Ülemiste City looked at the future of digital innovation and shared previous experiences

,   3 minute reading

At the end of last year, the JCI World Congress 2019 took place in Tallinn, which brought together almost 4300 delegates from 105 different countries for various events.

One of the key topics throughout the conference was the place of digital innovation in already experienced and operating businesses. Instrumental people from several well-known companies, including Finnair and Bolt, came to talk about the challenges and experiences that come with it.

Estonia as the cradle of digital innovation

The second half of the entrepreneurial afternoon included watching the best parts of the JCI World Congress. Several well-known names took the stage, including Allan Martinson of Xolo and Martin Villig of Bolt.

In his presentation, Martinson compared the country’s ability to grow with the help of e-solutions at the same speed as some companies. For example, ways to turn companies into virtual cloud objects and then reap the benefits.

Rain Kirjanen, CEO at the IT consulting company Avalanche, on the other hand, provided tips for future start-ups in digitizing their work environment. The strongest points were the ones that recommended entrepreneurs learn to adapt quickly and plan their activities at least two years in advance. ‘No one changes anything by being like everyone else,’ said Kirjanen at the end of his presentation.

The largest companies that participated were Finnair and Bolt. Jussi Luhtasela, the manager of their digital platform, came to talk about the digitization of the Finnish airline, who introduced the new digital environment for passengers.

Namely, mechanics, crews and passengers alike can download an app that makes the maintenance or flight experience much more convenient. Aircraft maintenance people can now accept jobs from smart devices and passengers can order meals from flight attendants through the app. The list of functions is rapidly expanding.

Finally, Martin Villig from the taxi company Bolt recounted the story of the birth of the company and briefly talked about the future of transportation and its expansion into other markets, including Africa. Villig emphasized that in the near future the share of private cars will decrease and the share of on-demand vehicles will increase significantly.

The JCI World Congress Follow-up event ended with a panel discussion between Kaarel Kotka, Arti Kütti, Sergei Anikin and Lars Trunin, who addressed the main challenges for unicorn-type companies (Bolt, Pipedrive, Transferwise, etc.).

SEB’s innovation programme also encourages experienced entrepreneurs

A few months after the conference, an overview event was held at the Öpik commercial building in the centre of Ülemiste City, which was led by Siim Lepisk, former CEO of Prototron and now Innovation Manager at SEB.

SEB’s Growth Programme helps ambitious companies find new growth models, digitize products and services, and expand into new markets. Last year, 72 companies participated in the programme.

The programme lasts 3 + 3 months, during the course of which there are so-called study camps and workshops, and experienced mentors are assigned to companies. The aim of the whole system is to help companies better identify themselves and determine in which area they should develop the most.

The evolution of companies is accelerated by severe time pressure and listening to other experiences, mentoring and analysing and designing new business models. The growing domestic logistics company Balti Logistika and the toy importer Insplay (former Rekato) spoke at Ülemiste City about their participation in the programme.

Representatives of the companies described contacts from different sectors, new development habits, tools and practice in goal setting, which were the biggest victories of the programme. In the case of Balti Logistika, the entire forwarding process is now more convenient and digital, because the computer does all the work instead of a person.

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