Page 1

Tekes Magazine 2015

Education at play PAGE 28


changes business models PAGE 16

What’s behind the

Start-up spirit in Finland? PAGE 6

02 index


The start-up spirit Miki Kuusi has helped develop Slush from a 300-person, locally known tech and start-up event into a global happening.

Editorial .......................................... 03 In the spotlight .............................04 Cabforce finds success by making travel easier ................... 10 Column: Building blocks for growth ..................................... 14 Young Innovative Companies .................................... 15


Three new Tekes digitalisation programmes ......... 19

Digital disruption

Digital solutions from Finland ................................. 20

Digitalisation is changing old business models. Finnish firms are ready to take advantage.

Column: Digital health hub of the north ...................................22 Celebrating cellulose  ...................23 Future Watch: What makes us buy and why?  ........................ 26


Education at play

Column: Finnish schools on the move.................................. 30

The Playful Learning Centre is at the forefront of innovative education.

Let’s talk about innovation ......................................35

A youthful approach to business .....................................32

Tekes funding and services .................................. 36 Contact info.....................................38

Magazine 2015



Editor: Eeva Landowski Editorial assistant: Susanna Lehto Writers: Tim Bird, David J. Cord, James O’Sullivan Photographer: Markus Sommers Editorial Board: Ulla Hiekkanen-Mäkelä, Pekka Kahri,

Printed : Punamusta Oy Cover photograph: Markus Sommers ISSN: 1798-9876 Circulation: 10,000 Publisher: Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency

Kari Komulainen, Virpi Mikkonen, Minh Lam, Sanna Piiroinen Layout: Cake Ltd. Kari Lehkonen


for Innovation.


Join us to let your innovations boom


e at Tekes encourage research and development teams to think big. With the help of Tekes funding, small and medium-sized companies can involve the best expertise and connect with the best partners. We share the risk that companies take when investing in challenging research and development work, or exploring totally new market areas. The number of start-up companies has grown rapidly in Finland in recent years. Also, an increasing number of international investors see promising investment targets in Finnish companies. In this magazine we look at the unique start-up spirit that has developed especially around Slush – the largest investor and start-up event organised in Europe. Besides a booming start-up scene, we are proud to present how Finnish companies are looking at new digital solutions in different fields. Tekes takes the opportunities presented by digitalisation seriously. By the end of 2014, we made a huge investment in digitalisation. We launched three Tekes programmes, worth altogether 300 million euros. The programmes deal with the Indus-

trial Internet, the development of 5G networks and digital health solutions. Besides digitalisation, Tekes strategy focuses on the bioeconomy and cleantech, along with wellbeing and health. However, we offer funding to any innovative company – also international – operating in Finland. In 2014, we provided altogether 550 million euros for companies’ and research organisations’ R&D and innovation projects. In the Global Competitiveness Survey 2014–2015 carried out by the World Economic Forum, Finland ranked third of 144 economies around the world in terms of innovation and business sophistication. Finland is also ranked among the top four innovation leaders in Europe in the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2014. You are warmly welcome to do business in Finland.

Pekka Soini Director General, Tekes





04 In the spotlight

Healthy meals on the go Who has the time to prepare a 20-ingredient brunch every morning? Solving this culinary conundrum is Ambronite. The number of drinkable meals on the market may be growing, but this is the healthy and easy choice. There’s even no need to mix in milk as all necessary vitamins and proteins are already included – just add water!

Comfort for babies Designed by a mother who lamented the lack of comfortable clothing available for her prematurely born daughter, Beibamboo’s items are made from a bamboo and organic cotton mix. Exposed seams are kept to a minimum and irritating labels are attached to the outside. Neonatal wards at major Finnish hospitals have embraced the innovative premature clothing range, with its fully opening design allowing for essential tubes and wires.



Natural solutions for air purification Plantlife, nature and technology come together in a burst of green to create a healthier interior climate. NaturVention’s easily maintained flower and plant wall offers a natural solution to the challenge of purifying indoor air. Naturalising harmful compounds and absorbing humidity, the wall is effective for a room measuring up to 100m2.

The smartwatch with style

With a design carefully crafted by watchmakers, the Meta Watch looks and feels like a real watch – the intelligent features simply elevate it to another level. Alongside functionality, the use of premium materials sets it apart from the pack. Now you can leave your phone in your pocket, in style.

Getting creative with design A love of necessary things, simple functionality and kindness is solidified in Samuji, a creative studio and design house. Clothing ranges from timeless to seasonal, and is manufactured in Europe with materials sourced from European and Japanese suppliers. Houseware also gets a look in, with items such as mouth-blown glass vases and tea towels created by local craftsmen from different regions.

Wanna be a rock star? Some 85% of beginner guitarists are destined to throw in the towel. This gamified musical learning software Yousician is stemming the tide – to the tune of over 10 million players across multiple platforms. Exercises for both budding and seasoned axemen and women engage motivation, personalisation and social learning – the three most common facilitators of advancement.






spirit The start-up

Miki Kuusi has helped develop Slush from a 300-person, locally known tech and start-up event into a global happening.


calm swept over Miki Kuusi in the early days of November last year, akin to the seasonal darkness slowly blanketing Finland. After a year of extensive planning and coordinating, the 25-year-old was standing on the edge of international significance with Slush 2014. All he needed was at least 10,000 people to turn up to the annual tech and start-up event in Helsinki – an event that only a handful of years ago had attracted just 300 attendees. In short: the stakes were very, very high. And yet, in the midst of these expectations, Slush’s CEO was unfazed. With the hopes of 1,400 companies resting on his team’s shoulders, along with those of hundreds of investors, the Finnish gov-

ernment and the global media, perhaps he was just a little bit excited? Maybe some butterflies had found a temporary home in his stomach? How about just a hint of being crippled with nerves? “I’m not such a nervous person,” Kuusi reveals, a few weeks after the event managed to attract 14,218 unique attendees and 715 investors, making it the biggest investor event in Europe. “At that stage the cards have been dealt. You don’t have any visibility as to how the event will work because it’s such a huge composition. You can only trust that everything will work out with the organisation we’ve built and the things we thought through. It doesn’t mean you are nervous – you are interested to see whether it goes this way or the other.” Such resolve under pressure has become indicative of Kuusi’s approach

during his rapid rise at the forefront of entrepreneurial innovation in Finland.

An enterprising attitude After the Internet bubble burst in the early stages of this century, the tech and start-up community in Finland was left dazed and suitably deflated. Companies resorted to more conservative business models. There was little buzz in the media. As the community licked its wounds, this lack of enthusiasm reflected a timid wasteland of innovative ideas. “If you went to university people didn’t know what a start-up was, much less found one or go work for one,” Kuusi laments. Gradually the scene began to bubble to the surface once again, as the decade drew to a close. Its epicentre could be



“IT’S NOT ABOUT A SINGLE EVENT, BUT ABOUT A BIGGER MOVEMENT; THAT’S THE JOURNEY SLUSH IS ON.” found at Aalto University, the institution formed when the Helsinki School of Economics, the Helsinki University of Technology and the University of Art and Design Helsinki merged together at the start of 2010. The young economics student found himself in the midst of this exciting development, having commenced his degree a few months earlier. Kuusi’s enthusiasm for innovation and seeing it come to fruition swiftly found an outlet at a pitching event organised by the university. Surrounded by like-minded individuals he would put forth an idea he had for a virtual secretary service. The creative excitement in the room was palpable. While nothing eventually came of his idea, the spark was lit: there was something big happening here, and he wanted to be a part of it. His ambitions swiftly gained traction as he threw himself into helping to further develop the Aalto Entrepreneur Society (Aaltoes) and establishing the Startup Sauna accelerator programme - today recognised as a leading young university accelerator in the world by UBI Index in Silicon Valley. Next up it was time to introduce more of a global mix of players into the scene.

Starting with Slush By 2010 Slush had attracted considerable buzz in Finland over the three consecutive



years it had been staged. A moderately successful 300-person event, it had nonetheless struggled to make significant waves on the international scene. Enter Kuusi and his bold plans for a multi-sensorial experience: he would attract the big hitters among global investors and media to the biggest and coolest start-up conference in Europe. “Back then the event had seemingly reached the extent of its potential,” Kuusi reflects. “According to the original organisers, Slush 2011 would probably never have been organised unless we took it over.” Along with his coorganiser Atte Hujanen, Kuusi seized the opportunity to build upon the event’s foundations and not have to start from scratch. It’s fair to say that not everyone shared their enthusiasm. In fact, many laughed in his face when Kuusi outlined their plans. But he and his growing team were young and driven. Their first year out of the gate brought humble returns, with the Slush team attracting a total of four foreign investors to 2011’s event. However, the next year drew 47 venture funds, followed by 118 venture funds in 2013. By 2014 the number had ballooned to 715 investors. The variety of guest speakers also widened accordingly, with the likes of the founder, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Hiroshi Mikitani, Skype founding CEO Niklas Zennström and Softbank advisor Taizo Son taking the stage over the years.


Politicians also took note, with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang and EU Commissioner Jyrki Katainen each making appearances. Amidst the ballooning spectacle of big names, smoke, lights and lasers, Kuusi stresses that the core idea of the event has remained the same as it was when he and his team first took over the reigns. “The reality we see is that in 2014 altogether over 4,000 meetings were held at Slush between investors and companies. These are the things that build the value of the event.”

The spirit of change Basking in the afterglow of 2014’s success, Kuusi takes a moment to survey the current tech and start-up scene locally. Unsurprisingly, he is extremely pleased with what he sees. “There has never been such a good time to found a tech start-up in the Nordics or Finland than today.” Nonetheless, whilst open to the widening array of new ideas, his enthusiasm for local innovation does have some limits. “I don’t believe that anything is possible, but I believe that a lot of things are more possible than you would think,” Kuusi outlines. “We tried a lot of things over the years before Slush that didn’t work. When we started to work on Slush there was this kind of pull that was taking us somewhere. We felt this strong purpose, so we took it forward.” Kuusi believes such drive should also prevail amongst Finns, traditionally confined to stereotypes of being somewhat

“THERE HAS NEVER BEEN SUCH A GOOD TIME TO FOUND A TECH START-UP IN THE NORDICS OR FINLAND THAN TODAY.” introverted and reserved in their approach. “I think it’s time for us Finns to stop telling ourselves what we are like: the quiet Finn who doesn’t speak to anyone and looks at his own shoes, or the extraverted Finn who looks at other people’s shoes. These are funny stories, but this is not reality.” For Kuusi such cultural clichés are a hindrance to potential opportunities. “It doesn’t make sense to give ourselves excuses not to get better. If we start telling ourselves that it’s not me and not something I can do, or that’s not how Finns are, we are never going to know what it is possible.” Given the rapidly growing number of start-up possibilities created by Finns, the necessity for such cultural stereotypes is certainly questionable. In fact, when casting a glance over the current diversity of the local scene, Kuusi draws an impressive comparison: Silicon Valley. “Over there you meet so many different kinds of people with such different kinds of backgrounds and stories. The

whole community supports itself, whatever people are doing. There is a strong culture of paying it forward here in Finland as well, helping each other, talking very openly about different issues and failures and successes. I see that as a very positive development; a cultural change, definitely.” This change is also reflected in the number of investors plugging in to the flourishing environment. “If you start a company now, it’s easier to find employees, really smart people who want to work with your company, as well as co-founders. There are more entrepreneurs than before, more funding, more capital. More of everything.” Kuusi is quick to acknowledge that this ecosystem is propped up by considerable governmental support. He recently found himself discussing the Finnish tech scene and Tekes with American David Gardner, the first investor in Supercell and Unity. “David said that he loves investing in Finnish gaming companies,” Kuusi recalls. “He can have the same company in the UK and the same company in Finland. He invests the same amount of money into both of them. The UK company could have a runway of two years with the investment, but, because of Tekes, the Finnish company might have a runway of even three, four or five years. That’s why he loves investing here, as the probability of success is higher because of the government’s involvement.”

Investing in the future Having set the Slush train in motion, it is now time for Kuusi to step down from his post as CEO, content with the impact the event has made on the scene.

“It is much more developed than it used to be. I am much more confident now that we will see more interesting things coming out of here in the next 10-20 years or so because of this ecosystem.” Looking ahead Kuusi also sees Helsinki and the event growing synonymous with one another, much in the same way that Cannes is linked to its movie festival, Austin and SXSW go hand-in-hand and

“I THINK OF MYSELF AS A PERSON WHO LIKES TO SEE SOMETHING COME OUT OF NOTHING.” the mention of Milan immediately evokes images of its design week. “Our dream is that in 20 years from now we can say Helsinki has Slush; it is one of these kinds of cities, but in the tech and start-up scene. However, it’s not about a single event, but about a bigger movement; that’s the journey Slush is on.” And what part will Kuusi play in all of this? “We’ll see. Slush was one journey that I’ve been a part of for four years. I will still be a part of it in future, but in a different role. I like starting new things; I’m really excited to get my hands in the dirt again. I think of myself as a person who likes to see something come out of nothing.” n



10 young and innovative TEXT: DAVID J. CORD PHOTOS: MARKUS SOMMERS


“Tekes has helped us to better clarify and formulate our strategy and business,” says Cabforce CEO Andreas Hansson.




f there is one universal challenge for business travellers, this is it. You get to a new city and discover that the queue for a taxi is as long as the Nile. You go back in the terminal to hire an executive car, but the driver charges twice what you expected. All of this can now be avoided thanks to the innovative start-up Cabforce. Cabforce allows travellers to find and book taxis, executive cars and minibuses online. Customers pay a flat rate, so there are no surprise charges in the bill. Since everything is pre-booked there are no last minute hassles when someone arrives at their destination.

Evolution The founders of Cabforce were frequent business travellers and were all too familiar with its trials and tribulations. The ultimate vision of reducing the stress and trouble of travel has been there since the beginning, but at first they had a different idea how to do it. “Originally we thought to improve the dispatch system and location awareness of the local taxi companies,” says Tommi Holmgren, Cabforce’s chief product officer. “However, quite early the focus switched to solving the problem of finding reliable and safe service everywhere in the world.”

Cabforce finds success by making travel easier The Finnish company Cabforce is improving the way people travel. With their pre-booked taxi service they have removed one of the biggest headaches of travelling.




“Our business model is based on distribution partnerships within travel,” explains Holmgren. “It means our rides need to be available in every place where other trip components such as flights and hotels are booked. We are now successfully integrated into both the Travelport and Amadeus travel agency tools, as well as Amadeus e-Travel Management, which is a corporate travel booking tool. These platforms are driving our growth at the moment and are really fundamental enablers for us.”

Impressive growth They also wanted the user experience to be the same regardless of the location. This was difficult because of different customs around the world, but the company has succeeded. One example is that Cabforce is like McDonald’s in that you always know what you will get no matter where you are. “I’m not a huge fan of fast food, so I don’t know if I really like the comparison,” laughs Holmgren. “But it definitely tells me something about what we set out to accomplish.”

Key partnerships Independent travellers can go to the Cabforce website or download the mobile app. You simply enter where you will be, when you are arriving and where you need to go while the service shows you the options and prices available. “The app is one way for people to book taxis and they can also do it online at our website,” says Holmgren. “Increasingly, they can do it at their travel agent for corporate travel or directly from an airline website when they book flights or hotels at the same time.” Yet Cabforce has primarily focussed their attention on key partnerships with others in the industry, and this has driven their growth.



Cabforce first launched in January 2012 with services in only eight European cities. Now they are available everywhere from Lima, Peru to Yekaterinburg, Russia. “I’m quite impressed and proud of the whole Cabforce team,” says CEO Andreas Hansson. “Our supply network now serves close to 250 airports in 37 countries on 6 continents. This is a very good start.” Holmgren points out that their company has the advantage of being in the first wave of new transfer aggregators. They also have strong in-house technology with no legacy solutions which slow down innovations in the travel industry. “We’ve been said to be ‘a breath of fresh air’ in the industry,” he says. “So that’s definitely an advantage over the old players in the airport transfer business. We are in favour of open APIs and transparent pricing, which is something new in a fairly traditional industry.”

Working with Tekes Cabforce has worked with Tekes for several years, including receiving seed funding and being part of the Tekes Young Innovative Company programme. “In our case it has been a pleasure from the start working with Tekes representatives who understand our vision and have been supportive all the way,” says

Hansson. “Tekes has helped us to better clarify and formulate our strategy and business. Tekes has been quite important, especially during the first three years of operations. Tekes’ grants and loans, in combination with private investments, have made this initiative possible.” Besides the support offered by Tekes, Hansson also praises another benefit of working in Finland: the workforce. “We currently have 16 full-time employees in the core team, of which about half are working on the product,” he says. “Here in Finland we have excellent quality of staff and a built-in mind-set of having to go international from the start.”

Future of travel Cabforce has expanded globally in just three years, but they see many more opportunities available for them in the trillion-dollar travel industry. “We earn every time someone books a ride, so we are a transactional machine. That will remain as the core business model but there are some additional ideas that could add some extra revenue streams in the future,” says Holmgren. “But they are still on the drawing board!” Hansson explains that they already have a plan in place for their future expansion. “We will build on our position as aggregator and ground transportation booking platform in the travel industry,” he says. “This means further building both distribution and supply partnerships, and at the same time further integrating our booking platform to the travel technologies used by the major intermediaries in travel.” “I’d like to encourage all the readers to give us a try,” concludes Holmgren. “And if you cared to read all the way to the end, here’s the reward: use promo code TEKESVIEWS to get 10 per cent off the ride when you make the booking at www.cabforce. com before the end of April 2015!” n


“We’ve been said to be ‘a breath of fresh air’ in the industry,” says Tommi Holmgren.



14 column Marjo Ilmari


The author is a director at Tekes in the Start-up companies unit

Building blocks for growth





he Tekes Young Innovative Company programme has been an active funding mechanism for the past six-and-half years. During this time the Finnish start-up community has developed from a small, energetic circle into a vibrant community that engages an increasing number of talented people with creative business ideas. We have seen extraordinary success stories like that of Supercell, as well as the development of northern Europe’s largest investor and startup event, Slush. One can now honestly state that Finland has become the start-up hub of the north. Tekes plays a significant role in helping promising start-ups take their first steps into global markets. With our funding start-ups can research potential markets, and leading companies ready for rapid growth can be chosen for the Young Innovative Company (YIC) funding programme. So far 255 companies have been part of the YIC programme. The funding is granted in stages and in order to move to the next phase, each company has to meet the goals set in the beginning of the project. The YIC Champions have gone through all stages of funding and they have been granted 1 million euros in total for their international business development. Last year, we funded a total of 660 start-up companies and 55 new promising start-ups were chosen to the YIC programme. Most companies come from the software sector, however new brilliant businesses also are emerging in other areas including cleantech, life sciences and health technologies. Furthermore, an increasing number of international investors discover promising investment targets when researching our country. According to statistics from the Finnish Venture Capital Association, 2014 was the busiest year in the history of the sector. n

start-up champions 15

Young Innovative Companies Tekes offers funding for Finnish start-up companies for comprehensive development of their business activities. The Young Innovative Company funding is intended to substantially accelerate the global growth of the most promising small companies. Companies which complete the funding programme will get a YIC Champion title. In 2014, there were 17 new YIC Champions. Read more:

Newicon | Newicon is a provider of automated medical solutions. They create medical robots and automated storage systems for medicines.

Safera | Vantaa-based Safera has created an innovative safety hood for stoves. In the case of a fire, their product can cut the power, extinguish the fire and sound an alarm.

Bitbar Technologies | Bitbar provides highperformance mobile software development and testing solutions based on open standards. Testdroid for Android is their main product.

LeadDesk | LeadDesk creates software for call centre, inside sales and telemarketing operations. They handle over 1.5 million calls and 75,000 orders weekly.

Thinglink | Thinglink creates interactive images and videos. They allow clients to imbed video, text, images, music or even shopping channels inside traditional media.

Cabforce | Finding a taxi in a strange city can be difficult, but Cabforce provides pre-booking for taxis, minibuses and executive cars. Cabforce services are available on six continents.

Optogear | Optogear offers innovative solutions for the Photonics industry. They provide equipment for optical fibre manufacturing and research for telecom and specialty applications.

Transfluent | Companies want to engage with their customers around the globe, and thanks to Transfluent they can quickly get everything from tweets to mobile apps translated into over 100 languages.

Dream Broker | Dream Broker specialises in online video software. They help companies create, edit and share online videos so their employees can communicate, collaborate and learn.

Paytrail | Shopping online is made easier by Paytrail, a leading payment provider in northern Europe. They cover traditional methods such as credit cards as well as a new online process. Sold to NETS.

Uplause | When someone goes to the big game they can now directly interact with stadium screens. Uplause allows spectators to play games together using noise, silence or motion.

XMLdation | XMLdation is the leading provider for XML testing and simulation services for the financial industry. They help clients identify and solve challenges with XML-based financial transactions.

Powerkiss | Charging mobile devices can be a chore, but Powermat helps to wirelessly recharge your device. It uses a ring plugged into a device and placed on a charging mat. Sold to Powermat.

Valoya | Valoya creates LED-based energy efficient greenhouse lights. With lower energy requirements and maintenance needs, their systems are in high demand from horticulturists.

Grand Cru | Founded by six Finnish game industry veterans, Grand Cru’s first game is Supernauts. It is a social building game which hit a million downloads in just six days.

RapidBlue Solutions | The leading European shopper analytics provider RapidBlue uses sensors to collect anonymous information about shopper behaviour inside retail stores.

VividWorks | If you want to know how that new couch will look in your home, VividWorks can help. They provide an online 3D platform to visualise interiors and design plans.





Juha Pankakoski of Konecranes says that anyone can provide quality equipment, but digitalisation requires reliable information as well.



DIGITAL DISRUPTION Digitalisation is changing old business models. Finnish firms are ready to take advantage.


t is a gigantic yellow machine. At over 100 metres tall and 200 metres wide it could straddle many football stadiums. It hums as it lifts steel container boxes at a bustling port. Yet this is not some big, dumb, lumbering machine. This crane is a smart device in an enormous smart network. Born out of the green high-tech heartland of Finland, this crane is an example of Finnish innovation in the Industrial Internet. “We are an industrial equipment manufacturer who creates physical products surrounded by a digital cloud,” says Juha Pankakoski, Chief Digital Officer of Konecranes. “These machines interact with and sense their environment.” Konecranes is in the heavy lifting business. From ports to factories they help to move the massive objects so necessary for global trade and industry. Decades ago they may have

simply sold a crane and then followed up with scheduled maintenance, but that isn’t how industry works today. “Back then the equipment was a black box, and we were not connected to how it was operated,” Pankakoski continues. “Now the equipment has sensors and is embedded into the internet. The crane can recognise the user and his authority. It knows its own condition and if it is safe to operate. It can advise the user and give information on how it should be managed.”

Great potential The Internet of Things technologies provide the interconnection of unique devices within the internet. Each device can be fitted with a variety of instruments which monitor its operation, condition and location.



“The objectives of the programme are the renewal and growth of international business by means of the Industrial Internet,” explains Penttinen. “We want the growing amounts of Big Data to be utilised by business. By itself Big Data is nothing. Meaningful information is what is important. We will also open new, multidisciplinary networks and encourage creative cooperation between ICT and other industry clusters.”


The benefits of such connectedness depend upon the context, but can include higher productivity, lower maintenance costs, improved safety and a longer lifespan of the equipment. Resulting benefits can be huge, with higher profits for companies and lower costs for customers. Results are measurable now and will improve over time. Finland is uniquely placed to drive the global development of the Industrial Internet, thanks to its global high-tech industrial expertise and the active promotion of public organisations and private companies. “This is how the world is developing,” continues Pankakoski. “Digitalisation is disrupting the old business models. Anyone can provide reliable and quality equipment, but reliable information sets us apart. Customers who use this will have a clear advantage.”

The future is now This disruption is not the prediction of starry-eyed futurists; it is happening now. Pankakoski gives a concrete example how the Industrial Internet is changing and improving business. “Yesterday’s way was preventive maintenance,” he explains. “Now sensors can see how parts are wearing out. We know when we need to order new parts and we can schedule maintenance to minimise downtime.” 18


Industry Hack

Kari Penttinen, Programme Manager at Tekes, says that there are a multitude of factors which are helping to propel the phenomenon forward. “The drivers behind the Industrial Internet are: increased computing power, especially in embedded devices; increased network speed; the availability of small, durable and accurate sensors; and the considerably lower cost of all these factors,” he says.

Enter Tekes “We need a network of technology provider SME companies to derive the full potential of the Industrial Internet,” continues Pankakoski. “Luckily we have excellent knowledge and know-how in Finland.” This is exactly where Tekes comes in. Industrial Internet – Business Revolution is a new programme which is set to run for five years. The programme works in conjunction with the EU’s ECSEL Joint Undertaking, Horizon 2020 and Eureka ITEA3 programmes. “We are not looking for incremental improvements in the ways business is conducted,” says Penttinen. “We want the partners in the program to take risks and think big. We have the funding for risky projects aiming at substantial business renewal.” Project targets should renew the way of doing business and have significant international growth potential and cross-industry collaboration.

One way they are helping such cooperation are the Industry Hack events, a way established industries can get ideas from start-ups. The plan is for industrial giants to open their doors and encourage experimentation. Konecranes was the host of the first event. “Often, when there is a specific challenge companies reach out to potential partners to fix that problem,” explains Pankakoski. “With Industry Hack we instead open up the environment and see what they come up with. When we have a good idea we develop it to the next level in a more structured manner.” Penttinen points out that Finland already has great technology but the key is to utilise it. This project to develop the Industrial Internet is not simple R&D, and a whole network exists to bring these innovations to market. To help SME companies go international he cites Finpro’s Export Finland, which is eager to assist in relevant Industrial Internet projects.

Finland in the future Finland already has a number of significant players in the Industrial Internet which compete in industries from power grids to health care, industrial processes to logistics. Yet there is enormous potential to take advantage of this burgeoning field. “We are doing something else besides providing funding,” Penttinen concludes. “We want to help companies grow into an international business. We don’t want some company to just go to a trade show once a year. We want them to go big internationally. We want them to positively and directly impact the life of the customer.” n


new Tekes digitalisation programmes

Bits of Health


Industrial Internet

Bits of Health is a programme to reinforce Finnish expertise in digital health. It is primarily intended for internationally-oriented companies that utilise digitalisation and develop products and services in the health field. These can include health promotion, health monitoring, diagnostics and personalised care. Healthcare is becoming more oriented towards prevention, decentralisation and personalisation, while innovations in digital technologies are creating opportunities for major advances. The programme provides services for the development of a business network-based ecosystem, comprehending consumer behaviour, and increasing the understanding of business and clients. It offers funding for research and development and innovation projects. Participants are encouraged to think globally and run pilot programs in the early development phase in real user environments. Tekes’ long-term strategy to commercially utilise the current era of digitalisation has resulted in Bits of Health and two more new programmes. Bits of Health has a budget of about EUR 100 million – of which Tekes funds will constitute half – and is set to run from 2014-2018.

5G is the future of mobile communications. In this new era Tekes’ 5thGear programme will help Finland to be the innovation leader in digitalisation and to attract international investments by the excellence in our wireless communications. The programme plans to solve challenges related to the next generation of wireless data communications. It aims to make Finland a hotspot for piloting and demonstrating these new technologies while leveraging collaboration between Finnish and international players. There is enormous potential because the fruits of 5G research can also enable innovations beyond telecommunications. 5thGear is for companies and research groups who create faster, safer and more reliable connections for consumers and companies as well as enable technologies for other industries. Some examples include millimetre wave technologies, software-defined networks and the management of heterogeneous network solutions. The five year programme started in early 2015 and has a planned budget of about EUR 100 million. Tekes funding will make up about half of the total.

Industrial Internet – Business Revolution promotes business applications in the Industrial Internet. The programme seeks to help Finnish companies grow and profit from the digitalisation of industry. Improvements in sensors, embedded devices, Big Data analysis and communication networks have revolutionised industry. Finnish expertise in these areas offers many opportunities for small companies to thrive in international markets. Tekes hopes to find primarily SMEs which focus on renewing business processes with the Industrial Internet and which have considerable global potential. The programme encourages collaboration across industries as well as pilot projects with active industrial participation. Possible business sectors include asset and fleet management, heavy industry, retail and logistics, smart buildings, infrastructure and even health care. The Industrial Internet – Business Revolution programme lasts from 2014 to 2019. Tekes plans to contribute half of the estimated EUR 100 million funding.



20 digital solutions





Tweeting dumpsters showcase smart logistics How do garbage collectors know when it is time to go and empty dumpsters? In the past, it was mostly educated guesswork. It was not uncommon for trash collectors to arrive late to overflowing dumpsters or waste their time emptying half-full ones. Now Enevo has a solution. Enevo ONe is a comprehensive logistics system that uses sensors to measure how much waste is in a container and forecasts when it will need to be emptied. To top it all off, Enevo collects all this information from the rubbish bins and automatically generates schedules and optimised routes for garbage trucks.

The highly-sophisticated system takes into account a wide range of parameters for its schedules and routes. The availability of trucks, traffic information and road construction are all taken into consideration. The company says that their solution provides up to 50 per cent in direct cost savings. The wear-and-tear on vehicles and roads are reduced, fuel use and emissions are lowered, labour costs go down and there is even less noise pollution. If you’re curious to see how it all works, Enevo has even enabled some dumpsters to tweet their status and forecast at @trashcanlife. n

Catch your zzz’s with a revolutionary sleep sensor Beddit has created an innovative sleep monitor to track and analyse sleep patterns. Unlike other systems there are no wearable sensors: the system uses a thin strip which fits underneath the bed sheet.



The system records heartbeats, respiration and movements of the sleeper. If the person wakes up and leaves the bed the sensor recognises it. It can even tell the difference between the user snoring and a partner snoring. Besides providing all this information, Beddit also helps people to get a better sleep. The system can give recommendations to improve sleep as well as wake the sleeper up at an optimal time. The smart alarm is timed to go when the sleeper is in a light sleep cycle, up to thirty minutes before the deadline alarm time. n

Keeping the selection while minimising waste The manager of the produce department of a grocery store has a tough job. On the one hand, she wants to have a large selection of fruits and vegetables available at all times. On the other hand, she has to worry about them going bad before they can be sold. Relex Solutions has the answer. They say that through their help their clients have seen spoilage cut by 40 per cent and on-shelf availability boosted above 98 per cent. They do this via supply chain optimisation. Clients use Relex’s systems to manage supplier offers and purchasing rules. They can provide improved forecasting and automated replenishment to reduce the time managers spend ordering. Relex has developed proprietary software to store and analyse Big Data. Their solution allows Big Data calculations as much as 100 times faster than competing systems while data input performance is several thousand times better. n

Smart device democratises the Internet of Things Thingsee One is the world’s first smart developer device. It can alert you when the mailman opens the mail box. It can measure and send car telemetry, or even track a balloon’s flight. It is remarkably adaptable, and its uses are only limited by your imagination. Thingsee’s creation is a novel approach to the Internet of Things, or the interconnection of uniquely identifiable computing devices. Their idea is to provide a product and service easy enough for beginners to use as well as versatile enough for entrepreneurs.

Energy grids become smart grids Industrial processess and networks become ever more complex and generate ever more data. Managing these systems is becoming increasingly difficult but the Oulu-based company Cyberlightning has developed an efficient solution. Sensors collect data from numerous measurement points, and Cyberlightning allows their clients to both analyse and display that information in concise, easy-to-understand formats. Currently Cyberlightning’s main customers are in the energy sector where they specialise in smart grids. Heating and electricity grids as well as power generation are their present focus. However, their technology can also be used for example in traffic, infrastructure and health care applications. n

The device contains a GPS locator, gyroscope and magnetometer. Sensors detect light, pressure, temperature and humidity. It wirelessly transmits all of the information it collects. Besides the device, Thingsee also provides the backend data and the frontend application. The entire concept is to democratise the Internet of Things. Small businesses can create their own offerings by using Thingsee’s products and services without having to invest heavily in hardware research and development. Those interested in embedded software development can work on the software in an open-source environment. Thingsee ran a successful crowd-funded campaign on Kickstarter at the end of 2014. n

Merging CAD and 3D printing for a new service Computer Aided Design (CAD) changed how things are designed and 3D printing changed how they are made. Hetitec has combined the two for a revolutionary service. Hetitec is a specialist in on-demand 3D printing of sand parts. The technology is still new and applications are constantly being discovered, but Hetitec primarily helps to manufacture complicated moulds and cores for metal foundries. The mould is 3D printed directly from CAD data, so the company avoids the elaborate mould set-up process. The process is faster and less expensive than traditional methods. If the designer wants to try several variations, it is simple to change the data and manufacture different versions. Since it is all stored digitally, companies don’t even need to worry about storing the old physical models. n


22 column Auli Pere The author is the programme manager in charge of Tekes Bits of Health Programme

Digital health hub of the north


igitalisation has already changed our life in numerous ways and is set to influence it further in future – especially in healthcare. Mobile solutions will bring healthcare practically everywhere and hopefully we will be able to shift the focus from disease treatment towards prevention and health promotion. Healthcare is facing huge challenges all over the world. Western countries should be able to renew healthcare processes in order to take care of the aging population. Developing countries are faced with challenges to deliver healthcare services to their growing populations. Clever use of digital services could play a crucial role in solving such problems. A sizeable increase in the amounts of data and the ability to swiftly transform it into usable information will transform diagnostics and treatment practices. We can already analyse our health with various devices and even buy diagnostics online. Yet we are far from an ideal situation, in which a patient could be monitored at the hospital without being tied to wires and cables, or being able to wear a monitoring device comfortably and unnoticed. We haven’t yet found effective ways to help individuals at risk to change their behaviour for the benefit of their health. Finnish companies are well positioned for developing successful digital health business. There is strong expertise in medical research and ICT in Finland, especially mobile technologies. The recent biobank law and excellent health registries give good grounds for utilising the huge Finnish sample collections and related data in a reliable way. The Finnish health technology sector continues to grow steadily, even during



the latest recession. In fact, health technology is currently our largest high-tech export sector, covering 47 per cent of the Finnish high-tech exports. We also have a very active community of digital health start-ups. These strengths have also been noticed outside of the country: GE Healthcare has selected Finland as the location for their hub of digital health expertise. The company has also established a Health Innovation Village for start-ups in Helsinki. Meanwhile, Samsung, together with local companies and municipalities, is investing in a new health technology accelerator Vertical in Finland. As part of the Team Finland network, Tekes helps Finnish and international organisations to commence innovation collaboration and business partnering. The new national Health Sector Growth Strategy for Research and Innovation, developed in co-operation between different Finnish ministries and innovation organisations, is an excellent starting point. The newly launched Bits of Health Programme is Tekes’ first major initiative to implement the national strategy. Tekes is prepared to invest 50 million euros in this four-year programme, bringing the total amount of investment to 100 million euros. It is now important to combine various expertise in novel ways to create something radically new; something that has the potential to change health and wellbeing as much as mobile phones changed our everyday lives a few decades ago. It is time to join forces to get a move on! n


CELEBRATING CELLULOSE Is cellulose the next “super material”? In the opinion of Pirjo Kääriäinen, a Designer in Residence at Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture, it could well be.


he demand for more sustainable materials and processes for a wide range of applications is the driver behind a joint project at Helsinki’s Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Center and Tampere University of Technology called the “Design Driven World of Cellulose”. The trans-disciplinary project unites designers, chemistry technicians and business in an attempt to explore the ways that cellulose – that is, wood pulp from the forestry industry and other biomass – can be produced and used more quickly, sustainably and cost-effectively.



“Materials sourced from cellulose can be recyclable, biodegradable, strong, light or heavy,” Pirjo Kääriäinen explains.

“There have been many projects running in the field of paper and pulp, which remains an important industry in Finland, but what we wanted to do here was something new,” Pirjo Kääriäinen says. “We are trying to figure out what else can be done with pulp apart from traditional pulp or traditional business.” As Kääriäinen points out, textile fibres like viscose or rayon have been made from regenerated cellulose for more than 100 years, but the processes involved no longer meet the desired levels of sustainability. “The textile and fashion business is huge and global, perhaps the fourth or fifth biggest in the world, and there are so many issues related to ethics, sustainability, ecology and so on, as well as waste. Many materials can be recycled into wonderful fibres.” There is a demand for shorter production processes, too. “There can be 26 phases in the production of a man’s shirt, for example, and we need to find ways of reducing the production chain. VTT has



developed technology for producing yarn directly from pulp, but processes still need further development. Cellulose textiles for clothing could help replace the environmentally destructive production of cotton,” she adds.

Endless flexibility New materials sourced from cellulose are extraordinarily versatile and flexible. They can be recyclable, biodegradable, strong, light or heavy, and the potential for possible end products, says Kääriäinen is endless. “A whole range of items, from gardening items to construction and interior elements which might have previously been made using oil-based plastics could be made with cellulose. For example, we’re looking at making yarns using new methods, at how to dye pulp, at making cellulose foam for acoustic panelling.” 3D printing using cellulose material is another option being explored by the

project. Kääriäinen explains how a 3D printer might be able to produce a custom-sized cast for a broken limb. If similar materials could be made conductive they might be used to produce health-tracking devices, too, she believes. “The main challenge is achieving scalability, not in commercializing cellulose,” she concludes.

Growth potential “Design Driven World of Cellulose ” is one of a number of strategic research openings funded by Tekes. “One of the great things about our project is that no companies are expecting quick results,” explains Pirjo Kääriäinen, whose background is in textiles and whose residence at Aalto is in the CHEMARTS section of the Department of Design. “At the same time, the multidisciplinary cooperation is at the core of what we’re doing. It’s not always easy but it is

very rewarding to cooperate between different disciplines, and for us it’s been working very well.” Kääriäinen stresses the need for long term planning and development, although she expects the coming years to yield tangible results, especially as seeds for new business concepts, which in turn can be realized in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with growth potential. Interest in industry has been strong, especially since larger companies understand the need to meet consumer expectations for more sustainable products and processes. “We have been able to start on a small scale, not thinking whether business would result in two years or five years, but trying to keep everything very open and looking at the ways in which we could collaborate.” Major Finnish pulp and paper industry and design companies, including UPM, Stora Enso, Metsä Group, Suominen and Woodnotes, take an interest at advisory board level. A representative from Finatex, the Federation of Finnish Textile and Clothing Industries, is also on the board. “As a designer I am really happy to see that there are so many possibilities. We have got people inspired from different disciplines and we have to work to create business - that is the next step.” n



26 future watch IMAGES: ISTOCKPHOTO

What makes us

buy and why? Feelings and motivations direct the purchase decisions we make every day. Sometimes they are conscious calculations, in other cases unconscious – though just as powerful in influencing why we might choose one product over another.


ife has become a complex combination of choices and options. We may act differently at home than at work. We may want things for our children that we don’t splurge on for ourselves,” says Soren Kaplan, Managing Director at InnovationPoint in San Fransisco, USA. Through extensive research and close collaboration with Team Finland Future Watch service in Silicon Valley and Tekes, Kaplan and his team identified eight primary roles that consumers play as they interact with companies, products, and services. The results are presented in an report “What makes us buy and why? The future of consumer’s roles and motivations.” “At certain times we may let one role drive our behavior over others. At other times and in other contexts, we might assume a different role. We might also take on two or more roles at the same time,” Kaplan explains. The motivations that lead us to choose to do business with one company over another are influenced by our backgrounds, social context, and culture. Just like each



Make it easy and intuititive for me.

1. Impulse Followers

consumer roles and what makes them tick

Follow the most convenient path, including buying and engaging when it’s fast and easy.

Give me the best value at the best price. of us possesses unique DNA, so do we possess unique life experiences that impact what we think, feel, and do. Most companies provide products or services that focus on delivering specific features and benefits. Without an understanding of the deeper motivations that drive consumer behavior, it becomes much harder to create differentiation in a crowded market. n

2. Value Chasers

Look for the greatest value, usually with cost in mind.

Protect me from the uncertain world.

Life is about ‘doing’ rather than ‘having’.

I vote with my time and pocket book.

5. Fear Fixers

6. Experiential Engagers

7. Meaning Makers

Do what it takes to minimize risk, reduce the potential for problems, and address fears about the future.

Enjoy participating in unique experiences and place value in intangible services over tangible products.

Tries to find meaning in most everything they do, including the causes, companies, and products they support.

Let me share myself in unique ways.

I get my sense of self from the brand. 4. Brand Lovers

Gravitate to specific brands and aspire to the images and values they represent.

It’s all about the path of least resistance. 3. Simplicity Seekers

Seek solutions that reduce complexity and make things easier.

8. Expressive Creatives

Look for ways to express themselves to release creativity and gain a personal sense of creative accomplishment.

Team Finland Future Watch – views for business development Read “What makes us buy and why?” report.

Team Finland Future Watch service gives companies access to information about changes in global business opportunities in the next 2 - 5 years.







Education at play The Playful Learning Centre is at the forefront of innovative education.


hat if the classroom no longer consisted of stiffbacked chairs all facing a teacher? Imagine if learning could be fun, incorporating digital tools that have become such a significant part of modern life. “Education today is in a paradigm shift,” explains Olavi Mertanen, project manager of the Playful Learning Center, located in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Helsinki. “The amount of money used for education

in many countries is growing faster than their GDP, yet the learning outcome is not following the amount of money spent. There is a great demand to find new solutions to this problem.” Since opening in September last year, the Tekes-funded project has been making swift inroads towards this goal, drawing on the university’s ideals of education research and design and teacher education. The focal point of the centre is the Rovio Fun Learning Research Lab, continuing the collaborative efforts between the University



30 column Tim Walker Tim Walker is an American teacher working in a Finnish school in Helsinki. In his blog “Taught by Finland”, he shares observations and insight about his work. The article was adapted from his earlier piece on The Atlantic’s website: “Finnish Schools Are on the Move—and America’s Need to Catch Up.”

Finnish Schools on the Move


just past noon on a mid-December school day, and I wander outside during a 15-minute recess. Now that my school Ressun peruskoulu—a bilingual “comprehensive” (grades one to nine) school in downtown Helsinki with nearly 400 students—has launched the “Finnish Schools on the Move” campaign, I wonder if anything has changed about my students’ behavior. Will I see fewer kids slothing around the playground? In neon-yellow vests, two of my sixth graders—Emmi and Marianne— are facilitating a popular game known as “Banana Tag.” (The names used for the students cited in this article are pseudonyms.) Around them, about a dozen younger children are dashing back and forth. Emmi and Marianne are “recess activators,” meaning they’ve been trained to work with their younger peers, especially first and second graders, once a week. A few minutes before I arrived, the two girls had huddled up with these 7- and 8-year-olds and decided on a game to play. I walk up to Emmi during the middle of her game, and as the youngsters cheerfully zigzag to avoid us, I ask her whether the little kids are more active during recess now that she’s leading games. She gives me one of those looks kids give when adults ask them a question that has an obvious answer. With her eyebrows raised, she nods vigorously—a cue that I should jump out of their way. Eventually it became clear that what I observed that day with Emmi and Marianne was a daily routine. Every day at noon, several recess activators engage in similar activities, dispersing across the blacktopped playground and recruiting younger children to join them in active games like “Banana Tag.”



At one school in the city of Salo, sixth graders help out in a different way by loaning out sports equipment during their 15-minute breaks. But activating recess is just one of the ways that this new program “Finnish Schools on the Move” is seeking to boost the physical activity of students. When my school’s faculty introduced “Finnish Schools on the Move” last year, the coordinators came up with various strategies for getting students to be more active during lessons: offer “energizers” (short breaks from sitting for students during lessons), allow kids to complete work while standing, and replace conventional chairs with exercise balls so that students can bounce and learn simultaneously, for example. Between 2010 and 2012, 45 schools in Finland piloted “Finnish Schools on the Move.” And the results were hopeful, demonstrating schools can increase the physical activity of children as long as they make the effort. According to a survey conducted after the pilot program, half of participating elementary school students and a third of middle school students reported an increase in physical activity. Tuija Tammelin—the research director of LIKES, the foundation that conducted the study of the pilot program—tells me that she is impressed with the rapid adoption of “Finnish Schools on the Move.” In just a couple of years, the number of participating “comprehensive” schools has grown from 45 to nearly 800, which is nearly a third of all comprehensive schools in Finland. And in just a matter of time, who knows how many more schools—here in Finland and around the world—will adopt this innovative program? n

Education at play of Helsinki and Rovio Learning in researching and providing training in playful learning solutions.

A digital presence Upon entering the lab, one is immediately struck by the bright colours of the surrounds. The animated design echoes that of Rovio’s famous export Angry Birds, with a model tree in one corner of the room and a wooden mountain undulating along the face of a wall. The lure of playtime is immediate. In stark contrast to all of this, the sad face of a young girl lingers at the doorway. Her lesson has just ended. When asked if it was a fun visit she looks at her shoes and doesn’t respond. “Is she missing the centre already?” asks teacher student Petra Raivonen, busily packing away some building blocks left strewn on the floor. With a compassionate smile she and her fellow student Ada Kukkonen move to cheer up the youngster. “We have had children who don’t want to leave,” notes the Playful Learning Center’s project planner Heidi Sairanen. “They are upset because they want to continue doing things here.”

Just a few minutes earlier, the centre was bursting with the unbridled energy of around 15 kindergarten children, busying themselves with the likes of playing dress-up and drawing. However, alongside such traditional activities, there was also a considerable digital presence in the room. Tablets were on hand for playing games and taking photographs and video, with the company taking an active role in the development of playful learning. Meanwhile, a huge screen facilitating Skype interviews and remote learning was also available for use during the session. New teaching concepts emerge with regularity at the Playful Learning Center. Lessons have incorporated QR bar codes, and computer programming is not unheard of. Nonetheless, while the use of innovative technology certainly provides a novel approach to the learning process, its presence is firmly rooted in pedagogic research and knowhow. “It is very important that children are able to produce something by engaging with different traditional and modern tools and be active creators of knowledge and understanding, rather than passive,” explains Kristiina Kumpulainen, the scientific director of the Playful Learning Center. “That is what we call play-based pedagogy, or playful

Educating business growth The education research and innovations of the Playful Learning Center are accelerating growth in some of Finland’s strongest industries. “By combining our excellent K12 and early childhood education and our mobile and gaming industries, Finland could become the leading country in playful learning solutions,” Olavi Mertanen explains. Testament to the fact that the e-learning business is growing by over 20 per cent annually, the Playful Learning

Playful learning for life


In less than six months of operations the centre’s impact on the wider educational landscape has been immediate. Case in point: a new playful learning childhood centre for around 200 children is under construction in the Helsinki suburb of Kallio. Furthermore, this playful approach is not confined to the little ones. Helsinki’s neighbouring city of Vantaa has declared its intent to become a playful learning city. This extends to higher and vocational education, as well as libraries, cultural institutions and science centres. Kumpulainen has also helped translated the main ideas of the new national core curriculum into playful learning for educators, tackling the growing problem of students’ lack of engagement with their studies.

“Creativity is so important,” Kumpulainen states. “Our world does not function any more like we are factories. We are not only knowledge receivers; we all have to be producers of something new. We need to take agency and not be passive.” The teacher students also share this initiative. “I have a feeling that playful learning is going to be a big thing,” enthuses teacher student Matias Häkkänen, who, like his peers, volunteers his time to train at the Playful Learning Center. “I am really excited that I get to be here and see how it’s evolving. This is the most innovative thing I have ever seen.” n

learning, as this centre is about.” Aside from giving student teachers the opportunity to hone their playful skills, the centre also serves as a magnet for researchers, educators and businesses. The observation room adjacent to the lab hosts regular local and international visitors interested in developing playful learning solutions, and the word is spreading fast.

Center recently signed a MoU with Serious Gaming Cluster (SGC) to establish and strengthen their cooperation and find ways to develop the industry further. “The basic idea of serious games is to use game entertainment for something useful, like learning,” explains SGC’s Chairman of the Board Matti Kuha. “Our collaboration with the Playful Learning Center will bring great value to the approximately 50 Finnish companies we represent, as the real science of human behaviour is connected to actual in-practice game design.” Information gained from the Playful Learning Center is shared with the SGC companies, helping fresh start-ups in particular with overcoming challenges. “The future of playful learning games is more than bright,” Kuha continues. “Playful learning through new technology will soon be a new schoolbook – and a schoolbook needs to fulfil certain peda-

gogical requirements and improvements. This is what our collaboration with the Playful Learning Center is all about.” “We can also be a matchmaker between the customer—who is here for a purpose—and game companies who can present their solutions,” states Mertanen, who recently introduced a group of visiting educators from Shanghai to a group of local gaming companies. “This adds value for Finnish society and industry.” “We also work with many other companies who are interested to develop 21st century learning solutions,” Kumpulainen states. “They can also be more immaterial ideas and concepts: what is playful learning; what it entails; what it requires from material space, from teacher behaviour, adult behaviour; and what kind of models and principals you should follow. Then we are developing different products and materials to support such playful learning activities.” n




A YOUTHFUL APPROACH TO BUSINESS Sixth-graders create their own economy at Me & MyCity

Think back to when you were 12. Would your career path have been any different if you were able to try your hand back then at working for an invoicing company, interior designer or even Nokia for that matter?




e & MyCity now offers youngsters this opportunity in the shape of a miniature town. “The idea is to teach sixth graders how society functions,” explains Tomi Alakoski, the founder and Executive Director of the Me & MyCity concept. “We teach them about society, economy and entrepreneurship, showing them in a practical way. It is learning by doing.” The concept’s growth has been unprecedented since first emerging in 2010. Some 70 per cent of Finland’s sixth-graders will visit one of the eight Me & MyCity learning environments nationwide during the 2014–2015 school year.

On the job training Before their session at Me & MyCity, students go through a typical job interview process with their teacher and are trained on topics ranging from “What is the economy?” to “Taxation”. Then it’s time to put this newly acquired knowledge into practise. Inside Me & MyCity in Espoo, the budding members of the workforce busy themselves with the various products and services of 17 real companies. In one corner an art gallery director plans an exhibition; in another a young forestry worker learns how to operate machinery

via a gaming consul. Over at City Hall, the mayor conducts a meeting with her project planner, as various workers schedule consultations regarding their business practises. As in real life, many of the industries are intertwined, relying on one another to function. Digital currency flows through the mini economy. Having applied for a loan from the bank upon their arrival, CEOs seek to turn a profit by the end of the day. Looking around the miniature city, what is perhaps most surprising is the diligence displayed by the 70 youngsters. Even if business is slow, the children remain ‘in character’.



LET’S TALK ABOUT INNOVATION TEKES R&D FUNDING IN 2014 Tekes - the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation is a government funded expert organisation that finances R&D and business development in the best Finnish companies and research organisations. “We have no patients at the moment, but we have many appointments scheduled today,” states a young doctor, as he introduces the facilities at his medical clinic that include an eye chart and equipment to measure blood pressure with. “The children are very organised and focussed,” observes Markku, one of the teachers from the students’ school. “They take it very seriously.” “Students can see in a concrete way that they are all needed in society,” affirms Viivi Viitanen, Me & MyCity’s Regional Coordinator. “If they don’t do their tasks and responsibilities, this society doesn’t work.”

Expanding City limits Plans are also afoot to introduce Me & MyCity to ninth graders. “The concept is very versatile,” states Project Coordinator Essi Lehtovaara. “We can educate teachers and older students and also meet companies.” Introducing the concept to other countries is also on the economic forecast, following on from Me & MyCity winning the prestigious World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) competition last year. “I believe that it has also changed the language at home a bit,” states founder Alakoski. “I have heard many times that the parents have been quite surprised when children ask ‘What is your salary?’ or ‘How much do you get after tax?’ The kids can learn more than we can ever guess.” n



Universities Research centres

€178 M

Large companies

€136 M


€235 M


€123 M


of company funding for Small and Mediumsized Enterprises

Total 2014

550 M€

(or 620 million USD) for R&D projects in companies and research organisations

by Tekes’ experts






Companies’ applications processed in



17 thematic programmes advance the focus areas of the Tekes strategy

reasons to fund innovation Researchers and innovative companies play an important role in solving critical global questions related to environment, energy, health and an aging population. A flourishing economy is built on the success of innovative businesses. Public funding for innovation accelerates companies investments in R&D. For every euro invested by Tekes, companies increase their own R&D expenditure by 2 euros. In growth companies funded by Tekes, the increase of turnover was 24 % units faster than in other SMEs in 2010–2013. In SMEs funded by Tekes the annual growth of exports was 1 billion euros. Over 80 % of Tekes customers state that the Tekes funding was a significant factor in their success.

How do the companies

spend our money?

Explore new markets Study the customer Build new competence Develop a product or a service Enhance global business

What are we looking for in a company?

Half of the funding is focused thematical funding.

Half is available for any excellent business R&D projects suggested by the companies.

Spirit to grow Resources to develop Courage to take risks Expertise to succeed A team with a winning attitude



36 Tekes funding and services



Tekes in a nutshell

Funding opportunities for companies

Tekes - the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation offers funding for research and development projects carried out by companies and research organisations working in Finland. Tekes is part of the Team Finland network that brings together public organisations offering services for growth companies.

Planning for global growth

Renew – Test – Go global - Grow Tekes financing is available especially to small and medium-sized companies that are seeking to grow their business into the global market. Tekes funds part of the project’s costs and shares risks related to companies’ development work. Large, international companies can also benefit from Tekes funding, when the development work is carried out in Finland and when it creates value for the whole business ecosystem. Tekes asks large companies to collaborate with SMEs and research organisations.

Networks - Expertise International collaboration Tekes programmes are an excellent platform to network with other companies and research groups, and to get the latest knowledge about the developments in the programme’s field of business and technology. Internationally, Tekes collaborates with science and technology funding organisations around the world and opens regularly joint calls together with partner organisations. In Europe, Tekes contributes actively in the developments of the European research and innovation area. Tekes communicates the European Union’s R&D programme’s (Horizon 2020) funding opportunities to Finnish companies and research organisations. Tekes is also the coordinator of EUREKA activities in Finland.



With the help of Tekes funding young growth companies can develop their team, increase understanding of the customer base, new target markets and new kinds of business models.

Research projects Tekes funds companies’ research projects, which aim to create new knowledge and competence to serve as a basis for future business.

Development and piloting Tekes offers a low-interest loan for companies to improve or develop new products, services and business model. With Tekes funding companies can also demonstrate the functionality of the solution with the customer and to accelerate commercialisation.

Workplace innovations Development work can also include elements that aim to improve leadership, quality of working life, productivity and processes.

Young innovative companies This funding service is provided only to the most promising young companies to accelerate their rapid global growth.

Insight into global markets Market Access Program Finnish SMEs interested in expanding to the USA, China or Southeast Asia have the opportunity to get a full business plan for target market from business professionals doing MBA degree at world’s top universities.

Team Finland Future Watch Future Watch service gives companies views of global business developments in the next 2-5 years.

Funding levels Tekes funds research and development projects helping companies to grow and renew their business. The funding options include a low-interest loan and a grant depending on the nature of the project. Tekes’ share varies between 25 – 75 % of the project costs. Companies can submit an application to Tekes at any time. companies Team Finland services for companies:


C Funding opportunities for research organisations Research networked with companies This is the most common funding type for universities, research institutes and polytechnics. The funding is targeted to research projects that create new competence and solutions for identified needs of businesses and industries.

New knowledge and business from research ideas In this project type research organisations develop an idea further while preparing for the commercialisation of the idea into new business.

Strategic research openings Strategic research openings’ starting point is a bold vision and a multidisciplinary approach. The goal is to create new high-level competences in areas expected to be important for businesses in the future.

Funding levels Finnish universities and research institutes can apply for project funding from Tekes, when they cooperate with companies and carry out research that will have an impact in business life. Tekes funding covers generally 60 % of the project costs. Most research organisation’s projects are connected to Tekes programmes. Tekes opens application rounds regularly for universities and research institutes. funding/research

Present your idea! 1. test Before applying for funding, please present your idea at the Test your idea service on the Tekes website. The information will be sent using an encrypted connection and treated as confidential. We will be in touch with you within a week and make a proposal on how to proceed with your project.

2. apply Companies can submit an application at any time. For research organisations Tekes opens application rounds regularly. The funding application is done through Tekes online service and evaluated internally at Tekes.

FiDiPro, the Finland Distinguished Professor Programme FiDiPro Programme provides grants to projects recruiting internationally merited scientists to work in a Finnish university or research institution. FiDiPro funding is meant for a long-term cooperation. Finnish universities and research institutes may propose FiDiPro Professors and FiDiPro Fellows from all disciplines.



38 Tekes network Finland


Tekes employs approximately 400 experts in Finland and abroad. Tekes’ headquarters are located in Helsinki. Part of the personnel work at the regional Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY centres) located around the country. Globally, Tekes works in close cooperation with the Team Finland network’s 70 local teams across the world.


PALO ALTO, CA Tiina Tanninen-Ahonen Head of Office, Silicon Valley Tel. +1 (408) 893 8237 Thuong Tan Manager, Innovation Collaboration Tel. +1 (408) 464 2988

United States Tekes is an active partner collaborating with local start-ups and entrepreneur ecosystem in the areas of, for example, eHealth and digital solutions. Tekes is part of Team Finland network and provides services related with identifying future trends and new business opportunities. We also collaborate with local top level universities.



Jukka Salminiitty Counselor, Innovation Tel. +1 (202) 203 8001

Kyllikinportti 2 P.O. Box 69 FI-00101 Helsinki Tel. +358 29 50 55000 Find Tekes personnel




The Brussels office of Tekes monitors, analyses and provides anticipatory information about the development of European research and innovation policy. In addition, the office brings forth Tekes’ views to key European bodies and decision-makers and keeps up a wide contact network of European research and innovation actors. In Europe, Tekes is also starting operations in Germany in cooperation with Finpro.

Tekes promotes cooperation in innovation between Finnish and Russian companies and public research organisations, especially in Saint Petersburg and Moscow area. Tekes is part of the Team Finland network and helps companies to detect and understand innovation signals, business trends and market changes in Russia and to initiate cooperation between Russian and Finnish partners.

Tekes has bilateral agreements with key science and technology administrators in China. The agreements have created excellent collaboration in areas such as ICT, nanotechnology, Cleantech and urban development.

Virpi Herranen Head of Tekes Russia Tel. +7 921 942 1216

Finnish Liaison Office for EU R&D Brussels, Belgium Tel.+358 2950 55652


Pavel Cheshev Tekes’ partner facilitating innovation cooperation in Russia Tel. + 7 495 280 0287

TOKYO In Japan Tekes promotes research and innovation co-operation with Japanese funding agencies and partners.

India As part of the Team Finland Network, Tekes advances research and innovation collaboration between Finnish and Indian organisations and facilitates future business opportunities for Finnish companies in India.

NEW DELHI Silva Paananen Tekes’ partner facilitating innovation cooperation in India Tel. +91 7838 043030

TAIPEI In Taipei Tekes co-operates with the Team Finland partners with special focus in the Future Watch studies and foresight work related to East Asia.

Jarmo Heinonen Consul, Science and Technology Tel. +86 1366 1878 400 Sari Arho Havrén Consul, Innovation Tel. +86 1381 6232 371

Greetings from Team Finland

More than 70 teams already represent the Team Finland network around the world. We are proud of being part of this co-operation network, which focuses to offer excellent innovation funding, networking and foresight services. As an expert in innovation and business, Tekes is locally present in countries that are investing in R&D and that are drivers in developing new technologies, competence and business. Tekes works in close cooperation with Team Finland network in major growth markets for Finland. We have built strong networks and collaboration both in Asia and North America. In Europe, Tekes has been actively influencing the EU innovation policy and programmes for a long time. We are looking forward to advance the European and international innovation cooperation together with wider range of partners.



Matti Hiltunen Councellor, Research and Innovation

BEIJING Kari Hiltunen Councelor, Science and Technology Tel. +86 1391 1874 947 BRUSSELS

Looking forward to meeting you! Merja Hiltunen The writer is director responsible for Asia networking activities at Tekes TEKES VIEWS MAGAZINE 2015



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Tekes - the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation is the main public funding organisation for research, development and innovation in Finland. Tekes publishes Views Magazine once a year.

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