‘Everything that can be digitalised, will be digitalised.’ This mantra may feel a bit confusing or even scary, especially as the statement most likely is true. But what is the real value of digitalised applications and services, what industries or technologies will benefit and—most importantly—who will make money out of all this? No one can give a definitive answer, but we certainly can’t afford to ignore digital solutions. For many of us, digitalisation is way out of our personal comfort zone and therefore a cause for concern.
The Internet of Things, or ‘IoT’ for short, offers tremendous opportunities for old, established industries. Although we generally tend to focus on threats or potential disruption rather than business potential, forest-based industry and especially paper business is facing this challenge. There is great potential in digitising production processes, products or services themselves and partner and customer experience.
In order to realise and implement the potential of IoT, new ways of working are needed. In areas where we can, we try to act and work like start-ups — validate ideas quickly and move on. UPM Biofore BootCamp is one example of faster and more agile processes. BootCamps are organised around subjects relevant to UPM’s development by means of agile processes. It takes time to build and develop a culture of innovation and to change attitudes. The ‘no rules’ set-up of a BootCamp can be intimidating, however, great results have been achieved thanks to cross-functional collaboration.
The ADIC (Accenture Digital Innovation Challenge) event organised by Accenture is all about brawn and brains. Corporations like UPM represent the brawn, while the students provide the brains and new ways of thinking. The younger generation must be given a much more important role in developing digital solutions. Even the student team applications to join ADIC demonstrate the advanced skills and understanding of the potential opportunities made possible by digital solutions.
Students from a variety of fields and nationalities represent a great source of ideas and new ways of thinking. The ADIC innovation challenge is a way for us to open up the rigid corporate world and initiate a dialogue between students and UPM. Our Zero Solid Waste challenge has strong links with sustainability, such as the minimisation of waste and improvements to efficiency. Our target is to co-create and collect new concepts for the implementation and development of new business opportunities that utilise digitalisation and circular economy principles.
I was asked by Accenture to describe the ADIC Case Day organised last weekend with one word and my response was ‘hectic’. The event was hectic with innovative energy, a real desire to find solutions to the challenges. Naturally, one strong element is the desire to win and there can only be one winning team. The winner of the UPM ADIC2016 challenge is the ‘Farmer Jussi’ team (team members Valentina Arrieta, Jenny Jääskeläinen, Ilari Saarinen and Joni Salmela). The Wastepedia team proposal is based on platform combining centralised side and waste stream data collection with potential end user and applications.
I am extremely grateful to all UPM challenge participants and coaches. It was a great way to spend a day with innovative minds. The process continues with the winning team through coaching and diving deeper into the challenge. We look forward seeing ‘Farmer Jussi’ at the final pitching at Slush2016.