreneurs. We hope those who listen to the ideas on this show are inspired to productize.

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Through workshops, courses and coaching, we seek to contribute to the relationship between people and their organizations to build better products. Welcome!

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