Contact for additional information: Ritva Toivonen, Adj. Professor, Research Coordinator, University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences, +358-(0)40-526 8412, firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Helsinki launches a new research project focusing on consumer needs and development of innovative business networks
In September 2016, University of Helsinki started a three-year research project in order to unfold the consumer needs in relation to industrial multi-storey building in housing. The focus of the project is assessing and developing innovative and efficient models for networking in the wood-based building. “The study, conducted between 2016-2019, innovatively combines academic research and three construction projects”, tells Ms. Ritva Toivonen, Adjunct Professor and the Project Coordinator at the Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki. The study is financed by TEKES, Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, and seven private companies.
“This study is innovative and topical. Its findings are likely to provide new information for the national and international industrial wood-based building”, emphasises Mr. Olli Haltia, the Chair of the research project’s advisory group and CEO of Dasos Capital Ltd. “The growing wood-based building sector represents a wide window of business opportunities for various stakeholders and investors. However, taking full advantage of the opportunity requires better understanding of the market and consumer behaviour”, continues Haltia.
“The targeted overall outcome of the study is set to facilitate the development of the business in the wood-based building sector towards solutions that capture and efficiently meet consumer needs. Another aim is to contribute towards the development of flexible and efficient networks and business partnerships, so-called business ecosystems, in the wood-based construction sector”, explains Toivonen. “It is of particular interest to understand the process of collecting and sharing information regarding consumer needs in the business ecosystem”, she continues. “The drivers changing consumer needs include aging, urbanisation, striving for sustainable solutions and individualism. In addition, important issues include building and housing related needs, expectations and processes of municipal administrators designing the infrastructure for housing. These may considerably hinder or boost wood-based building.”
Innovative combination of practice and research
Increased innovativeness is supported by means of a research set-up that combines both an academic study as well as three real-life industrial construction projects of wooden multi-storey houses. This provides a unique opportunity to analyse the formation and operation of business ecosystems, producing the complete building project from the initial planning and design up to the interior and outdoor decoration.
The empirical study will be largely based on producing information about consumer perceptions and needs regarding sustainable housing and living, and especially for those who have actually decided to invest in an apartment in a wooden multi-storey building. The perceptions of municipal administrators are another angle of the relevant user needs to be unfolded. Additionally, the study also seeks to establish a comparative analysis of wood-based building markets in Finland, Sweden, Austria and Canada.
The research project:
User focus in business eco-systems of industrial wood-based building sector
University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences, Partnering organization: University of Vaasa, Finland
International research partners:
University of British Columbia (UBC), Linköping University, Univeristy of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU)
September 2016 – August 2019
Tekes, BioNets –programme, University of Helsinki
Financing company partners:
Dasos Capital Ltd, Rakennuttajatoimisto HTJ Ltd, Westas Group Ltd, PUUSTA Innovations Ltd, Lappwall Ltd, upwood design Ltd, Thermowood Association (Lämpöpuuyhdistys ry).