Juha Siivola has started work as an innovation advisor in charge of the CS Department. Ilkka Hyytiäinen will be responsible for innovation projects of applied physics, mathematics and industrial engineering and management, while Tuomas Planman will continue his work as an advisor, with his work relating to innovations in neuroscience and biomedical engineering.
Innovation advisors help researchers make their inventions a reality by developing them further and by protecting and commercializing them.
Ilkka Hyytiäinen, how did you become an innovation advisor?
Before I took up my current job, I worked for around a year as a corporate relations specialist for Aalto and, before that, as a startup entrepreneur. The main reason behind my moving to my current position was the fact that I shared a room with my predecessor Pauli Lahtinen.
I am very interested in new technologies and the startup world. One of the best features of the startup world is the people’s bursting enthusiasm for their business ideas, their optimism and their burning desire to make headway. I wish that my experiences will help innovators at Aalto to develop their ideas further and to help avoid at least some of the pitfalls.
Juha Siivola, why did you find yourself holding an innovation advisor’s job?
For the whole of my career, I have worked in product development with new technologies and inventions. I am enthusiastic about creating something new and useful, both for Finland and for the wider world. Something that could solve everyday problems or those of the industry and, for its part, advance the progress of the mankind. With regard to innovation projects, I have worked in many roles – from inventor to private equity investor.
Ilkka Hyytiäinen, what have been the highlights of your career?
I was involved with Nokia's mobile phones, from their rise to their fall. You have to experience the entire trajectory, and, also, see how the dust eventually settles. I have been involved with designing electronics, selling technology to Nokia, developing Nokia’s semiconductor strategy, directing research and research collaboration, purchasing technology for Nokia and, finally, I also participated in the startup training courses of extremely high-quality, which Microsoft made possible.
Juha Siivola, what about the highlights of your career?
I, for my part, have lived through Nokia’s rise and the period of the company's bloated confidence, but not its fall. The best part was the feeling you had when you had managed, together with your team, to design a solution or product that eventually came to be used by hundreds of millions of people. I have been involved, among other things, in the creation of connectivity solutions, which are still used in smartphones.
Ilkka Hyytiäinen, what do you expect from the future?
We have a really strong IPR team and competence. Our work requires an open mind, a systematic approach and a trailblazer mentality. I believe that I will learn a great deal more.
Juha Siivola, what is the most important characteristic required of an innovation advisor?
I try to be a facilitator, someone who sets things in motion and takes things further in order to find the best possible solution. I have learned to meet different people as I have had the privilege of representing Finland for more than 30 years on a seasonal basis in the role of Santa Claus, first in Rovaniemi and now, for many years, in Japan.