Nordic Trade Mission: Day 1
Finland visits offer insight on industry transformation through 5G, nuclear waste management & more
The familiar comfort of rainy Finnish skies welcomed Commerce’s Innovation Cluster delegates on our first day of the Washington state trade mission to the Nordic region. The day began with a briefing from the U.S. Ambassador to Finland, Douglas Hickey and his staff.
We visited the Nokia Experience Center, learning about work to bring internet conductivity to the U.S. and global efforts to advance 5G technology. It was exciting to see potential applications of 5G networks in a diverse set of industries. Here in Washington, our EDGE 5G Cluster, led by the 5G Open Innovation Lab, has a field lab in agriculture with plans for a second and expansion into manufacturing, health care, energy and transport and logistics.
The remainder of the day was spent on the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland campus. Our delegation members learned about VTT’s efforts in nuclear waste management and their Smart City innovation cluster, and explored opportunities for collaboration.
The innovation cluster leaders joined Gov. Jay Inslee to hear about the Finnish approach to nuclear energy and waste management, and discuss how Washington state might apply this technology to the cleanup effort at the Hanford Nuclear Site. The conversation was particularly relevant to the Washington VERTical cluster, led by the Port of Benton. VERTical is working to create a global supply chain for Advanced Module Reactors (AMR), and Finland is the global leader on the circular waste use of AMRs, as well as the development of reactors as heat generators.
Our delegates also met with the Smart Cities cluster and members of the VTT Future Lab to hear from companies of varying sizes express the value of cluster involvement in terms of lending credibility and attracting customers organically, eliminating the need for international travel for business recruitment. The cluster also helps each company access international markets through collective marketing campaigns, driving interest into the country.
The most unique thing about the Smart Cities Innovation Cluster is that is promotes collaboration between members, helping spark new ideas for innovation.
As one company said, “We are stronger together. Even the largest company cannot solve an industry-wide problem alone.”
The day concluded with a reception graciously hosted by Ambassador Hickey, together the entire Washington state delegation to network with leading Finnish companies, academic institutions, economic development partners, embassy staff and the resident dog, Bongo.