On January 22nd, 2018, the World Alliance for Low Carbon Cities and Synocus Group hosted a high-level seminar at the Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, Finland entitled “Orchestrating for Excellence” which welcomed insight on the role of ecosystems in national economies as well as the significance of dynamic capability development activities. The seminar welcomed an audience of some 90 individuals representing a wide array of fields of business, government institutions, and organizations, including those fields directly addressed in the WALCC and Synocus Group’s ongoing ecosystem development efforts in the fields of mobility and transportation, logistics, mechanical engineering, and health and wellbeing.

The seminar opened with three brief addresses that set the theme for the day as the notion of ecosystems was considered from the perspectives of three speakers representing distinct elements in the innovation system. Offering the view of the nation’s primary innovation support agency, Business Finland, Jarmo Heinonen covered the benefits of ecosystems on a national level, while the Dean of Aalto University, Prof. Ingmar Björkman considered how business schools and education can help to spur innovation and economic activity, and, Tomi Laamanen, who brought the discussion into an academic realm, exploring connections between his own research and Johan Wallin’s research as he led into the keynote speaker’s presentation.

Following this opening, the collected audience were then treated to a wealth of insights from the seminar’s keynote speaker, Professor David Teece of the University of California. Professor Teece offered a comprehensive overview of his theory of dynamic capabilities and their utility in improving a business’s ability to deal with risk and manage uncertainty.

The day’s other speakers included renowned ecosystem experts from academia, Professor Christos Pitelis, Brunel University; Professor Kimmo Kaski, Aalto University; Dr. Jari Kaivo-oja, Research Director, Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku, Turku School of Economics; representatives from three of Finland’s leading corporations, Fortum, Kari Lahti; Valmet Automotive, Pasi Rannus; and Nokia, Dr. Leo Kärkkäinen; and Dr. Johan Wallin, Honorary Chairman of the WALCC. Through this balance of research, both in business theory as well as practical fields of application, and testimonials from business leaders who have successfully engineered growth through ecosystems and a systematic approach to the development of dynamic capabilities formed a concrete bridge between the two worlds and emphasized the utility of the theories presented by Professor Teece.

These theories on ecosystem orchestration and dynamic capability building constitute the core of the ecosystems formed by the WALCC and Synocus Group and the seminar served as the first opportunity for the companies and organizations involved in these ecosystems to gather together and productively explore synergies and complementarities they could capitalize on through cooperation in these ecosystems.

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Programs

Reframing City Districts (ReCiDi)

A research project conducted by the Universities of Turku and Tampere which aims to form a new conceptual framework which will help shape the collective identity and common vision necessary to realize the future low-carbon and sustainability targets.

Systemic Architectures for Sustainable Urban Innovation (SASUI)

An action learning and research project conducted by Aalto University and the University of Tampere which aimed to form a better understanding of the architectural requirements for successful innovation projects.