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Evaluation of Vantaa’s Shared Table – food loss concept highlights social returns

In March 2018 City of Vantaa and Vantaa Parish Union jointly commissioned 4FRONT to evaluate the impact of their collectively organized food loss concept Shared Table (Yhteinen pöytä). The evaluation came out in October.

Shared Table was initiated as a project of Vantaa in 2014. Today, it is a large network including approximately 40 surplus food donators, a centralized and city-led surplus food terminal, operational staff and delivery vans and around 65 food-aid organisers in different locations of Vantaa. Many of the partners are volunteers. Together they turn nearly a million kilos of surplus food every year into around thousand free meals and two thousand food bags every week. This network organizes annually over 100 events, trainings etc.

The recently finished evaluation highlighted that benefits of the Shared Table concept are not only in its efficient logistics and a large network of food-aid organisers, but it also increases the quality of served food-aid. Most importantly, as compared to traditional food banks, the complete food-aid services of the Shared Table network and their joint events offer much appreciated social networks for the needy.

Hanna Kuisma, the Project Manager of Shared Table is pleased about the evaluation. ‘The evaluation helped us to identify and capture the benefits and impacts of Shared Table. It brought evidence to our earlier anticipation that the social aspects of jointly and communally organized food-aid and events play an important role here.

4FRONT welcomes its new partners

After three years of successful growth, 4FRONT is now expanding its ownership. On 27thAugust the general meeting of 4FRONT introduced four new shareholders to the company. The new partners, all employees of the company, include Senior Consultant Anne-Mari Järvelin (PhD, Econ), COO Vesa Salminen (M.Soc.Sci), Project Manager Valtteri Härmälä (M.Soc.Sci) and Senior Expert Kalle A Piirainen (D.Sci., Dos).

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Impact Assessment of the Tampere Region Innovation Voucher

4FRONT has conducted an impact assessment of the pilot phase of the Tampere Region Innovation Voucher scheme carried out by Business Tampere.

The object of assessment was to evaluate the impact of the pilot phase of the Innovation Voucher scheme conducted in the Tampere region between 1/2016–6/2018.  The vouchers, with a maximum value of 5 000€, were used to purchase expert services to support growth, internationalisation and digitalisation in the companies. During the pilot phase total number of 217 vouchers were granted to 205 companies. The total value of vouchers granted was nearly 1 M€.

In addition to handing out vouchers to companies, the pilot project involved developing a digital service platform, through which, the service providers displayed their services and client companies applied for the voucher.

The evaluation utilised several different methods including surveys for both the companies that received the voucher and the service providers who carried out the projects financed with the voucher.

The initial results experienced by both the companies and the service providers are very positive. The voucher has given the companies a boost in starting new development projects. Another positive finding is that the majority of projects are expected to continue after the “voucher-phase”. A majority of the companies is expecting a positive impact both on turnover and employment during the next two years.

Innovation voucher is a useful instrument as a match-making tool to promote collaboration between companies and service providers and boost the development of new ideas, products and services in companies.

Report (in Finnish)

Evaluation: Startups, accelerators and role of Tekes

4FRONT, together with Etlatieto, The Evidence Network, Erkko Autio and Paolo Borella, has conducted an evaluation on the role of Tekes in supporting Finnish startups and accelerators.

This evaluation provided an assessment of the role of Tekes activities in the Finnish startup-ecosystem as well as provided recommendations on how Tekes can improve its impact on the Finnish startup and accelerator ecosystem. The evaluation focused on Tekes R&D funding for startups, NIY programme and the VIGO programme. The evaluation utilised several different methods and approaches, including econometric analyses, web-based surveys, interviews and case-studies.

The evaluation concluded that, although the startup ecosystem has developed largely independent of Tekes, its role in catalysing and shaping the startup ecosystem should not be neglected. Tekes (Business Finland) remains an important ‘feeder’ and its main activities are highly relevant tools to support the startup ecosystem also in the near future. Tekes should maintain its role as a ‘feeder’ instead of a ‘leader’ in the ecosystem. In addition, there could be an opportunity for strengthening the ‘facilitator’ role in the future.

Report: Startups, accelerators and role of Tekes – Evaluation report

JOIN THE LEADING EDGE OF DEVELOPMENT – 4FRONT IS RECRUITING

4FRONT on yksi Suomen johtavista innovaatiopolitiikan ja arvioinnin asiantuntijayrityksistä. Asiakkaitamme ovat mm. ministeriöt, virastot, kaupungit ja kansainväliset organisaatiot.

Nyt haemme uutta hyvää tyyppiä 7-henkiseen tiimiimme korkeakouluharjoittelijaksi / analyytikoksi. Työtehtäviin kuuluvat tiedonkeruun ja analyysin projektityöt kiinnostavien ja haastavien arviointi-, selvitys- ja kehittämishankkeiden parissa. Alussa työtehtävät painottuvat erityisesti haastatteluihin ja kenttätyöhön. Työ soveltuu hyvin esimerkiksi maisterivaiheen opiskelijalle tai vastavalmistuneelle.

Edellytämme hakijalta:

  • Oikeaa asennetta, sosiaalista pelisilmää ja oma-aloitteisuutta
  • Erinomaisia analyyttisia valmiuksia ja nopeaa oppimiskykyä
  • Kykyä ja kiinnostusta tiivistahtiseen projektityöhön
  • Kiinnostusta julkisen sektorin asiantuntijatyöhön
  • Erinomaisia vuorovaikutus- ja tiimityöskentelytaitoja
  • Erinomaista suomen ja englannin kielen taitoa
  • Soveltuvaa koulutustaustaa (esim. yhteiskunta- ja sosiaalitieteet)

Katsomme eduksi:

  • Aikaisemman kokemuksen arvioinnin, innovaatiopolitiikan ja/tai kiertotalouden teemoista
  • Kokemuksen projektityöstä ja haastattelututkimusten toteutuksesta
  • Erityisosaamisen liittyen esimerkiksi palvelumuotoiluun, osallistaviin ja/tai tilastollisiin menetelmiin / muun menetelmällisen osaamisen

Työ on aluksi määräaikainen 31.8.2018 asti. Tavoitteenamme on yhteistyön jatkuminen myös määräajan jälkeen.

Pyydämme lähettämään vapaamuotoisen hakemuksen ja CV:n mahdollisimman pian, kuitenkin viimeistään pe 13.4.2018. Työ alkaa sopimuksen mukaan, mutta täytämme paikan heti sopivan henkilön löydyttyä.

Lähetä hakemuksesi otsikolla ”Hakemus + oma nimesi” Julia Wiikerille, julia.wiikeri(at)4front.fi, 040 550 8067.

Lisätietoja tehtävästä antaa Vesa Salminen, 040 1252 370.

Evaluation of national impact of Horizon 2020

4FRONT, together with Technopolis Group, Pellervon Taloustutkimus-PTT and Ramboll Management Consulting, has conducted an evaluation of the Impact of EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation, and particularly of the ongoing Horizon 2020, as a part of the Government’s Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research for 2017.

The evaluation used multiple methods to assess how the EU Framework Programmes complement national RDI funding. According to the evaluation, FPs have had substantial benefits for Finnish research and innovation. Although the acceptance rate of Finnish applicants has been systematically lower than the rate of our comparator countries the large number of applications has ensured that Finland remains a net beneficiary from Horizon 2020.

The reports are published in tietokayttoon.fi, direct links below:

Information Management in Regional Development – A Proposal for Situational Picture Framework and Instrumentation

4FRONT was part of a consortium, led by MDI, to build a situational picture framework of regional development. The study exploited and combined the state-of-the-art knowledge management models and practices already used by regions and ministries. The situational picture gives insight from the key themes and dynamics of regional development, and also facilitates the analysis of the joint effects of several factors and activities of different administrative sectors. The aim of the situational picture is to increase understanding of key issues in regional development and to raise these key issues into policy making and decision-making processes.

4FRONT’s contribution focused on developing a framework for analysing entrepreneurial ecosystems as part of the regional development (Appendix 2 in the report).

Report (in Finnish)

New paths of entrepreneurship

Commissioned by the Prime Minister’s Office, this study took a closer look at the measures for promoting micro and small entrepreneurship included in the Government’s package for strengthening entrepreneurship. As part of the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities, the study was conducted together with Professor Erkko Autio and its aim was to provide information to support the further work of the Government’s key project; Boosting competitiveness by improving conditions for business and entrepreneurship.

The study recommends that the different administrative sectors, authorities and stakeholders implement in cooperation a strategic operational programme, launch trials for finding solutions for structural challenges and develop business advice and mentoring. In addition, the objectives for promoting entrepreneurship should be directed at developing entrepreneurs’ skills, competence and targets.

Report (in Finnish)

As part of this project a Policy Brief has been published as well (in English)

4FRONT facilitates workshops for UN Innovation campus in Finland

The United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology (UN-OICT) is in the process of setting up a network of innovation laboratories in Europe, Africa and Asia, and has inquired Finland’s interest in hosting one. The aim of UN innovation campus is to facilitate the adoption of technology innovations within the UN.

In June, 4FRONT helped the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland to organize two workshops for UN and potential Finnish stakeholders, in order to probe their interest, as well as to gather ideas for collaboration themes. Indeed, all participating stakeholders indicated their great interest in having such a campus in Finland. The primary focus areas of the Finnish campus would be on education, health, the circular economy and cleantech, as well as peace and security.

The Government is now making active efforts to secure the establishment of a UNTIL campus in Finland. For further information, see MFA press release.

Workshop presentations (pdf):

Matti Kajaste, Education and learning in FInland
Miikka Kataja, SLUSH
Ilona Lundström, Innovation environment in Finland
Eero Eloranta, Innovative Society – the vision of Aalto University
Irena Bakić, CodeBus Africa

Developmental Evaluation of BEAM Programme

BEAM – Business with Impact programme is a joint initiative of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA) and the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes). BEAM aims to generate new, sustainable business in developing countries and to assist Finnish enterprises to address global development challenges.

Commissioned by the MFA and Tekes, the developmental evaluation of BEAM is implemented in parallel to the programme during 2015-2019.

Developmental evaluation supports innovation development, guides adaptation to emergent and dynamic realities in complex environments by continuous utilisation of evaluation results in programme management. Developmental evaluation also ensures the evaluability of the programme and provides independent information on the progress.

Mid-term review and other BEAM-reports are available at the MFA website.