Smart City Update from Vantaa: 6Aika projects help to create competent and agile local businesses

A company’s competitive strength is built on competence, continuous learning, curiosity and openness to experimentation and new technologies. Vantaa’s vitality and appeal will continue to be ensured by competent and agile local businesses that adapt to the changing operating environment and by networks and clusters of companies emerging out of RDI collaborations. Under the 6Aika projects, companies, educational institutions, and the city have come together in all kinds of new ways.

In the development and innovation environments of the 6Aika projects, hundreds of companies in Vantaa have learnt and created new things through experiments, business networks and growth and internationalisation programmes.

Naturally, there is a lot of competence in the educational institutions and experts involved in the projects but also in the companies – and everyone benefits when competence is shared.

Over the course of seven years, the 6Aika projects have given companies an opportunity to grow and develop valuable competence. Huge leaps forward have been taken in cooperation with universities, universities of applied sciences and colleges and serving companies as developing partners.


The 6Aika: Co-Created Health and Wellbeing (CoHeWe) project – Co-creation helps to meet actual needs

The project provided companies with opportunities to develop products and services together with social and healthcare professionals and end users. Co-creation has been experimented with projects producing an online speech therapy service, a virtual reality headset for rehabilitation and a remote rehabilitation service.

“Through market dialogue and workshops, the companies involved have been able to participate in experiments to which they would not have had access without these development projects. Companies developing solutions for the social and healthcare sector have been able to see the sector from the inside, and they have gained experience and expertise in the co-creation process,” explains project manager Sari Helenius.

The companies that took part in the CoHeWe project experiments in Vantaa have benefitted from the collaboration between the cities sharing the 6Aika strategy. The fact that the companies have gained not only an understanding of the social and healthcare sector but also of their ability to scale their services to the other cities will open up new opportunities for expansion and growth for them.


The 6Aika Ecosystems of Growth project – Instant implementation is key

The most important thing for companies is that the added value and competence acquired from the project sits well with the everyday operations of the company and is visible at the client interface immediately. The 6Aika Ecosystems of Growth project has raised the bar high. In addition to various workshops and mentoring for growth companies, the project explored new ways to learn through peer-to-peer learning and learning networks. Companies have benefitted from the RDI cooperation between companies, universities, and other educational institutions.

“We also provided opportunities to join international networks when we extended learning and cooperation to ecosystems abroad. For example, when exploring the theme of indoor air in buildings, we headed to Singapore. However, our companies did not go there as businesses selling products to other businesses but in order to network with the local authorities, RDI operators and companies,” says Ecosystems of Growth project manager Kaisa Ahonen.


6Aika is a joint sustainable urban development strategy of the six largest cities in Finland: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu. This strategy centres on co-creation and cross-sector collaboration between cities, companies and other organisations and sectors and offers platforms and environments for experimenting and development. In Vantaa, 6Aika means experimenting with new ideas and development projects in and with the city.