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It’s all about ideas – and what you can do with them

Nokia Corporation
The Nokia Technopolis Innovation Mill is a joint initiative designed to encourage the development of new businesses, products, and services by reshaping traditional business models.

Nokia, Technopolis, and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation launched the nokia Technopolis Innovation Mill in 2009 – as an initiative aimed at strengthening Finland’s ICT cluster and encouraging companies to develop new, globally competitive products and services.

Since then, the programme has helped create 19 new companies, a number of new jobs, and raised around €10 million in angel and venture capital funding.

The Nokia Technopolis Innovation Mill is designed to offer companies everything they need to develop an idea from the original innovation to the premises and funding solutions needed to transform it into a business.
A three-year initiative, the Nokia Technopolis Innovation Mill is based on leveraging ideas, innovations, and licenses contributed by nokia; funding from Tekes; and coordination and business development services from Technopolis. In addition, the three core partners are working with 10 cities around Finland to secure additional funding and provide support for the businesses concerned.

By utilising ideas generated as part of nokia’s research and development work and making them available to businesses that can make the best use of them, and providing access to the funding to make this happen, the Innovation Mill is opening up a new avenue for stimulating business in areas with real growth potential.

A Successful first year

The nokia Technopolis Innovation Mill evaluated thousands of ideas – in areas such as environmental and energy-related solutions, location-based services, near field communication, security, health care, and future Internet services – during its initial period of operations. approximately 100 of these ended up as part of the initiative.

With its tilting 4-inch ClearBlack display, full QWERTY keyboard, and fast access to a wide variety of apps directly via its home screen, the recently launched Nokia E7 is designed to help people run their lives more smoothly, wherever they are.
Fourteen new businesses were created during the first year and the number is steadily growing.

Tekes had brainstormed the idea for an initiative like this for some time, and nokia was keen to find a home for the various ideas it generates but which do not find their way into its own products and services.

Tekes provides half of the programme’s overall public funding, while the other half comes from the cities participating in the project, all of which want to develop local entrepreneurship and their local ICT expertise in particular.

The nokia Technopolis Innovation Mill initiative will continue through 2012 and aims to continue generating about 20 new projects a year.

Based on the positive experience with the Innovation Mill, Technopolis is now looking for other anchor companies and segments that could also benefit from this novel approach.

The world leader in mobility

Nokia became the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturer in terms of market share back in 1998 and has retained that position ever since, and is a leader in the converging Internet and communications industries.

More than 1.2 billion people today connect to one another with Nokia devices, which are sold in over 160 countries worldwide.

Nokia produces a wide range of devices for all major consumer segments and offers Internet services that enable people to experience everything from music, maps, and media to messaging and games. The company also provides comprehensive digital map information through NAVTEQ, a leading expert in digital map data and related location-based content and services; and equipment, solutions, and services for wireless and fixed communications networks through Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture between Nokia and Siemens.

The two Ts

Technopolis provides business environments and services for knowledge-intensive companies and organisations. Its service portfolio ranges from comprehensive business and development services to modern premises. Close to 1,200 companies with 16,000 employees currently operate in Technopolis centres located in Espoo, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Lappeenranta, Oulu, Tampere, and Vantaa in Finland, and in St. Petersburg in Russia.

Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation is the main government funding and expert organisation for R&D and innovation in Finland. Tekes finances both industrial R&D projects and projects carried out in universities and research institutes. Approximately half of Tekes’ funding is channelled through its various programmes.

“The Innovation Mill is opening up a new avenue for stimulating business 
in areas with real growth potential.”

> Tapani Kaskinen
(Published in HighTech Finland 2011)