Finland Futures Research Centre identifies, analyses, and researches future emerging technologies, and the impact of technological transformations on humans, society and nature. We promote responsible innovation, and the responsible development and uptake of technology in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner. 

Finland Futures Research Centre participates in national and international technology foresight research. We develop methods of identifying radical emerging technologies and tools for evaluating them. We research possible futures of novel innovations, as well as their potential future impacts within a variety of contexts. Recent FFRC's research projects have for example considered futures of and with privacy, Big Data, robotics, 3D-printing, and new circular economy opportunities. We also study new business models, regional development and smart specialisation connected to changing innovation and start-up ecosystems patterns. 

Ongoing Research and Development Projects:

Bounce Forward

New operation models to face uncertainty in work and to strengthen work communities' and experts’ resilience are developed in this project.

The global COVID-19 virus has made it more concrete how unpredictable the future is. In working life unpredictability and uncertainty weaken the sense of control and depending on the individual, decrease well-being at work. At the same time, the climate crisis should be considered also in workplaces. Due to constant changes, there is a growing need for the ability to act in times of uncertainty and to understand the complex nature of society. Especially in knowledge work, complex nature is one characteristic of the work. Furthermore, the superiors of experts are in challenging situations from many angles. Self-managing and team-managing skills are necessary. At the organizational level, new ways to co-operate are needed to characterize the bigger picture at times of continuous changes and to find different approaches and solutions for interaction.

The project's aim is to strengthen organizations' renewability and knowledge workers’ resilience and adaptability in working life change situations by assimilating new trust-building, interactive and futures-oriented ways of operating. In addition, actions against climate change are discussed. The target groups of the project are independent knowledge workers (entrepreneurs and employees) and SMEs and supporting organizations in the several fields of knowledge work. In the project, the resilience of companies is strengthened and new ways to interact are supported by forming a Living lab for development and testing and using user-oriented and experimental learning and developing methods.

The project is carried out in co-operation between Turku University of Applied Sciences (co-ordinator), Humak University of Applied Sciences and the FFRC.

The project is funded by the European Social Fund during 1.9.2021-31.8.2023 via Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (Central Finland)

Contact: Hanna-Kaisa Aalto, Finland Futures Research Centre

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European Research Infrastructures in the International Landscape (RISCAPE)

The European Research Infrastructures in the International Landscape (RISCAPE) is a European Commission-funded H2020 project, focusing on international research infrastructures landscape analyses. 

The objective of the RISCAPE is to provide systematic, focused, high quality, comprehensive, consistent and peer-reviewed international landscape analysis report on the position and complementarities of the major European research infrastructures in the international research infrastructure landscape. 

The project is funded by European Commission during 2017–2019 and it is co-ordinated by the University of Helsinki. 

Finland Futures Research Centre is in charge of conducting the WP6 "Energy RI Landscape analysis". The FFRC is a specialist research facility with extensive knowledge on multidisciplinary studies, particularly in the energy sector. It will bring to the consortium connections and knowledge on the Energy sector RIs in addition to more holistic view of the whole global research infrastructures.

Further information: Jari Kaivo-oja and Mikkel Stein Knudsen

Project website: http://www.riscape.eu

 

InnoScope – Success in Changed Circumstances through Entrepreneurs’ Sustainable Innovations

The special situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has introduced new challenges for enterprises. Prognoses for example in the fields of hotel and restaurant trade, tourism and event production are dramatically bleak. With innovation and developing products and services, productivity and result-orientation can be influenced. This, in turn, has an effect on the improvement of well-being.

The Regional Strategy for Southwest Finland encourages for growth entrepreneurship and innovations, and for partnerships and bold experiments to promote a dynamic culture of cooperation. The Regional Programme of Southwest Finland encourages a close, strategic partnership between enterprises and education providers. According to the regional coping strategy of Southwest Finland, the region’s small and micro entrepreneurs and their staff in the fields of tourism, trade, services, the hotel and restaurant sector, and in culture and event production have suffered for the pandemic the most. Recovery funds are targeted at companies’ opportunities to improve their competitiveness and create new business and growth, and further, new jobs. The work against climate change plays a central part.

The project aims to respond to the Regional Strategy and Regional Programme of Southwest Finland and the regional coping strategy of Southwest Finland. The main objective of the project is to help the enterprises to cope with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic by helping and supporting established entrepreneurs and their staff to develop environmentally friendly new business with innovation. The project focuses on assisting the fields which have suffered for the pandemic the most in Southwest Finland. This aim will be achieved with a versatile, future-oriented innovation process which is based on sustainable development and experiments, the help of experts and networking.

The project is carried out by Turku University of Applied Sciences (co-ordinator), HUMAK University of Applied Sciences and Finland Futures Research Centre at the University of Turku, which have extensive networks and create a strong combination by their cooperation and also in their cooperation with entrepreneurs.

The project is funded by the European Social Fund during 1.9.2021-31.8.2023 via Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (Central Finland)

Contact: Hanna-Kaisa Aalto, Finland Futures Research Centre

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Manufacturing 4.0 – strategies for technological, economic, educational, and social-policy adoption

MFG4.0 is a multi-disciplinary research project funded by the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council for 3+3 years (2018–2023). The consortium includes five working groups across four Finnish universities. 

Manufacturing is becoming automated and service-driven by digital platforms. This can cause drastic changes to the structure of industry and society. MFG4.0 explores these changes from multiple lenses in order to design ‘responses’ which prepares Finland for the transformation and enables Finland to thrive in this change.

In WP1, FFRC explores trends and drivers of futures of automated manufacturing and Industry 4.0. Together with our consortium partners, we seek to develop tools for identifying emerging fields of technology in which new products can be created and also tools for evaluating which fields are most suitable for Finland. 

Consortium and work package-leaders:

  • Futures Research (WP1): Jari Kaivo-oja, Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku 
  • Automated and distributed manufacturing (WP2): Heikki Handroos, Antti Salminen, Kari Ullakko (consortium coordinator), Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT)
  • Decision-making, potential, and business models (WP3): Mikael Collan, LUT
  • Education (WP4): Juhani Rautopuro, University of Jyväskylä (JYU)
  • Reshaping Social Policies (WP5): Heikki Hiilamo, University of Helsinki (HEL)

MFG4.0 is supported by Strategic Research Council’s program for Adaptation and Resilience for Sustainable Growth [grant no. 313395]. The first phase of project is funded 2018–2020.

Further information: ​
Research Director Jari Kaivo-oja, WP leader, jari.kaivo-oja(a)utu.fi
Project Researcher Mikkel Stein Knudsen, Mikkel.knudsen(a)utu.fi

Project website: https://mfg40.fi/

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Publications:

  • Aho, S. & Kaivo-oja, J. (2019). Suomen väestöllisen ja taloudellisen huoltosuhteen kehitys suuralueilla ja maakunnissa vuosina 1990–2017. Kansantaloudellinen aikakauskirja, 115 (2): 270-288.
  • Kaivo-oja, J., Kuusi, O., Knudsen, M.-S. & Laureaus, T. (2019.) Digital Twins Approach and Future Knowledge Management Challenges: Where We Shall Need System Integration, Synergy Analyses and Synergy Measurements? In Uden, Lorna, Ting, I-Hsien, Corchado, Juan Manuel (Eds.) 14th International Conference, KMO 2019, Zamora, Spain, July 15–18, 2019, Proceedings, Communications in Computer and Information Science, 1027, Springer Nature, Switzerland AG.
  • Knudsen, M.-S., Kaivo-oja, J. & Lauraeus, T. (2019). Enabling Technologies of Industry 4.0 and Their Global Forerunners: An Empirical Study of the Web of Science Database. In Uden, Lorna, Ting, I-Hsien, Corchado, Juan Manuel (Eds.) 14th International Conference, KMO 2019, Zamora, Spain, July 15–18, 2019, Proceedings, Communications in Computer and Information Science, 1027, Springer Nature, Switzerland AG, pp. 3-13.
  • Roth, S., Leydesdorff, L., Kaivo-oja, J. & Sales, A. (in press). Open Coopetition: When multiple players and rivals team up. Journal of Business Strategy, https://doi.org/10.1108/JBS-11-2018-0192 (Open access)
  • Roth, S., Schwede, P., Valentinov, V., Pérez-Valls M., & Kaivo-oja, J. (in press) Harnessing big data for a multifunctional theory of firm. European Management Journal, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2019.07.004 (Open access)
  • Bzhalava, L., Kaivo-oja, J. & Hassan, S.H. (2018), Data-based Startup Profile Analysis in the European Smart Specialization Strategy: A Text Mining Approach, European Integration Studies, http://dx.doi.org/10.5755/j01.eis.0.12.21869 (Open access)
  • Haukioja, T., Kaivo-oja, K., Karppinen, A. & Vähänsantanen (2018). Identification of Smart Regions with Resilience, Specialisation and Labour Intensity of Globally Competitive Sectors – The Examination of LAU-1 Regions in Finland. European Integration Studies, https://doi.org/10.5755/j01.eis.0.12.21872 (Open access)
  • Kaivo-Oja, J., Knudsen, M., & Lauraéus, T. (2018). Reimagining Finland as a manufacturing base: the nearshoring potential of Finland in an industry 4.0 perspective. Business, Management and Education, 16(1), 65-80. https://doi.org/10.3846/bme.2018.2480 (Open access)
  • Kaivo-oja, J. & Lauraeus, T. (2018). The European Mind-set, European Opinion and Economic Developments in 2007-2017: Major Changes of Public Opinion and the European Mind-set in Years 2004-2018, European Integration Studies, https://doi.org/10.5755/j01.eis.0.12.21870 (Open access)
  • Roth, S., Melkonyan, A., Kaivo-oja,J., Manke, B., and Dana, L-P. (2018). Multifunctional organisation models. A systems-theoretical framework for new venture discovery and creation. Journal of Organizational Change Management. 31(7): 1383-1400. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-05-2018-0113 (Open access)
  • Roth S., Melkonyan A., Kaivo-oja J., Manke B., and Dana L.-P. (2018). Interfunctional business models. Map to an uncharted quadrant of the blue ocean. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing. 10 (5): 581–595. https://doi.org/10.1504/IJEV.2018.094628
New technologies to shape nature

This study examines the potential of new technologies for strengthening environmental performance and addressing different meanings in information management.

Biodiversity management relies on centralized information systems, and citizens' information is also being mobilized through mobile applications. There are problems with the motivation of nature enthusiasts to produce observations and management of nature knowledge has been criticized for being too technology-driven. Nature information has different meanings for different actors.

The research makes extensive use of qualitative research materials. The research cases focus on databases, mobile applications and social media as tools for collecting and managing nature information.

The research aims not only to produce research information on current topics, but also to bring about interdisciplinary cooperation and societal debate on knowledge of nature and knowledge management.

Further information: Minna Santaoja

RURALIZATION

RURALIZATION is a 4 years EU-funded project under the Horizon 2020 programme, focused on the study of problems related to rural regeneration and access to land, and the implementation of policies and activities that facilitate the entry of new generations and newcomers to the farming sector.

The consortium is composed of 18 partners from 12 different countries. This diversity will guarantee a wide range of perspectives and situations, creating a wealth of knowledge positive for the participants and the interested third parties.

The main challenges that the projects must deal are:

  1. The unequal development of urban and rural areas. The unbalanced development of growing urban areas and declining rural areas is one threat for the cohesion of the European territory. Data is clearly demonstrating this trend: population growth is expected for urban areas (12% between 2014 and 2050) whereas a decline of 7% is expected for rural areas for the same period.
  2. The difference in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. The 2014 figures show that in urban regions the GDP/P was € 34,179, in intermediate regions was € 23,726 GDP/P and in rural regions was € 19,104 GDP/P.
  3. The concentration of landownership. The issue of access of new generations and newcomers to the farming sector is caused by a landownership highly concentrated. In 2013, 52,2% of EU agricultural land was controlled by only 3,1% of the farms and, the 76,2% smallest farms cultivate only 11,2% of the EU land.
  4. The aging of the rural population. Most farmers are above 55 years of age and only few farmers are below 35 years of age. If it isn't corrected, this trend may pose a problem in the future as there will isn't enough workforce in rural areas that will work in agriculture.
  5. The insufficient opportunities for new generations in rural areas. The EU has allocated € 9.6 billion between 2007 and 2020 as specific aid to young farmers to improve competitiveness and generational renewal. But these funds lack of scope for application and the farming population continues ageing.

Of the seven different work packages of the project, the FFRC is responsible for the foresight study on the topic. The project will run from 1.5.2019 to 30.4.2023.

Further information: Tuomas Kuhmonen & Pertti Ruuska

https://www.ruralization.eu/

 

Smart Specialization Strategy with Big Data (SSST-BD)

EU strategy for smart specialisation

In the face of globalisation, Europe’s regions need to become more competitive and resilient. More than 120 Smart Specialisation Strategies have been implemented across Europe to promote interregional and cross-border partnerships in areas such as industrial modernisation, digitalisation, energy transition and agri-food. By 2020, some 15 000 new products will be brought to the market, creating 140 000 start-ups and 350 000 jobs.

The EU-funded SSST-BD project will develop scientific metrics and knowledge-based management tools to analyse and manage the strategies. The goal is to measure the competitiveness of regional industries and entrepreneurial activities, assess patent values and develop big data foresight tools.

Project is funded by H2020-EU.1.3.2. Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility -programme during 1.9.2019-31.8.2021.

Further information: Levan Bzhalava

Sustainable Shipbuilding Concepts (SusCon)

Sustainable Shipbuilding Concepts project focuses on creating sustainability based value in shipbuilding through designing more sustainable concepts for cruise ships and related systems in a way that the complete network can contribute into more sustainable business processes including material selection, design, manufacturing, social aspects and features. The goal is to generate new business processes that bring such sustainability benefits that can be quantified and which help actors to strengthen their foresight and adaptation abilities in the often-changing sustainability-framework. In addition, the goal is to stimulate the whole shipbuilding community’s understanding on how sustainable shipbuilding practices and effective communication of lean and sustainable solutions can increase the resilience and collaborativeness of the regional shipbuilding community.

The project focuses on research related supply network’s capabilities to utilize sustainability arguments for long-term strategic gains. Implementing collaborative foresight and early supplier integration practices promotes generation of new supplier-driven ideas for sustainability innovations. The participating companies have expressed the need to model and prove the environmental impacts of their products or systems for their communication. Development of new digital and virtual tools support more efficient business processes and illustration of sustainability benefits.

This project is a collaborative consortium project led by research organizations, University of Turku and VTT, including multiple parallel projects from industry stakeholders throughout the value chain. The project is funded by Business Finland during 6/2020–5/2022.

Research Partners: Department of Future Technologies (DFT), Centre for Collaborative Research (CCR), Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC) & VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.

Industry and Supporting Partners: Evac Oy, Lautex Oy, Meriteollisuus ry, Meyer Turku Oy, Oy NIT Naval Interior Team Ltd., Paattimaakarit Oy, Piikkio Works Oy & Royal Caribbean Group.

Further information at the FFRC: Katariina Heikkilä, Leena Jokinen & Nicolas Balcom Raleigh

> Project website.

Transition to a Resource Efficient and Climate Neutral Electricity System (EL-TRAN)

The objective of the project ”Transition to a Resource Efficient and Climate Neutral Electricity System” (EL-TRAN) is to construct a roadmap for the transition towards a resource efficient and climate neutral electricity system in Finland. The roadmap covers production, transmission, distribution and consumption as well as storage of electricity. 

The project aims to recognize different problems related to the transition process, and provides suggestions for potential solutions to the identified problems. The seven work packages deal with problems of the transition process from different perspectives by applying an interdisciplinary approach and methodology.

Finland Futures Research Centre is responsible for a work package titled ”Trends and scenarios”, which supports proactivity of the consortium regarding changes in the trends of electricity supply and demand, electricity market, policy choices relating to the electricity system, new technologies, and integration of the national electricity systems. To serve these objectives, backcasting scenarios will be constructed on alternative development paths towards a resource efficient and climate neutral electricity system.

EL-TRAN is a consortium coordinated by University of Tampere, School of Management. Finland Futures Research Centre is an EL-TRAN partner together with Tampere University of Technology, VTT Energy, University of Eastern Finland, and Tampere University of Applied Sciences.

EL-TRAN is financed during the years 2016–2019 by the Academy of Finland, Council of Strategic Research.

Further information: ​Jyrki Luukkanen, Jari Kaivo-oja & Jarmo Vehmas

https://el-tran.fi/