A Bloc in Otaniemi awarded as best shopping centre innovation in Finland
Shopping centre A Bloc at the Aalto University campus received the Best Innovation in Finland award from the Nordic Council of Shopping Centers on 8 October.
A Bloc participated in the NCSC Finland Awards 2019 competition with its innovation collaboration platform. With the win, A Bloc will compete for the title of Best Innovation in the Nordic Countries at the NCSC Nordic Awards event in 2020. A Bloc was opened at the Aalto University campus in September 2018.
‘We work hard to intensify university cooperation and to make A Bloc a dynamic pilot platform for testing new technologies. Shopkeepers give their premises and open their business concepts to pilot new innovations. We on the other hand look for projects from the university community that bring added value to the shopkeepers. Our goal is to be the most innovative shopping centre in Finland’, says Jatta Reijonen, Asset Manager at Aalto University Campus & Real Estate.
Tenants get access to project results and data that they can use to drive sales, marketing or their own product development. There have already been a few pilot projects - including participation in Europe’s largest hackathon, Junction, where coders solved challenges presented by tenants and studied Otaniemi people flow data over the weekend. The latest example is ByDrone, a fully autonomous drone delivery service developed together with shopkeepers and a growth company based in the Aalto community.
The winner was selected by a jury of three. Pirjo Aalto (YIT), Maarit Pönni (Citycon) and Anna Bevz (Loikka Works) said this innovation is fresh and looks into the future. ‘It is a platform that provides the opportunity for extensive collaboration between businesses, the shopping centre and users to develop operations and solve the future practical challenges of the industry. It is noteworthy that the development takes place in a shopping centre environment and from a business perspective. Although this innovation is in many ways still in a pilot stage, concrete applications are already visible - for example the drone deliveries that created high visibility, and the Junction event. The jury therefore wants to encourage the development of this vision towards a well-established operating model’, the jury said.
jatta.reijonen (at) aalto.fi