Digitalisation is creating new opportunities for unprecedented business operations and ways of working while also forcing companies to actively seek these. In addition, it is creating pressures for closer, multilateral cooperation in research and development. The days of working in isolation are over.

In traditional, fragmented research and development projects, even the largest undertakings are too often based on working in pairs or alone. This significantly reduces the chances of success and the return-to-investment ratio. With the digital transformation, research and development operations must be built in a new way. In the future, innovations will increasingly arise from dynamic environments, through cooperation between several players. In such environments, long-term cooperation is based on a joint agenda. This enables value creation within and beyond the network while also offering a competitive edge and facilitating innovation-driven growth. In the Finnish operating environment, tried-and-tested mechanisms for all of this can be found in the DIMECC innovation ecosystem.

In this innovation ecosystem, the potential for success is created before starting any research and development activities. Thanks to a joint agenda, the activities are not built around empty hype. Instead, each section of the project is part of the big picture. The preparation work is systematic and encourages participation. It is carried out by a consortium that is highly motivated, has consistent values and is relevant for the purpose. As a result of this, the plan that is prepared is based on issues that are not only interesting, but also critical for the client. The development journey is characterised by genuine leadership and close interaction, as well as the open sharing of information. This will multiply the rate of development and the probability of success in comparison with traditional projects. Such an environment encourages and facilitates quick experiments, the significance of which cannot be stressed enough in the current operating environment. Complexity and the pace of change have increased with digitalisation, which calls for a bold, often also heavily forward-looking approach to innovation development. An issue that cannot currently be seen as a business case will become one in two or three years – and it will be too late to hop on board then. Instead of aimlessly working on a business case, it is essential to be able to identify the client’s key problems, create solutions and try them out.  The development journey does not end with the final project meeting. The systematic spreading of the accumulated knowledge and skills in the operating environment (education and industry) further increases the pace and effectiveness of development.

In the future, the existence of innovation ecosystems, such as DIMECC, will not only be an opportunity, but also a requirement. Traditional value chains and boundaries between sectors are broken with digitalisation, and value will be created through interaction between various players. This will also enable entirely new ways of creating value, as well as business operations that we are currently not able to envision. We are talking about projects that no one will be able to implement alone. If we want to create a new competitive edge for Finland through the platform economy, we must make sure that we have the instruments required for development and that they are in good shape.

Harri Nieminen
Director, Innovation Development & Research,

Fastems is the leading independent manufacturer of factory automation systems. Company is known for flexible manufacturing systems (FMS), robotics-based automation, production control software, gantry and interlinking systems and wide range of services. For more information: