According to our strategy to operate as a node for the strong expert network, Karostech has offered our Swedish partner Evert Jonsson the opportunity to contribute in our cooperation with the Innovative nautical architecture and aircraft industry regional cluster of Khabarovsk district of Russian Federation, for details see http://karostech.fi/karostech-has-signed-an-agreement-with-the-shipbuilding-and-airspace-industry-cluster-of-khabarovsk-district-of-russia/.

In frame of the ongoing cooperation Evert gave in the end of July a presentation related to the development of the industrial parks with the specific focus in building a turbine industry cluster based on the existing production facilities. The presentation was held during the strategic development session organized by the Centre for Strategic Research North-West.

 

 

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…..

Karostech has been contracted by Finnish Consulting Group to develop the innovation strategy for Leningrad oblast region of Russia. Our work was a part of a large strategy development project aiming at increasing investment attractiveness of the region. In addition to innovation related topics, like science park development and community building principles, our responsibility covered also the action plan for IT and media promotion of the region towards potential investors. The end customer of that project was the Economic Development Committee of the Government of Leningrad oblast.

Karostech has recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Innovative nautical architecture and aircraft industry regional cluster of Khabarovsk district of Russian Federation.

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In addition to the local industry and regional development bodies among the members of the cluster there are such organizations as Ministries of Industry and Trade and Economic Development of the Russian Federation, Russian Venture Company, RosNano, etc.

The agreement aims at the development of the regional innovation ecosystem built around strong local expertise in shipbuilding and airspace industries. The main focus of the cooperation is the development of a modern science and technology park as well as activating professional communities both on local and global level.

See the news about the agreement from the official website of the Cluster.

Located in Saint Petersburg, Center for Strategic Research North-West is one of the leading consulting companies in Russia focusing on regional development strategies and innovation system development. Our cooperation with CSR NW has started back in 2009. Since then we’ve participated in a number of CSR’s projects providing market surveys and reports on specific innovation related topics and also presenting at various conferences, forums and seminars organized by CSR around Russia. Our contribution has mostly focused on innovation communities, third generation of science parks and building knowledge ecosystems. The geography of this fruitful cooperation includes such remote locations as Khabarovsk in Russian Far-East as well as Khanty-Mansijsk and Krasnoyarsk regions in Siberia.

Karostech has been contracted by Finnish Consulting Group to develop an innovation strategy for Leningrad oblast region of Russia. Our work was a part of a large strategy development project aiming at increasing investment attractiveness of the region. In addition to innovation related topics, our responsibility covered also the action plan for IT and media promotion of the region towards potential investors. The end customer of that project was the Economic Development Committee of the Government of Leningrad oblast.

netWork Oasis was an ambitious development project by Joensuu Science Park (JSP). It was initiated and managed by Ilkka Kakko, who at that time was a member of Directors Board in JSP. The vision in the beginning of the project 2002 was to design and implement a new type of collaborative working environment, which could serve as a platform for incubation services and a breeding environment for innovation communities.

The project unfold in a creative way and many new ways of facilitation were created during the process. Soon after the Training Camp Kick-Off event also serendipity related issues begun to gain momentum. The pilot space “FlexLab” opened 2004 and offered valuable experiences and insights to the mechanisms of serendipity management and community building.

netWork Oasis opened in the top floor of extension building of JSP in December 2006 as the first ever coworking environment in the world, which is purposefully designed in order to harness serendipity and support active community building. With the embedded GLOW virtual collaboration platform it was the state-of the art pilot for “hybrid space” thinking, blending real and virtual.

You can have a glimpse of netWork Oasis and an interview of Anthony Townsend, Research Director of Institute for the Future, here.

Karostech has completed a challenging research task related to the investigation of innovation communities in the context of “Smart City” development. The report describing the taxonomy of innovation communities, explaining the use of CNO methodologies, analyzing six case studies of different types of innovation communities, and describing the main types of Smart Cities in the global scale, was delivered to the customer by the end of February.
The outcomes of the report will be applied in Russia for regional development projects and initiatives. For Karostech the deal was an important step in deepening the expertise related to foundation and facilitation of innovation communities as well as the use of CNO methodologies in practice.

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


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