Open innovation brings world-class results
Nokia Research Center offers TUT's staff and students a unique environment to conduct research and refine their ideas. The core values of the collaboration boil down to free knowledge transfer between the organisations.
Collaboration between companies and educational institutes has fuelled the creativity of experts in different fields for decades. In 2007, it was discussed at Nokia Research Center (NRC) how to further develop the collaboration for the benefit of both parties.
Openness, a long-forgotten catchphrase, was soon established as the governing principle for the collaboration. The new Nokia Innovation Center was founded subordinate to NRC with the key idea to create a high-quality environment for innovations and research by allowing free knowledge transfer.
When Nokia Innovation Center was launched in Tampere in 2007, Nokia already had an established tradition of working with TUT. In practice, the Innovation Center was founded to simplify structures and create a leaner organisation for the existing collaboration.
World-class research results
"The purpose of Nokia Innovation Center is to increase interaction and free knowledge transfer between the organisations involved. That is exactly what an open innovation culture is all about", says Research Fellow Jukka P. Saarinen who is coordinating the activities of the Innovation Center.
The starting point for the university-company collaboration is that the limited resources of a single organisation are not always enough to meet the needs of research and development. NRC aims to bring together world-class expertise from different fields.
"We are striving for world-class research quality through seamless collaboration", specifies Saarinen.
TUT and Nokia Research Center are collaborating on the following fields:
- rich context modelling that is characterised by the use of a wide range
of information on the mobile phone user's state, location and
- development of new user interfaces,
performance mobile platforms that, among others, improve the
performance-to-power ratio and energy efficiency of the devices.
When researchers are constantly bringing new ideas to the table from outside the organisation, their creativity and vision never grows stale. The partners are working in close collaboration to ensure they share the same understanding of project objectives at all times.
Saarinen says that the organisations have fostered a flexible and unofficial culture of collaboration right from the outset. For example, it makes no difference whether the researchers meet at Nokia's or TUT's premises or somewhere else. In matters like this the decision is left to them.
"The collaboration offers students the opportunity to network in the field of communications technology and put their skills into practise. And they also have the chance to lay groundwork for their future career. In fact, as many as 60 - 70 percent of the experts working at NRC in Tampere who hold a doctorate are graduates from TUT", estimates Saarinen.
In good company
Nokia Research Center's current collaboration network consists of some of the most prestigious universities of technology worldwide. According to Saarinen, as a member of the network TUT is rubbing shoulders with high-ranking international universities. The other partners include, for example, MIT in the USA, Tsinghua University in China and the University of Cambridge in the UK.
"For example, the knowledge of computing and multimedia is of such a high standard at TUT that Tampere is an extremely valued partner in Nokia Research Center's global network", concludes Saarinen.