Cooperation and innovation - My summer job riding the wave of digitalisation

Blog post
Venla Viertola
Photo of a hand holding a lightbulb in front of a sunset, symbolising clean energy.

Digitalisation is a trendy word that has had huge effect on the redesign of traditional industries. VTT constantly strives to solve traditional problems in new ways which includes digitalisation. Cooperation and ecosystems are a few ways to develop digitalisation, and these are the concepts that I got involved with during my summer job at VTT.

I study information management at the University of Tampere and during the last three years I have been considering how I could combine my education with my passion for technology and developing the world. My mindset is based on creating a positive legacy, but when I applied for the summer job I wasn’t quite aware how well I could combine my skills with this kind of thinking. I am pleased to say that at VTT I was able to combine all my goals brilliantly.

So far, my summer have been exciting, and I have been able to get involved in very interesting events and tasks. I have been able to participate in large and small meetings, I have had a chance to show my skills and my expertise, and really use of the knowledge I have learned at the university. As a summer worker, I have been surprised how much of my thoughts and opinions have been listened to. This is of course great as it makes me feel valued and appreciated.

The current Coronavirus pandemic continues to place restrictions on operations, which has also been reflected in the work at VTT. I have worked remotely from the balcony of my apartment for the entire summer and therefore I have had to be able to perform my tasks independently. I am now very good at using Microsoft Teams and my ability to self-manage has been fine-tuned during the summer. Although the situation has been strange for everyone, I have felt surprisingly well connected to the work community and various team members have helped me in many ways.

Digitalisation through cooperation

Digitalisation has been on the technology field’s agenda for some time, and new innovations are renewing traditional ways of working. Digitalisation and automation have come a long way, especially in the industrial sector, and these ideas have spread to other sectors as well. The ongoing Coronavirus situation has also changed the way we work, which contributes to the digitalisation of more traditional industries.

At VTT, digitalisation has been tackled in an interesting and new way. I am currently working on the SEED ecosystem project, which aims to create innovative digital solutions for the Finnish forest industry. The project is based on the ecosystem principle. In addition to VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the ecosystem includes large forest companies and IT sector operators. The purpose of the ecosystem is to create digital alternatives that can solve the problems and pain points in the forest industry.

The most interesting things about the SEED ecosystem are its dynamics, cooperation and objectives - in practice, the whole ecosystem approach is interesting. I was not aware of the ecosystem concept until I started my job but now I understand the benefits of it very well. The purpose of the ecosystem is to bring companies together across industry boundaries, and to solve problems by sharing knowledge and expertise. 

My own tasks focus on background research and I do this by reading publications such as blog posts or researching visibility on social media, mainly on Twitter. I am currently writing a literature review related to tacit knowledge sharing, which has been interesting and educational, as this is exactly what I am studying at university. In addition to these tasks, I have been given several other tasks, so I have been able to learn a variety of new things at VTT. I would say that the job has fit me like a glove. My father is also very happy with my work. He has repeatedly told me over the summer what an interesting organisation VTT is and how great it is for me to learn more here. I totally agree with him of course.

 

The author is a third-year student of information management at University if Tampere. She is working on the SEED ecosystem project at VTT during the summer of 2020.

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