The OSIRIS Interreg pilot action between the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia, Region Västerbotten and Åbo Akademi University kicked off with a workshop in Vaasa on April 2nd. A group of some 40 students, researchers, professionals – gathered in Vaasa to work on three challenges provided by companies within the Ostrobothnian energy industry.

Two more workshops will be organized in May and October to create a process resulting in answers to the companies’ challenges as outcome.

Opening speech by Ms. Johanna Dahl

”The workshop serves two purposes”, says Johanna Dahl, Development planner at RCO. ”To create value for different actors in the region – as in the ideas generated here, and to strengthen open and social innovation in regional ecosystems through learning from work in other regions. We actually found one good practice that stood out a bit more than the others, one that we saw could strengthen the way we work, and that’s why we’re here today”.

After an inspirational opening lecture by Swedish digital writer and speaker Arash Gilan, the participants got their briefing from the three companies involved, and started working on their challenges through the Innovation Loop method, facilitated by Emil Hägglund and Nicklas Berglund from Region Västerbotten.

"The innovation Loop captures social challenges and the co-creation process increases the ability of community actors in our region to jointly find innovative solutions to the challenges. The innovation Loop also encourages the building of fruitful interregional co-operations, such as what is now developing between Västerbotten and Ostrobothnia, Finland", Nina Björby from Region Västerbotten states.

Åbo Akademi University’s Experience Lab will evaluate the pilot as it proceeds:

Throughout the OSIRIS project, we have looked at the potential of human-centred design in open social innovation. This pilot is a great chance to engage in and evaluate collaborative groups in order to make a manual for the good practice”, says manager Kimmo Rautanen.

The feedback from the participants was positive and even enthusiastic – giving cues for further developing the concept, but above all confirming that the opportunity to contribute to regional development was well received and appreciated. To quote two of the participants, as they stated in the feedback form:

Challenging with the time given, but the quality of the participants was very high so we were able to deliver well 

We generated an idea that is possible and realistic. It also contributes to something and is not only for show "

The aim of this pilot action is as follows:

INNOVATION LOOP – importing and customizing the Innovation Loop for co-creation in Ostrobothnia

Here the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia, Åbo Akademi University/Experience Lab and Region Västerbotten collaborate to import the good practice of Region Västerbotten, i.e. the Innovation Loop (IL), by testing and customising it to the territorial context and needs of the Region of Ostrobothnia for co-creating ideas and implementing solutions exploiting open and social innovation.  

This pilot will enhance the co-creation process at the regional level tailoring the Innovation Loop to effectively include citizens and stakeholders in the strategic and operational working processes of the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia.