Board Member in Spotlight pt. 4: Esko Vanninen
“Having good thoughts and ideas is not enough on its own. Your environment and timing must also be right to properly kick-start activities. We have needed to be patient, but have thankfully eventually reached the current situation.”
Making full use of potential
We have over 4,000 employees here at the Hospital District of Northern Savo, all of them top experts in their fields. Nearly every day, we encounter development needs that could be solved with some kind of a technological solution or new operating model or which could benefit from data utilisation.
I think the hospital district should also definitely be used as a facilitator of regional development. We have major potential for collaboration with companies and education institutions. Developing new innovations and products emerging from healthcare needs also creates jobs and tax revenue in the region. This helps developing the vitality of the region’s municipalities.
As the owners of the hospital district, the municipalities should be able to see this continuum. I hope that Kuopio Health can serve as a bridge-builder in this context to make the possibilities for collaboration clearly visible.
This is a matter largely related to financial issues. While a challenging financial situation is considered to prevent collaboration, the benefits brought by collaboration are actually the very solution to these financial problems.
Roots going back decades
I will retire from my job as the director of research and innovations at the Hospital District of Northern Savo at the turn of the year. Despite this, I am looking forward to continuing working on Kuopio Health if the ecosystem can benefit from my expertise or experience. This is an inspiring opportunity.
I already worked as a specialist in clinical physiology and isotope medicine in the 1990s. At the start of the 2000s, I was working on my thesis related to leadership. This involved reflection on how my unit at the time could engage in more extensive collaboration with companies and serve as a testing platform.
That idea did not gain support at the time – it took around ten years until the Living Lab activities were launched. This is a service currently in high demand. Thankfully, companies have brand new potential for collaborating with the hospital district these days. As this shows, having good thoughts and ideas is not enough on its own. Your environment and timing must also be right to properly kick-start activities. We have needed to be patient, but have thankfully eventually reached the current situation.
At the isotope medicine unit in clinical physiology, we conducted a lot of patient-specific examinations, including those measuring lung and heart function. I remember that, back then, a young company called Medikro was carrying out its product development and generating ideas with us. Now, I am in the Kuopio Health Board together with the company’s current CEO, Tuukka Eloranta.
This is a collaboration that started decades ago, and now is the time to make use of its full potential.
Kuopio Health’s role is to build trust
I hope that Kuopio Health activities can make a genuine impact. I also think that building trust is a key prerequisite for collaboration in the ecosystem.
I believe that building trust can be a challenging task, particularly in the business sector. As a rule, mutual trust can emerge more easily among public agents that all fund their activities with tax revenue. Indeed, my wish is that the Kuopio Health ecosystem can show leadership that promotes and fosters building this sort of trust.
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