Easier said than done

Societal innovations are needed to make the world a bit better place, and ACSI is a perfect platform for co-creating such innovations. Societal innovations are innovations that positively impact societies, such as education, health care, phone, and Facebook.

At ACSI we’re on mission to create them. We come together from different parts of the world to spend a week out of our lives to jointly create societal innovations. The beauty of this type of collaboration is the heterogeneity of cultures, educational backgrounds, and experiences in work and life. It helps us approach issues from various angles and think holistically. Despite our diversity, I’ve sensed our shared passion for making a difference. We’re driven by the desire to make changes that empower people and improve their lives.

Of course, always easier said than done. A societal innovation can be created at the camp but it certainly takes more time to implement. The implementation often requires political and business ecosystem of its own, those that bring it into reality. Therefore we’ve decided to come up with rapid prototypes that everyone interested can later test and put into practice for others to replicate. The City of Espoo has welcomed such testing, and now looks forward to our outcomes.  Espoo aims to become a living laboratory of societal innovations. This is definitely something what other cities should replicate.

Susanna Perko, T3 Innovation Demonstrations in Real Life & Virtual Reality

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Case owner meet 10.8.

The case owners met again this morning to discuss pressing issues in the groups. A clear focus for today is the prototyping and making case-visits for other cases. Yesterday’s meeting clearly had an effect, because case owners continued to think how the visits could be most effective. For the visitors role the conclusion was made that they should not be too disruptive and remember that they are guests. On the other hand, they are also valuable resources for the groups, so a win-win situation is hoped for where both sides benefit from each other. Just remember that time is of the essence here at ACSI as we only have 8 days to work together.

Most of the conversation this morning reflected upon the case owner’s role. They fear that group members regard them too much as leaders and try to please them because of this, and also look too much for answers from the case owners. This is of course not the purpose of ACSI, where each member of the team is considered equal. Every member of a case should open their talents and take responsibility within the group so that their ideas and views are heard. The construction of the groups was made so that they would be as versatile as possible to ensure a broader method of innovation. We sincerely hope that everyone who participates in ACSI can take something that they have learned home with them and not only the case owners.

A good documentary on this kind of laissez-faire group work can be viewed on Youtube. It follows the chamber orchestra Orpheus and how they conduct their music without a conductor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtblP6ECnbI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-jnX5A-YkE&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVdXwFiUNCE&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRnusrE_T34&feature=relmfu

Case owner meet 9.8.

The case owners meet every morning to reflect on what they feel are important issues that have stirred conversation. Yesterday the case owners found that there are a lot of overlapping and similarities in the cases and thus opportunities for shared learning. All participants felt that they could learn much from the other cases and learn ideas for their own work. However, it was also noted that at the moment the groups should still focus on their own cases as the knowledge of those is not yet at a high enough level. Also, groups should remember to focus mainly on their own agendas as too much contemplation on other cases can disrupt the original purpose of each case. So it is highly likely that at some point all groups will have visitors from other teams!

Information is something that we want to have as much as possible. This is of course natural and encouraged. But the case groups should not only focus on gathering information. There is a broad material at each team’s use that is every individual’s own special knowledge, and this should be harnessed. A suggestion was made of prototyping. That teams would learn by doing and focus on strengths already at their disposal.

Case Description – New Models for Regional Competitiveness and Collaboration

Kotka is the second largest city in Kymenlaakso County. It is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Finland, at the estuary of Kymi river. Kotka is known by its port, industry and maritime festivals. Kotka is also known as a multifaceted city of educational institutions and culture.

Kotka positions itself on the development zone between Helsinki and St.Petersburg. Exchange between the two cities is expected to grow vastly and Kotka tries to find its unique offerings to serve both areas. At proximity of Kotka St.Petersburg’s economical area hosts 10M inhabitants as there are 5.5M in Finland altogether. Already the Port of Kotka has a strong role in St.Petersburg’s logistics but also other business and cultural ties are strengthening via bilateral exchange, tourism and immigration.

E18 is a motorway from Stockholm via Turku and Helsinki to St.Petersburg, currently under construction on the Finnish side. Investment needed is appr. 2000 M€ until 2017. E18 as zone of development is a project initiated to accelerate economic growth and other benefits that can emerge through combining traffic stream and new service- / functional concepts.

Challenges

• How to increase region’s attractiveness and increase its cultural and economic potential?
• How to maximize and scale up the regional benefit from the E18 project?
• How to bring forth enthusiasm and true collaboration among neighboring cities/regions through E18?
• How to make the process and the concept known and where?
• How to include the Russian side in the process?

Opportunities

• Creation of new businesses, jobs, and collaborations.
• Faster access to domestic and foreign markets.
• Possibility to create a new image of the city and region as a viable business and cultural hub

Risks and threats to be considered

• Collaboration with various stakeholders and interest groups might complicate – even deplete the process.
• Current European economic climate and its effect on investments.
• Environmental and other ambitions are forsaken in economic pressure.
• Potential lack of enthusiasm and commitment – competing or playing safe instead.

Main Objectives

New approaches to E18 project in order to
• Increase regions attractiveness and its economic potential
• Increase the benefit from Russia’s proximity.
• Create meaningful partnership between heterogeneous stakeholders with varying interests along whole
E18.

Case Description – Opportunities in the Next Socio-Economic Wave

The background of the case comes from the theories of Russian economist Nikolai Kondratiev, who introduced the idea of socio-economic waves. Kondratiev waves are major socio-economic cycles which are driven by technological innovation, penetrate the economic and societal structures and create economic growth. The waves
take tens of years to complete.

Markku Wilenius from Finland Future Research Centre assumes that we have just entered a new socio-economic wave, which will be characterized by globalization, demographic changes, decreasing resources, ecological awareness and active prosumerism.

Challenges

• The sixth economic wave challenges the traditional Finnish industries and its business logic
• Traditional working models offer very little flexibility to meet the challenges

Opportunities

• The creation of new industries, operations and jobs, also on the countryside
• Room for building partnerships and new ways of working

Main Objectives

To find models for the traditional Finnish industries (for example forestry) to meet the challenges of changing world and economic climate
To identify new sectors and business opportunities emerging from the change as well as its effect on regional development and job market. What will future jobs be and where they will be located?
To develop visions of new partnerships and working models to strengthen national and regional competitiveness in the new economic climate