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Archive for April, 2009

Kasvufoorumi 2009

Kasvufoorumi 2009

The future of the Finnish Economy is in the hands of those software entrepreneurs who dare to innovate and build growth companies at these times. That’s the idea of Growth Forum (Kasvufoorumi in Finnish), an initiative of Finnish Software Entrepreneurs which in co-operation with several other organizations such as Microsoft, arranged a kick-off seminar last Friday in Helsinki. This is the second year this event is organized.

According to Mikko Alkio,  the State Secretary to the Minister of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Employment and Economy, this is a unique collaboration in whole Europe. In no other nation have most of the key stake holders of the software industry joined the forces to build a new cornerstone of a new economic driver. Unlike some other politicians, he was also wise enough to admit that he himself is not actually the best person to advice how to become an entrepreneur and build a company. He claimed that the main reason for this is a  large house mortgage and no room for additional risk taking. In my humble opinion, this is actually often the reason to stay at a regular job instead of building a growth company of your own.

Another speaker, Mikko Kosonen from Sitra, also had an interesting presentation. One of the main things was the need for user driven software design. It is well-known that many (but not all) software is developed based on view of the developers, and less based on the actual and real user needs. There is light in the end of the tunnel, and it’s not the train. Memorize the word “Gasellizer”, an innovation by a group of sofware experts, and see what it is going to be this Autumn.

Concerning Mikko’s presentation, he also mentioned the need of new Service Innovations. That’s absolutely true. It’s no longer enough to engineer yet-another-cool-technology and try to find a use case for that. The future is in Service Innovations. This message is yet to go to the Finnish entrepreneur funding system, however. Trying to find funding for a Service Innovation (with focus on something else than the technology) is quite difficult as a typical answer is that “…it is just a service innovation, we cannot give support for that…”). In the future it should be the other way around, having “just a technological innovation” should not be enough, it should also be Service Innovation!

The Growth Forum will now continue with crowd sourcing model. All the software entrepreneurs were encouraged to join one or more of the task forces working on few pre-selected focus areas. Those focus areas are Teaching and Education, Research, Innovation, Growth Strategies and Capital Markets and International Sales & Marketing. I will personally join at least the Innovation group.

Let the forces be with this initiative!

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I was lucky enough to be able spend a whole week at Levi, my favourite skiing destination in Finland. Lapland is an excellent place to relax, enjoy the relaxing atmosphere (assuming you are not staying at the new noisy Levi Center) and forget all the issues and matters you may have had in your mind when you boarded a flight from Helsinki.

Skiing in Lapland

Skiing in Lapland

Being somewhat a geek I guess, I was properly equipped to get into the wild. Whenever going skiing (cross-country and downhill.. aka gravity-assisted skiing) I turned on Nokia Sports Tracker on my Nokia N82 as well as the Polar FT80. This way I was able to see later where I had been on the map and see how my fitness was improving. If only these two things would be integrated and the battery would last all day with GPS (it almost does).

First day I skied 15 km, second day 20 km and third day 25 km. Positive trend at least!

It is amazing when you are skiing in a beautiful weather (-5C and sunny) on a non-crowded track how at some point you get into a state of perfect feeling. But it can also be that soon after that the sudden feel of innovation hits your head again. You begin to think about some things and thinking gets crystal clear as your head is no longer filled with unnecessary other thoughts. Good or bad, it happens 🙂

Maybe next year I’ll spend two weeks over there, skiing whenever the weather is good and working rest of the time (3G wireless works perfectl at Levi). Or maybe I should be skiing every morning and working in the afternoon.

Or maybe have it more strictly just as a vacation?

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