Energizing Society


The results of the ACSI and especially the case 8 “Increasing Innovation Practice in City Environment” will be used by the Finnish national program “Energizing Society”. This short story tells the reasons why this program and especially its work package “Regional Innovation Ecosystem” is needed, and as well describes the high quality level of the program.

Background for the work package:
The importance of developing the Helsinki metropolitan area for Finnish competitiveness as a whole has been generally recognized. The competitiveness strategy is brilliantly carrying out the vision for the metropolitan area, according to which “The Helsinki Metropolitan Area is a dynamic world-class centre for business and innovation. Its high-quality services, art and science, creativity and adaptability promote the prosperity of its citizens and bring benefits to all of Finland. The Metropolitan area is being developed as a unified region close to nature where it is good to live, learn, work and do business”.

The Competitiveness Strategy for the Metropolitan Area defines the priorities for developing international competitiveness in the area and the actions needed to achieve them. According to the Strategy Espoo develops the Otaniemi-Keilaniemi-Tapiola area as an innovative centre based on the interaction of science, business and art. This area (T3) can form, acting together and in interaction with each other, a globally unique innovation environment. The City of Espoo, in collaboration with Aalto University has investigated ways of turning the “T3 area” (Otaniemi-Keilaniemi-Tapiola) into one of the leading and especially one of the most attractive innovation hubs in the world by 2020. Moreover, the needs of the numerous enterprises involved in the investigation have been mapped as the development of the innovation hub requires seamless collaboration between the city, universities, research institutes and enterprises.

The quality of the “Energizing Society” program and the work package “Regional Innovation Ecosystem” is described by the following criteria:
1. The work package describes and produces radical changes in activities.
2. The research targets possess significant business potential and leads into new business opportunities.
3. The research as well as the working culture is based on cutting-edge global knowledge.
4. The work package employs a multi-disciplinary approach in all of its actions.
5. All action is systemic and orchestrated. This enables the development of the T3 region into a leading innovation ecosystem in the world.
6. The research themes are not independent, but comprise a uniform research entity with other ongoing R&D projects and gives birth to new research initiatives.
7. The actions of the work package form basis to concepts in such a way that the outcomes may be applied in different working and cultural environments internationally.

The targets of the Espoo City:
In the world characterized by rapid change and increasing globalization, regions compete to attract experts and investments. T3 area will be a well-known forerunner among the most significant international innovation hubs and urban environments. The core contributions in this work package are connected with the implementation of different demonstration projects, mainly within the City of Espoo. These projects demonstrate, prototype and implement innovative solutions and service concepts of the future, taking advantage of cutting-edge knowledge and technology.
The City of Espoo uses this Energizing Society program to reach the goal set in the city council agreement: “T3 will be implemented in the way defined in the common metropolitan strategy of the Helsinki region municipalities, with emphasis on climate change management and user-centered innovation activities.” This requires the significant development of mental models and working practices, together with the higher decision-making of parties, stakeholders and partners responsible for other parts of the working package:
• With the help of testing and implementing demonstration projects related to sustainable development: studying, piloting, demonstrating and verifying new models.
• In collaboration with the significant businesses, higher education and research institutions of the region: global partnerships and working culture, innovative concepts and methods to support them.
• By developing the decision-making processes needed in solving societal challenges: best international knowledge and collaboration, developing competencies and methods of the decision-makers.

The role of the work package Regional innovation Ecosystem:
The work package Regional Innovation Ecosystem is especially the methodological engine for the Energizing Society program and other projects linked to this development. WP runs orchestrated activities through which innovation concepts, tools, methods and workspaces which will be developed and demonstrated also in other ES integrated projects.
This work package also plays as special role with respect to the EU 2020 strategy. The EU political leadership has stated the need for renewal. It can be summarized with the following, as stated in the flagship initiative Digital Agenda for Europe: “The crisis has wiped out years of economic and social progress and exposed structural weaknesses in Europe’s economy. Europe’s primary goal today must be to get Europe back on track.” The track, however, is not the same as it used to be. We need to invent the future for Europe. The measures concern all aspects of governance in the public and private sectors.

To enable this radical transformation Europe needs to design and implement a multilevel governance approach, including contractual commitments, and it needs pioneering regions and cities to show what this means in practice.
This work package focuses on the necessary steps, and will also describe pioneering activities in the Helsinki Metropolitan region. Reviewing recent EU practices, several obstacles for the desired development have been identified:
- There is a vast amount of scientific knowledge, but it lives too much its own life and does not move (& develop & cumulate etc.) quickly enough to be used by the corporations nor the public sector.
- The regional and local authorities operate their own life as well and do not implement the guidelines defined by the EU 2020 Strategy and the Flagship initiatives in their actions and decision making and in strategic programs.