New names to boost business and health care digitalisation

Experienced entrepreneur Pekka Sivonen wants small and large companies working together to develop, test and pilot new radical innovations. Anssi Pulkkinen engages companies to solve the health care sustainability gap.

Pekka SivonenPekka Sivonen, in charge of Digitalisation area in Tekes, will identify future trends and business opportunities brought by digitalisation. He is also responsible for building the Tekes strategy that utilises digitalisation in business. Pekka has a diverse business background: among other things, he was the founder and CEO of listed company Digia, and currently the head coach of IndustryHack, which promotes business based on the Internet of Things. Pekka Sivonen moved to Tekes from health technology start-up accelerator Vertical. He will continue with business mentoring in his new position.

"Cooperation is the key to everything. As Team Finland, we refine our financial and internationalisation services into something that can really boost Finnish businesses and research and investor activity. Let's work together to make Finland into a digital brand that attracts the world's best experts and top companies. We are in an excellent position to achieve this, as only last week Finland was announced as the world's most innovative country in proportion to its population."

"I firmly believe you can get the best results by talking to businesses face to face and by using digital methods in agile experiments and pilots – be it a software or industrial company, regardless of size. In today's world it is rarely worth starting from scratch and develop a 100 percent ready product; it is better to develop a product and an operating model together with the customer. Large companies can develop new products and services together with smaller ones. Both can benefits from the interaction, from fresh ideas or big muscles," says Sivonen.

Companies working with health problems will bring wellbeing to Finland

"Finnish health care is too good to be true," says Anssi Pulkkinen, Tekes' new Wellbeing and Health area Director.

"Patient paths and health care processes form a complex mechanism in which the treating of patients has replaced the production of health."

"But we are lucky in Finland in that we are dealing with global problems – more overweight in the working-age population, and an increase in cancer and neurological diseases in the aging population. We can solve questions that desperately need answers also elsewhere. Loneliness and exclusion are also becoming huge social problems," says Pulkkinen.

"We are lucky to have plenty of scientific and technological know-how. This potential can be utilised when companies begin to solve these problems. This will create new export products and a wave of direct foreign investment. However, converting ideas into proper innovations requires a major input in commercialisation and marketing. You cannot conquer the world with a good product alone. Often you also have the courage to venture further out into the world to be successful."

"I feel it is my job to bring together health care problems and opportunities, and the parties that can solve them. I believe that commercial interests can serve problem-solving in a healthy way. Once we have achieved this, we will create new, significant competitiveness, jobs and wellbeing in Finland as a by-product."

Pharmacist Anssi Pulkkinen has an MBA degree, with extensive experience in the pharmaceutical and diagnostics industry at management level. Before moving to Tekes, he worked at Rosche Diagnostics as Head of Strategic Marketing.

Contact information

Pekka Sivonen
Director, Digitalisation
tel. +358 45 8950 966
pekka.sivonen (at)
Twitter: @pekka_finland

Anssi Pulkkinen
Director, Wellbeing and Health
tel. +358 50 5514 509
anssi.pulkkinen (at)
Twitter: @anssi_pulkkinen

Read also: Experienced startup accelerator builder Paolo Borella appointed Director at Vertical (pdf)

Pictures: Susanna Lehto, Anssi Pulkkinen

Kaj Nordgren
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