I’m taking part into the Finnish Chemistry Days and sitting in the audience of a session with the title “modern optical spectroscopy and mass spectrometry” and waiting for my turn to present the revolution in gas analysis that started with a Finnish invention.

I quickly realized that in the same session there are several talks, which are very similar – presenting a solution to a measurement problem, a solution that originates from a Finnish invention. Some are already developed to products and some are in early stage at the university research project level. One of the new ideas presented was a completely new measurement technique.

Considering the population of Finland it is quite unique to find so many inventions in a very narrow field of science. This indicates that innovation is clearly one of the great strengths of the county. We need to be sure to create the means to bring all the great ideas out to the market, or at least all of the greatest ones! It is a waste of intellectual property assets if these innovations stay at the university laboratories and never get a chance in the global market place.

Taking the inventions from lab to market is not trivial and even some amount of luck is required for the success. So there is no exact formula for this that could be nicely presented in a closed form equation. Many times focus is drawn to getting funding, but this is only one piece of the complex puzzle. The key point is to learn how to sell the idea. In the end, it’s all about the communication! This is the part where we, Finnish innovators, still need to improve.

Author: Dr. Ismo Kauppinen

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