Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

“How to Support and Develop the Innovation-oriented Entrepreneurship in Turbulent VUCA conditions?”


Published on

The most urgent problems of our times – concerning innovation management processes – are complex and turbulent in nature. In this article we define the vucability approach to innovation management. The VUCA refers to volatile (V), uncertain (U), complex (C) and ambiguous (A) times we are today facing. Many innovation management models do not take these Postnormal Era requirements into consideration. Uncertain and complex VUCA conditions are the fundamental reason to elaborate a new approach for innovation management. Our novel approach focuses in three essential dimensions of innovation management: (1) the density of serendipity thinking, (2) platform utilisation (including business model variety) and (3) innovation ecosystem. We claim that in the evolutionary development of science and technology parks (STPs) should aim to highest sophistication in these three critical fields. In this paper we present the foundations of the ‘vucability’ approach. We also note that in the development of STPs, professionals should evaluate the sophistication level of serendipity thinking, platform utilisation and innovation ecosystem development. Systemic evaluation and development activities will lead eventually to the highest level of vucability excellence. The evaluation and mapping system (EMS-VUCA 1.0) of the vucability assessment will be presented in a robust form in our article.

Published in: Business

“How to Support and Develop the Innovation-oriented Entrepreneurship in Turbulent VUCA conditions?”

  1. 1. Ilkka Kakko, Jari Kaivo-oja, Kari Mikkelä: “How to Supportand Develop the Innovation-orientedEntrepreneurship in TurbulentVUCA conditions?” Abstract: The most urgent problems of our times – concerning innovation management processes – are complex and turbulent in nature. In this article we define the vucability approach to innovation management. The VUCA refers to volatile (V), uncertain (U), complex (C) and ambiguous (A) times we are today facing. Many innovation management models do not take these Postnormal Era requirements into consideration. Uncertain and complex VUCA conditions are the fundamental reason to elaborate a new approach for innovation management. Our novel appro ach focuses in three essential dimensions of innovation management: (1) the density of serendipity thinking, (2) platform utilisation (including business model variety) and (3) innovation ecosystem. We claim that in the evolutionary development of science and technology parks (STPs), professionals on innovation management and governance should aim to highest sophistication in these three critical fields of innovation management. In this paper we present the foundations of the ‘vucability’ approach. We also note that in the development of STPs, professionals should evaluate the sophistication level of serendipity thinking, platform utilisation and innovation ecosystem development. Systemic evaluation and development activities will lead eventually to the highest level of vucability excellence. The evaluation and mapping system (EMS- VUCA 1.0) of the vucability approach will be presented in a robustform in our article. 1. Introduction to the Postnormal VUCA Era There are several illustrative terms to describe the near future we are entering. ‘Postnormal times’ is a notion introduced by some academics1 . Postnormal times are characterised by three c’s: complexity, chaos and contradictions. Especially interesting in this context is the role of contradictions as Sardar argues: Contradictions may be paradoxical but they perform a very useful function. They provide us with a perspective, which prevents oversimplified analysis of problems or situations. We are forced to consider clashing trends, viewpoints, facts, hypothesis, and theories and realise that the world is not amenable to naive one-dimensional solutions”. Similar, but to our likening even more attractive term, is the Postnormal Era, which is coined by Work Futurist Stowe Boyd. As a Chief Researcher at Gigaom and Editor-in-chief at Work Futures he has a personal focus on future technologies and the future of work and is respected as a distinguished futurist in these fields. He makes a strong statement about the way how the Postnormal Era will change everything. ”Organizations are becoming fast-and-loose, reconfiguring around social networks instead of business processes, becoming more decentralized and as autonomy increases, more egalitarian. We will belong to our networks – which are our own – and not to institutions that require us to subordinate our interests and selves.”2 VUCA is a term originally created within US Army to describe the volatile (V), uncertain (U), complex (C) and ambiguous (A) times we are today facing3 . In order to understand and cope in VUCA conditions Paul Kinsinger - a professor of business intelligence at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix, Arizona and Karen Walch - a professor and consultant at Thunderbird School of Global Management have introduced leadership paradigm VUCA Prime. It explains the challenges and offers some guidance: 1) Volatility is mitigated by “vision,” a clear cut master statement of where an organization is headed. When confronted by volatility, leaders need to communicate clearly and make sure their intent is understood. 2) Uncertainty yields to “understanding,” the deliberate ability to “stop, look, and listen.” In 1 Ravetz, J.R (1993) Science for the post-normal age,Futures 25 (September (7)) (1993),pp. 735–755.
 Ravetz, J.R. & Funtowicz, S.O. (1999) Post-normal,science:an insightnow maturing,Futures 31 (7),pp. 641–646.
 Sardar, Z. (2015) Postnormal times revisited,Futures 67 (2015),pp.26-39 Sardar, Z. & Sweeney, J.A. (2016) The three tomorrows ofpos tnormal times,Futures 75, pp. 1-13 Sardar Z. (2010) Welcome to postnormal times,Futures 42,pp.435-444 2,accessed 9.8.2016 3,accessed 8.8 2016
  2. 2. uncertain situations, leaders need to make sure they get fresh perspectives and remain flexible with regard to solutions. 3) Complexity is checkmated by “clarity,” the deliberate effort to make “sense of the chaos.” In complex situations, leaders need to make sure to collaborate with others and stop seeking permanent solutions. To paraphrase an old adage, don’t let “perfect” become the enemy of “good enough.” 4) And ambiguity is matched by “agility,” the ability of a leader to communicate across people and organizations instantly and to move quickly in applying solutions. When confronted by ambiguity, leaders need to listen well, think divergently, and set up incremental dividends. This is captured in the concept of “wirearchy,” as opposed to “hierarchy” — where social networks that allow you to engage the insights of many trump the brilliance of any one person. As seen from this introduction, VUCA environments of the Postnormal Era set new requirements for business activities in all levels. The pressure is felt in the offices of policy makers, in regional development agencies, in business communities, on individual level and even in societies and economies. The rule seems to be: ”Disrupt – or be disrupted!” In these highly unpredictable conditions, individuals, communities and businesses and economies face an urgent need to create new behaviour and collaboration patterns. We will examine in this article some solutions for survival and success and recommend measures to cope with VUCA conditions. Taking into account the hard evidence of the challenges that the emerging turbulent VUCA environment is bringing, it is surprising that the management teams of science and technology parks (STPs) so far have only limited interest in the benefits gained by the approach we are presenting in this article. The conventional Triple Helix model is still a dominant way to organize STPs even though the limitations of this approach in the emergent VUCA world are so evident.4 The concept of the Triple Helix of university-industry-government relationships initiated in the 1990s by Etzkowitz (1994)5 and Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff (1995)6 , encompassing elements of precursor works by Lowe (1982)7 and Sábato and Mackenzi (1982)8 , and it interprets the shift from a dominating industry-government dyad in the industrial society to a growing triadic relationship between University-Industry-Government relationships in modern knowledge societies. Later, for example Kaivo-oja and Santonen (2016, p. 132) have used the concept of Quartet Helix where consumer and end-users are seen to be fourth element of the Helix relationships.9 Triple Helix Model still mostly represents the old, industrial push-model with linear pipeline thinking, which works properly in predictable and stable conditions. However, entering Postnormal Era changes the business environment dramatically and Triple Helix should be supplemented or even replaced with more flexible, proactive, non-linear and attractive platform thinking. We like to underline complex adaptive system (CAS) approach here. Robert Axelrod has identified a series of key concepts for modelling the CAS.10 These are: • Strategy, a conditional action pattern that indicates what to do in which circumstances 4 Santonen,T., Kaivo-oja,J. & Suomala,J. (2014) The next steps in developing the triple helix model:A briefintroduction to national open innovation system (NOIS) paradigm.Journal ofSystemics,Cybernetics,and Informatics Vol. 12, Number 7,pp. 74-82. 5 Etzkowitz, H. (1994) Academic-industryrelations: A sociological paradigm for economic development,in:L. Leydesdorff & P. van den Besselaar (Eds.),Evolutionary Economics and Chaos Theory:New Directions in TechnologyStudies. Pinter, London,etc., pp. 139-151. 6 Etzkowitz, H., & Leydesdorff,L. (1995). The Triple Helix---University-Industry-Governmentrelations:A laboratory for knowledge-based economic development.EASST Review 14, pp. 14-19. 7 Lowe, C. U. (1982) The Triple Helix - NIH, industry,and the academic world. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 55, pp. 239-246. 8 Sábato, J. & Mackenzi, M., (1982) La Producción de Technologia.Autónoma o Transnacional.Nueva Imagen,Mexico. 9 Kaivo-oja, J. & Santonen,T. (2016) Futures of innovation systems and innovation management:Open innovation paradigm analysed from futures perspectives.In Mention, Anne-Laure & Torkkeli, Marko (eds) Open Innovation: Bridging Theory and Practice: Volume 1. Open Innovation. A Multifaceted Perspective (In 2 Parts). World Scientific Publ ishing, pp. 111-158. 10 Robert Axelrod <> & Michael D. Cohen <> [15] <>
  3. 3. • Artefact, a material resource that has definite location and can respond to the action of agents • Agent, a collection of properties, strategies & capabilities for interacting with artefacts & other agents • Population, a collection of agents, or, in some situations, collections of strategies • System, a larger collection, including one or more populations of agents and possibly also artefacts • Type, all the agents (or strategies) in a population that have some characteristic in common • Variety, the diversity of types within a population or system • Interaction pattern, the recurring regularities of contact among types within a system • Space (physical), location in geographical space & time of agents and artefacts • Space (conceptual), "location" in a set of categories structured so that "nearby" agents will tend to interact • Selection, processes that lead to an increase or decrease in the frequency of various types of agent or strategies • Success criteria or performance measures, a "score" used by an agent or designer in attributing credit in the selection of relatively successful (or unsuccessful) strategies or agents In our VUCA approach the same elements are present. One perspective, which so far has not widely discussed, is the economic costs of running a Triple Helix model. It requires many highly paid (in many cases by tax-payer’s money) officials, managers and directors acting as gatekeepers and facilitators. We will introduce here cheaper and more impactful solutions to replace or at least supplement existing Triple Helix practises in the chapter 3. We do not want to underestimate the value of Triple Helix or Quartet Helix approaches, knowing that it is not easy to implement Triple Helix or Quartet Helix optimally in any real-life contexts of science and technology parks. The deeper reason that new solutions and especially platforms have lately captured many business leaders’ imaginations is that they enable “pull-based” approaches. In the past, sellers have been limited by the economics of scale thinking both in production and distribution, meaning that they simply made an efficient batch size of what they sold and delivered it to the marketplace. This kind of push-based approach is very efficient if business forecasts and strategic foresight is accurate—and can at least be profitable if, failing that, the marketer is able to alter demand with its pricing and advertising. But when this thinking is applied in times of the Postnormal Era, there are too many and too big “IFs.” Thus, it is obvious that today we need a holistic model of building innovation ecosystems, which takes increasing complexity of business landscape and socio- technical systems seriously as a challenge.11 Our statement is that the VUCA assumption is a relevant starting point to build and utilize platforms, to develop the business ecosystem and STI communications in science and technology parks. 2. SMEs and entrepreneurs as part of the innovation ecosystem To understand the ecosystem thinking and SMEs multiple role in that we have to consider all the participants in ecosystem. If we want to create value-added to societies, we must understand the original message of David J. Teece (1986, 2006)12 and take it into serious consideration. He stated that distribution of the profits from innovation is broader issue than an entrepreneurial issue. Firms, innovators, suppliers, customers and many other stakeholders want profit from innovation. Profiting from innovation is not a simple issue. The traditional Triple Helix stakeholders (Government, Academy and Business) are in the real world split in many different entities like: start-ups, SMEs, effectual entrepreneurs, anchor companies, free-lancers, students, wanna-be entrepreneurs, public organizations, social entrepreneurs, NGOs, associations, researchers, lead users, venture 11 Rabelo,R.J. & Bernus,P. (2015) A holistic model ofbuilding innovation ecosystems.IFAC-PapersOnLine,48-3,pp. 2250-2257. 12 Teece, D.J. (1986) Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy. Research Policy,Volume 15, Issue 6,pp. 285-305. Teece, D.J. (2006) Reflections on “Profiting from Innovation”. Research Policy,Volume 35, Issue 8, pp. 1131 -1146.
  4. 4. capitalist, seed funding organizations etc. Innovations are developed in complex adaptive systems. Often new ideas and businesses emerge from a combination of these entities and increasingly, when complexity, chaos and contradictions open new windows of opportunities. Typical SMEs are elementary actors in this, but not only as creating business for themselves. The often neglected parallel roles of SMEs and entrepreneurs in ecosystem include to be a customer, outsourced expert, resource pool, intermediary, promoter for the whole ecosystem, learning opportunity (for students) and a part of some consortium like CNO (Collaborative Networked Organization). One way to describe this is using Cyclical Innovation model (CIM) presented by Berkhout et al. (2006) and Trott et al. 201613 . Figure 1. Cyclical model of technological entrepreneurship and innovation (Trott et al. 2016, p. 20). Cyclical model of technological entrepreneurship and innovation links SMEs and entrepreneurship to four domains:  (1) scientific exploration,  (2) technological research,  (3) market transitions and  (4) product creation. Between scientific exploration and technological research there is natural and life science cycle. Between scientific and market transitions there is social and behavioural sciences cycle. Between technological research and product creation there is integrated engineering cycle. Finally, between market transitions and product creation there is differentiated service cycle. These four cycles are important dynamic forces in innovation ecosystems. The natural and life science cycle creates technical capabilities. The social and behavioural sciences cycle creates social insights. Differentiated services cycle creates customer value. Integrated engineering cycle creates products (see Berkhout et al 2006, Troot et al. 2016, 20). Typically, patents are linked to natural and life sciences cycle and integrated engineering cycle. On the other hand, trademarks are linked to social and behavioural sciences cycle and differentiated services cycle. 13 Berkhout, A.J., Hartmann, D., van der Duin, P. & Ott, R. (2006) Innovating the innovation process. International Journal of Technology Management, 34(3-4), pp. 390-404. See also Trott, P., Hartmann, D., van der Duinn, P. & Scholten, V. and Ortt, R. (2016) Managing Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation. London and New York: Routledge,p. 20.
  5. 5. According to Berkhout “Innovation projects must not be managed along the familiar linear pipeline but should be organized via cross-disciplinary networks along an innovation circle with ample internal feedback paths. Innovation may start anywhere on the circle and previous innovations will inspire new ones: innovations build on innovations. In such an organized chaos, causality is a meaningless concept and modern communication tools are indispensable. Experience shows that in innovation a shared mental framework is essential to allow synergy between the large number of highly diverse players. The Cyclic Innovation Model (CIM) is such a framework, being proposed to transform our current economy to a circular system: the circular economy.”14 It is important to note that new technical capabilities and functions are in most cases created in innovation environments created and managed by science and technology parks. Also new social insights and customer value are created. Entrepreneurs are not working in a socio-cultural vacuum. They really need serendipity, platforms and dynamic innovation ecosystems to further develop successful business ideas, inventions and innovations, whether they are technical innovations, business model innovations or social innovations. Of course, in broad sense, value added and brands are created for consumers and end-users of products by entrepreneurs.15 In Table 1 we have presented a synthesis about integration of the VUCA approach and key cycles of technological entrepreneurship and innovation. Serendipity management Innovation ecosystem Platforms Social and behavioural science cycle Increases diversity and improves the ability to benefit from unexpected Creates gravity to pull new people and entities into the system Offer a low entry barrier access to the system – even for global talent Differentiated services cycle Helps to identify also unexpected and contradictory differentiated services cycles Makes service dominant logic available Serve as breeding environments for new and disruptive business models Natural and life sciences cycle Promotes transformations inside natural and life sciences cycle Includes physical infrastructures helping to create ‘sticky knowledge’ Host various scientific communities enabling multidisciplinary focus Integrated Engineering Cycle Enables the emergence of new combinations of technological competences Provides rich catalytic element for attracting talent from diverse backgrounds Competence platform enables cross- disciplinary idea elaboration making integrated engineering cycle stronger and more productive Table 1. The integration of VUCA approach and key cycles of technological entrepreneurship and innovation 3. Some emerging solutions to survive and prosper in the Postnormal VUCA Era There are some proven solutions that help to survive and prosper in environments, which are affected by complexity, chaos and contradictions – ’the forces that shape and propel postnormal 14 15 Kunde, J. (2002) Unique Now or Never. The Brand is the CompanyDriver in the New Value Economy. Prentice Hall. London.
  6. 6. times’16 . Platform thinking, ecosystem development and serendipity management are all either separately, or even more importantly when combined, the solutions to cope with the VUCA environments. In fact, all three of them can become also in many industries the underlying power to cause chaos, contradictions and non-linear developments yet disrupting many traditionally managed business. Science and technology park management and even more widely understood – the innovation intermediary business as such - is no exception to that rule. In this chapter we explain these three elements of vucability from STP management perspective and will give some practical guidelines how to create environments and practices capable to survive and even prosper in VUCA conditions. 3.1 Platform thinking There is at the moment a lot of debate both in business and in academia about the disruptive elements of platform thinking. The recent evidence about the way how established platforms and business models have totally transformed entire business areas, such as hospitality industry (by AirBnB), taxi business (by Uber), music delivery (by Spotify) and publishing (by Facebook) is strong and this trend is gaining even more momentum, when more industries will be hit by the newcomers introducing powerful applications of platform thinking. We argue that this platform based innovation thinking will be the most powerful single disruptor of traditional business areas and business models in the near future. This is easily understood after having a closer look at the Table 2 below. It shows the benefits gained by platform thinking and it’s extremely interesting to see how platform thinking is by definition a perfect solution with the VUCA conditions. Pipeline – thinking Platform - thinking Main benefits of platform - thinking Command and control Gate-keepers Collaboration, Low entry, zero-friction Engagement, Creativity Institutions, Shareholder value, Career Entrepreneurship, Stakeholder value, ‘Collectives’ Sustainable ecosystem thinking Project management Serendipity management Disruption ‘From me to you’ – lectures, Conferences, “Get and Give” Teaching ‘From anybody to anybody’– sessions, Un-conferences, “Give and Get” Learning Apprentice attitude, Diversity Innovation intermediaries Brokering Regional/national approach Competence platforms, Community building, Global approach New and unique combinations of competences Push principle, Individuals as consumers and resources Pull principle, Individuals as co-creators and supporters Attraction, Gravity,Flexibility, More effective allocation of talent (self-organized) Table 2. Pipeline-thinking vs. platform-thinking, benefits of platform thinking in the VUCA world17 16 Sardar, Z. (2010) Welcome to postnormal times,Futures 42,pp. 435-444. 17 Kakko, I. & Mikkelä, K. (2015) "Platform Thinking within the Third Generation Science Park Concept", WTA / UNESCO Global Training Workshop,Daejeon,Korea 22.9.2015.
  7. 7. We will show some preliminary models how to create an evaluation and mapping system (EMS- VUCA 1.0) of ‘vucability’, which we define as the ability to prosper in VUCA conditions. This framework shows the organizational (or individual) capabilities to cope with VUCA environment and vucability level can be evaluated using some understandable and simple metrics. This evaluation will cover the entire universe of platforms (and the sophistication level of ecosystem development and the density of serendipity thinking) – and identifies all types of communication, trading, technological and competence platforms.18 For the main part it will be based on the critical elements presented on Table 2. The massive power of platform thinking is well described by Sangeet Paul Choudary19 in his argument that: “Firms that once sought advantage based on the strength of their internal resources and channel access now face competitors that harness armies of connected users and ecosystems of resources. 1) Platforms will displace high cost gatekeepers with meritocratic crowds; 2) Platforms will aggregate disconnected players in fragmented industries; and 3) Platforms will unlock new value from spare resources and user-generated content. Choudary (Choudary et al. 2013) highlights with that argument that in order to remake the role that experts play inside your business organizations should leverage their user capabilities and build social curation and reputation systems to employ the collective intelligence and judgment of your users. We want to note that this distinct need can be covered by competence platforms. The maximum impact is gained by connecting consumers to their best product options, regardless of source, through data-driven matchmaking. The company that builds an Open Table for consumer finance, considering appetites for risk and reputations of products that deliver on promises, would help buyers make sense of the dizzying array of complex and disconnected products. The value for the company providing the platform will be enormous, not only in terms of sales and profit but also in understanding the consumer behaviour and the fundamental needs on the market. Finally, solve a consumer problem in your industry by marshalling spare resources. If you’re in transportation, build systems that employ other people’s trucks before expanding your own fleet. 3.2 Ecosystem development and entrepreneurship As we see in the Table 2. the traditional Triple Helix model is designed in a way that it fits perfectly for circumstances where pipeline thinking can be applied. It is very much ‘push’ based, highlights the role of brokering and employs in many stages different type of ‘gatekeepers’. In most cases Triple Helix solutions are regional initiatives with multiple objectives trying to fulfil the expectations of a variety of stakeholders. Unfortunately, in the turbulent and changing VUCA conditions Triple Helix model often is not able to provide the expected results and impact. Many scholars have criticized the concept of innovation ecosystem to be vague and having no analogy to biological ecosystem. Because this scientific criticism, we define that innovation ecosystem consists of the actors, material entities, and intangibles. Actors are the members of the academia, government, small business companies, investors and industries, leaders of government investment programs and business intermediators. The intangibles are the complex relationships that effectively promote competitiveness of the whole innovation ecosystem. 18 Note: more aboutthis classification,see the WTA/UNESCO article. 19 Choudary, S.P., van Alstyne, M. & Parker, G. (2013) The Rise of the Platform:A Seismic Shiftin Business Models. The Definitive Starting Point to Understanding WhyPlatforms Are Eating the World. Web:, accessed 7.8.2016
  8. 8. Efficiency gains are closely linked to discovery, technology demonstration, product and service development and market demonstration. Inventing and demonstration are two key functions of an innovation ecosystem. This definition of an innovation ecosystem is close to the discussion of the National Science Foundation of the U.S.20 So other type of innovation intermediary structure is needed, and that is offered by novel ecosystem initiatives based on platform thinking and serendipity management. Although eco- prefix is in many cases unnecessary and even misleading as Oh, Phillips, Park and Lee argued at the 2014 UNESCO-Daejeon Global Innovation Forum21 , in this context the eco – prefix is genuinely justified because these environments actually are nature – like environments with no ‘push’ type of management. The evolvement of the system is based on principles of self- organization, bottom up approach, grass-root level activities, peer-to peer support and the use of breeding environment type of platform. So in that respect they come close to Virtual Organization Breeding Environments, which were comprehensively researched and developed in ECOLEAD project.22 The platforms and new business model innovations are an elementary part of modern innovation ecosystem building, because they offer the necessary low-entry, zero-friction access to all participants in the innovation ecosystem. When a well working competence platform is available then the vital characteristics of platform thinking like collaboration, community building, ‘pull’- principle in the form of the gravity of the platform and ‘born global’ approach can all be achieved. 3.3. Serendipitymanagement as key factor in VUCA environment It is clear that in order to thrive in VUCA environment one has to have the ability to benefit from unexpected, chaotic and contradictory circumstances. This is the reason why understanding serendipity is one of the top qualifications in the Postnormal Era. In fact one of most recent definitions of serendipity is: ”the art of benefiting from unexpected”23 . It is a useful, simple and yet comprehensive enough description of this expressive word. In the academia the notion of serendipity is often explained as a process where something unexpected, odd or contradictory – let it be an event, encounter, accident, test result or team building action - will generate insight, and that insight will lead to action and value creation. Often also a prepared mind or at least certain type of preparedness is mentioned as a vital prerequisite of serendipity process. The definition of serendipity originates on 18th century, when an English nobleman Horace Walpole, who read the Persian fairy tale ”The Travels and Adventures of Three Princes of Serendip” and was fascinated about the ability of the princes to discover new things. He coined the term serendipity and described the way ”the princes were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of” to his long-term correspondence friend Horace Mann. Step by step the notion started to circulate and gain momentum, first among librarians and scientists, then also in business contexts (like pharmacy and chemistry) in such a way that serendipity is at the moment a fashionable ‘buzzword’ – and in danger to lose its original expression. For the purposes of this article serendipity can be best explained by using Horace Walpole’s 20 Jackson,D.J. (2011) What is an innovation ecosystem? National Science Foundation. Arlington,VA. Web: http://erc- 21 For the critics of using eco-prefixin these contexts see Oh, D-S. Phillips,F., Park, S. & Leed,E. (2016) Innovation ecosystems:A critical examination,Technovation 54, pp 1-6. 22 Camarinha-Matos,Afsarmanesh and Ollus (eds) (2008):”Methods and Tools for Collaborative Networked Organizations”.Springer, New York. 23 This definition was created in a panel discussion with serendipitypractitioners in the context of ”Open Innovation 2.0 Conference” in Espoo on July 2015.
  9. 9. original definition, which was further elaborated by Robert K. Merton in 1950 (2004, p. 24): “Serendipity is a quality of mind, which through awareness, sagacity, and good fortune allows one to frequently discover something good while looking for something else”. This is a comprehensive definition widely accepted also in academia, it highlights the important sagacity perspective and applies as well on individual and community as organizational levels. So the widely misused definition of serendipity being ’a lucky accident’ is totally inadequate and misleading, if a shortened version is needed, then we can use the notion ’accidental sagacity’, which was also used by Horace Walpole himself. This leads us to the definition of serendipity management, which we will use in an organizational context: “Serendipity management is a comprehensive set of tools and facilitation methodologies, which by the help of tailored workspace design — both physical and virtual and through the facilitation of unexpected encounters and collective insight, will support the emergence of new combinations of competences and the generation of breakthrough ideas.”25 The revolutionary use of serendipity management as a solution to adapt in the VUCA conditions is explained in the Table 3, where the characteristics of project management are compared with serendipity management paradigm. We want to emphasize that project management of course is the only way to solve and implement highly predictable challenges where the outcome is clear (like construction projects etc.), but it is often unsuitable when the vision is ambitious and unexpected turnouts and events will affect the implementation process. Characteristics Project management Serendipitymanagement Approach Project Journey, exploration Type of innovation Directional Intersectional, sustainable Type of human resources Homo faber Homo ludens, homo aestheticus, homo creativus Organization Fixed in the beginning Flexible during the process Focus Effective process Best possible result in the end Structure Closed innovation Open innovation Mission Goal decided in the beginning Vision decided in the beginning Competence search While defining the project Training camp approach Resources, time schedule Fixed Flexible Management style Command and control Connectivity and collaboration Table 3. Project management vs. serendipity management26 4. Espoo Innovation Garden (EIG) case The Espoo Innovation Garden (EIG), in Finland, is a new but dynamic initiative with a powerful support from the city of Espoo, Aalto University and VTT. The number of labs, co-creation spaces, incubators, accelerators in the EIG has grown enormously to include over thirty recently established communities, with a special focus on RDI to address societal challenges. EIT Digital, Startup Sauna, Vertical Health Accelerator, Aalto IoT Platform, Micronova (VTT & Aalto) and RDI units of Huawei, Intel, and Samsung are examples of this. In addition, the Aalto Campus is the heart of the Finnish startup movement. Aalto Entrepreneur Society, Startup Sauna, SLUSH, Junction and Aalto Venture Programme all have global impact. In November 2015 SLUSH 24 Merton, R.K. & Barber, E. (2004) The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity – A Study in Sociological Semantics and the Sociologyof Science. Princeton University Press,Princeton, New Jersey, USA. 25 Kakko, I. (2014) Oasis Way and the Post-Normal Era – How Understanding SerendipityWill Lead You to Success, 2014,St.Petersburg BHV, St Petersburg,Russia. 26 Kakko, I. & Inkinen,S. (2009) Homo creativus:Creativity and serendipitymanagementin third generation science and technologyparks.Science and Public Policy, 36(7),August 2009,pp. 537–548.
  10. 10. gathered 15 621 attendees, 1 686 startups and 777 investors and 251 VC funds from near 100 countries. The City of Espoo has co-initiated the privately run Urban Mill, a public-private co-working and co-creation platform for urban innovations on the Aalto University campus. Urban Mill’s success is demonstrated by its over 50 000 engagements, 2500 events, 1000 pioneers, 100 prototypes and 50 startup teams since 2013. It is a powerful example of an open innovation platform that uses a thematic approach, agile orchestration and co-creation methods to advance urban change. ”EIG ecosystems operate as test-beds for rapid prototyping of many types of user-driven innovations: new products, services, processes, structures and systems which need to be transformative and scalable by nature. EIG is fulfilling its pioneering role as a leading global innovation hub where ecosystem thinking is fully integrated in practice, and where entrepreneurial discovery and a startup mentality drive collaboration. All participants experience multiple gains – business can develop the scalable product and service solutions that users want, the public sector can provide effective and affordable solutions to regional challenges, citizens share ownership of the specific, oft en highly personalized solutions they need, and universities can actively contribute knowledge and reap new knowledge and insights in return. The increased synergy helps achieve a far greater impact than ordinary development measures allow”27 ”EIG shows that the new generation of innovation activities is a socially motivated and open innovation ecosystem, complex and global by nature. Its human-centred vision of partnerships between public and private sector actors, with universities playing a crucial role, is an example of modernizing the Triple Helix and with a special emphasis on collaboration in pioneering societal innovation test-beds. The collaboration model of EIG emphasizes mutual trust, which clears the way forward for shared activities and project collaboration, involving all parties in processes of experimenting, responsible risk taking and the collaborative learning essential for innovation. In EIG environment cooperation is moving beyond the Triple and Quadruple Helix models towards true ecosystem thinking."28 We took the opportunity to interview the Co-founder of Urban Mill, Mr Kari Mikkelä, and discussed his latest insights regarding to Urban Mill, which is one elementary part of EIG. He also contributed to our paper and gave some valuable viewpoints, how these theories work in practise. Kari’s view of CIM model (presented in chapter 2) is, that it seems to be good in highlighting the move from linear thinking to non-linear thinking and taking a more proactive stance towards socio- technical fundaments of innovation processes, still it does not yet fully describe the shared vision driven self-organised bottom-up dynamics of the EIG case and the Urban Mill. Kari suggested to place an Ecosystem of Ecosystems layer underneath and around the whole CIM model and emphasised self-organising social and cultural contexts of the CIM processes. “Individuals drive innovation, not organisations. Entrepreneurial ecosystems will bridge innovation ecosystems and business ecosystems increasingly in the future. Risk taking new entrepreneurs will adopt many roles, which the public actors used to govern in the Triple Helix era. Thus, a new complementary dynamic innovation policy approach for the public support and interventions should be co-created together with other active innovation ecosystem actors”, he continued. For Urban Mill’s current development phase Kari commented that Urban Mill was founded only three years ago and it has been an ongoing development journey.29 The experiences so far strongly indicate that the evolution will continue and they have understood the vucability perspective also in their own development. The vision is clear but roadmap will be ’fuzzy’, the 27 ecosystems.PDF 28 ibid. 29 More about Urban Mill check: Kakko, I. & Mikkelä, K. (2015) "Platform Thinking within the Third Generation Science Park Concept", WTA / UNESCO Global Training Workshop,Daejeon,Korea 22.9.2015.
  11. 11. development partners may change, yet the actors of the ecosystem will always be in the focal fundamental role. However, at the moment the main areas of further development seem to be: 1) development of orchestration methodologies and tools  pragmatic approach and continuous learning while developing them 2) following effectuation principles30  especially ”Patchwork Quilt”, “Lemonade” and ”Pilot in the Plane” principles 3) supporting lean processes  agility and resilience as a mean to cope in VUCA conditions 4) improving the use and integration + connectivity of different platforms  physical as well as digital 5) using visions and themes as the pull factor  then new agents can easier fit their own goals to the vision of the whole  self-organisation, cross value creation, interdependence 6) further developing the new, systemic way to operate  building a CAS-type of ecosystem of overlapping ecosystems 7) the focus based on three processes  co-learning, co-design and co-effectuation  facilitation needs in the following areas: Engagement, Curation ja Uplifting 8) encouraging the diversity of communities  using both direct competence (via direct human contacts) and distributed mediated competence (via competence platform)  ability to create ’sticky knowledge’ and ’rootedness’ 9) keeping and further developing the strongly event based approach  enables unexpected encounters and discussions improving potential for harnessing serendipity 5. Conclusive remarks and suggestions The three solutions offered by this paper: platform thinking, ecosystem development and serendipity management will be fundamental in helping to succeed in the VUCA world. They have proved to be effective in the dynamic, global and non-linear innovation environment of Aalto University campus in Espoo This encourages us to present some preliminary evaluation models, which will help all innovation intermediary entities – and especially STPs - to understand and improve their preparedness for future challenges. There are three critical dimensions to be considered when adapting into the circumstances of the Postnormal VUCA Era: (1) the density level of serendipity thinking, (2) the sophistication level of innovation ecosystems and (3) the sophistication level of platform thinking. We can visualize scenarios for innovation intermediaries following (see Fig. 2). 30
  12. 12. Figure 2. Sophistication and activity levels of STP based environments In Table 3 below we have presented the characteristics of potential STP management scenarios by the vucability criteria. We can note that there are various development paths towards excellence in evolutionary VUCA process. This kind of scenario space map of alternative futures is one way to understand complex adaptive systems and potential futures maps and path developments (see Virtanen & Malaska 2005).31 This kind of scenario approach is often used in morphological system analyses (Ritchey 2011).32 Activity level of serendipity thinking (including density evaluation) Sophistication level of innovation ecosystems Sophistication level of platform thinking Scenario C0 Low Low Low Scenario C1 Low Low Medium Scenario C2 Low Low High Scenario C3 Low Medium Low Scenario C4 Low High Low Scenario C5 Low Medium Medium Scenario B0 Medium Low Low Scenario B1 Medium Medium Medium Scenario B2 Medium Medium High Scenario B3 Medium Medium Low Scenario B4 Medium High Low Scenario B5 Medium High High Scenario A0 High Low Low Scenario A1 High Medium Medium Scenario A2 High Medium High Scenario A3 High Medium Low Scenario A4 High High Low Scenario A5 High High High Table 3. Alternative evolutionary VUCA-scenarios of the Postnormal Era. 31 Malaska,P.i & Virtanen, I. (2005) Orienteering in the futures universe:A map-analogy-based set-theoretic approach to the theory of futuribles.In Contributions to Accounting, Finance and ManagementScience.Essays in Honour of Professor Timo Salmi. Eds Erkki K. Laitinen and Teija Laitinen. Acta Wasaensia No.143,p. 261-284. 32 Ritchey, T. (2011) Modelling Alternative Futures with General Morphological Analysis.World Future Review, Spring 2011.
  13. 13. The highest evolutionary level of the vucability is A5 scenario, where the density and activity level of serendipity thinking, the sophistication level of ecosystem development and the sophistication level of platform thinking reach highest possible levels. Naturally lowest level of the vucability is C0 scenario, where the density level of serendipity thinking, the sophistication level of ecosystems and the sophistication level of platform thinking reach only lowest evolutionary levels. We will show here a preliminary framework how VUCA index can be applied for the improvement of STP activities. The scope of this article does not allow a detailed analysis to be presented, further research based on practical results and insights is needed to define the correct and viable criteria and ratings. a. Towards the evaluation and mapping system (EMS-VUCA1.0) of the VUCA approach However, we take as an example the dimension of serendipity activity with three evolutionary levels: (1) Low level density of serendipity thinking (scenarios C0-C5), (2) medium level density of serendipity thinking (scenarios B0-B5) and (3) high level density of serendipity thinking (scenarios A0-A5). The factors to be evaluated should include for instance criteria like:  The level of open innovation management skills and capacities. => Closed innovation management approach indicates low serendipity level  The overall diversity of the ecosystem => High diversity of participants and stakeholders indicates high serendipity level  Local vs. global approach => Local approach indicates low serendipity level  The number of free agents (students, free-lancers, micro SMEs) in ecosystem => low number indicates low serendipity level  The number of gatekeepers, intermediary managers and facilitators => low number indicates high serendipity level  The use of competence platforms in team building => active use indicates high serendipity level. The full list of validation criteria is needed and will be introduced after more detailed case studies. With the same approach we can categorize also the other two dimensions, namely sophistication level of ecosystem development and sophistication level of platform thinking. For the sophistication level of ecosystem development the factors might include:  The variety of orchestration methodologies  The diversity of the communities and number of free agents  The number of interdepended stakeholders The full list of validation criteria is needed and will be introduced after more detailed case studies. The sophistication of platform thinking might be categorized by factors like:  The utilisation of various platforms, especially the use of competence platform  The gravity of platform ie. the critical mass of active users and the growth rate  The number of stakeholders outside the proximity  The level of self-organized and peer-to-peer curated initiatives The full list of validation criteria is needed and will be introduced after more detailed case studies. The categorization of qualitative variables is robust in this paper, but it may be a useful starting point for further developments. This first evaluation list can be seen as an attempt to introduce evaluation and mapping system for vucability namely: EMS-VUCA 1.0. b. Final conclusions and suggestions Realizing that the speed of change in our global business environment is increasing we focused in the challenges science and technology parks are facing when entering the Postnormal Era. Our novel VUCA approach consists of three fundamental dimensions of innovation management: (1) the density of serendipity thinking, (2) platform utilisation (including business model variety) and
  14. 14. (3) innovation ecosystem. We claim that in the evolutionary development of science and technology parks, professionals on innovation management and governance should aim to highest sophistication level in these three critical fields of innovation management. In this paper we presented the foundations of the VUCA approach. We also argue that in the development of STPs, professionals should evaluate the density of serendipity thinking, the platform utilisation and the sophistication level ecosystem thinking. Systemic evaluation and development activities will lead eventually to the highest level of VUCA excellence, which we have defined in this paper as vucability. Improved vucability of the ecosystem will attract new participants and the success stories will create the much needed gravity. If we want to boost the impact of science and technology parks, we must improve the density level of serendipity thinking, the sophistication level of ecosystem thinking and platform utilisation. As we have shown the maturity of the VUCA process can be rated by the set of evaluation indicators. The actual measures to improve the maturity of VUCA-index and hence the capability to succeed in the Postnormal Era will be therefore conveniently determined, when further research on the valuation and selection of valid and useful criteria is conducted.