There is an old saying: “If you want to go somewhere fast, go alone. If you want to make a change, go together. ” This applies also for developing new technologies and business models to facilitate development of new meaningful and sustainable food solutions. At the moment we are in a situation where we really should try to make it possible to work together as a food system. The food system is broken, and it needs to be fixed.
One thing is sure; there is a lot of room for improvement and doing things differently.
Do we have to break the whole system and start from scratch? No, we can´t do that, even it may sometimes seem as the easiest option. We all have to eat every single day. We need to improve our system piece by piece, and it would be nice if some of the pieces had been tested before taking into use widely.
That is one of the reasons, why we at VTT think it is important to build an ecosystem around the food topic. The crEATe ecosystem is our first opening, and we started it together with Compass Group and IBM. It gathers same-minded people at its events and it offers possibilities to use the TestEat restaurant, a world-class test platform situated in Helsinki. It is a place where companies can take their disruptive ideas and test them in small scale. Tempting, isn’t it?
Why do we need this kind of platforms here in Finland when we already know each other? True, but do we also trust each other? In order to truly make collaboration which works and is able to make disruption we need to trust each other. Trust is not something that can be written into a contract. To get us really share our knowledge without fearing that someone else is getting more than I´m getting is hard.
I had a chance to learn about Israel´s ecosystem models last autumn. I learned that trust is the key element in building a successful ecosystem. Israel is a small country where everybody knows each other. I heard this kind of sentences several times: “We want to help each other”, “We have a strong culture of entrepreneurship”, and “It´s not a shame to fail”. We should learn to trust that if we help one another we will be rewarded at some point and the revenue might be hugely more, what we gave.
Therefore, it´s not all about the resources we need – it´s also about courage to do things.
Co-Creation Manager at VTT who strongly believes ecosystems power to change the world