Numero 2/2010 - Technopolis

technopolis.fi

Numero 2/2010 - Technopolis

Briefly in English

INNOVATION MILL IS

THE FUTURE

of the Finnish Innovation System

The Technopolis Nokia Innovation

Mill project started out as

an ambitious attempt to convert

Nokia’s unused or non-core innovations

and ideas into successful

new business and products using

our existing network of customers

and partners as an entrepreneurial

army. Now that the project

has proven successful beyond

our most optimistic forecasts it’s

time to assess its wider implications.

First off all, Innovation Mill has

proved that combining ideas and

innovations developed by an anchor

company with commercializers

from Technopolis’ excellent

pool of entrepreneurs is a much

faster and efficient way to get results

and attract risk money than

traditional start-from-scratch incubation

models.

Secondly, Innovation Mill has

proven that the private-public

cooperation model can still

work, when it is specifically private-public

in that order. In other

words, the model is market and

demand driven and the role of the

public sector is to support this activity

rather than to bankroll mad

scientists to realize their fantasies

and pray that there will be markets.

The Innovation Mill approach

also has the advantage that both

the innovators from the Nokia

side and the commercializers

who adopt the innovations are

relatively experienced, relatively

skilled and relatively connected in

comparison with traditional technology

start-ups who often veer

off in the wrong direction somewhere

between the R&D phase

and the commercial launch and

distribution phase or don’t have

the domestic and international

contacts to break through.

You don’t need to be able to

read tea leaves to understand

where this will lead. If we want to

significantly accelerate successful

innovation, what we need to do is

replicate Innovation Mill immediately

and rapidly. By the way, I

have noticed that Esko Aho, who

is Nokia’s Executive Vice President

for corporate relations and

responsibility, has made same

kind of conclutions.

In my estimation, 5–10 Innovation

Mill programs covering different

sectors in Green Technologies,

Life Sciences and the IT/ICT

sectors would significantly reduce

Finland’s dependency on its traditional

forest-related, machinery

and equipment and of course

telecommunication technology

sectors. We could lay the foundation

in this way for the successful

emergence of hundreds of medium

sized Born Global growth

companies.

This is precisely the gap that

needs to be filled in our economy

before it’s too late. Bottom line?

We have a model that works. We

have the raw material, experience

and skill set to make it work. The

players are all lined up. All we

need is the will and teamwork

with industry and the public sector

to make it happen. It’s that last

bit that worries me. n

The Nokia Technopolis Innovation Mill project has

given birth to a software product that has already

been sold to 100 million mobile phones and a company

that has provided employment for 30 professionals.

The project’s success has exceeded all

expectations,” Program Director Jorma Kaitera acknowledges.


All in all, 24 financing

decisions had been

made in connection

with the Nokia Technopolis

Innovation Mill project

by end-August, resulting in,

among other developments, the

establishment of 18 new companies.

The companies in the project

have already raised EUR 8–10

million in venture capital,” says

Kaitera, summing up the results

of the first year of the three-year

project.

Based on the positive results,

Kaitera has also made calculations

of the possible outcome if the anchor

companies of other industries

accepted Nokia’s challenge of

corporate responsibility.

“If we are able to generate more

than 30 world-class companies in

cooperation with Nokia, we could

use the same template to generate

50 to 80 new global products

or services in other industries,

such as the paper industry

and engineering. This would also

translate into tens of thousands of

USE NETwORKS

TO ENTER

the international market

There is only one network

that operates in

46 countries, involving

some 600 organizations

and 4,000 experts. The

service, which is mainly

free of charge, can be

used to reach up to 23

million SMEs. It is Enterprise

Europe Network.

new jobs. When we have 10 to 15

of Finland’s largest companies in

the effort, we will be generating a

new national intent,” says Kaitera,

laying out a vision during a time

when business news are mainly

focused on layoffs.

Strong commitment

from Nokia

According to Kaitera, Technopolis

originally aimed to conduct

a small-scale project in the Oulu

region, offering companies in the

region ideas and innovations generated

in Nokia’s mobile phone

development activities to refine.

“In the end, the project expanded

into a nation-wide project

in 10 cities, and Nokia’s extremely

strong commitment was

a significant contribution to this

expansion,” says Kaitera. According

to him, Esko Aho, Executive

Vice President of Corporate Relations

and Responsibility at Nokia,

has had a significant role in the

project.

Enterprise Europe Network

is a unique and extensive

international network.

Regardless of the

industry, the network offers companies

opportunities to internationalize

and seek partners from

abroad, as it involves 46 countries.

And the network’s services

are mainly free for the users,” says

Hanna Heikkinen, the project designer

coordinating the network in

Finland at the Ministry of Employment

and the Economy.

The Enterprise Europe Network

service portfolio includes a wide

range of services from EU-related

INNOVATION MILL

to Revive Finland

“Innovation Mill wants to show

other Finnish companies how this

kind of an operating model can

generate new international services

and give rise to a strong ICT

cluster in Finland,” says Kaitera.

“We also challenge other large

companies to engage in this kind

of activity.”

In the project, Nokia’s role is to

offer its ideas, licenses and innovations

to companies and start-up

companies joining the project under

certain rules.

Technopolis, on the other

hand, is the project coordinator,

so we have, among other actions,

presented the project applications

and financing decisions to

Tekes, which makes the ultimate

financing decisions. Technopolis

also offers the project companies

business development and internationalization

services.”

“In addition to Tekes, public financers

include the cities of Oulu,

Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Joensuu, Tampere,

Lappeenranta, Turku, Salo,

Helsinki and Espoo, each financing

communications to looking for international

partners. The network

offers SMEs, universities and research

facilities internationalization

and technology transfer services,

for instance. One half of the

network’s services are financed by

the EU Commission, and the rest

are supported by Tekes and the

Ministry of Employment and the

Economy.

“The network has now gained

momentum. For example, during

its first 18 months of operation, the

organizations in the network have

managed to make approximately

1,500 international cooperation

agreements between companies.”

Swift and extensive

partner search

For companies looking to expand

internationally, the Enterprise

Europe Network supports their

the projects in their respective area

with a stake corresponding to that

of Tekes. The company’s proportion

of internal financing is 25% or

50%,” Kaitera says.

Pursuing a new

development model

The starting point of the Nokia

Technopolis Innovation Mill project

was to find and refine an alternative

collaboration model in

which financing and productization

work efficiently and quickly.

“For example, Tekes wanted to

build an alternative model involving

a financer, an international

technology center and a large company

that has generated patents

and licenses but has not utilized

them. In addition, Tekes has created

a quick decision-making model

for the project’s needs.”

“The cities, on the other hand,

are looking for a new direction in

industrial policy. New companies

can be created with this model.

Overall, the cities’ commitment to

search for partners for commercial

or technological collaboration

by supplying contacts and arranging

company events in connection

with large international fairs.

In addition to networking services,

the Enterprise Europe Network

offers information on EU legislation

and various EU financing

opportunities and the functioning

of the single market.

“During the first 18 months, the

network as a whole has responded

to some 185,000 inquiries associated

with various EU-related topics.

Our partner organization, the

Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce,

possesses excellent knowledge

and competence on EU legislation,”

says Heikkinen.

Customers report good

experience

In addition to Technopolis, the

this project has been extremely important,”

Kaitera says.

According to Kaitera, the project

has proved that many ideas

or innovations which do not suit

Nokia’s development plans due to

their small scale or for other reasons

can, in the right hands, be refined

into interesting businesses.

“Cell phone technology can be

applied in several application areas,

such as wellbeing, remote control

and sports. The companies

that have found the idea and developed

it further have been very

satisfied, as they have been able to

enter the market in a rather short

time span or raise venture capital,”

Jorma Kaitera sums up.

Companies that raised financing:

Artifact Ware Oy (Espoo),

Capricode Systems (Oulu), Citynomadi

Oy (Tampere), Domuset

Oy (Oulu), Fara Oy (Oulu),

Finembe Oy (Salo), IWN-NET

Oy (Kuopio), Lingsoft Oy (Turku),

Ludowaves Oy (Oulu), Newelo Oy

(Tampere), Powerkiss Oy (Helsin-

Finnish consortium of the Enterprise

Europe network coordinated

by the Ministry of Employment

and the Economy has six partner

organizations. The Technopolis

project managers work in Espoo,

Kuopio and Oulu, but the services

are available at all Technopolis

locations. The network is part of

Technopolis’ matchmaking service.

“The customers have liked the

services of the network as it offers

them concrete help in implementing

their internationalization

strategy,” says Anu Finne, Project

Manager for Technopolis Kuopio’s

business development services.

“In two years, we have had 300

companies utilize the network’s

possibilities by, for example, taking

part in contact events. Of these,

more in-depth searches have been

executed for 60 customers, generating

more than 150 new contacts.

Briefly in English

Program Director Jorma Kaitera.

ki), Protacon Solutions Oy (Jyväskylä),

Respecta Oy (Oulu), Screenpeak

Oy (Helsinki), Sport Tracking

Technologies Oy (Helsinki), There

corporation Oy (Tampere),

Thumbs Up Research Oy (Jyväskylä)

n

Hundreds of meetings have been

arranged at contact events. Collaboration

negotiations are currently

underway on several fronts. ”

As a project manager who

works daily to help companies internationalize,

Finne knows how

complicated the challenge is.

“International business requires

contacts and networks,” says Finne.

”This is one good way to start looking

for them. Excellent results can

be achieved by finding synergies

from different services, such as

Enterprise Europe Network and

Technopolis Online.” n

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