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The 378-page book published by Aalto University, Laurea University of Applied Science and Built Environment RYM Oy, gives a snapshot of developments in Espoo Innovation Garden—state-of-the-art at the time of publication. It shows in 27 articles what’s happening at this moment —through the work of the authors—but also points to the future, as their work continues within the Energizing Urban Ecosystems research program.
This book is a must for anyone interested in understanding how Espoo Innovation Garden functions as an orchestrated regional innovation ecosystem. It is a good illustration of how ecosystems work in practice, presenting the results of many months of cross-border and interdisciplinary teamwork, which is now ready to be shared with a wider public. It is a commendable journey, with many lessons for innovators across Finland and Europe to inspire journeys of their own.
“Orchestrating regional innovation ecosystems is an emerging science—and an art. So it is important to research its secrets, learn how they work and why, and thus come to understand how to better maintain and improve them. That is what the many authors of this book—researchers, practitioners, businesspeople and politicians—have done. We must continue to learn how orchestrating these ecosystems creates opportunities for business, universities and local government, and enhances the quality of life of our citizens. The work accomplished here is exemplary and has much to offer to other regions in Europe.”
– CARLOS MOEDAS, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation
Two thirds of the people in Europe already live in urban areas. Global megatrends like aging, environmental concerns and urbanization call on all of us to turn these challenges into opportunities. This cannot be accomplished by one country, region, city, university or company alone; but by thinking and working together, in the spirit of benchlearning, open innovation and crowdsourcing, we can change the world. This book is a good illustration of putting this mentality into practice.
The Helsinki-Uusimaa Region is among the most prosperous and growing metropolitan areas in Northern Europe. The region is the centre of Finland’s economic activity. Its strengths include skilled people, a research and education environment of high international quality, a versatile business landscape and the basis all these create for innovation. There is a high concentration of large companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the area—both Finnish and international ones. The region’s industrial structure is extremely versatile. We have four scientific universities, seven universities of applied sciences, and several state research institutes. There is plenty of start-up and spin-off activity in the area.
Urban Cleantech, Human Health Tech, Digitalising Industry, Welfare City, and Smart Citizen are the five key strengths of Helsinki-Uusimaa region. These are also the priorities chosen for our smart specialisation strategy. By cooperating regionally, nationally and internationally, we aim to improve our strengths, combine our skills, and create diverse applications for newly discovered solutions. Our region is strongly committed to sharing our strengths with other European regions in joint R&D partnerships, promoting entrepreneurship, developing smart city solutions and promoting the renewal and growth of SMEs.
Espoo Innovation Garden is one of the European forerunners in innovation. The heart of our Innovation Garden is in the Keilaniemi-Otaniemi-Tapiola area, which is the home of Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and the headquarters of companies like Kone, Fortum, Neste Oil, Rovio and Nixu, among many others. It has the hottest Startup Sauna on the planet, inspiring cultural and sports activities, as well as a renowned community of scientists and researchers. The area has a strong international character, thanks to more than 100 different nationalities that are working, studying or living there.
Innovation Garden is an open network of residents, companies and communities. One does not even have to live or work in Espoo to join this initiative as an innovation gardener. Anyone can become a gardener—science and research organizations, companies, cultural and sports organizations, city employees, students and residents. Bringing the mindset of collaboration, co-creation and open innovation is a must. The youth, with their slushes and entrepreneurship societies, are staying ahead of the game, transforming the change in mentality into difference-making, concrete action.
Espoo’s success in the European Commission’s first call for the European Capital of Innovation in 2014 inspired the gardeners to continue cultivating the soil to make it an even more fertile ground for growth and innovation. Encounters—planned or serendipitous—between people and ideas are a continuing source of inspiration and new experiences.
This book tells stories about these encounters. The storytellers are enthusiastic innovation gardeners who share the dream of providing Europe with innovative solutions for good and sustainable living environments, and opportunities for businesses to grow and prosper.
Jukka Mäkelä, Mayor, City of Espoo
Ossi Savolainen, Regional Mayor, Helsinki-Uusimaa Region
Book details: Lappalainen Pia, Markku Markkula and Hank Kune (ed.), Orchestrating Regional Innovation Ecosystems – Espoo Innovation Garden, published by Aalto University, Laurea University of Applied Science and Built Environment RYM Oy, 2015, 378 p. Printed book ISBN 978-952-60-3701-1. Electronic book ISBN 978-952-60-3702-8.
This book was created as a part of the EKA C (Forerunner Area Helsinki Region) project, financed by the European Regional Development Fund, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Aalto University, City of Espoo, and Helsinki-Uusimaa region.