This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Space - New Technology Program in Preparatioon in Finland

15 June 2007

This article is reprinted from EuroFM Insight Issue 3

Places for living and working
Places for living and working are products of their time, and have changed a lot over the years. The transition from the industrial society to the emerging knowledge society has been a factor of significant importance for ways to work and live. More specific the changes are results of changing trends in architecture and organisational theories, changes in labour relations and demands from the employees, and the accelerating development of ICT. It is important to identify the drivers and challenges of such a development as well as the risks and opportunities that lie within it.

Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation launches plans to implement new technology
Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation is the main public financing and expert
organisation for research and technological development in Finland. The Tekes funding budget for 2006 was 465 Meuros. Tekes finances industrial R&D&I projects as well as projects in universities and research institutes. Tekes especially promotes innovative, risk-intensive projects.

Tekes uses technology programmes to allocate its funding, networking and expert services to areas that are
important for business and society. Tekes launches programmes in areas of application and technology that are in line with the policies outlined in Tekes' strategy. Tekes allocates approximately half the funding granted to companies, universities and research institutes through technology programmes. Tekes
funding is intended for challenging an innovative projects, some of which will hopefully lead to global success stories.

During 2007 Tekes is making the feasibility study if there is a demand for interdisciplinary technology program about different spaces. The program should be crossing different business areas and it should include user-centric development in linkage with homes, schools, offices. Different facilities can be seen as business platforms, which combine different actors: real estate and construction cluster, service providers, KIBS, ICT-branch etc. By mingling services, technology, products and research one can increase not only the
business and international expertise in linkage with spaces but also pleasantness and productivity.

Preparation of Space-technology program approaches the space as physical, virtual and social environments. The user of the space is on focus, when developing new business models for developing,
producing and maintaining the relevant environments. This focus creates an interesting opportunity for new value networks between companies and research institutions and at its best it can lead to new business clusters and business procedure.

The goal is to support Finnish companies, business networks and public sector to be more competitive
with their space related resources. This can be achieved by interdisciplinary approach. The new technology program will create attractive, functional, innovative and business orientated spaces and places. During the
preparation phase the specific goals, focus areas, time schedule and resources are defined. If the feasibility study gives promising results, the new technology program is established in 2008.

The technology programmes provide opportunities for companies to network and develop business expertise and skills in international operations. In the programmes they receive Tekes financing for developing products, production, service concepts and business expertise and also the very latest information about different areas of technology and business. The technology programmes consist of
research projects by companies, universities and research institutes, plus services that support companies'
business operations, such as shared visions, seminars, training programmes and international visits.

Ongoing projects are encouraging
There are many research projects already now, which indicate the new business and research opportunities in the field. Professor Jarmo Suominen at University of Arts and Design is focused on living and working and where does these activities take place. 24 Living project aims to develop products, service concepts and mass customization for home related businesses. Companies, Elisa, Kesko, VVO, Igglo, SRV have active role in this project. In Situated Activated Working Environments project the intention is to understand knowledge work in different situations from the perspective of management and action environment.

The school environments have been in interest in Innoschool project by professor Riitta Smeds in Helsinki
University of Technology. The goal of InnoSchool is to develop the Future School Concept: a set of research-based good practices, processes, models and designs, and recommendations for their successful combinations in the Future School. The research and developmental work on the schools is done from different scientific perspectives: architecture and urban planning; playful learning environments; education and the teaching-studying-learning process; and process and innovation management. The synergy between the four coprojects is achieved through theoretical dialogue that applies a joint Concept Design framework, and through collaborative empirical case studies on selected pilot schools. The InnoSchool
Concept Design framework draws on the following four perspectives of learning: formal - informal; physical -
virtual; local - global; distributed - integrated.

The mobile work and its variety of work environments have been research area by Professor Matti Vartiainen in Helsinki University of Technology. 'Distributed Workplace - dWork' - project, started two years ago and has
finished in 2006. The project's aim was to analyse and describe the challenges of distributed and mobile work on workplace design and development. It is evident that we are today on the edge of something new in working life; work is becoming multi-locational, mobile technologies as its enabler. When employees are not anymore sitting by their desks at the main office, they still are somewhere, but where and doing what?

The Workplace management research domain in Facility Service Research Group in HUT concentrates in the connection between the work environment and organizations' performance, the physical, social and
virtual workplace, the workplace requirements for productive knowledge work and the development of workplace management service concepts as a part of the customer-orientated real estate business. CEM Facility Service Research Group is one of three Groups of Excellence 2006-2008 in Helsinki University of Technology.

Reasearch project ProWork, managed by research manager Suvi Nenonen goals to understand what the crucial elements for productive knowledge work are and what kind of requirements it sets for the physical and virtual work environment. Based on the findings the second goal is to develop an evaluation and foreseeing method and tool. The tool allows user-organizations to analyze and evaluate social and
individual knowledge work processes and to develop physical and virtual workplace resources to support the productive knowledge work, both in the current situation and for future changes. The third goal is to develop service concepts for workplace resource management to support user organization in developing the most efficient workplace solution for productive knowledge work. All these projects have been funded by Tekes and the companies. The latter project is funded for example by Nokia, HP, Nordea, NCC, Martela and Senate Properties. The usability of workplaces theme has also been investigated within workplace management research. Third generation of Business Parks is developed in NCC´s company development project and research project is subcontracted. There are different forms of co-operation between industry and research partners within research, development and innovation projects.

Also business is showing promising signals
The relevant activities for Space technology program have not been only research activities. Finland can be proud of the quality of work environments. Next to this development also innovative business is under
development. As an example there is the netWork Oasis in Joensuu Technology Park. netWork Oasis is a collaborative working, learning and development environment. It is a space designed to inspire spontaneous and guided encounters of different individuals. Versatile environment welcomes actors,
specialists and groups from various companies, research and development organizations and communities. 1200 square meters of Oasis space include specifically designed areas and rooms for various working, learning and development tasks. Every phase of the work done in the Oasis-environment is
done in an appropriate room or space, while the transitions between phases of work i.e. rooms, are done in a flexible way.

Versatile space of Oasis removes traditional borders between different actors from multiple fields and areas of expertise. The Oasis environment facilitates fruitful encounters between people from different organizations, communities and companies. New and unexpected ideas and combinations of expertise are created as a result. By giving respect to serendipity it is possible to discover fresh and competitive middle ground innovations from the interfaces between science, arts and economics. Aclient/employee of the
netWork Oasis is a type of a person who networks easily, wants to keep up his/her social networks and get to know new, interesting people and communities. S/He should be allowed to cross organizational boundaries and make up situational and focal expert networks (ad hoc organizations). S/He is an energetic representative of the "Creative Class" and has a strong selfesteem and a desire to work in a transparent environment based on ideals of equal status of people, job satisfaction, and fruitful teamwork.

The becoming technology program is also including a strong international aspect. The collaboration between international research institutions as well as industrial partners is important criteria for funding. EuroFM network is a value creating element for the activities, which take place in future in Finland. For more information please contact

Print this page | E-mail this page