Innovation platforms 2016: The platform approach to operations is spreading and the ecosystem is diversifying

The innovation platform field in the Tampere region is still vibrant and it is developing actively. A growing number of platform-type operators and operating environments can be found in the Tampere Region, especially in the City of Tampere. As the platform field diversifies, more and more actors will in all likelihood become platform users. Platforms activate new user groups, ranging from students and other free experts to members of the community and service users. A diversifying ecosystem is, as a whole, capable of more comprehensively meeting the ever-changing needs of companies and other organisations.

The innovation platform policy will be developed in the Tampere Region during the five-year InnoBridge project. As part of the project, the Tampere Region innovation platform policy stakeholder group was formed to develop and assess the platform policy implemented in the Tampere Region. In addition, consideration will be given to the relationship between innovation policy and the development of a global platform economy and new approaches to value-creation. The InnoBridge project offers the Tampere Region an opportunity to receive international peer support for platform policy as well as further establish the status of the platform approach in European development activities. Read more on the InnoBridge project

During the last year, many platform-type environments and communities have further developed their operating models. Adopting a platform-type model and the development and establishment of one's own operating processes have played a key role, particularly in the building of younger platforms. Community and trust building among both parties operating the platform and its customers and the platform users has been an immersive process on many platforms over the past year.

Network building and bringing operators together have become key content in the operation of several platforms. Particularly when working with small companies, strengthening partner networks and helping in the search for partners has been emphasised more than facilitation of actual development projects. Networks are built both within the platform between various actors and with actors outside the platform.

Koklaamo, an open innovation platform in an urban environment, is being developed in the City of Tampere as part of the 6Cities Open innovation platforms spearhead project. Koklaamo's objective is to offer residents, companies and the city a culture of experimentation and venue conducive to innovation, in which solutions for real everyday problems in an urban environment are tested and developed in co-operation. 

The innovation platforms in the Tampere Region have attracted companies variedly. The Tableau presentation below provides a look at the various platforms from the perspective of companies operating on them. The sectors of companies operating on a platform basis partly correspond with the economic structure of the Tampere Region, but there are also some major differences. For example, compared to the economic structure, only a few companies in the construction or trade sector operate on a platform basis, whereas the information and communications, industry and professional activities sectors are emphasised among companies operating on a platform basis. The same sectors are also emphasised in analysing the distribution of growth companies. These sectors can be considered rapidly developing sectors in the Tampere Region. It is also worth noting that operations crossing over or breaking sectoral boundaries are typical of these sectors.

A majority of companies operating on a platform basis are those in the information and communications sector (38%, a third of which are software companies), followed by professional operations companies (24%) and then industrial companies (18%).

Platforms have been steadily attracting companies from both within the Tampere Region and outside it (company domicile). Approximately half of the companies are from the Tampere Region, with the next most coming from the Uusimaa region.

A majority of the companies are over five years old and just under one-third are less than five years old. Nearly half of all companies are small or microenterprises.

The entity formed by Tampere's innovation platforms can be illustrated by describing the ecosystem comprised of the innovation platforms and the organisations linked to them.

The ecosystem of Innovation Platforms in the Tampere Region 2016. Status October 2016. Visualization: The Council of Tampere Region, Taina Ketola.

The analysis of the ecosystem reveals that there is a wide variety of platform operators, with different focus areas. Even though there are already very many operators, new types of platform operators enhance the entire ecosystem and range of available innovation services. The analysis conducted shows that, for example, there are surprisingly few accelerator and incubator services compared to other types of operators.

The region's innovation platforms currently offer the customer a large number of early-phase support services for the development and testing of ideas. There are also joint testing and co-working facilities, opportunities for networking and some degree of facilitated development processes, but the path to the further development and growth of ideas is still more difficult to envision.

The region also has creators of human capital, not to mention providers of knowledge and information. The innovation campuses offer a "home base" for many different platforms: a place where different actors can meet naturally. Even though different platform operators are beginning to find their own role and niche in the ecosystem, the description is by no means static or permanent in nature. The ecosystem ebbs and flows with the changing focus areas and developmental trends of its operators.

The ecosystem figure was developed in co-operation with different platform actors in the region and it is constantly being developed. Enquiries in order to develop the ecosystem illustration further can be directed to taina.ketola(a)

"Open Innovation Platforms - A Handbook for developpers" is based on practical experiences in the national 6Cities Strategys's Open Innovation Platforms spearhead project. The handbook serves as a guide for platform-based urban development. Open up and download the handbook


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