Digital innovation: insights from Joensuu’s May 2024 Draft Program

Common to nearly all of the 10 teams selected for the program is the utilization of digitalization and remote services in their business operations. Explore the Draft program’s application guidelines and apply in Joensuu or Kuopio!

Heikki Immonen, Karelia University of Applied Sciences


19 Applicants in the may 2024 call in Joensuu – 10 funded

In the call held in early May 2024, there were a total of 15 first-round applicants and 4 applicants in the advanced stage of the Draft program. The Draft program in North Karelia is funded by the William and Ester Otsakorpi Foundation, along with Karelia, Riveria, and UEF. All applicant teams must have some connection through past or present study or employment with at least one of these three educational and research organizations.

Nearly all of the 10 teams selected for the program have a strong focus on digital solutions and the development of remote services. The selected teams demonstrate the versatile applications of digitalization across different sectors. For example, teams offering online services, such as Virpi Kaisto’s web service and Leo Fadi’s e-commerce solution, aim to enhance user experience and simplify customers’ daily lives with digital innovations. Similarly, Mia Ranta’s online education service and Marjut Helvelahti’s educational service focus on providing quality teaching and learning materials through digital channels, emphasizing the accessibility and flexibility of education.

These business ideas also reflect a clear trend towards multichannel services and accessibility. Paula Tanninen’s service for stores and Elias Havurinne’s manufacturing service combine traditional services with digital solutions, bringing efficiency and new opportunities for business development.

Teams selected for the Draft Program

The eight teams selected for the first round in this call are:

  • Innovative Textile Product, led by Riitta-Kaisa Kuronen
  • Art Service, led by Heli Jääskeläinen
  • Web Service, led by Virpi Kaisto
  • Educational Service, led by Marjut Helvelahti
  • Service for Stores, led by Paula Tanninen
  • E-commerce Solution, led by Leo Fadi
  • Manufacturing Service, led by Elias Havurinne
  • Online Education Service, led by Mia Ranta

Selected for the advanced stage of the Draft program:

  • Event Sales Service, led by Tero Hyttinen
  • Tourism Service, led by Henrietta Macri

Congratulations to the selected teams!

Customer-centricity in commercializing digital services

One of the most important lessons in commercializing digital services is customer-centricity. It is essential to understand and identify customers’ needs and expectations to develop solutions that genuinely serve them and add value to their daily lives. This requires continuous interaction with customers.

Utilizing customer feedback and adjusting services accordingly is crucial. For example, the web services led by Virpi Kaisto and Leo Fadi are good examples of how customer-centricity can enhance user experience and promote market success.

Leveraging technology to for new business models

Another significant piece of advice is to leverage technology to optimize business processes and create innovations. Digital solutions not only improve service accessibility but also bring new business opportunities and enhance operational efficiency.

Combine traditional business model with digital elements is evident in Elias Havurinne’s manufacturing service, where traditional business models are combined with digital solutions. This creates multichannel and flexible services that better meet today’s market demands and customer expectations.

Explore the Draft program’s application guidelines and apply in Joensuu or Kuopio!