We exist to create growth

Companies need innovations and concrete help more than ever, but is it really necessary to base innovations on competence and science? Our answer is a firm yes and here we explain why.

VTT has a reputation of being a top-notch technology organization where scientists create ground-breaking new things and focus on applying their knowledge to practice. The joy of discovery and passion for solving problems are what makes us tick. We also want to challenge our thinking all the time and ask how can we become even better at what we do? That’s why our entire organization was asked earlier this year to contribute ideas and to challenge our thinking with our new strategy.

Our ‘eureka’ moment was when we realised that all the dots in what we do connect to growth. VTT exists to create growth! There are three different elements to our growth. We are an engine for growth for our customers, we create sustainable growth for society and we help our own people at VTT grow. Growth requires innovations and innovations require science.

As an engine for our customers’ growth, our job is to use our knowledge, our experimental facilities, our patents and our partner networks to help companies grow. We are the problem solvers who work with companies to understand where the opportunities are. Together we propose different ways of matching opportunities to business solutions built on technology and science. And we always co-develop the innovations with our customers. We help our customers to see business opportunities rising, for example, from producing solutions to prevent climate change. We have been developing renewable fuels for a long time. Related to this, today we announced with UPM the test results for their wood-based BioVerno renewable diesel fuel. Last week we published a circular economy policy brief where we addressed many new business opportunities, such as how to separate proteins from bio waste to fulfil the protein requirement of a small city. To be able to create these innovations, we need science-based research and top quality competence.

Innovation is needed also for our second growth element: growth of the GDP and well-being in society at large. Sustainable wealth creation in a nation requires that society is willing to do bold new, risky things based on the latest science. Carrying the technology risk associated with new science requires long-term commitment as the required competence may take years or even decades to build.  Space exploration and energy research are great examples of areas that are crucial for the future of mankind where we still do not have the required technology available. The work that is being done for these long-term goals, however, spawns immediate benefits and business opportunities for companies, such as the remote maintenance services that VTT has developed for ITER, the international fusion reactor consortium. This remote maintenance technology is also applied in the UNISONO project, which supports future human missions to Mars. VTT contributes to the long-term success of society while at the same time generating immediate business opportunities that creates growth in the present.

Many times it is only governments that have long enough timespans for this type of work. In return, society needs to see a return for their money through growth in GDP and the overall well-being of citizens. That can only happen in knowledge-intensive countries, like Finland, through systematic investments into basic and applied research. Together with universities, other research institutes and companies we can drive innovation that pushes the boundaries of science forward and creates opportunities for companies that they could not have done alone.

Last but not least, the third growth element is to help VTTers to grow: the only way we create innovations and help customers, is by ensuring that we have great people working for us. To attract and retain the best people, we offer exciting work, great colleagues and help them grow both as people and as professionals. Interesting world-class projects with international partners is one of the most important ways to help people grow. It can also create a positive spiral: our new agreement with Rolls Royce regarding remote controlled ships is based on long co-operation and strongly proven competence.

VTT is one of the most desirable employers among Finnish engineering students. To stay in the top tier and to ensure the well-being of our people, we need to lead our people in a way that promotes continuous learning both for teams and individuals.

These three elements of growth are the reason why we exist and our impact is the growth we create for our customers and society. During our first 75 years of existence we have been co-creating many important technologies and innovations, and our impact becomes visible in how our customers perform. Our scientists and their excellent competence are behind our impact. The importance of excellence was another ‘eureka’ moment in our thinking process. We will tell you more about that in our next blog.

Antti Vasara, President and CEO

Katri Kallio, Strategy Manager

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Twitter: @ahavasara, @katri_kallio

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