Kuopio Health Board blog, – ‘Creating a positive buzz’ by Chair Jussi Holopainen

18th March 2021

Creating a positive buzz

In a few years, we will have attracted a highly active community here, working around health and wellbeing. The region’s business activities will be increasingly lively and we will be able to create jobs and train employees that meet companies’ exact needs. Introducing new innovations to practice will also run quickly. We have been able to attract international capital and permanent international top talents here.

Once this vision has come true and we know that Kuopio Health has contributed to achieving it, we have reached our goal!

Kuopio Health originates from here in Kuopio and the activities are built on the fantastic resources we have here in the local region. We have tremendous competence in business, international expertise and research excellence here. The local infrastructure works well and thanks to education and training, we can ensure that the competence will also correspond to new needs. We also work in a wonderful environment, surrounded by beautiful nature. We can build our operations on all of these resources.

However, we do not intend to stay at the local level, but the Kuopio Health activities cover a global perspective. We wish to exert our influence at the national and international level.

The next goal of our ecosystem is to take on the role of a national coordinator at some narrow area allowing us to also have an impact on the international arena. We are currently working to determine, which this area could be. One of the important selection criteria is effectiveness: we want to create additional value.

Booster and builder of bridges

I have been the chair of the Kuopio Health Board for around two years, nearly ever since the establishment of the ecosystem. We have been able to attract highly different operators, and it is important that we pay attention to their varying interests and perspectives, and use these as the basis for creating a well-functioning whole.

I believe that the most important task of the Kuopio Health open innovation ecosystem is to bring together public and private entities, and to create a positive buzz in the region as a result of collaboration and building bridges. Instead of being focused on our own, isolated territories, we are able to see the opportunities this collaboration will bring us all: We must be able to provide companies with an opportunity to pilot their innovations and research with an opportunity to find the right path for productization and commercialisation.

This need has already existed for quite some time, and now is the time to translate it into operational activities in the real world. Kuopio Health can serve as a booster and builder of bridges in this context.

Carried away by life science

Once you have been bitten by the life science bug, you will never look back. I spent my career in international pharmaceutical industry. Among other positions, I worked as the CEO of Zeneca (currently known as AstraZenec) and GlaxoWellcome (currently GlaxoSmithKline) in Finland and in international positions at the Zeneca headquarters in the UK and the company’s affiliate in Mexico. These tasks in corporate management left me with a fondness for the interface with universities.

I have also worked at the different university interfaces in assessing researcher-driven innovations from the perspective of productization and commercialisation. In this context, we considered how we could foster encounters between research and enterprises in the field to ensure that the innovations reach people and are productized, commercialised and introduced to the international market.

I returned to the Kuopio region, but have retained by burning passion for this topic. I currently hold a few board positions, all of which enable me to affect the success and growth of companies operating in the region.

Here in the Kuopio Health ecosystem, we have a fantastic and growing group of members that are all fully on board to accelerate the achievement of the ambitious Kuopio Health vision – and collaboration is just what it takes to make it possible. We all have a shared intent, and now all we need is a wider acceleration lane!

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