Jouni K. Juntunen, new Associate Professor of Innovation Management: systemic innovations necessary to solve the climate crisis
— I am interested in systemic change that is implemented together with various stakeholders. Stakeholders can be typical consumer or civic organisations that are formed around a product, brand, activity, or specific goal. For example, civic activists, consumer groups familiar with the innovation area and business competitors are potential stakeholders. The main idea is to innovate and make time for change at the level of system to fight the climate crisis, says Juntunen.
Globally, we continue to use more and more non-renewable resources to achieve economic growth, which is unsustainable. Juntunen highlights the complete decoupling of resource consumption from economic growth as a key goal. Complete decoupling means a situation where the economy can grow but resource consumption remains the same or decreases. Juntunen sees innovations as necessary to advance the issue.
— When we globally generate wealth for a growing number of people, consumption also increases. This poses a challenge how to keep the planet livable for future generations. Disconnection from material and energy plays a key role in this. How to do it widely and quickly in different industries requires research and investment in research.
Juntunen moved to Vaasa from Aalto University where he was a professor of practice on sustainable production and consumption. He has extensively researched sustainable innovations from the perspective of innovation management. The themes of the research have included changes in the energy sector, user innovation and user communities. Now Juntunen is leading a project focusing on the carbon risks of flying and shipping. These areas are particularly challenging not only in terms of emissions growth but also in terms of technology. In many other areas, more complete technological solutions are already available. For example, electrification has been utilised in electric cars and rail transport. These solutions do not rely on fossil fuels or the large-scale use of biofuels.
— If companies want to reduce risks, they must have a credible and feasible plan to move towards a net-zero emissions system. The world is in a new situation where legislation, the financial sector and shareholders are calling for a parallel change and recognising the risks associated with climate change, such as extreme weather events and tighter regulation on greenhouse gas emissions. However, many organisations may be stuck with the idea that climate solutions are not in a hurry. Goal-orientation, research and investment are needed to meet the challenges at a global level.
Multidisciplinary work creates smarter solutions
Juntunen will work in the School of Technology and Innovation at the University of Vaasa. In addition, his position is linked to InnoLab, the research platform for innovation and entrepreneurship.
— The challenges of our time require multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary work. What is needed now is experts from different fields who work together to develop new solutions without forgetting close interaction with the rest of society. The University of Vaasa and the multidisciplinary research platform are good places to develop projects and teaching on current themes in sustainable development. Research platforms like InnoLab give credibility to doing science and are experts in communicatinge to the outside world. Work in a multidisciplinary environment feel natural to me because of my background, as technology, social sciences and management are often combined in industrial management.
Juntunen was attracted to Vaasa by the fact that the University of Vaasa invests in his subject area of innovation management in both research and teaching. According to Juntunen, Vaasa as a city is also beautiful.
— The campus is in a great location by the water and the old buildings in the area have their own charisma.
- Name: Jouni K. Juntunen
- Born: 1971 in Vuolijoki
- Education: D.Sc. Aalto University, 2014
- Career: Nokia's mobile phone unit for 15 years in Finland, China and Japan working as a product manager, postdoctoral researcher and professor of practice at Aalto University.
- Lives: in Helsinki
- Family: wife, 5-year-old son, one dog and two cats
- Hobbies: woodwork, renovation and jogging
- Surprising: When I started school, my class had only one student in addition to me.
Jouni K. Juntunen, phone: +358294498619, email: jouni.juntunen(@)uwasa.fi