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Technology leaders believe in low carbon future

23 Oct 2014

CTO Survey: Two thirds of Finnish technology leaders believe that low carbon solutions strengthen competitiveness.

According to the CTO Survey by Spinverse, TAF – Technology Academy Finland and Sitra – the Finnish Innovation Fund, Finnish technology companies identify well changes in markets and signals: the preparations for carbon neutrality and industrial internet are taken seriously. Despite the weak economic situation, the majority of technology companies have increased the amount of new products and services in the last year. Next year is viewed positively although the efficiency of the innovation process can pose a risk to the increase – only 35% of respondents evaluate their innovation process systematically.  These themes were analysed at the CTO Forum at Uunisaari in Helsinki. At the same time the nominations period for the CTO of the Year 2015 was launched.

The results of the CTO survey look more positive than could be expected: 62% of companies that responded to the survey have increased the amount of new products and services in the last year, while others remain at previous years’ levels. Concerning R&D-budgets and projects – the majority have been kept at the previous years’ level and those that have increased the number of projects outnumber those that have decreased the amount of projects. The future is seen as positive : in 2015 every second company will increase their R&D-budget, and none of the respondents are planning to reduce the number of R&D-personnel. The amount of public funding in R&D-budget is expected to rise.

Innovation process is high on the agenda of CEOs and company boards of Finnish technology companies. The CTO is usually responsible for the innovation process but only half of the CTOs are satisfied with its effectiveness. Products, which have been launched less than five years ago, vary in quite a wide spectrum. Part of the variation is explained by the age distribution of the companies and the different industrial sectors. However, the efficiency and capabilities of the innovation process are likely to also affect: only 35% of the respondents evaluate their innovation process systematically. 28% have used an external facilitator for the evaluation.

Competitiveness from carbon neutrality
Low carbon solutions and carbon neutrality are recognised as valuable to the company brand and two thirds of Finnish CTOs believe that carbon neutrality strengthens competitiveness.  At the moment low carbon solutions concentrate on reducing emissions and enhancing production. Over half of the CTOs find offering low carbon enabling products and services important and for about 40% of CTOs it is important that their own products are low carbon or carbon neutral. The same amount of respondents view investments in carbon neutrality as important.  The biggest challenges are seen to be in economic incentives and the lack of markets, which is rather typical in commercialisation of new technologies. In sourcing, 30% of respondents see the significance of low carbon solutions increasing. This can be seen as a positive signal of strong domestic markets of the future: growth of business requires references from the public and private sectors.

The industrial internet gives a boost to low carbon solutions
Six out of seven CTOs believe that the impact of industrial internet will be stronger than is currently understood. Many connections between low carbon solutions and industrial internet are recognised: the optimisation of systems and sensors, the management of performance data and proactive maintenance will enhance the reliability of tools and machinery. According to the CTOs, industrial internet can improve the visibility of resources used and through it enhance operations. Examples of such are the health of buildings, performance of machinery and subcontracting chains.

The nomination period for the CTO of the Year 2015 has been launched
The “CTO of the Year” will be awarded in 2015 for the fifth time, and the winner will be announced on the 4th of February, 2015. The prize is awarded by Technology Academy Finland and Spinverse, and it draws attention to the importance to the role of CTOs in companies. The CTO of the Year is an inspiring team-builder and leader, who adds significant value to the company through technology and actively influences in social networks. The CTO of the Year 2014 was awarded to Lars-Peter Lindfors of Neste Oil. In 2013, Kenneth Ekman of CrisolteQ won the prize, in 2012 the award went to Petra Lundström of Fortum and in 2011, Pirkka Palomäki of F-Secure. Nominations for the CTO of the Year 2015 can be submitted until 21.11.2014 midnight at www.vuodencto.fi.

Over 60 Finnish CTOs responded to the survey. The results were announced at the CTO Forum arranged by Spinverse, TAF and Sitra at Uunisaari, Helsinki on 22.10.2014.

For more information:
Pekka Koponen, CEO, Spinverse Ltd, Tel. 040 545 0008

Juha Ylä-Jääski, CEO, Technology Academy Finland, Tel. 040 903 0606

Tiina Kähö,  Leading Specialist, Sitra, Tel. 040 591 3847


The original press release in Finnish can be found here.

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