At the beginning of November, we attended the Slush 2015 event with a great deal of enthusiasm and curiosity. We were looking for mobile application developers for two of our projects, so we presented two challenges to the Slush attendees. The first challenge was intended for game developers: we wanted to find a start-up company to create a forest-themed mobile game for our joint project with the Guides and Scouts of Finland. The second challenge focused on forestry: we were looking for ideas on how to make the new generation of urban forest owners enthusiastic about their forest ownership.
We started the search in Slush with realistic expectations. Although our goals were clear, we also had some concerns: How could we make sure that our voice was heard in the world's largest start-up event? How would we manage to stand out from the crowd and meet the right people? Would the start-ups find UPM and UPM Forest interesting enough to start a dialogue?
Our misgivings and preconceptions vanished the night before the main event, when we hosted one of the opening events of Slush in the UPM Biofore House. The restaurant was filled with a lively buzz of conversation, cordial greetings and pleasant atmosphere. There were plenty of new faces and unexpected contacts. From the first moment, we knew that this was a good thing and something completely new to us. We were pleasantly surprised by the positive attitude and proactiveness of everyone involved!
During Slush, we realised that the event was much more than just creating new contacts. It gave us the strength to believe that one can and should think outside the box. We realised that as long as we know where we want to go, there are always people that can help us get there. On the other hand, we were reminded that with the current pace of development, it is impossible for one company to be aware of all the possibilities modern technology offers. So we came to the conclusion that sometimes it is best to take your idea – however impossible it might seem – to the other party and ask them whether it can be done.
Shortly after Slush, we found excellent partners for both our projects. The mobile game for Guides and Scouts of Finland will be developed by NordicEdu, a Finnish start-up company from Turku. Tomi Kokkonen, Linda Kokkonen and Tatu Laine from NordicEdu have proven to be great sparring partners. Right away they took control of the project with enthusiastic determination and were not afraid of our status as a large corporation. The collaboration has progressed smoothly and on schedule. We at UPM are responsible for answering all their questions and finding the required information on time. If needed, we amend our schedules so that the smaller company does not have to wait and the decision-making process stays agile. We aim to have the mobile game ready in the spring.
As for the other challenge we presented at Slush, the mobile service for new forest owners, it also started to gather momentum soon after the event. The project is currently in the development phase, and you will hear more about it later.