InnoBridge Staff Exchanges (SE) consist in visits from partner region to at least two other different InnoBridge partner regions to learn in detail about the addressed policy instrument and GPs for elaboration of own Action Plan.

This way, ADRAL – Alentejo Regional Development Agency (P06) and Autonomous Province of Bolzano – South Tyrol (P03), showed interest in visiting Tampere, Finland, home of the Partner Council of Tampere Region. This interest materialized in the first Staff Exchange of the InnoBridge Project, which took place in Tampere, Finland from 19th to 22nd of September 2017.

Starting with a warm welcome from the Council of Tampere Region by its representatives, Marja-Riitta Mattila-Nurmi and Tiina Ramstedt-Sen, the first day of the SE consisted in presentations from various important agents and projects of the innovation scene in Tampere, as the 6Aika (Six City Strategy), Situational Picture of Innovation, Demola Tampere, Koklaamo, Business Tampere.

The 2nd day of the Staff Exchange in Tampere was dedicated to the MINDTREK conference. This annual event is an international technology conference that brings together companies, associations, public organizations and students. This conference, which counted with Finnish and international speakers speaking about various interesting topics with the focus on the future, is considered “a culmination of advanced future technologies, out-of-the-box business concepts and a possibility to build new multi-disciplinary networks across country and industry borders”. Mindtrek is produced by a non-profit organization COSS – the Finnish Centre for Open Systems and Solutions in main co-operation with City of Tampere.

During the conference, the participants on the Staff Exchange had the chance to participate in 8 different events: Immersive Tech, Open World, IoT Event, Smart City Event Tampere, eHealth, Academic Mindtrek, Mindtrek Challenge and Recruitment Event. Mindtrek will be filled with both.

The participants could learn about very different projects and experiences ranging from open data business to innovation driven educational approaches in schools as well as open lectures about public policies for innovation.

On the third day of the Staff Exchange, the participants visited Kampusareena, a shared innovation platform of companies, researchers and students in the middle of the campus area of Tampere University of Technology. Kampusareena is an example of a both physical and non-physical collaboration platform, where the spaces are designed to support personal and professional collaboration.

The third Staff Exchange day finished with a visit to the opening of the Tribe Tampere Space. Tribe Tampere is an open community consists of people dedicated to serve Tampere startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Tribe operates as a platform for several startup communities.

The fourth and last day of the Staff Exchange gave continuity to the presentations regarding the Innovation Scene in Tampere, more specifically Open Innovations Platforms for educational needs, developed by the University of Tampere.

Participating on the Staff Exchange, gave the participant partners the opportunity to see, on first hand and on a more detailed perspective, the innovation phenomenon in this region.

Tampere is indeed a city/region that houses not only large companies, but also a high number of new innovative start-ups. But the most important fact is the active role of the city and the regional Council in creating and developing innovation environment, and the so-called open innovation platforms. Of particular interest is also the innovative cross-sectoral approach of the R&D public policies and the focus on the community and not just on the enterprises. Thanks to this ground-breaking approach the City of Tampere is well renowned in Finland and abroad and it has ranked among the 10 finalists of the European Capital of Innovation Award 2017.