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The InnoLab after-party continued developing new concepts that promote wellbeing and physical activity through gamification. In addition to the Sport Finland network and The Central Finland eSports Competence Cluster (KSEOK), the event included several sports, exercise, and well-being companies.

Businesses and their solution concepts were supported by Valtteri Lahti, aka Wanda, Business Development Manager at Psyon Games and Chairman of the Expa gaming cooperative, Laura Turunen, Project Manager of the Business Factory's Kyky kasvaa kestävästi project, and Sami Partanen, RDI Specialist at Savonia University of Applied Sciences.

Valtteri Lahti aka Wanda explains that discussions often began with the core question: What is the purpose and goal of gamification for this specific product or service?

“Gamification is easily understood as adding individual points or levels to an existing process or activity, as if ‘on top’,” she says.

“Instead, good game design delves deep into the process, understanding the sub-processes that make up the whole, what stages can be enhanced through gamification, and how.”

She also emphasises the importance of social elements.

“It’s important to identify and include naturally motivating elements that encourage individuals' performance. In a successful solution, people can advance a common goal regardless of their starting point or level.”

Kuvaaja: Annukka OllitervoWanda (left) and Laura Turunen provide a status update before the day's final session.


The community can become the product's key competitive advantage

According to Wanda, many rapid development stages familiar to the gaming world are also suitable for start-ups in other fields.

“It's crucial to understand that when creating a product for thousands of people, you can't figure everything out alone in a lab. I encourage, for example, a soft launch of a product. This way, user feedback is quickly obtained, and changes can be made to the product as needed.”

People, especially communities, are essential to gamification, the product's later growth, and even competitive advantage.

“In the best case, the most valuable asset is not the product itself, but the community built around it.”

Wanda feels that many entrepreneurs at the event are closer to understanding gamification for their business than they think.

“By structuring or describing the product differently, you can gain significant insights into gamification and business development process.”


"What problem are we solving?"

Laura Turunen, Project Manager at the Business Factory and one of the event's advisors, challenged businesses to consider their unique competitive advantage and calibrate their thinking to be market-oriented.

“Instead of developing the product first, it's important to keep in mind what and whose problem we are solving.”

Amid technology hype, the significance of a good idea and the added value it brings are emphasised.

“Another important thing is to ask yourself what makes this idea so unique that it can truly become a commercial success or innovation,” Turunen says.

In a world where "everything has already been invented," recognising uniqueness can be challenging.

“It's a difficult task, but it's worth spending time on,” she encourages.

Kuvaaja: Annukka OllitervoThe event's good atmosphere was captured in lively conversations fostered by the companies' genuine curiosity and open attitude towards developing collaboration opportunities. Concepts utilising AI are of particular interest to everyone right now.


"Many interesting conversations and new contacts"

One of the participants in the InnoLab after-party was TE3 Mobility. The company's main product is a smart stick that can easily measure a person's range of motion. Based on the measurement results, the person is recommended the best ways to improve their range of motion.

Kuvaaja: Tuomas Rauhansalo

Range of motion affects an individual's wellbeing and activity in many ways, as it often becomes restricted and burdens the body with age and strain. Lauri Hulkkonen from Nordic Rack and Office/Nro One tests the TE3 Mobility smart stick with guidance from Ari Laakkonen.

Motivating individuals through gamification was an intriguing idea that brought the company's co-founder, Ari Laakkonen, to Jyväskylä. He praises the event's community spirit and relaxed atmosphere, which facilitated active discussions.

“Although I am relatively talkative, conversations with strangers usually start slowly at such events. However, here at Innolab, the atmosphere was relaxed from the start.”

Kuvaaja: Tuomas Rauhansalo

Between sparring and discussions, some groups also made significant progress in the collaborative development task included in the event.

Laakkonen feels he made good contacts at the event, with whom he plans to develop collaborations after the event.

“The time was short, and considering that, there were many interesting conversations and new contacts. I didn't even have time to go through everything with everyone, so I have arranged separate meetings later,” he reports.

Sport Finland's InnoLab workshops will continue this autumn in Kuopio, where the focus will be on launching data innovations linked to the digitalisation of sports facilities to increase physical activity. The workshops, themed "Future Sports Venue", will be held on 26 September and 24 October in cooperation with Business Center North Savo and Savonia University of Applied Sciences. Registration for the first workshop will open soon.

Photos: Annukka Ollitervo ja Tuomas Rauhansalo

The Sport Finland network, focusing on innovation in sports, health, and wellbeing, is based on a joint leadership project by the cities of Jyväskylä, Lahti, and Kuopio, implemented between April 1, 2023–December 31, 2024. The purpose of the network operating in the context of promoting wellbeing is to facilitate knowledge-increasing co-development innovation processes between different sectors of society and internal cooperation related to research, development, and innovation (RDI). With societal impact and whose outputs have business relevance.The foundation of the project lies in ecosystem agreements between the state and Innocity cities, i.e., university and university centre cities, with funding provided by the Pirkanmaa Regional Council, which grants support for lead responsibility projects from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), according to the objectives and specific goals outlined in the Innovation and Skills in Finland Finland 2021–2027 program.

In the Central Finland e-Sports Competence Center project (KSEOK), the research, development, and innovation activities of micro and small enterprises in the Central Finland region are developed, along with research and educational institution cooperation, while also supporting the emergence of new expertise and business through the construction of an e-sports competence centre. The target groups are micro and small enterprises in the region. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Central Finland Regional Council, and participating actors. The project is implemented from February 1, 2023, to April 30, 2025, and coordinated by Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences.


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