Finland and Helsinki comes to Singapore

– Brings huge delegation, hosting a range of events

As Finland celebrates 100 years as an independent nation in 2017 the Nordic country is strongly stepping up cooperation and partnerships between stakeholders in Singapore and Finland. Connecting people and fostering collaboration opportunities via more than 60 events throughout 2017 the effort will be at its peak with huge Finnish attendance and special attention during the annual Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH). A delegation of over 100 Finnish companies as well as government representatives etc. then comes to the City State, including through Helsinki’s ‘Designing Better Life’ events, while the Finnish start-up event Slush also returns with its second Singapore edition.

Presentation for media in Singapore: Photo: SF100 Singapore

The high profile delegation of iconic technoprenuers, government leaders and International experts in education, transport and innovation include Dr Kirsti Lonka (University of Helsinki), Ms Anne Berner, Finland’s Minister of Transport and Communications, and Mr Peter Vesterbacka (Angry Birds cofounder) will be here to share knowledge and insights with Singapore.

The Mayor of Helsinki, Mr Jan Vapaavuori will also be in Singapore to participate in the various events and seminars, as the City of Helsinki partakes to “roll out new initiatives to engage the business community and to boost collaborations between Singapore and Finnish organisations”. Helsinki will showcase the “Helsinki Mindset” (see separate story).

The main goal is to greatly strengthen the knowledge of Finland by building bridges to boost cultural and university exchange programs, tourism, business and investment opportunities with Singapore. Many of the participants from Finland comes to Singapore to showcase their capabilities and innovations and to seek tie-ups with Singapore partners. The Finnish visitors hope to achieve new partnerships and lasting new initiatives that will be a win-win for both countries.

Ms Paula Parviainen, Finland’s ambassador to Singapore. Photo: SF 100 Singapore

Her Excellency Ms Paula Parviainen, Finland’s ambassador to Singapore said: “Finland and the City of Helsinki have certainly evolved over the past years. Today, Finland is ranked among the top 10 countries on the Global Innovation Index 2016 and Helsinki is voted the most open city in the world in the latest Millennial Cities Ranking which rates the top 100 places for millennials to live in 2017.

“As we celebrate our centennial of independence (Finland 100), we believe we have to venture beyond the normal to the super-normal to create newer and smarter technologies and approaches to enhance business success and the lifestyles of people. This year, we want to step up cooperation between both Singapore and Finland – two superpowers in innovation and education – to galvanise our respective business communities to jointly contribute towards smarter and healthier solutions for all of us.”

Her Excellency also shared, “The relationship between Singapore and Finland is growing stronger every year. Currently, we have more than 140 Finnish companies in Singapore. We are also happy to note that Finnish businesses are increasingly keen to work with Singapore – in fact the level of interest has shot up significantly. Many Finnish businesses are keen to use Singapore as a strategic gateway to the rest of South-east Asia/ASEAN.

There will be a series of inspiring and engaging events organised by Helsinki and Finland 100 (or ‘Suomi Finland/SF100’) throughout the SWITCH Week. These events will unveil some of the best-known global names in Finland – in education, innovation, design, technology as well as transport and healthcare. The main events include:
Emerging Solutions for Smart & Clean Cities (organised by Finland 100 and Helsinki) – 18 Sep (see separate story)
Finland and Singapore lead many international rankings in liveability, competitiveness and innovativeness. Both countries have sparse natural resources. The key to success has been being smart. Today one cannot be smart without being clean.

Mayor of Helsinki, Mr Jan Vapaavuori

Helsinki will host an event to bring together leaders and experts to develop concrete ideas and share solutions for a better future in cities. Solutions, such as autonomous vehicles and Maas, are examples of concepts that can be tested in real life city platforms in Singapore and Helsinki. Proven concepts will create new business. Finnish innovation fund Sitra evaluates smart city solutions markets being worth 1600 billion a year in 2020. This means the solutions and emerging technologies innovated in Finland and Singapore have nearly unlimited markets around the world.

Helsinki is a global pioneer in offering services and creating new businesses through smart mobility solutions. The Finnish smart mobility scene is very vibrant with many new service and solution providers focused on autonomous vehicles, car sharing, integrated mobility and smart transport. To spotlight on some of the latest smart mobility solutions, Helsinki’s team of business experts bring the most relevant players from both countries to discuss, network and get inspired around these themes: Smart mobility, autonomous vehicles and MaaS; Efficient zero-waste cities and smart food; Smart and energy efficient built environment.

Photo: Petri Anttila

Slush Singapore (by Slush Singapore) with Finland Pavilion – 19 Sep (see separate story)
To be held for the second time in Singapore, Slush Singapore is the premier start-up launch pad of Southeast Asia – bringing together investors and entrepreneurs and innovators across the globe.

At Slush a Finland 100 Pavilion will showcase hot Finnish start-ups and Helsinki. Helsinki calls for co-operation, exchange of ideas and ambitious projects with local parties to make innovative things happen together. Themed introductions and sessions are: Smart & Clean Solutions, Maritime Business, Health Technology and Education.

Finland 100 booth at TechInnovation technology marketplace event – 20 Sep
TechInnovation is a premier technology-industry brokerage event, bringing together international and Singapore technology providers and seekers to explore technology and business collaboration opportunities through open innovation. Since its inception in 2012, it has grown to become a leading conference and exhibition in Singapore that focuses on the matching of industry’s needs to enabling technologies.

Health Tech Finland (by Finland 100 and Helsinki) – 20 Sep
Finland positions itself as the Land of Future Health, with an array of unique strengths in technological application areas such as wearable devices and sensor technology. Helsinki has an established digital infrastructure, highest amount of digital health start-ups per capita, and excellent capabilities in medical technology and engineering, which supports development of future digital health solutions.

Finland in fact has one of the strongest health technology economies in the world, with a highly functional healthcare system, a unique pool of genetic information and an extremely vivid start-up ecosystem. Singapore, meanwhile, has excellent health services and technologies, and Finland sees a true value in collaboration between these two countries.

Hence the capital of Finland, Helsinki, will organize a health and wellbeing event in Singapore in order to bring the most relevant players from both countries to discuss, network and get inspired around these themes: Digital healthcare & Medical Data, and Personalized health & wellness management.

The event will gather both small and big players from the public and private sector including organizations like Nokia, IBM, The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa and Nightingale.

Photo: Visit Finland

Intelligent Maritime and Ports (by Finland 100 and Helsinki) – 20 Sep
The digital imperative enables far more effective shipping, ports and communication than before. Digitalisation is a key driver for the maritime sector – creating new value while saving costs and resources to improve competitiveness. The aim of this event is to usher in new strategic partnerships between Finland and Singapore to seize these opportunities. The event highlights the most interesting recent developments on the field. It brings together companies and expertise to display Future Shipping including autonomous shipping and the latest developments in data-driven maritime business. These also reflect the future needs and opportunities on the maritime sector. For instance, Ville Tolvanen, Digitalist Group will present insights into autonomous shipping and maritime operations of tomorrow.

With a long history of innovations and successes in the field of information and communication technologies, Finland is a strong cluster of maritime and digital expertise, test beds and innovative growth companies to create and employ new solutions for the benefit of the maritime sector.

Designing Future Cities: Service Design and Design Thinking for Better Life – 20 Sep
Great potential lies in harnessing design methods and thinking when developing cities and public services. The ultimate goal is no less than to create a better life. Design can help in reducing risks involved in building new city spaces, infrastructure or services and in improving the existing functions. It helps in ensuring that the right needs of the citizens are filled.

New ways of using design have become a topic in the public sector development. Fully embracing the creative and transformative power of design requires courage to do things differently, also through trial and error.

Singapore and Helsinki, the capital of Finland are both strong on design. The both cities are designated as UNESCO City of Design. This seminar brings forth what design can do for cities. The cases will highlight the ways in which Helsinki has systematically been using design to transform the city. The DesignSingapore Council will also be sharing the new vision for Singapore in DesignSingapore Council’s Design2025 masterplan, and how design will help to shape and power the next chapter of the Singapore story as an innovation-led economy, and strengthen the national identity by creating better spaces and services for its citizens, to make life better in a loveable city that Singaporeans are proud to call home.

Designing Future Education (by Finland 100 and Helsinki) – 21 Sep
The two “Super Powers in Education” will come together in this event to offer practical solutions to encourage lifelong learning. The event will explore a wide variety of perspectives, from education to digital learning, and social media applications to smart school buildings and creating conducive learning environment that encompass social media applications to help deal with the emotional, psychological and physical aspects as well as the challenges of education today.

One of the common challenges for both Singapore and Finland is how to future-proof their children through education.

Singapore has an excellent education system and has been number one in the recent PISA results. Finland was leading PISA for many years but decided to change the curriculum of education while still at the top. The new education curriculum; Phenomenon based learning use the natural curiosity of children to learn in a holistic and authentic context. It is important for learning 21st century skills like critical thinking, creativity and communication. Holistic real-world phenomena provide the motivating starting point for learning, instead of traditional school subjects.

This full-day, unique education and EduTech seminar seminar will deliberate the “soft skills”, 21st century skills like critical thinking, creativity and communication. Encouraging an entrepreneurial mind-set and digital solutions as tools for educating our students and developing their skills for the jobs of the future will be brought up.

About Joakim Persson

Freelance business and lifestyle photojournalist

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