Finland is one of the top countries in the world in innovations. Inventions and patents are constantly produced. Innovations are smart solutions to problems, often originating in technologies. But an innovation alone is not enough; it has to be further developed.
Do we develop an innovation starting from the technology, or from the end-user? What do we get? Do we have a top-class technological innovation which, however, is hard to exploit, or an application designed precisely for a customer, although not so functional as it could be? Or something in-between?
Do we wish to be profiled as a country of world-class technology, or a country that creates useful applications to make the everyday better? Why didn’t we invent Skype, though we invented the world’s first video call phone as early as in 1987?
Amidst everything is the human, the user. Only when we profoundly know the user, we can turn smart solutions into wise. A wise innovation is necessary, useful, adapting to the user. It brings additional value to this moment and it helps to succeed in the future. But what do we need to know the user, the human?
In the future, technical skills will stand out more than before, but so do the ability to solve problems, bold thinking, and creativity. When we combine the understanding of human aspects with technological expertise, we are about to get a winning combination. Add some multidisciplinary know-how, and Finland is an expert in solving problems. We need everyone to make this change.
The panel discussion of Design Forum Finland, the Union of Professional Engineers in Finland and Vahanen Group at SuomiAreena 2019 investigateted the development of professional cultures, prospects of cooperation and our readiness to meet the future. The participants were Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru, composer, entrepreneur Perttu Pölönen, neuroscientist Katri Saarikivi / University of Helsinki; Executive Director Pekka Sivonen / Business Finland; MSc Techn, entrepreneur Risto Vahanen / Vahanen Group, and Vice President, Professor Anna Valtonen / Aalto University. The discussion was led by journalist and news anchor Jaakko Loikkanen and visualized by live illustrator Linda Saukko-Rauta. The discussion was in Finnish.
Among our partners at SuomiAreena was also Design Factory, the multidisciplinary joint learning platform of all the schools of the Aalto University. Its experts, facilities open to all, project rooms and workshops support various study courses and projects. Design Factory cooperates with startups as well as with the biggest indiustrial enterprises.