Before coming to Tampere for an InnoBridge project meeting in the beginning of March I was not sure about what lies ahead.
Within all the documents received in advance for the meeting, buzz words like “open innovation” or “innovation platform” did not give me a clear impression of the supporting activities of the region.
It lead to a fragmented picture of the innovation policy and its activities.
Several meetings and study visits later the fog has cleared and we all were impressed by the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the project team, companies and other stakeholders.
What I have learned during the stay is that innovative companies, especially start-ups and companies dealing in ICT, need to have a well-functioning ecosystem for collaboration with simple regulations.
They need access to external knowledge owners, they need trust between actors and space for exchange. That simple it is.
The new businesses in the digital world have other requirements for their economic development than traditional businesses e.g. in the manufacturing sector.
Especially for start-ups the first question is not about asking for funding. It is more about getting an access to investors/stakeholders and collaboration. Building platforms for collaboration and creating trust seems to be a success model for increasing the innovative capacities within a region.
I´m wondering if this approach is transferable to other regions, which are lacking behind in terms of open cooperation thinking. This means a huge change in the mindset of companies, intermediaries and all other actors.
Furthermore, we must be aware of the question on how much open innovation does traditional companies, especially in the traditional sectors, tolerate?
Having now several days after the InnoBridge project meeting in Tampere and writing this article I realize that we in Lower Austria have already several activities and offers going on that can be used to stimulate an ecosystem for open innovation and innovative thinking.
The question will be how to convince stakeholders (especially universities and official institutions) for the new approach and to bring them onboard. It can be possible.
Thanks to the team of Tampere Region for giving insights of their work and how things are implemented in the Finnish way.
Increasing SMEs’ competitiveness is at the core of the InnoBridge project by improving the Innovation Bridge and related policy instruments for SMEs: “Bridging the innovation gap through converting R&D results into commercial success in a more effective and efficient way”.
The partnership consists of 9 partners from 8 regions in 8 countries spread over Europe with a balance of advanced and less advanced regions. The project is co-financed by Interreg Europe.
For more information:
Project Specialist Tiina Ramstedt-Sen, tiina.ramstedt-sen @ pirkanmaa.fi
About the author
Joachim Haumann works as a Technology and Innovation Partner in the Economic Chamber of Lower Austria and takes part in the InnoBridge project as a member of a stakeholder group.
His main responsibilities for the work is helping companies to find possibilities for innovation projects. Especially he is interested in supporting companies to bring their innovations successfully to the market.