3 Days, 70 Speakers and 27 Countries – Future Forum Brought Smart Solutions to Ülemiste City

,   4 minute reading

Ülemiste City Future Forum brought together thinkers from Estonia and abroad. The three-day conference was filled with presentations, excursions, different training bits and workshops. School kids, students from international universities and top specialists in the community participated in the workshops. The best of them earned the Ülo Pärnits scholarship, named after the long-term leader and founder of Ülemiste City, to go forward with their ideas. Let us see what solutions were suggested. 


The companies of Ülemiste City and nearly 40 international students participated in the two-day Hack4Future hackathon to develop smart solutions for the future together. The head of the hack, Siim Saare, said, “We had students from different countries, like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Northern Countries, Holland, Germany, India, Egypt, and South-Africa, and they were given business-related challenges by the companies of Ülemiste City.”

Saare mentioned the most exciting solutions the companies were dealing with. The challenge of Helmes, a software development company, was increasing the productivity and commitment of their employees in a situation of hybrid work; X-Fly was looking for solutions on how to get women working as pilots; TVO wanted to make more people sort their waste, and Health Founders was looking for nifty ways to increase people’s health and wellbeing in a smart city.

“The winner of Hack4Future was a team called Wibe who was developing a digital solution for employees to get quickly adjusted in a remote work situation,” Saare said. Awards were also given to team Tether, who came up with a career management application to bring young people to aviation, and WasteLocker, who suggested the idea of smart waste sorting containers. 

Fujitsu Co-Creation Workshop

Developed by the Japanese tech giant Fujitsu and based on design thinking principles, Co-Creation is a method for finding innovative solutions to business problems. Its main values are human-centeredness, empathy, engaging different points of view, and interactive working processes to test the different outcomes of solutions.  

The workshop activities are divided into different stages: empathy during which the problem is explained; changing focus – asking the question of how to approach this problem in another way; generating ideas; visualizing, prototyping, validating ideas, and testing.

The workshop participants at Ülemiste City Future Forum only had 4 hours to do this (a workshop usually lasts for a whole day or several days). The participants quickly needed to get their brains working and come up with solutions. 

The head of the hack, Ly Palang, said that there were no ready-to-use solutions, but the most successful one was suggested by a team involved in social health that also received an award from the Ülo Pärnits Fund. Two ideas unfolded: an app engaging people into activities and creating a network of community ambassadors. The idea of the last one is to find active people among the employees of Ülemiste City companies who would cooperate more to notify people of opportunities and events that would engage people and stir up community life in Ülemiste. 

School Kids Helping to Create a Green Future at EcoHack

“During EcoHack, we introduced the topic of sustainability to high school students and asked them to focus on three subtopics: waste and recycling, mobility/transportation and awareness,” said Larissa Curi, head of the hack. Students (aged 11 to 14) were asked to pick a topic and offer a new solution. Curi mentioned, “Considering it was just a half-day event, we got pretty far.” 

As the aim was to collect ideas, students were not asked to make a prototype but rather devise a plan of an environmental solution. “We focused on environmental problems and sustainability – that was our way of seeing and planning a better future,” Curi said.

According to Curi, the best solutions were the ones that were applicable in a school setting and did not require complicated resources. The winner of EcoHack was ThinKlean – an application-based reward system. “The idea of the group was to create a system that would reward sustainable attitudes at school, and it could be expanded to larger communities,” Curi explained. 

Ülo Pärnits Scholarship

Every year in autumn, the Ülo Pärnits Scholarship competition is announced: “How to make Ülemiste City smarter?” The scholarship is funded by the Ülo Pärnits Scholarship Fund that supports business education. The fund’s goal is to promote lifelong and practical education and support research related to developing Ülemiste City as the city of the future.

Find information about the scholarship HERE.

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