Call a Researcher! discussions brought new perspectives
The Digital Disruption of Industry consortium offered again its researchers’ expertise to citizens, politicians, companies and organisations through one hour free Skype discussions. The Call a Researcher! week held in February 2020 was implemented for the third time.
12 digitalisation researchers from Aalto University, LUT University and VTT held 33 discussions during the week. Participants included for instance Tukes, the World Bank, companies like Lindström, Vaisala and Granlund as well as start-ups and students. The topics ranged from AI, ecosystems, platforms and circular economy to the future of work.
The Helsinki EU Office in Brussels invited officials from EU institutions, Permanent Representations to the EU and EU specialists from regional offices in Brussels to join the Call a Researcher! discussion with Research Fellow Kari Hiekkanen from Aalto University. Opportunities and challenges of digitalisation sparked lively debate among the over 30 participants. Digitalisation is a timely topic as the EU Commission published EU’s new digital strategy, European data strategy and the so called White Paper on AI on the following week after the discussion with Kari Hiekkanen.
“The audience in Brussels liked the Call a Researcher! format since it enabled open and professional discussion on societal opportunities and challenges of digitalisation in Europe in an era when the development of digital capabilities is one of the EU Commission’s strategic focal points,” explains Mikael Vainio, EU Adviser at Helsinki EU Office.
Discussions generate valuable contacts and even new research ideas
Professor Kirsimarja Blomqvist from LUT University sees the Call a Researcher discussions as a great way to create new contacts. ”It’s always interesting to hear about the development and challenges of companies. The discussions allow us researchers to spar our research topics with the caller, but their excellent questions and topical remarks can also generate new research ideas. My research is often developed in dialogue with stakeholders,” says Kirsimarja.
Kristiina Tiilikainen, Head of Category, Garments at Lindström Oy discussed with Kirsimarja on the creation of trust in evolving supplier networks/ecosystems where the roles of the supplier and client are no longer traditional. Lindström offers services specifically to companies and digitalization and circular economy have become an integral part of its service concepts. New concepts have also created new sourcing models.
”It became clear in our discussion that long term vision, clear roles and transparency are central in building trust and managing such networks. Trust cannot be based solely on personal relations but shared values, norms and processes act as unifying factors. And best of all, mutual trust within the network participants also lowers costs,” explains Kristiina. Potential research cooperation was also discussed and Kristiina was invited to give a guest lecture at LUT University.
Call a Researcher! will be developed into an application
The Call a Researcher! weeks have raised a lot of attention and researcher from multiple fields have asked to be involved. Also the callers have requested such a service to be available more often. Inspired by this positive feedback the consortium is now developing Call a Researcher! application with Mesensei Ltd. The application will enable the scalability of the format and build a community where people in search of information & knowledge and researchers can easily find each other and discuss.The application will be ready in autumn 2020.
Communications manager, Digital Disruption of Industry consortium
In the Digital Disruption of Industry (DDI) consortium over 40 researchers from Aalto University, ETLA, LUT University, University of Turku and VTT study the impacts of digitalization to the Finnish society through the lens of the industry. DDI is funded by the Strategic Research Council. More information from ddi.aalto.fi