It all started with the development of the electronics industry. This led to the birth, in different places around the world, of technology clusters which increased opportunities for cooperation and thus accelerated technological development. Interest in this area also arose in Oulu, and in the 1970s examples and inspiration was gathered around the world from famous technology hubs, such as Silicon Valley.
The development of the electronics industry was clearly visible in Northern Finland and the Oulu region in the early 1980s, and here, too, the aim was to create for companies and their employees village-like communities which would help to strengthen and support the well-established sectoral development. Finally, a decision was made to set up a limited company for the creation of an industrial or electronics village for electronics companies.
Thus, on 31 March 1982, the founding general meeting of Oulun Teknologiakylä Ltd “Oulu Technology Village” was held in the meeting room of the City Board of Oulu. In September of the same year, on 16 September 1982 to be exact, our company – formerly Oulun Teknologiakylä Ltd, now called Technopolis – was entered into the Trade Register.
This is where our story began. Let’s take a closer look.
Service-orientation embedded deep in our DNA
Soon after its establishment, at the end of 1982, the first customers arrived in the technology village of Oulu. At that time, we were tenants in a former dairy factory in the centre of Oulu on Uusikatu.
The technology village was marketed to companies from the very beginning, primarily through the cooperation opportunities it offered. General services offered to customers, such as copying, were also at the heart of our operations. These were the services our customers needed.
To understand our customers’ needs, we have had to listen to them with a sensitive ear from the beginning and be ready to meet their needs.
Listening to customers and our passion for customer satisfaction are still one of the pillars of our operations. Our passion is also paying off: it is great to be able to say that on the eve of our 40th anniversary, we reached last year our highest ever customer satisfaction level.
This tells us that, even 40 years later, we are still successfully listening to our customers and are able to simplify everyday life.
Truly putting the concept to the test
It quickly became clear, as our customer base and operations grew, that the premises of the former dairy factory in Oulu would become too small. Thus, four years after our founding, in October 1986, we celebrated the topping-out ceremony of our first building in Linnanmaa, Oulu.
Today, Technopolis Linnanmaa is home to nearly 200 customer companies.
For the first two decades, our operations focused in Oulu. We grew as Nokia flourished, and eventually led to us listing on the stock exchange in 1999. As a result, our name changed to Technopolis.
In 2003, it was time to explore beyond Oulu as well: our operations expanded to Espoo through a company acquisition, and to Vantaa with the construction of our own campus.
Tampere entered the picture in 2006 and Helsinki in 2008. In the 2010s, it was time to start testing the waters internationally. Our operations first expanded to Estonia, Lithuania and Norway, among others.
We believed that our drive and unique product would also work in the international market, and our positive experiences in this area meant that our international expansion continued.
In 2016, we began our operations in Gothenburg, Sweden, and in 2019 we expanded to include six countries with the start of our operations in Luxembourg. In 2021, our operations in Sweden expanded to Stockholm.
We now operate in a total of 11 cities in six different countries, and we have a total of 1,500 customer companies on our 16 campuses. This has shown us that our concept works regardless of location.
Adaptability is at the heart of our success
But how can the concept of fully serviced office spaces, a concept developed in a former dairy, work in both Tampere and Luxembourg?
We are close to our customers and are able to adapt. We want to enable our customers to be more successful, and so, with this in mind, we have developed and refined our services and offices to meet our customers’ needs.
We know how to create a well-functioning office: no matter where we go, we have a ready-made foundation on which to build it. At this juncture, our understanding of the customer and our service attitude are central. By understanding the customer and their needs, we are able to tailor the office and services to the customer’s needs. It is not a question of what we want, but of how we adapt to what the customer needs.
Forty years ago, our services were born from the needs of our customers. Today, we are still developing them to meet the needs of our customers, which have developed hugely over these past 40 years.
In the past 40 years, work life has also changed enormously – and especially in the last two years, when the pandemic led to a 10-year leap forward in the needs of the world of work and the office.
We are now at the point where we are asked whether office spaces will play a role in the future of working life.
My answer is yes.
The office supports communality and strengthens trust both between employees as well as between the employee and the employer. It strengthens the company culture and creates the conditions for smooth teamwork. At the office, information also flows more easily, as people meet in the corridors and have conversations by the coffee machine between official meetings.
We want to always be the most desired place for work both now and in the future. It requires us to be adaptable, to believe in ourselves and what we do – and, of course, to listen to our customers.
It all started in Oulu 40 years ago. Currently, our customer base includes companies that represent a wide range of industries, growth stages and sizes, although the technology sector from which everything started is still represented. We have never left Oulu: today we have four campuses there – and Oulu has not left us either because we, as is typical of people from Oulu, have integrity, are persistent and ready to overcome challenges. With these qualities, we have managed this far, and we know that we will continue to do so – no matter what the next 40 years will bring.
CEO, Technopolis Holding Plc