February 20, 2019
Top Finnish and European industry influencers will hear a load of forceful visions in June. Two new top leaders will share their views on the importance of innovation in the MPD event. The President and CEO of the newly merged Tampere University, Mari Walls, as well as the Country Head of Danske Bank Finland, Leena Vainiomäki, are both experienced leaders but their new top positions offer them opportunities for exceptionally broad influencing.
Approximately one thousand of Finland’s and Europe’s top industry influencers will gather at Tampere’s Tähtiareena from the fourth to the sixth of June. MPD is Finland’s most significant industry event focusing on the digital future. The event is targeted towards top management and this year’s theme, ecosystem economy, is becoming more relevant as we speak. Additionally, top industry influencers will offer updates on the most interesting industry prospects as well as what is now to be expected and demanded from innovation politics.
‘We need to focus even more on sustainable solutions, including innovation. For example, the plastic waste problem in the oceans is a major ecological threat but simultaneously a significant opportunity, through the development of new sustainable products and business models. Naturally this also concerns banking – the financial sector has to examine societal as well as global development in a completely different way than, for example, 10 years ago’, outlines Leena Vainiomäki, a top expert who has been the Country Head of Danske Bank Finland for half a year.
Alongside urgent challenges, Mari Walls, the President and CEO of the new recently merged Tampere University, looks far into the future. She has exceptional capabilities for doing this given her earlier successes in building cooperation even between actively competing research organisations.
‘I want to develop a vision of what higher education should be in 20 years. Research should be innovative, creative and surprising. At the same time, the rapidly changing world is creating various challenges for current competences and teaching, and smart and innovative solutions are needed to combat these. Finland’s top universities have a particularly significant national responsibility. Our new university already has over 30 thousand students who need to be ensured the best capabilities, with which to build the future of Finland’, Walls describes her new challenges.
Innovation ecosystems benefit from startups
Walls also analyzes the MPD event, taking place in Tampere in June, from the perspective of Tampere’s innovation ecosystem.
‘Tampere has a key role in Finnish industrial expertise, 80% of Finnish industry is situated within a radius of 80km from Tampere. As Finland’s industrial capital, we are also in many ways Finland’s innovation capital. Tampere is the only Finnish city to have received an invitation to the High Level Forum of the world’s most important innovation cities. The university, the city and the industry are all strongly involved in it. This, for example, significantly helps Tampere attract interesting startups and new top talents to the city’, Walls evaluates.
Vainiomäki also strongly believes in the growing significance of startups.
‘Startups bring new impetus and fresh perspectives also to larger companies and their innovation ecosystems. It is dangerous to be lulled into believing that success can be built with the same practices forever. We need to be aware of the new innovations being continuously developed for the financial sector, and we also actively support the success of startups. Our own Hub concept offers free advice to startups in their most important challenges and simultaneously complements our own startup ecosystem, so everyone benefits’, Vainiomäki rejoices.
A wide range of perspectives is necessary
The organizers of the MPD event are extremely satisfied with the top-class speakers, whose views may not necessarily be the most familiar with the industrial audience.
‘It’s terrific that our speakers represent top expertise as well as bring forth different perspectives. Our set of speakers obviously includes the best industrial competence as well, but Mari Walls and Leena Vainiomäki will surely open the eyes of the audience in a way that is both refreshing and absolutely necessary. Innovating has to be open-minded and unprejudiced and the same goes for the high quality discussion around it’, emphasizes Harri Kulmala, the CEO of DIMECC Ltd.
DIMECC Ltd, the innovation ecosystem for Finland’s digitalizing and manufacturing industries, is the main organizer of MPD and Tampere’s industry representative at the High Level Forum of the world’s most advanced innovation cities.