In earlier stages of my work I thought, to set the stage for successful usages and leverage technologies innovations shall be solutions and development systems in one. But then I learned that the same technologies can help building quantitative problem solving skills.


Constructionist learning is learning by exploration and experimentation….it's also called exploration, experiential, experimental learning. It suggests learner-centered arrangements where learners use knowledge that they already have to acquire a new one.

Constructionism is not new. It has been situated on the early 80 in combination with programming.

Problem-based learning

It's a constructionist method which allows learners to learn about a subject by exposing them to multiple problems. Teaching is replaced by the construction of problem solvers by in a hands-on way.

What's important in such a problem-based learning arrangement
  • Learning shall be related to a larger task (motivation)
  • Learners shall feel that they can grow into an ownership of the ovarall problem (acquisition)
  • The tasks and the learners abilities must match (intensification)
  • Learners shall be enabled to evaluate their results and relate them to their learning process (assessment)
Constructionist learning can be very effective in quantitative fields, where computational knowledge is the core.

Constructionist Technologies

Not so surprisingly it's the same technology that helps to Think It. Build It. Programming in a symbolic language with a variety of built in algorithms and knowledge, the ability to represent results in various insightful forms, a document centered front-end to share dynamic information…

It's amazing, following a few principles quant innovations become solutions and development systems in one adding-on a constructionist learning arrangement. 

Triangular Relation

Storydoing is about lighting up the medium of people.

Storydoing in a triangle
  • The purpose of your innovating company is to serve your clients and partners
  • Its brand is to offer education and access also to everyone else
  • And its opportunity is to enrich and leverage the work of your teams
If you do it that way, you can't think short term. It's not a complicated relation, but its a game change. Instead of treating teams, clients, partners, others as side projects for return maximization or growth, you work with them to maximize the value of a larger project…whilst enabling each participant to profit. Your innovation works and sells…but that's not enough.

Storydoing at UnRisk

About 15 years ago we created UnRisk. Brand naming is hard. We wanted to communicate the essence of our technology in one word. It was the begin, the title of our story.

A bigger picture of risk

We didn't have in mind that UnRisk will help removing risk…we decided to draw a bigger picture of risk. When the financial regimes change you need to unlearn, because the rules of risk management have changed.

The controlling idea

To use UnRisk means getting insight into the sensitivities of all relevant factors and optimizing risk in regimes where the conditions are known and relatively safe. But, it means also to analyze the tail risk, where conditions are uncertain. 

A kingdom for a technology stack

To manage the change your system needs to change too and we knew from the beginning: we must build a technology stack enabling transformative developments swiftly.

To think and build highly automated derivative and risk analytics, we carefully chose the most advanced mathematical schemes and mapped all practical details...and for advanced risk management, we implemented an abstract concept of nested instruments across nested scenarios…

UnRisk covers a broad variety of deals from the simplest to the most sophisticated and complex.

Story doing not knowing what storydoing is

First we decided that support is the responsibility of development and sales and customers relation of the UnRisk heads.

2009 we established UnRisk Academy to package know how and offer courses and workouts giving full explanation on quantitative finance theories, mathematical approaches and critical implementations. The Academy heads wrote A Workout in Computational Finance published by Wiley. Live workouts were held in all major finance places and attracted hundreds of quants.

2010 we unleashed the complete programming power behind UnRisk as UnRisk Quant. It comes with the UnRisk Financial Language implemented in its valuation and risk, VaR and xVA engines. It enables developers to swiftly build risk-related quantitative finance solutions.

In a brand new project with multilateral of switzerland we co-create a system that explains complex financial concept to non experts.

It's all about open innovation, transparency, education, access…lighting up the medium people…clients, actors, partners, remarkers…

The results are amazing...


In the previous series of posts I've written about values of your innovation unlocked by storytelling/storydoing…about the things that matter for/with those who care.

From Storytelling to Storydoing

In Simple Questions I've boiled down the topics, matters, context and work into questions including Who are you? and Who's it for? because this is the combination that turns storytelling into storydoing. You integrate the medium of people. Clients, actors, partners, remarketers…

You operate your Brand Promise. Consequently storytelling is a responsibility of marketing, but storydoing is a to-do for the entire organization.

A Great Storydoing Innovator

Great storydoers put their story at the center of their business and build it into their innovations. They live what they're for and what they're against.

They are on a quest. And that's not: becoming the biggest and the most profitable…they inspire. And they have defined enemies, like bad services...

How Great Storydoing Quant Innovators fight enemies

Quant innovations can be thrillers. They fight operational enemies by methodology and technology... To fight them quant innovators define constructors and manage progressive problems via white boxes…and give never false comfort about the assumptions of their models and methods.

Great storydoers fight closed-solution enemies by services and full explanation on quantitative theories, models/methods and critical implementations…

They even unleash the programming power behind their innovation and co-create groundbreaking things with clients and partners atop it.

They explain complex concepts to non-experts. It’s an important way to check on yourself, to be sure that your story is at least halfway plausible.

Remember, don't do it alone...

Simple Questions

In the previous time period I've read quite a lot of Seth Godin's and Bernadette Jiwa's publications and tried to calibrate their general models into the working space of quant innovation.

It's about unlocking values by storytelling and storydoing…about doing things that matter for/with those who care…

If you've time enough to brood about your topics, matters, contexts and work you always can boil them down to the big controlling ideas and conventions by answering

Simple questions for innovators
  1. What's it for? - if the innovation works what will it change? What tasks will be carried out?  What does it cover, how deep does it go? 
  2. Who are you? - innovations come from teams. Are they innovating as scientists, practitioners, software engineers, artists…? Do they want to be game changers or pop stars? How do they explain what they did? 
  3. Who's it for? - it's difficult for an innovation to change a certain behavior, but impossible to change every. So, who is it made for? What do they think? How do they work? Will they trust you? 
  4. Will it sell wide? - you've identified those who care about your innovation. Will they share the experience? Will they work with you to help stretching and expanding your market segments?
Magically, the more specific you are in your intent, the more probably you will succeed. You need to change behavior, but not too a game changer and educate your clients beyond use training…and you need to know how to make your ideas resonate with your teams, the actors and clients of your innovation.

And don't forget to ask yourself: What and who is it not for? Who are you not?

If you're clear about this and live it - you're ready for a compelling brand story.

Brand Promise

IMO, a brand promise connects purpose, positioning, team and client experience…It enables a brand delivery connecting with your clients (by head and heart) and differentiate your brand. In short, it's a promise about expectations, stories and relations…all related atop your innovations.

Innovation + Meaning = Brand

Product + Meaning = Brand  is the formula Bernedette Jiwa has derived to explain marketing and brand storytelling. I just substitute product by innovation and with our innovation type's five leaf clover we've the view that helps telling the story that is marketing. Types will save us…they'll manage expectations of clients (and actors)…

Brand is the meaning that clients attach to your innovation…Your prospective clients will choose your innovations if they trust enough in your promises


is about building that trust. What influences the creation of the meaning for your clients?
  • Your worlds view, personality, values, visions...
  • Your communication, voice….
  • Your actions
  • How you build user experiences
  • Your design, imagery, messaging…(often misunderstood as brand)
Remember, you want make people care, build long lasting loyalty, make people feel good about their decisions…

One More Thing

We know now, a technology stack helps us build transformative quant innovations from what we think. A symbolic language for declarative programming with built in algorithms and knowledge…engines that implement them inherently parallel and platform agnostic, a data framework, deployment services...


We also know that a quant innovation can be thrilling. A thrilling innovation must have a big idea, key actors, danger and decision support, a path and methodologies, side benefits…and maybe an ironic payoff. It's units - tasks, workflows and the system as a whole - shall offer constructors, progressive problems management and solutions…all related to the type, big wants, needs and conventions.

But there's one more thing:

Aesthetic pleasure

Beauty may come back and aesthetic pleasure may triumph function. In 2016. Beauty is often sidelined in periods of crisis and downturns…it's argued that objects must function. But if you think of interaction patterns beauty is often part of the function….and I do not talk about the vintage user interface designs.

In a world in which we're overloaded with information beauty will be one of the ways to differentiate look-and-feel…

We've technologies that help us making quant innovations thrilling and beautiful. This is much more than fit-for-purpose, quality-full…

Think It. Build It

What's the dominant motivation for scientific, theoretic or innovative work? We want to build groundbreaking things. Things that move farer, faster and more secure, things that produce and transform energy more efficiently and sustainable, things that let us observe other things more accurate..., things that keep us healthy and happy, things that inform, educate and entertain us, things that connect us…

The evolution of products is characterized by mechanization, electrification, computerization and now cognitization and connection. They all describe jumps in science, theory or innovation.


Doing this we try to express laws of nature in terms of statements of tasks. A robot program running at a robot control is a task that expresses a certain kinematic and dynamic theory of mechanisms. It shows, whether it is possible or not. In constructor theory such tasks are called constructors.
In short, in this view physics and information theory are combined.


If we think of the history of tools from the fist wedge to the computer, we'll see that higher level tools are built by/atop lower level ones. But a computer is not a mere tool…it's a universal (programmable) machine that empowers the development of a vast variety of tools...But programming languages follow the same principle.

Tools enable more people to build more things.


Expressions have two aspects: a language (their interface) and an operational-semantics (their evaluation) aspect. Programs expressed in programming languages carry out tasks. Programming tools enable more people to program more.

Programming languages

They provide certain programming styles and built in algorithms and knowledge. A declarative style needs usually more algorithms and knowledge and an offer to select them automatically than a procedural style.

IMO, a modern programming language is multi-paradigm, knowledge-based, automated, multifunctional, expressive…and (consequently) symbolic.

Symbolic programming

In computation we usually thought of the manipulation of numbers in computers.
The idea of symbolic languages is to represent things in the same way and let computers manipulate  them. A symbol can describe a mathematical expression, graph, geometrical object, movie, … and even a program. A representation in the symbolic way means, they are pieces of data.

Domain-specific programming

Domain-specific languages provide domain-specific language expressions (to represent a domain-specific problem), data and knowledge. If the domain needs quantitative treatment the knowledge is algorithmic.

Putting everything together

Wolfram Language is a language that puts everything together...It allows for programming a vast variety of solutions AND build hierarchies of languages - among them domain-specific ones. They all inherit the symbolic structure and become knowledge-richer and richer.

We've built the UnRisk Financial Language atop Wolfram Language…and extended it into other domains of steel making, plastics fabrication...

And because it's declarative, financial experts just think of new, say, portfolio and risk management processes and as they think about them they write them down and operate them in their semantics of risk-informed investment-, assert- or wealth management or what have you.

They Think It. Build It. It's a completely new way of innovating in quantitative fields. You write down big idea non fiction stories that operate tasks…

Think and build the most innovative, cognitized and connected things for the future.

I'll be pleased to help...

Targeting Me

I don't evaluate EC funded innovation projects any longer. About 500 projects are enough. You know, how I think - after all.

So, I don't even think about walking through innovations that I do not find exciting. At the other hand I do things where I'm good at only.

How do good innovators and innovation advisors come together?

My entry in a file of an innovator looking for advice may read:

Exner, Herbert, Exner advice, quant innovations, business development, market risk optimization, financial-, process., manufacturing-industries, computational knowledge,  symbolic and numerical computation, hybrid programming, 6-10 projects a year,

I'm 70 and I can live from the most successful achievements of the past. So, I'm not moving around seeking projects. But, I'm still passionate about new technologies and business development. And, if I find a project exciting, I meet the people behind…

My fun factor

The more exciting the innovations and people behind are the less I charge…and I do not charge for the first entry work in phases where success is uncertain…

Chart your innovation

Send me something about the controlling idea, technology, business expectations…of your innovation.   It may be a candidate for the classic of the future…we'll find it out together. If yes, I'd love to speak for it.

E-mail me

Maths + Arts = Smart

In Quant Innovations you'll usually provide engines that collect the required models, calibrate them and run methods solving them adequately.

A kingdom for a powerful computation engine

They may be built in a multi paradigm programming style, they may be multi language, inherently parallel and platform agnostic…you've chosen the mathematics carefully, selecting the most advanced schemes solving Stochastic or Partial Differential Equations, Monte Carlo Simulators…

They may implement a high-level domain specific programming language that unleashes the power of this engines.

A kingdom for an insightful front-end

But sometimes it shall just run hidden in the background - manipulated by an intuitive, self explaining front-end. A front-end that explains complex concepts to non experts. An interface the keeps it simple, an interface that uses dynamic visualization and offers attractive and explanatory interaction pattens…

A reference for a great combination: Investment Advisory

UnRiskAlpha helps investment advisors leverage their live advice by risk-informed portfolio analytics and simulation.

Its front-end runs on tablet computers and it's using the art of interface building. Certain intuitive actions call the UnRisk instrument valuation, Value at Risk, and value adjustment and margining engines calculating and presenting information.

Yes, it's an art to design such an interface and link it to an engine that may need to perform millions of single evaluations to transform them into insight for better investment decisions.

This smart maths + arts design principle is beneficial for a variety of cross-sectoral innovations…usually of the realistic, real-time, documentary, multi-flow, process and risk control by valuation and data factory, types (in my The Innovation Mesh scheme...devoted to users, like process, manufacturing or financial managers who need insight for better decisions.

How I Think - After All

Some ask me to evaluate (or review) their innovation, their marketing or their business development.

When I did this for the European Commission they came in as unsolicited submissions…and I needed to read them all.

In the definition phase I read the most exciting stuff first

In the first phase, where kind of definition proposals were submitted I acted like a book editor. I usually put the stuff that excited me at the first pile…I liked the idea, but I needed to assess the commercial potential…often those projects were talked up by "innovation centers"…

In the demonstration phase I assessed after hearing

Those accepted for  demonstration phase needed to submit a more comprehensive proposal and defend it in an evaluation meeting. Among them, some that didn't look so exciting before, because of the push by such a "center". I accepted them, because I knew their "advisors" didn't do it to get us evaluators under pressure…they wanted to help leverage a region…

But, there's the danger that you think you must listen mote to those "scouts". I think, I always managed understanding whether the innovation will work and sell and if the consortium is capable of doing it.

But, finally I felt: 500 projects are enough. Evaluation became craft and less fun.

Do things that matter for those who care

Now, I don't need to read unsolicited submissions. I do nothing without individual interaction. I don't need to listen to scouts. When I'm excited about an innovation, I offer to continue.

It's a few building and exploiting a universe of technologies leading to the transformative development of products and fundamental solutions... Symbolic languages with built-in algorithms, implemented by engines, data and communication services and deployment across all platforms enabling high performance solutions that go where its users go.

It's amazing, how wide the coverage really is: in innovation types, usages and users...

A culture of helping

Helping leverage business development is fun again. I now understand the helping tango much better…

UnRiskAlpha a reference for co-creation

UnRisk innovators at risk analytics and multilateral innovators at investment advisory have combined their technologies to build a next generation Investment Advisory system. UnRiskAlpha helps make risk-informed investment decisions. It runs on tablets accessing a blazingly fast risk server.

It took a few months integrating and it will serve a next generation investment advisoryThink it. Build it. It's so exciting.