New value creation

The transition in value formation taking place in our digital time brings new opportunities concerning the business models of companies and company networks. At the same time, a shift in the behaviour of individuals challenges companies to rethink the generation of value for the client from a new perspective. Tekes launches a call for applications for research funding for the purpose of seeking expertise related to this transition in value formation. The call for applications also covers parallel projects by companies and research institutes.
Application period: Thu 22.05.2014 - Tue 16.09.2014

In parallel projects, companies and research institutions work together to implement projects, the contents of which are based on the companies' needs. The call for applications is aimed at public research organisations: universities, higher education institutions, research institutes and polytechnics.

In this call for applications we seek:

(1) parallel project packages to be implemented between companies and research organisations
(2) multidisciplinary research projects networked with business life

Based on the applications received, a maximum of EUR 20 million will be allocated to public research projects. In addition, research and development projects by companies will be financed in the context of parallel project packages.

Content description for the call for applications

At the core of the call for applications is a transition in value formation, where companies are forced to seek new models and ways of operating with clients and partners. For companies, digitisation, a shift in the behaviour of individuals and new kinds of value networks and partnerships generate competence-related challenges for which solutions are sought through the call for applications.

In the next few years, digitisation mean changes for all industrial branches and will affect all areas of human life. E-business will become reality for an increasing number of companies, thanks to developments such as the Industrial Internet. Digitisation will enable increasingly efficient production, service offering that is independent of time and location and global distribution for, in principle, any business. It enables businesses to offer their clients and end users products and services that are easy, fast and flexible to use. It allows for an entirely new type of scaling of knowledge-based business. Digitisation provides limitless opportunities for new type of value creation and takes interaction and the sharing of experiences between people to a completely new level.

We are currently experiencing a transition in value formation, where value no longer equals simply economic or functional gain but has begun to stand for something more – financial, emotional and symbolic meanings. A desire for greater value in life – long-term relationships, meaningful contents, enduring and positive experiences – is emerging alongside a culture of retail and ownership as concerns both companies and individual citizens. A value experience like this is not generated as a one-directional transfer from the service provider to the client but emerges in a constant interaction between people and businesses. The client is perceived as an important partner in the process of value creation, not an object for whom value is created and sold. No value is created without the client.

Many traditional sectors are able to identify business opportunities either completely outside of the traditional operational models or on the interfaces between them. The development of the Industrial Internet enables comprehensive solutions based on knowledge and competence when the collection, analysis and further processing of data becomes a part of the business of companies. With digitisation, several sectors thought of as routine (e.g. security and logistics services) may also shift to producing solutions containing higher value.

Business models and cooperation between companies associated with them are in transition. Traditionally, businesses have been seen as production facilities, whose source of competitive advantage lies in efficiency in production. Today, an increasing number of companies act as integrators and offer comprehensive solutions. In several companies, a significant percentage of turnover (50 to 80%) is paid out to third parties. Companies are transforming into organisations acting as the heads of supplier and value networks and constantly making decisions regarding how to purchase services, what services to purchase externally and which ones to produce internally.

In the future, anticipating demand will be even more difficult. Pioneering companies possess an understanding regarding where value is formed and how they can utilise the innovative power of supplier networks in their business. Today, supplier companies are often part of the value formation experienced by end users. The ability to control and manage supplier networks has become a critical success factor for several companies. With increasing frequency, innovations serving end users are produced externally, often in start-up companies. How could we adopt these innovations more effectively into practice and how do we benefit from the innovation capacity of partners? New value is generated in interaction with partners and clients; it is not something that is first produced then sold.

The themes of the call for applications can be explored through the following questions. The below questions are not binding but intended to provide some direction for potential applicants.

  • How do companies/organisations become part of the daily life of clients and end users in a world where customer value is, with increasing frequency, emotional and symbolic: utility, experiences, meanings, intentions? How should the competence and creativity of employees be utilised in this?
  • How and using what ingredients do we create a great experience generating value to the client in the context of ubiquitous, intelligent services?
  • What kinds of business models, operating models and partnerships do companies/organisations need in order to be able to produce value that benefits the client? In what way is the competence and initiative of employees perceived as a source of competitive advantage?
  • How to create smart demand in the transition of new value formation? How to purchase and manage comprehensive solutions that correspond to the true needs of the client? How to reinvent the procurement models of schools and municipalities to suit the digital age?
  • What are the business models, revenue generation model and models of brand management in a successful network of operators? How are the business networks and combined offerings of businesses utilised for example the export of education?
  • How do companies and organisations achieve renewal utilising the opportunities provided by digitisation so that the value generated for the client is greater than before? What opportunities do developments such as the kibsification of industrial services introduce for the creation of greater value? How do digitisation and the transition in value formation transform work and management?
  • How to expedite the adoption of new solutions and reduce the risk of investments containing innovative solutions? How effectively are the ideas and competence of employees harnessed to benefit the company?
  • How is competitive advantage created from the management of external resources and partnerships and the strategic management of purchasing? How can companies utilise the innovation capacity of supplier networks in their business?
  • How to shift towards open value networks? What kind of rules, operating methods and management models are required in them in relation to partners and clients?
  • How can business-to-business cooperation and procurement activities be developed to the direction of greater trust, and how to remove obstacles and liberate procurement from function-like steering? How can procurement adapt to the changing demand in an agile manner?
  • How to create customer-oriented comprehensive solutions, joint projects and demonstrations that are scalable for the international market, support ecological, social and economic sustainability and highlight a new kind of value formation?
  • How to achieve services and products that promote sustainable development and alter the behaviour of individuals through means offered e.g. by digitisation, branding and crowdsourcing?
  • How to create success stories by combining added value obtained from management and new ways of working to broad-based entities implemented in companies or networks of companies involving product development, service chain development and the renewal of business concepts.
  • What are modern, scalable business models for learning solutions and the localisation of learning solutions like in the international market?

Application period and funding volume

The applicants are invited to send an application for the single-stage application process, and funding will be granted to the projects that best fulfil the selection criteria.

Applications must be submitted via the Tekes online application service at

by latest on 16 September 2014 at 23.59.

The assessment of the applications will be completed and the funding decisions issued by the end of November.

Assessment criteria for projects

(1) Parallel projects between companies and research organisations

In parallel projects between companies and research organisations, the preparation of the project departs from the companies' research-related needs that may also be directed to areas other than those specified in the research theme of new value creation above. Alongside the companies' own R&D projects, the research project supports the implementation of a significant renewal in the companies. The company may aim at an entirely new kind of business model or a new position in the value chain. The results of the research projects must be public and lend themselves broad utilisation.

Each party to a parallel project sends a separate funding application to Tekes, describing the party's contribution to the entire project, the separate cost estimate and the funding plan. It is recommendable to contact a Tekes expert already at the planning stage.

A joint project and research plan is drafted for the parallel project, and each party delivers a separate application with attachments. The plan must list cooperation partners taking part in the project and describe their role in the project package. In the initial information section of the application form, write the project identifier that has been jointly agreed - for instance an abbreviation of the project's name.

The companies' level of funding is determined based on the size of the company and the nature of the project, and the funding may consist of a grant, a loan or a combination of the two. Loan funding can be obtained specifically for the purposes of productisation or piloting as part of the work of developing new solutions. However, it cannot be granted for investments. In case of research organisations, Tekes funding share is 60% of eligible costs. For large project packages involving close international cooperation, Tekes funding share can be 70%.

(2) Research projects networked with companies

In case of research organisations, Tekes funding share is generally 60% of the project’s eligible costs. For large project packages involving close international cooperation, Tekes funding share can be 70% of eligible costs.

The aim of public research networked with companies is to achieve competence and results that can be used as a springboard for the companies' own research and development projects.

The precondition for the funding is an interest shown in the content of the project by representatives of business life and a financial investment by parties interested in applying the results amounting to at least 10% of the project costs.

General Terms and Conditions for Public Research Funding at Tekes

The following aspects will be emphasised when evaluating the research projects:

  • The research projects should match the content of the call for applications and the goals of the programmes involved.
  • The research results must lend themselves to extensive utilisation and generalisation for business purposes.
  • The innovativeness and impact of the utilisation plan: a plan for the mechanisms to be used in the transfer of competence generated by the results and for concrete communications regarding the results.
  • The research topic should be topical and challenging, possess a certain novelty value and introduce a brave new perspective on the subject at hand.
  • The expertise, capability and competence base required for the research project.
  • Cooperation between research actors, the public sector and businesses.
  • The participating research units are networked and multi-disciplinary.

Tekes gives priority to challenging and high-level projects observing the thematic entity from a broad and multidisciplinary perspective and combining the goals of different programmes. All applications for research funding submitted in response to the call will be subjected to a joint assessment and no programme-specific funding allocations are offered. Nonetheless, the programme with which the applicants feel the proposal could be the most closely associated must indicated in the project plan.  

The applicants must discuss the project idea with Tekes experts. Project manager/lead researchers in the project must arrange a meeting with Tekes representatives prior to submitting the application. The meeting must be arranged for one of the following days: 24 to 26 June or 1 Sept 2014. Make your appointment via a link to appear on this page in the next few days.

For further information on the call for applications, please contact:

  • Minna Suutari, Programme Manager of the Feelings programme, minna.suutari (at), tel. +358 2950 55830
  • Virpi Mikkonen, Programme Manager of the Witty City programme, virpi.mikkonen (at), tel. +358 2950 55930
  • Sampsa Nissinen, Programme Manager of the Smart Procurement programme, sampsa.nissinen (at), tel. +358 2950 55687
  • Kari Herlevi, Programme Manager of the Green Growth programme, kari.herlevi (at), tel. +358 2950 55656
  • Suvi Sundqvist, Programme Manager of the Learning Solutions programme, suvi.sundqvist (at), tel. +358 2950 55675
  • Nuppu Rouhiainen, Programme Manager of the Liideri programme, nuppu.rouhiainen (at), tel. +358 2950 55949