Welcome to an interesting morning workshop at Zona Space in Saint Petersburg on Friday 15th of March.  ”OpenINNO” ENPI- project and Zona Space will sponsor an event where the hot topics of innovation frontier are presented. Co-working, serendipity and open innovation are introduced and discussed. This event is free of charge.

Friday 15th of March

10:00 – 10:45

Erik Raita, Karostech Ltd.

“Co-working: how it works” (in Russian)

10:45-11:15

Ilkka Kakko, Karostech Ltd.

“Understanding serendipity – your competitive edge” (in English)

11:15-11:45

Prof. Marko Torkkeli, Lappeenranta University of Technology

“Open Innovation – new paradigm for business”  (in English)

 

 The address is:  Zona Space premises, Ligovsky av. 74, Saint Petersburg

I have been involved with international science and technology park (STP) development for more than a decade. One could assume that since the world has changed hugely during that time, also STP world would have transformed accordingly. Let’s have a look if that has happened.

The outlook is a bit scattered, the overall picture is that nothing has really changed in the STP scene. However, one may see encouraging signs at least in Finland, which is widely recognized to have one of the most productive innovation systems in the world. I will describe our findings later, but first let’s have a look at the fundamental foresight work completed.

One important milestone in a global STP world was the publication of the results of the scenario work organized by Institute for the Future and Research Triangle Park in 2009. The report ”Future Knowledge Ecosystems – The Next 20 Years of Technology-Led Economic Development” presented three scenarios for the future STP development:

1)   Science and Technology Parks 3.02013-03-12 08.50.50

“The progress is incremental, new parks are upgraded versions of the predecessors, but the structural change in surrounding environments will  stay unnoticed. The main highways of Science 2.0 pass by the parks, but not through them”

2)   The Rise of Research Clouds

These workplaces are peppered with sensors that “mine reality”, helping the inhabitants be more effective and engineering chance encounters. They are a place of open discourse among people from business, academia, startups, craftsmen, policy people, amateurs etc.”

3) Dematerialized Innovation: Parks in Decline

“Existing parks fail to provide value to virtual networks, and don’t create local and regional systems to create sticky know-how. High energy costs, falling R&D productivity and global recession will force to cut the costs and STPs are in trouble in getting funded.”

The report was published in the connection of IASP World Conference in Raleigh, N.C., USA, and can be downloaded here. As expected, it generated future related discussions there at the event, but to our surprise, it never really had an effect to the mainstream thinking in the STP field.  One could even sarcastically note that in many STPs the future is predicted and actions planned by looking at the rear view mirror. This approach really reminds me about the statement by Yogi Berra (who wasn’t really recognized as the brightest guy on earth): ”You gotta be very careful, if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there!”. Sad enough, it’s true in too many organizations still today.

Almost four years after the launch of the report, many of the trends indicated in the report are getting momentum. One may observe at least following trends affecting the landscape. We will analyze these in our forthcoming blogs, here is just the list.

  • The Group Economy3D printing workshop at ADDLab
  • The New Scientist
  • New Global Map of Science
  • Lightweight Innovation
  • The Social Life of Small Research Spaces
  • From Knowledge Diffusion to Sticky Knowledge
  • From Research Parks to Regional Knowledge Ecosystems

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Photo: 3D printing workshop @ADDLab

It’s great to discover that at least Finnish innovation players are taking the scenario of “The Rise of Research Clouds” seriously and adapting their activities by implementing the third generation science park model in practice.  The interesting point here is that while the long time leading Finnish STP, Technopolis, has become a sole provider of facility management services with a strategic decision of the publicly quoted company’s board, other players have entered the scene. There has been a rapid development of new innovation environments, an emergence of several operational models and widespread commitment to link different communities to harvest the innovation potential. The key actors in Helsinki metropolitan area at the moment are Aalto University and Aalto Entrepreneurship Society. Such newly evolved platforms as Design Factory, Startup Sauna, Urban Mill, Open Innovation House with AppCampus, Aalto Digital Design Lab, FabLab and InnoOmnia are the physical spaces where ”hacker-space”, ”maker-space”, coworking and startup cultures are flourishing. This ecosystem located at Otaniemi campus will soon be served by several coworking spaces currently under development  in downtown Helsinki.

These workplaces are peppered with sensors that “mine reality”, helping the inhabitants be more effective and engineering chance encounters. They are a place of open discourse among people from business, academia, startups, craftsmen, policy people, amateurs etc.”

This new operation model is creating Virtual Breeding Environments (VBE) also outside Helsinki area. Tampere, Lappeenranta, Jyväskylä, Kuopio and Oulu have followed the model because Technopolis has bought their STPs and started to offer their general service palette in these locations. The incubation activities and development projects have been moved to separate regional development companies. So the traditional STP model is scattered between new organizations and sometimes is even geographically dispersed.

Tampere is showing an inspiring example of a new innovation platform called “New Factory”, which is not dependent on an existing STP or any single university. It consists of three elements: Protomo is a space where ideas and talent meet to create new companies, Demola is a platform where businesses and students work together and Suuntaamo is an environment where users test products and services. The proof of the concept has been validated, Protomo has established units in eight Finnish cities so far (the latest in Lahti), Demola is operating in Tampere and Oulu and some international locations are starting their operations. When Tampere innovation scene was ten years ago dominated totally by their STP Hermia, now the leading innovation actors and intermediaries are new operators, which emerged from nowhere just few years ago.

For us the most interesting development scene is Lahti, where we have the opportunity to pilot Karostech’s own 3GSP model. Lahti has changed the structure of its innovation companies and given also up the traditional STP approach. Since the beginning of 2013 there is one big player in the field, Lahti Development Company – LADEC Ltd as a result of a merger of Lahti Science and Business Park, the regional development company LAKES and Lahti Region Enterprise Agency. But because LADEC is located in the industrial area far away from downtown and Lahti has also other significant innovation organizations like the subsidiaries of Lappeenranta University of Technology and Palmenia unit of Helsinki University, we are currently involved with the development initiative called MALSKI. Being a neutral environment, MALSKI will become a connecting factor of all these actors and the brilliant downtown location in an old brewery building. While the construction work is still under development (opening 2014) the temporary site, CoMalski – a 400 m2 coworking space just opened few weeks ago. That will serve as a piloting platform for collaborative business models and give a lot of insight towards the further development of our 3GSP concept.

If you want to surf on the wave of change, then your STP should maybe consider following the Finnish innovation organizations and take distance from the ”best practices” of the international STP field. Thinking in terms of 3GSP model, the sustainable community building, the implementation of virtual collaboration platforms and geographically dispersed coworking locations, highlighting the importance of global approach and connectivity are elementary. Forget traditional business idea competitions, where the teams are by definition gathered only from local talent and their ideas are presented only in written format to the jury often full of  local ”innovation bureaucrats”. Instead encourage and train your prospects to participate in national competitions,  like the ones organized by Startup Sauna, or  even international ones like this by Y Combinator .

The crucial question to be answered at the moment is which scenario resonates with our own thinking.

In that scheme you support the building of development teams with diverse competences, you encourage also other type of entrepreneurship than startups – like effectual entrepreneurs, freelancers, social entrepreneurs, virtual teams and virtual organizations. You put a lot of passion to develop and promote your global connections and help your customers to find the best contacts on the global scene. You facilitate the collaboration between your customers and also between the customers of other STPs and you expand the collaboration possibilities also to the dynamic innovation communities globally.

The postnormal era is here, it’s time to open our eyes and start thinking how we can keep the existing STP customers and how we can adapt our operations to fit to the demand of the future. The crucial question to be answered at the moment is which scenario resonates with our own thinking. Looking at the rear view mirror will guarantee that the ”Parks in Decline” scenario is reality before you even notice it!

 

By the way mammoths didn't survive.....

By the way mammoths didn’t survive…..

This is the opening blog for the new forum, where emergent management paradigms and fresh ways of thinking and even revolutionary visions are presented and discussed. If you are responsible of opening up new ways of thinking for your company  or community, if you want to learn the use of new tools and inspiring facilitation methodologies – or if you just want to find inspiration for your every day activities, this is the right forum to visit regularly!

We believe that in this interconnected global business world the competitive edge comes from understanding that:

1)     the fundamental and useful information is flowing instead of being stocked somewhere

2)     the most effective form of organization is a movement

3)     the leading actors are individuals and communities

4)     the driving force is passion

5)     the competitive edge evolves from diversity

6)     the  success comes from respecting serendipity

7)     the sustainable work-life integration is the ultimate way to happiness

Our own formula for success c=km2 has proved to be a great trailblazer and highlights our philosophy when digging into the challenges of our customers. We believe in networked business models, where CNOs (Collaborative Networked Organizations) are essential elements. The impact comes from the flexibility and higher motivation levels in a structure, where passion in many cases is the driving force. There are some Living Lab initiatives and other good cases of community involvement, but overall the importance of this issue is not widespread understood in the contemporary business world. With well organized community facilitation methodologies the companies and the regions can revitalize their talent pools and attract motivated people.

 The impact comes from the flexibility and higher motivation levels in a structure, where passion in many cases is the driving force.

Knowledge alone is not useful, if the motivation on individual, community or company level is the limiting factor. Even the big institutions are focusing more on talent and shifting their focus from engagement to passion. This was a clear message at IBM Connect 2013 just few weeks ago. For the big conglomerates this might be the mission impossible, if they are not able to attract the surrounding communities into their business processes. The same applies for innovation intermediaries like science parks, incubators and regional development organizations. This blog will keep following actively all those various issues related to community building and facilitation. The importance of vision and leadership,  different types of communities and their life-cycle management, CNO issues, and various types of entrepreneurship will be discussed.

Some people just follow their passion, the others have to be engaged.  Here is an insightful clip explaining the fact that even though engagement is vital, it can not be managed.

The leading thinkers and advocates for the future solutions of business ecosystems and innovation environments – John Hagel and Stowe Boyd – will be some of the figures we will follow actively.  Both are enthusiastic, future oriented  and  have an ispiring touch when illustrating  the possibilities of the ”Pull society” – like John and his colleagues in Deloitte have named it  – or ”Post-normal” era – like Stowe likes to call this new business landscape we are entering.

Pull society or post-normal era  – anyway, it reflects the fundamental shift in the ways of people’s thinking, how business is evolving,  how innovations are created, the ways we communicate, interact and get excited, the drivers we feel passionate of.

Pull society or post- normal era – we could call it also the era of movements, the era of  passion, the era of community empowerment, the era of respecting serendipity. What ever the name, the time has come. Be prepared!


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Post-normal era and new paradigms, future oriented consultancy company with vision and great partner network.


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