"Your solution will be different after these two days." This is how the 20 semifinalist teams were welcomed to Helsinki Challenge Impact Camp.

According to the feedback fromprevious Helsinki Challenge contestants, the Impact Camp was the most beneficial event during the whole competition.

The 20 semifinalists of Helsinki Challenge 2017 gathered to experience thisintense two-days of co-creation and co-development last week. The aim was to refine the problem to be solved, andunderstand, and find ways to verify and measure, the potential impact of the solution.

This was done by makingstrategic choices on which way to go with the project and putting the impact of the solution into words in a way that will to convince the target group, policy-makers, and funders.

"Scientists should be better in communicating science – and politicians should be better in listening to them. They don't get all the information they need to make decisions,"said Maria Wetterstrand , a former MP and an independent political commentator from Sweden.

In this, the multidisciplinary approach within the team is a key.

"The massage is stronger if there is an economist collaborating with natural scientists," she added,emphasizingthat thesustainability goal has more impact if there is economic growth involved.

Wetterstrand was one of the keynote speakers to start the two-day Impact Camp during which each of the teamsadvanced their ideas with the help of innovation investors, politicians, communications professionals, design thinkers, and other stakeholders from Finland and abroad.


To start with, Mikael Sokura from Demos Helsinki said that it was still ok to change direction but many teams seemed to find the direction instead.

"We now understand that we have to start by baby steps, but solid and measurable baby steps, and we also see the big picture and that each step will bring us closer to that,” said Liuliu Du , visiting researcher at National Institute for Health and Welfare, and member of Helsinki Challenge team Senior Cognitive Booster at the beginning of the second day.

In their project, the team will test and research the use of virtual reality to activate elderly people and that way potentiallyprevent cognitive decline. To draft their roadmap to impact, the teammet up with half a dozen mentors during the Camp.

”We did our homework and already knew about the mentors’ expertise when we came to the camp, so choosing among them was quite easy,” Du says.

Senior Cognitive Booster Group work

After the two days of filling in post-its, and hearing various viewpoints to their project, the next step in Senior Cognitive Booster's planwasclear – finding out what motivates the target group,and accordingly,make thesolution more appealing to them.


The last mentor to visit team iCombine on the second day of the Impact Campwas Paula Havaste , author and theme leader for the Finnish Science Centre Heureka.

The team had already gotten pieces of important legal advice concerning data ownership and patient privacy from their previous mentorsbut this session was about communicating the importance of their project to policy-makers and general public.

Team iCombine

"The subject is very close to people. This is about life and death, and you have the chance to save lives,” Havaste said.

Shepointedout that reaching out to strongpatient organisations might be crucial in advancing the project, where the team is developing data mining tools for personalized cancer treatment and potentially increasing the quality of life and reducing overmedication.

During the session there was also discussion about the strong involvement of clinicians to stress that even though there is artificial intelligence involved, the final decision on the treatment is always made by a medical doctor.


The two days of Impact Camp ended with some summarizing words from few of the mentors.

"The quality of these projects is way above average," said Ron Bloemers ,business coach forearly stage cleantech entrepreneurs from Netherlands.

Bringing together ten Finnish universities for this Helsinki Challenge also seemed to havea positive impact on the quality of the projects.

"The benefits of bringing together several universities is evident compared to previous Helsinki Challenge. I want to see these ideas succeed and live in a future created by the Helsinki Challenge teams," said Ferdi van Heerden ,change agent from Germany.

Helsinki Challenge Campers
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
1 view in february
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

The coach of a sports club in Hyvinkää, southern Finland has been remanded into police custody on suspicion of sexual abuse of minors he was coaching, the Itä-Uusimaa police department said on Thursday. Officials said that they are investigating the case as suspected child abuse but did not disclose the ages of the alleged victims. The suspect in the case, a 50-year-old man, was remanded into custody on Wednesday. The suspected sexual abuse is believed to...
Finns increasingly forego do-it-yourself construction of prefab elements in favour of completely completed homes. Turnkey homes (where homes are fully finished and owners can immediately occupy them) have become more popular than traditional house packages, says the Finnish Association for Manufacturers of Prefabricated Houses. “About 7,500 detached homes are built in Finland every year, and about 70 percent of them are prefabricated houses of some kind,”...
THE FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE in the Helsinki neighbourhood of Arabianranta was visibly subdued on Tuesday, as residents mourned the death of a local child who is believed to have been murdered. While little information has been released to the public, it is known that the victim was murdered near their home on the night of Christmas Eve (December 24). The police apprehended a suspect at the scene of the crime, who has been confirmed as a 36-year old male. Whethe...
One of Finland’s most famous seafaring vessels, the titanic icebreaker Otso, was deployed on its first mission of the winter season last night, keeping sea routes open for the 22nd year in a row. Late in the evening of Christmas Day, Otso, the crowning glory of Arctia Oy’s extensive fleet, departed from Helsinki’s Katajanokka Harbour, heading north to the Bay of Bothnia. The 7000-ton Polar icebreaker has been tasked with keeping waterways open between Oulu...
Eight Finnish political parties have published their a statement on future climate policy goals in Finland. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) in November invited all nine parliamentary parties to join a task force established to find an agreement on new, more ambitious climate goals for Finland. The one-month project was led by Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre), the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing. The Finns Party abandoned the task force last w...
A 25-year-old man suspected of the sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 15 in Oulu, northwestern Finland, who was arrested in Germany last Tuesday is now reported to be at large. According to law enforcement officials in Oulu, the suspect was released by German police before he could be transferred to Finnish custody due to "a breakdown in communication between authorities". Oulu District Court ordered the suspect to be reprimanded into custody in absen...
Finland’s high earners saw their real income grow more in 2017 than their peers in middle and low income groups, according to new data released by Statistics Finland on Tuesday. Incomes among the country’s highest income decile rose by 4.4 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, while the year-on-year increase was 1.3 percent for middle income earners. Incomes for the four lowest income deciles meanwhile grew by 1.2 percent over the one-year period. However amon...
A man wanted in connection with a suspected arson attempt on a home in Helsinki’s Käpylä district was remanded into police custody on Sunday. The Helsinki district court has remanded a man suspected of attempted arson and attempted murder into police custody, ending a short-lived manhunt, police said on Sunday. The 25 year-old is suspected of using a Molotov cocktail to cause a fire at a flat in Käpylä, Helsinki last Monday. The apartment was completely de...
Helsinki Central Library Oodi will opened its doors to the public on 5 December at 8am, a day before Finland’s 101st birthday. Designed by ALA Architects, this library of a new era is an ode to Finnish culture, equality and freedom of expression. Oodi offers everyone an open, public urban space at Kansalaistori Square, right opposite Parliament House. Central Library Oodi is an active and functional meeting point with 2.5 million expected annual visitors....