Blog: How does the RECO ecosystem of smart and sustainable city solutions enable international business growth?30.5.2022
An innovation ecosystem can enable business renewal and growth by bringing actors together and providing an environment for experimentation and growth. The aim of the RECO (Resilient Smart City Solutions) ecosystem is to bring together research and the networks utilising it into a larger centre of excellence which will enable the growth and internationalisation of companies.
A vision and purpose shared by the actors is central to the success of innovative ecosystems. The formation of a common vision of the RECO ecosystem began in the Transition arena (‘murrosareena’ in Finnish) work. The actors sought to find a common direction by discussing, constructing operating paths extending until 2035 and writing understandable stories for the paths.
Why are we developing the RECO ecosystem?
The development platform now being built in the ecosystem will ensure that the utilisation of future large investments in Tampere will act as an enabler of innovation activities and joint experiments between companies and research institutes. The most important themes are construction and energy, as well as ICT infrastructure and digital platforms, which enable data-based business. Good examples of major projects in Tampere include the multi-billion euro investments in Hiedanranta, which extend until 2040, the already completed Nokia Arena, as well as the tramway, and the residential area near the Ratina shore in the Viinikanlahti, which is still in the zoning stage. At the same time, areas such as the Tammela and the other city centre areas will be built to be more compact. Cooperation in the ecosystem enables companies to develop more international growth paths (Figure 1).
The starting point for business development is that the ecosystem provides a platform for companies' own and joint experimentation. In the RECO ecosystem, Hiedanranta is a key platform for development and innovation. A reference will be created for the companies participating in the ecosystem, which they can present to international customers. There may even be an opportunity to try out solutions beyond the limits of current legislation if an EU-enabled regulatory sandbox - a pilot environment - can be set up in Tampere.
We can deliver unique and scalable solutions together
By bringing actors together, the ecosystem makes it possible to combine various skills and construct shared solutions reflecting to customer needs. Various innovation competitions are also a way to accelerate the pooling of competencies. In the RECO ecosystem, the City of Tampere challenged actors to come up with ideas for energy solutions in the Energy Challenge competition. Winning ideas, along with regional development projects, are currently being taken towards implementation.
The networks and interconnections between ecosystem actors support the scaling of solutions to new markets, other ecosystems or industrial sectors. Building dialogue and links between innovation ecosystems is a key to support the internationalisation and growth of local ecosystem actors. By influencing the creation of new markets and needs, the ecosystem enables significant new business opportunities.
We highlight centralised parking, as a good and concrete example of scaling-up. A continuum of several years can be identified in the replication of the new energy concept created for the parking garage in the challenge competition, as new centralised parking facilities will emerge around Tampere in the coming years. Thus, on a small scale, we can also scale solutions locally, even if the goals were global. Centralised parking with electric cars and energy production reflects several megatrends.
Join the multidisciplinary activities at Tampere Smart City Week!
Dynamics, openness and sufficient multidisciplinarity of the actors are key factors enabling the international growth and scalability of the ecosystem and its companies' business in a new area. Although ecosystems today operate globally, local proximity also has a role to play as an enabler of close interaction. Finland has a stable operating environment, a high level of education and, for example, many startups with ideas for sustainable urbanisation. These enable the creation, experimentation and rapid scaling of new ideas in RECO cooperation.
We are taking part in the Tampere Smart City Week event from 14 to 15 June 2022, come and hear more and network!