Rapid Tampere and Pirkanmaa Cooperative Society: creating collaboration for customer well-being - Business Tampere
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    Rapid Tampere and Pirkanmaa Cooperative Society: creating collaboration for customer well-being

    Ruoan verkkokauppa 3
    Photo: Pirkanmaa Cooperative Society

    Pirkanmaa Cooperative Society (Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa) has gained both good results and useful knowledge by joining the collaboration accelerator Rapid Tampere. Their recipe for success: careful preparation, open-mindedness, co-working with the rapid Tampere operator Vertical to make the best possible challenges for the accelerator.

    The collaboration accelerator Rapid Tampere is best known for its industrial orientation. In the first Rapid Tampere round Sandvik, Kalmar, Caruna and Valmet, all high-class international industrial companies, joined the accelerator. 

    Pirkanmaa Cooperative Society is part of S Group, a customer-owned Finnish network of companies in the retail and service sectors. When Business Tampere first informed them about Rapid Tampere, they were immediately interested.

    – With Rapid Tampere, we learn new models for building collaboration with innovation companies, and network with other large companies. Our aim is to create new business and services, as well as to improve the existing ones, says Mia Häkkinen, Business Development Manager at Pirkanmaa Cooperative Society.

    Any new solutions developed with Rapid Tampere will scale quickly: Pirkanmaa Cooperative Society offers its many services throughout the region, in 114 places of business and via the web. Accelerating innovation will help business growth, competitiveness and job creation.

    Perfecting the challenges

    A company’s Rapid Tampere path begins in a meeting where the company and Vertical will examine together the general accelerator guidelines and the needs of the company. The Rapid Tampere model is flexible and will be adjusted to every company’s real needs.

    – Pirkanmaa Cooperative Society is an excellent example of a company who has done their groundwork well. Already in the first meeting they knew which themes they were interested in, says Iida Karlstedt, Rapid Tampere Partner Lead in Vertical.

    – It wasn’t that obvious from the very beginning, where this process is taking us.  Vertical did an excellent job sparring us to see things in new ways, and we perfected the challenges together, says Häkkinen.

    Three development themes were chosen. Pirkanmaa Cooperative Society is looking for new solutions to improve its customers’ well-being and smooth everyday life, and easy accessibility of services and products. It is also interested in solutions that enable and inspire customer participation in service development. Food-related innovative services are the focus of Pirkanmaa Cooperative Society’s development projects.

    Online grocery sales
    Online grocery sales are increasing, and developing the online services further is one of the focus areas for Pirkanmaa Cooperative Society. Photo: Jukka Salminen.

    Results of the first scouting round

    A scouting brief was formulated based on the first meetings, and then Vertical went scouting. For their searches, they use for example the same global business databases as investors do. They’ll also check the teams and backgrounds of their most interesting findings.

    – A list we compiled for Pirkanmaa Cooperative Society opened some very good discussions. There were both ideas that look far into the future, and solutions that might be applied right away, says Karlstedt.

    – The scope is just what we wanted. Most of the solutions were new for us, which is excellent! We are very pleased with the list already, but as it happens, we decided to have another scouting round going, says Häkkinen.

    Every company has its own Rapid Tampere path, and Vertical is there to help find it. Vertical also operates as a middle man between two very different worlds: large companies and startups.

    Rapid Tampere and Platform6

    As almost all the larger businesses, Pirkanmaa Cooperative Society sees that innovation partners, for example the cutting-edge tech startups, are important. Agile collaboration with startups tends to make a large company more agile as well.

    – Our regional cooperative has of course collaborated with startups successfully. Now we have a systematic method for it: Rapid Tampere and Platform6, the Startup House in Tampere, are our main partners in startup collaboration, says Häkkinen.

    Rapid Tampere is a collaboration accelerator, its launch coordinated by the City of Tampere and Business Tampere, the Tampere region economic development agency. The aim is to find the world’s best tech expertise to boost the large companies in the Tampere Region. Rapid Tampere is operated by the innovation company Vertical.

    Author: Päivi Stenroos

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