Mika Lintilä (Centre), the Minister of Economic Affairs, is set to request a report on a collaboration agreement signed roughly three years ago by IBM and the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes), reports Helsingin Sanomat.
Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday published an in-depth article on the collaborative project that was launched with high expectations but seems to have only produced modest results.
The objective of the project, the newspaper revealed, was to establish a centre of excellence to utilise the artificial intelligence platform of IBM, Watson, which would serve as the core of an ecosystem of businesses, hospitals and research institutions dedicated to promoting the development of cutting-edge health technology in Finland.
The Watson Health Center was opened in Munkkiniemi, Helsinki, in April 2017. It was to provide employment to 150 people, instead of the current six, and ultimately lead to the creation of “a new Silicon Valley in Finland,” according to Helsingin Sanomat.
The collaborative project was the largest in the history of Tekes, which was consolidated with Finpro in January 2018 to form Business Finland.
Helsingin Sanomat also cast light on a number of twists and turns of the project, such as Tekes’ decision to hire a man who had sat on the opposite side of the table during its negotiations with IBM.
Lintilä told the newspaper he is only familiar with the case to the extent that it was discussed in March. Iltalehti revealed at the time that a couple of consulting contracts had not been put out to tenders because their value fell narrowly short of the threshold of 60,000 euros. Business Finland subsequently published its account of the issue, which was deemed sufficient, said Lintilä.
He also pointed out that the organisational climate may take a temporary turn for the worse following the consolidation of two large organisations.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva