DIMECC Demobooster looks for solutions to real business problems
Demobooster is an innovation service offering quick problem solving for companies’ product development, along with networking and peer learning opportunities. In the first Demobooster Tampere event of 2022, organized by DIMECC and Business Tampere, TT Gaskets and Framery challenged regional startups to develop their products – and got more than they bargained for.
Basically, Demobooster follows a simple pattern. Established companies present challenges, while emerging ones develop solutions that they present at a special demo event. The challenger picks the most interesting company and continues to work on the solution with it.
Framery entered Demobooster above all due to its suitable size and convenience. Tomi Nokelainen, IPR Manager at Framery, a company manufacturing soundproof spaces, says that the company did not want to pay tens of thousands in euros to experiment with a new concept e.g. at a hackathon. However, the challenge idea had already been a topic of informal discussions within the product development department for a long time.
“We had pondered how to find out what happens in the booth. Is it a face to face negotiation or a phone call? We were looking for a solution to provide the booth with sensory capabilities,” Nokelainen recounts.
TT Gaskets (Tampereen Tiivisteteollisuus Oy), in turn, sought to enhance its TTG Smart Tracking service. With the service, clients can ensure the authenticity and track the location of spare parts anywhere in the world.
“We are part of the Oulu-based printed electronics development community PrintoCent. We gained digitalization ideas from there, and we wanted to shape these into service concepts through Demobooster,” says TT Gaskets CEO Aleksi Arpiainen.
TT Gaskets selected Booming Marketing & Strategies as its cooperation partner. Demobooster’s organizers invited Booming because it had experience of both service design and international business. CEO Karoliina Lehtonen says that Demobooster’s clearly defined customer problem statements and interesting companies encouraged participation.
“Demobooster is an interesting way of linking service providers to businesses with needs: it allows for immediately addressing a real and relevant problem. Later, TT Gaskets extended its challenge from a single product to the development of the entire business area,” Lehtonen says.
Framery found its cooperation partner in Softlandia, which decided to participate in Demobooster at short notice. Ilmo Lounasmaa, Chair of the Board of the recent startup, also thanks Demobooster for allowing a concrete problem to be faced directly.
“Although Softlandia is well networked, it is still difficult to get to discuss actual business problems. Demobooster allows for access to clearly outlined development needs, which is very important. The challenge does not have to be perfectly formulated, but an understanding of the context speeds up the process of tackling the problem,” Lounasmaa says.
A shared interest in what’s new
Three years ago, when Aleksi Arpiainen started as the CEO of TT Gaskets, an 80-year-old family business, one of his first measures was to introduce a Smart Lab at the company. Framery has its own Framery Lab. Both deal with strongly future-oriented joint development and new ideas.
The companies also share an interest in sensorics – TT Gaskets aims at smart gaskets, Framery at smart booths.
“Framery wants to find out how a cabin could sense people’s workflow, participate in it and even create added value for the customer,” Nokelainen says.
“A smart gasket could, for example, indicate whether it has been installed correctly, whether it functions appropriately during its life cycle and when it must be replaced. This produces data, safety and added value,” Arpiainen says.
The Demobooster process
All interviewees agree that Demobooster’s process is well thought out, clear and accessible. It offers peer learning opportunities and an understanding of the megatrends of the involved business areas.
“For us, the most valuable part of Demobooster is precisely its openness. We are a small company, so we can only concentrate on the megatrends that are significant across sector boundaries, Lounasmaa says.
“We got far more than we bargained for at Demobooster: not only service design and concept creation, but also new ideas to broaden our own minds,” Arpiainen says.
“At Demobooster, we found the best talents, a team that we could not have found otherwise,” Nokelainen says.
“All in all, Demobooster’s modern way of linking companies to service providers is something needed in the Tampere region,” Lehtonen states.
Dimecc is organizing continuously Demobooster event with different partners and focus areas. The next event is focusing to Finnish Sauna.
Thanks to a plethora of cozy and high-level public saunas, Tampere counts as the world’s sauna capital. Thus, the autumn 2022 DIMECC Demobooster has taken up the sauna theme in cooperation with Business Tampere and Visit Tampere. Interesting sauna challenges and solutions to them are wished for.
Text: Business Tampere Oy