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    Tampere – a pioneer in open innovation platforms

    Tampere City Region is a pioneer in developing open innovation platforms. Tampere – All Bright! Magazine visited the HealthHUB, which is a health sector community, meeting place, innovation platform and joint development environment.

    Discussion is animated at the HealthHUB. The topic is currently chair legs – for a good reason. The discussion involves people from a few companies in the HealthHUB who share an interest in decreasing the health hazards of sitting too much. Wolker’s solution is a walking workstation, while Exerium chairs activate people to move while sitting.

    “When our team of two women comes to the HealthHUB, it feels like we are a part of a big corporation where we work towards one important project,” say Jenni Räsänen and Henna-Riikka Maaniitty of Wolker.

    The opportunity to discuss chair legs is one reason why Wolker and Exerium joined the activities of the HealthHUB. Representatives of the companies spend a lot of time visiting clients and trade fairs or working from home. The HealthHUB, on the other hand, offers a sense of community that the entrepreneurs need.

    “There are nice people here with whom it is easy to throw around ideas. You get the first feedback immediately, and it brings an added dimension to design, which you could not get by closing yourself up in your office,” says Mikko Lahtinen, Sales Director at Exerium.

    The HealthHUB brings together companies and operators that are oriented towards health, wellness, health technology and research. In addition to companies, it also brings clinicians, researchers, developers, consumers and end users around the same desk to refine ideas together. Many of the operators are already nearby; the HealthHUB is located on the Kauppi Medical Campus, which is a growing centre for medical research and healthcare, health technology and wellness.

    Tampere has a long tradition of innovation policy, and the city region is a pioneer, both in Finland and internationally, in developing open innovation platforms. Tampere has several innovation platforms. They are all different, grown from different backgrounds and at different stages of development. The HealthHUB opened its doors in summer 2015 and is now priming its activities to their full scope.

    “One idea that unites the different platforms is the value of experimenting, testing and piloting – and doing it in an environment that supports creating new things and working together,” says Niina Immonen, Development Manager, Enterprise Services at Tampere Region Economic Development Agency Tredea.

    “The life of a start-up is intense and busy, so it is good to have this kind of focal point. It is always easy to come here, and the HealthHUB definitely gives us more than it takes,” say Mikko Lahtinen and Ville Tenkanen of Exerium.

    Wolker and Exerium are companies that are just starting out but are oriented towards growth and international expansion, so they have a great need to learn and develop. Both have taken advantage of the innovation platforms of Tampere, which is why they are also involved in the New Factory start-up programme. It provides training and tools for business development and market acquisition.

    “Outside help is just what a start-up company needs. Someone to ask whether we are certain we are doing the right things and providing alternative perspectives,” says Henna-Riikka Maaniitty, Chief Operating Officer at Wolker.

    “Open co-operation and development, when successful, create gems that enable companies to grow in a whole new way, for example. Tampere has an innovation platform environment that can stand even international comparison, and everyone who is interested should definitely start using it,” says Niina Immonen of Tredea.

    Tampere All Bright! Ambassador Michael Beversdorf talks about Tampere, startups, innovations – and the interesting industrial history of Tampere.

    Read also: Tampere is competing for the European Capital of Innovation Award 2016

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