Archive for the ‘futures workshops’ Category

UAE Space Delphi

October 17, 2019 Leave a comment


The United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA), in collaboration with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, is conducting the UAE Space Foresight exercise supported by two expert workshops (at the 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2019) in Washington DC on October 23rd and at UAESA Headquaters in Abu Dhabi on November 14th), as well as a Delphi survey. The work will be an input for a bigger foresight exercise led by UAESA.

The overall goal of the project is to assess a list of critical technology areas, critical issues, critical actions and sustainable development goals (SDGs) that may be shaping (inter)national policy agendas and roadmaps for future deep space missions, such as the UAE’s plan to establish human settlements on Mars by 2117.

The Delphi survey was closed at the end of 2019 and a White Paper is currently under preparation.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact the UAE Space Foresight project coordinators directly:

Dr. Rafael Popper –
Dr. Khaled Al Hashmi –

VTTers co-create Action Roadmaps for Good Life

December 13, 2018 Leave a comment

VTT Good Life Lighthouse in-a-nutshell

VTT supports the co-creation of Action Roadmaps for Good Life

On December 13th VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland organised a workshop to go beyond VTT Lighthouse opportunity pathways and reach a deeper understanding on strategic research pathways and future opportunities for VTT’s Good Life research and innovation agenda.

VTT_Lighthouses address global challenges and highlight opportunities for sustainable growth and development. The VTT ‘Good Life‘ Lighthouse focuses on 3 Opportunity Areas (OAs) where innovations are needed to increase the sustainability of the healthcare system and the resiliency of public infrastructure to ensure that the society can thrive.

  • OA1: Disruption of work: Increased automation driven by digitalisation and artificial intelligence, coupled with the platform economy, promise radical increases in productivity. At the same time, these advancements disrupt work and everyday lives. Coping with the impacts requires the society to adopt new ways of working and to support constant learning. Digitalisation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and platforms create opportunities for new business and for making the society more sustainable and companies profitable. Fully capturing the value of disruptive technologies requires an understanding of new and traditional technology and business, as well as the ability to combine them in novel ways. To be among the winners of AI-driven growth requires agility and adaptiveness as well as an understanding of the key enabling technologies.

  • OA2: Citizen-centric care: An overhaul of the healthcare system is needed to maintain access to affordable and high-quality healthcare. Seamless co-operation between the private and public operators with integrated people-centric processes, would significantly improve operational efficiency and the quality of care. Improving population health overall offers the greatest benefits. To achieve this, patients must be encouraged to take a participatory role in caring for their own health. The development of new tools that support a healthy lifestyle and solutions for more personalised, preventive and predictive healthcare are needed. Health-technology products are in high demand across the globe. Turning this opportunity into a business success requires a combination of high-quality R&D in medical sciences, ICT, wearable sensors and diagnostic technologies.

  • OA3: Smart built environment: The increasing digitalisation of the built environment is an opportunity to improve energy efficiency and the comfort of living. Smart components embedded into buildings and infrastructure can both monitor and react to changes in the surroundings. For example, indoor lighting and heating can be modified automatically or on-demand, locally or remotely. Such solutions rely on embedded sensors, connectivity solutions and cloud platforms that enable data to be gathered and analysed in real-time. Coupled with AI this can increase adaptability and efficiency. There is a vast market open for smart solutions that promote sustainability and enable individualised yet efficient service provision. Companies interested in developing innovative digital service concepts need holistic design principles, high-end technological competences and user-centric service design methodology to create truly useful solutions.

The workshop supported the VTT Lighthouse strategy by engaging VTTers from relevant teams and substance nodes in 1) reviewing the above-mentioned Good Life opportunity pathways and 2) co-creating joint Action Roadmaps (see pictures from selected workshop results).

List of Good Life Opportunity Areas (OAs) and Opportunity Pathways (OPs)

  • OA1: Disruption of work
    • OP1: Productivity, competitiveness and wealth by AI
    • OP2: Sharing and platform economy
    • OP3: Agile and learning society
  • OA2: Citizen centric care
    • OP4: Preventive health support
    • OP5: Predictive diagnostics and care
    • OP6: Healthcare process optimisation
  • OA3: Smart built environment
    • OP7: Urban intelligence
    • OP8: Future proof cities
    • OP9: Cognitive built environment

Similar to the October VTT Workshop on ‘Industrial Renewal’, the Good Life workshop brought together some 40 VTT scientists and managers to discuss future research directions and expand their connections to people with common research interests. All in all, the workshop helped to steer VTT strategy work and formulate concrete Action Roadmaps for a sustainable Good Life innovation ecosystem in Finland, Europe and beyond.


Europe is a global leader in foresight, science, technology and innovation

November 28, 2018 Leave a comment

(European Parliament, 28 November 2018)
From left: Frans van der Zee (TNO and JIIP), Rafael Popper (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland), Robbert Fisher (JIIP), Nicholas Vonortas (George Washington University), Wolfgang Polt (Joaneum Research), Jos Leijten (JIIP), Dirk Pilat (OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation) and Hielke Hijmans (EU law consultant).

JIIP Symposium on Future Past: Quo Vadis Innovation – Policy?

Research and Innovation are driving forces for growth, jobs and well-being. Over the past 10 years research and innovation policy in Europe faced a period of deep financial and economic crisis, slow recovery, the rise of populist anti-globalism and widening disparities between the Member States. In this period Europe’s research and innovation policies, partly because of the crisis, managed to address a number of pressing issues, some successfully and others rather inconsequentially.

10th_eis_website_new-1One of the more recent big issues has been the policy toward open science, open innovation and open to the world. Progress can only be reported with regard to open science. Open innovation and open to the world remained rather empty, not in the least because globalisation and international collaboration are under pressure (e.g. mixed feelings and strategies about collaboration with China, failed trade agreements, Trumpism).


In the understanding that excellent research does not automatically lead to wide spread innovation which is also due to the increasing complexity of the innovation processes and systems and to cultural and regulatory issues, new policies and policy instruments are needed.

In the current EU framework programme for reach and innovation (Horizon 2020) and the running up to Horizon Europe we see new approaches taking shape:

  • from programs, to challenges, to missions
  • more room for bottom-up initiatives and for multi-stakeholder initiatives such as PPP’s
  • a slow shift from grants to investment
  • more risk-capital, more start-ups/scale-ups and entrepreneurship
  • from clusters to ecosystems to smart specialisation strategies

These developments give direction to the R&I policies that aim to keep the EU innovative and competitive. But the past 10 years also revealed a number of high complexity policy challenges, mostly relating to the socio-economic framework of the EU:

  • Excellence vs cohesion in view of the widening gap between Member States,
  • The dominance of the platform economy by non-EU companies
  • How flexible should labour and labour markets be?
  • Can the example of GDPR (or some would say, a standard for the rest of the world) inspire further development of an EU driven regulatory environment for innovations?

The JIIP symposium at the 10th European Innovation Summit reviewed the past developments, looked at the current situation and discussed the challenges to be faced in the next 10 years. It provided an open space to share VTT‘s expertise in the use of foresight and horizon scanning to both co-create research and innovation intelligence and co-create action roadmaps to better address a wide range of growth opportunities for industry and society related to VTT_Lighthouses.

EU Top 50 Founders and Tech Festival

The Summit created the opportunity to engage with Europe’s Future Innovation Leaders at the EUTOP50 Founders and Tech Festival in the heart of Europe.


One of the #EUtop50 winners was Susana Núria Guerrero López from ALDstone who represented a promising UK-based start-up providing ground-breaking circular solutions for the built environment (click here to watch video about ALDstone solutions).


With Susana Núria Guerrero López (ALDstone) winner at the EUtop50 Festival

A week promoting EU research and innovation impact and foresight

In addition to the Innovation Summit and the EUTOP50 festival, two other major events helped to further position foresight research and innovation into European debates:

  • The European Parliament conference on Impact of EU research and innovation on your daily life, which brought together researchers and politicians to reflect on past and present achievements. There were panels on: Health and wellbeing, Sustainable environment, Putting innovation on the market and Safe and secure society for all.
  • The ESPAS 2018 Conference on Global Trends to 2030: Shaping the Future in a Fast-Changing World, focused on generating fresh insights for the next edition of the ESPAS Global Trends to 2030 Report, which was first published in 2015 under the title: Global Trends to 2030: Can the EU Meet the Challenges Ahead?


Of equal importance, and despite the busy agendas, the various events allowed participants to expand their networks and spend quality time with new and “old” friends!



VTTers Co-create Action Roadmaps for Industrial Renewal

November 23, 2018 1 comment

VTT Industrial Renewal Lighthouse in-a-nutshell

VTT supports the co-creation of Action Roadmaps for Industrial Renewal

On November 23rd VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland organised an expert workshop to go beyond VTT Lighthouse opportunity pathways and reach a deeper understanding on strategic research pathways and future opportunities for VTT’s Industrial Renewal research and innovation agenda.


VTT_Lighthouses address global challenges and highlight opportunities for sustainable growth and development. The VTT ‘Industrial Renewal‘ Lighthouse focuses on the following three opportunity areas where innovations are expected to empower industry:

  • Design for the future: This opportunity area explores how customers and end-users are increasingly interested in personalised solutions adaptable to their changing needs. Sustainable high-value products and services empowered by customers will be the trump cards for future success. Intelligent design systems will help companies optimise products and systems holistically, taking into account such factors as user experience, performance, energy efficiency, environmental impact, maintenance and service, and material usage over the whole life cycle. Companies are looking for advanced digital solutions that enable them to build competitive edge, increase revenue growth and customer loyalty. Companies that lead in user-experience outperform the competition clearly in revenue growth and customer loyalty. Digital solutions enforce the power of the customer by enabling transparency, new ways of interaction and performance optimisation over the whole system life-cycle.

  • Rebirth of production: Advances in automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing are revolutionising production. Mass production becomes nearly independent of labour costs, while small batches and individual customisation become cost-efficient. Decentralised production may become a preferable option for producing highly-customised products near customers.Companies across the globe are looking for ways to holistically optimise supply networks for lower losses, more efficient energy and resource use. But the complexity of real-time optimisation requires cognitive and autonomous solutions with superb quality assurance. Developing competitive manufacturing requires business and ecosystem understanding backed up by deep process, material and manufacturing expertise as well as knowledge of digital technologies.

  • Disruptive businesses: Global flows of data and information have a higher impact on GDP growth than the trade in goods. There are a number of ways to use the value of data to build business, such as data management, analysis and delivery. Meanwhile services are the core of outcome-economy based business, where suppliers contribute directly to operational efficiency and core value-creation processes. Building successful business innovations based on data and services calls for a visionary approach to disruptions and future markets. This requires companies to combine deep domain expertise with a thorough understanding of related digital technologies.

The workshop supported the VTT Lighthouse strategy by engaging VTTers from relevant teams and substance nodes in 1) reviewing the above-mentioned Industrial Renewal opportunity pathways and 2) co-creating joint Action Roadmaps (see pictures from  workshop results).


Around 40 VTT scientists and managers had the opportunity to influence future research directions and expand their connections to people with common research interests. All in all, the workshop helped to steer VTT strategy work and formulate concrete Action Roadmaps for a sustainable Industrial Renewal innovation ecosystem in Finland, Europe and beyond.

Highlights from Skills for the Future: Managing Transition (Turin, Italy)

November 22, 2018 Leave a comment


More than 350 people from 50 countries in Europe and beyond – entrepreneurs, training providers, policy makers, innovators – gathered in Turin, Italy to discuss the skills needed to prepare people for the job market in a rapidly changing world, with a new perspective: the one of transition and developing countries.

Read ETF Press Release

In the context of the 2018 UnConference (Nov 20) and Conference (Nov 21-22) on ‘Skills for the Future: Managing transition’ organised by the European Training Foundation (ETF), the EU Agency in charge of developing training and education in the EU neighbouring countries, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd and Sapar Oy prepared a Working Paper on The Future of Work and Skills that helped to frame some of the messages in the speeches of ETF Director (Cesare Onestini) as well as ETF Head of Operations (Anastasia Fetsi).

The objective of the VTT-Sapar-ETF Working Paper was to analyse the impact of global developments on skills demand in the ETF Partner Countries (PCs) and discuss implications for policy reforms to manage transition of education, vocational education training and life-long learning system of the future. The Paper was related to the provision of international and national expertise to support the ETF by:

  • collecting and analysing information, data and new ideas on the skills demands of the future in ETF Partner Countries, and
  • exploring responses for better managing transformation towards an inclusive future for the benefit of people and societies.

The Working Paper covered the following issues:

  • Key global drivers of change on economies, work, labour markets and skills
  • Impacts of global trends on work and skills in ETF Partner Countries
    • Impacts of global trends on ETF Partner Countries
    • Insights for future development of skills and education systems
  • Type and degree of changes identified in the regions of ETF Partner Countries
  • Strategies and policies to manage work and skills transformation in the ETF PCs

During the ETF events participants focused their discussions around four main topics:

  • Mastering global trends
  • Tackling country-specific challenges
  • Addressing the future of skills, education and training
  • Supporting the transition toward the future

To do so, at the UnConference ad hoc groups were asked to co-create an agenda around 12 topics that were presented by topic leaders and subsequently visualised by a professional artist. Group 11 discussedGlobal Trends‘ and explored possible ways forward to prepare a public report on the topic, as well as potential opportunities to promote a pilot project to better assess and manage identified global trends (see below).

Global trends impacting the future of work and skills

As a result of the Group 11 discussions, VTT and ETF representatives highlighted the importance of working towards a joint publication that will help to promote a more structured policy debate on future prospects of the impacts of the following global trends in ETF Regions (Western Balkans, Eastern Partnership, Mediterranean and Central Asia):

  • Globalisation
  • Demographics changes and ageing
  • Migration, mobility and brain-drain
  • Digitalisation, artificial intelligence and automation
  • Climate change and diminishing natural resources
  • FDIs and offshoring threatened by automation
  • Youth and women unemployment
  • Growing inequality and political instability

Overall, the ETF events addressed challenging questions such as: How do global forces interact with local realities and how does this affect the demand for skills? How should governments, businesses, social partners, civil society, research institutions, communities and education and training providers work together to manage change? What skills policies work in different contexts?


All in all, the ETF UnConference and Conference were inspiring events demonstrating that the moment is ripe to co-create a shared #vision capable of translating #future #opportunities into an action roadmap assessing and managing the skills for the future, and consequently managing transition towards a more resilient, innovation-friendly and future-proof ‘education ecosystem’ across EU Member States and ETF PCs.

Towards a forest-based bioeconomy strategy in Uruguay

October 25, 2018 Leave a comment


In the context of the ongoing VTT-led project on Strategic openings for key forest based bioeconomy areas (FBA) in Uruguay an Action Roadmap workshop was organised in Montevideo (Uruguay) on October 25th. The workshop was attended by carefully selected experts and stakeholders with the capacity and interest of shaping the future of the following five FBAs in Uruguay:

  • FBA1 – Forest management
  • FBA2 – Mechanical wood processing
  • FBA3 – Fibre-based biomaterial processing
  • FBA4 – Biorefining for chemicals and energy products
  • FBA5 – Bioenergy


The workshop was designed and facilitated by the following organisations:

The background material (i.e. Draft Action Roadmaps) was also shared with a team from the Faculty of Engineering of the Universidad de la República as well as several other organisations from a wider FBA-Uruguay project ‘Governance Group’ (GG).


A total of 15 Draft Action Roadmaps were discussed at the workshop, which was part of the fifth and final step of the FBA-Uruguay foresight process.


At the end of the journey the VTT-LUKE-OPP-GG teams will produce a consolidated Action Roadmap aimed to pave the way towards a forest-based bioeconomy strategy in Uruguay by 2050. While the workshop results are currently being processed by the project team, an ad hoc progress meeting was organised with the Ambassador of Uruguay in Finland (H.E. Dr. Pablo Sader) in order to share key insights and support other ongoing initiatives between Finland and Uruguay in the bioeconomy, which is a highly strategic and important area for both countries today and in the future.


With the Ambassador of Uruguay in Finland (H.E. Dr. Pablo Sader)

Strengthening scientific collaboration between Colombia and Finland

October 10, 2018 Leave a comment

In the context of the 1st Congress on Bio-refineries and Renewable Energies supported by ICT (BRESICT) held in the city of Medellín (Colombia) on 17-20 September 2018, representatives from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia (UCC) have strengthened their collaboration in a wide range of scientific and technological areas.

The Rector of UCC (Prof. Dr. Maritza Rondón Rangel) and the Director of Research in Engineering at UCC (Prof. Dr. Fernando Colmenares) expressed their commitment to accelerate the transformation of ideas and opportunities generated during the various events and meetings into winning project proposals and concrete action roadmaps.


Some clear indicators of the success and immediate positive impacts of the Congress and its related Co-creation Workshop on Sustainable Bioeconomy & Foresight Cooperation Opportunities are 8 flagship collaboration ideas between UCC, VTT and several organisations from Finland, United Kingdom, Norway, France, Spain, Poland, USA, Israel, China, Greece and Colombia.

These flagship opportunities will be further discussed in a High-level meeting between VTT and UCC with the participation of the Ambassador and the Consul of the Embassy of Colombia as well as representatives from oil and gas companies form Colombia (ECOPETROL) and Finland (NESTE) on the 12th of October 2018 at VTT premises in Espoo (Finland). In addition, a strategic meeting between VTT, UCC and the Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC) from the University of Turku will explore new possibilities to advance research and education collaboration between Finland and Colombia.