Eero Silvennoinen: Team Finland Future Watch opens up business opportunities


Understanding the global playing field helps SMEs succeed The Team Finland network operating internationally and in Finland helps companies understand the future, identify international business opportunities and utilise them.

The Team Finland Future Watch service is intended for Finnish SMEs pursuing international growth and taking part in Tekes programmes, the Growth Track programme or other joint projects.

Customer needs are the starting point for activities, and the domestic Team Finland network serves as a good link to companies utilising the results. The goal is to assist companies in making better use of future business opportunities. The service is intended for use by individual companies operating in together in groups. The time scale for utilising information is 2-5 years.

Collective intelligence and interaction to refine information

Although a huge amount of information concerning the future is available, mere information is not enough, we need understanding. People, interaction and forming meaning and a vision are essential. The Future Watch service connects information that opens up new viewpoints and utilisation possibilities with development-oriented SMEs and thus helping companies find new opportunities and develop their business.

Finding meaning and forming vision require collective intelligence, interaction and cooperation. This also provides answers concerning which business opportunities become available to the company, and what the signals coming from the world mean in a certain industry or for a specific company and its products. There is a need for information analysis and illustrative examples.

The core activities of Team Finland Future Watch are sense making sessions aimed at finding a common vision and meaning for information collected around the world. For example, foresight information is useful in strategy work and board work.

One concrete example of Future Watch service is the "Future of Waste Management in Russian Megacities" report, which is utilised e.g. in the Tekes Green Growth programme. Another is the foresight section of RYM Summit 2013.

Manufacturing industry renewal is a hot topic

One of the emerging themes for this year is the manufacturing industry. Key areas include new business models, services, opportunities for SMEs and global ecosystems. Enabling technologies include industrial internet and 3D printing.

The Future Watch foresight service is associated with experiments, continuous development and application of the co-creation principle. The work can involve launching experiments and other measures in cooperation with SMEs and various partners. The activities are continuous, with changing topics that are refined over time.

The Team Finland Future Watch service is implemented and developed by Tekes in cooperation with the Ministry for Employment and the Economy, Finpro, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and its network of embassies, Finnvera, Sitra, the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries, and the Confederation of Finnish Industries.

Future Watch is public activity – rather than competing with private business, it challenges the private sector to produce services from information. Any feedback or ideas for developing our activities are welcome.

We recommend keeping an eye on the Future Watch website


Eero Silvennoinen, Director, Strategic support for innovation funding, Tekes
Twitter: @EeroJS #tffuwa

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