Kari Komulainen: Plenty of enthusiasm for development of digital business

Recently, Finland has received strong criticism for how slow it is to utilise digital technology. Finland has the means, but lacks the ability to apply these. However, our call for applications for digital business funding tells a different story. We received over 160 applications, seeking over 100 million euros in funding, specifically, for utilisation of digital technology in business.
I want to thank all those who sent applications. We at Tekes will see to the swift processing of funding decisions, so that these projects can be launched as quickly as possible.

According to the funding applications, companies see the Industry Internet (II) as something worth investing in. In addition to the manufacture industry, the trade sector and service industry have recognised areas of application. We were especially pleased to see that so many companies developing innovations based on the II are new clients to Tekes. Other topics that new innovation projects are focusing on include fifth generation data communication technologies, 3D printing and robotics.

The field's pioneers have already gained ground in the development of digital business, but there is still much to do. According to a recent international comparison, the innovation activities of Finnish companies focus on increasing the life cycle of existing products, but not on creating new ones. This report written by TuomoAlasoini, Asko Heikkilä and Elise Ramstad from Tekes and Maija Lyly-Yrjänäinen from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy is worth reading. (Innovativeness in Finnish workplaces: Renewing working life to bring Finland to bloom, pdf in Finnish only).

Industrial Innovation in Transition a new report published by Aalto University also deals with the same phenomenon (Yritysten innovaatiotoiminnan uudet haasteet – Industrial Innovation in Transition, pdf). This report also highlights that companies have yet to harness the full power of social media and other tools for open innovation activity in their business activities.
We at Tekes especially want to encourage companies to develop, test and pilot new things. We see this as the road to the top, and we can share the risks the company comes across on this road.

If your company did not participate in the now finalised digital business funding application process, no panic. It is still possible to initiate development projects related to the subject area. For more information on our funding services see our website and contact Tekes. Also remember our new programmes related to the digital technology theme.

Kari Komulainen
Director, growth companies
Twitter: @KariKomulainen #uudistuvateollisuus