Espoo intends to share its problems as challenges and seek solutions from educational institutions, business enterprises and other partners. 

Co-creation for community

In the end, it is the whole ecosystem that defines the success of Espoo. The Espoo Story will have a happy ending only if the city succeeds in bringing everyone together and motivating them to work together towards creating a better future. An innovative and collective approach is mission-critical for Espoo Innovation Garden. 

To engage young and creative minds in co-creation, the City of Espoo decided to collaborate with Aalto University’s Product Development Project (PdP) course, which is an interdisciplinary course held since 1997. The PdP course is an integral part of Aalto Design Factory, located in Espoo Innovation Garden that encourages and enables fruitful interaction between students, researchers, and professional practitioners. 

Many well-known companies have commissioned their real-life projects to course participants with great success. In 2014 the City of Espoo participated for the first time in the course when it gave the students a complex challenge to solve.   

Enhancing metro user experience 

The new Aalto University metro station in Otaniemi is a gate to Espoo Innovation Garden. The goal is to give Otaniemi visitors an experience that indisputably shows that the visitor is entering a space that is innovative and exhilarating, and where science, art, economy and internationalism blossom. 

To achieve this, the City of Espoo and Länsimetro Oy (West Metro Company) commissioned the design of an innovative and interactive application to enhance the user experience at the station to a group of 11 students from 8 countries in the Product Development Project course. A key focus of the concept was to discover how to enhance the sense of community in the surrounding area and to bring together local and global companies, research, art and cultural institutions, Aalto University and the City of Espoo. 

The outcome was Out of Sight, a concept that uses augmented reality to turn the metro station into an art gallery. It is a rotating exhibition of works from EMMA, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, and student art works from Aalto University. The virtual art gallery becomes visible and available with a free mobile app that has been developed in Espoo Innovation Garden. 

New solutions from partners combining their expertise

A skilled and versatile team took the challenge; a team that represented the professionalism and international attitude that is at the core of Espoo Innovation Garden. The students' work shows that the metro stations and Espoo Innovation Garden will be excellent platforms for new solutions emerging when various partners combine their expertise.

The City of Espoo plans to engage external partners in the development of the City more frequently in the future. Espoo intends to share its problems as challenges and seek solutions from educational institutions, business enterprises and other partners. The Product Development Project collaboration is a great example for this kind of collaboration. 

Aalto University on the list of 50 top universities in acquiring EU research funding 

Aalto University has ranked among the 50 best universities in acquiring EU Framework Programme funding. If research organisations and companies are included in the comparison, Aalto ranks 68th on the list of Horizon 2020 grant beneficiaries. By June 2015, Aalto had been awarded a total of nearly 14 million euros in Horizon 2020 Programme grants in just under a year.

The result clearly demonstrates that the research work carried out at Aalto is of a high standard and internationally competitive. 

The top universities on the Horizon 2020 list only include representatives from 10 European countries. 

Aalto University’s diverse activities promoting entrepreneurship have also borne fruit. Every year, 70–100 new companies spring from the innovation ecosystem that has been created in the Otaniemi area, in the heart of Espoo Innovation Garden.