Every year thousands of future-seekers make the pilgrimage to Finland to catch a glimpse of the “next big thing.” Held in the Helsinki during the middle of winter, the aptly-named Slush is Northern Europe’s largest tech event, and never disappoints those who make the trip. Originally a student organised event, Slush has rapidly established itself as an essential date in Europe’s business calendar.
This year’s event was particularly special, marking both the 10th anniversary of Slush itself, along with 100 years of Finland’s independence. With over 20,000 attendees and featuring some of the world’s biggest tech companies, entering Slush is akin to stepping into the future. Anyone just expecting hot new developments in blockchain or drone technologies, however, were in for a surprise. Whilst these could be found in abundance, research science-powered innovations and “disruptive” healthcare solutions made their way onto the agenda.
Being a year defined by milestones, Slush took the opportunity to not only reflect on its past but to also look towards the future, with its key theme being “a call for solvers.” Instead of simply focusing on what an innovation does, startups and entrepreneurs should be encouraged to think bigger by considering the broader effect they’re having on society. With this in mind, health and science based solutions resonated the most, with the potential impact of their successes heralding profound implications for everyone.
Some of the highlights from this year:
Nightingale’s CEO Teemu Suna was one of the keynote speakers on the Slush y Science stage. Answering the call for solvers, he explained that “it’s not a question if healthcare should change, rather it’s fact that it needs to change.” The current system is focused on treating diseases rather than preventing them, an expensive contradiction that is unsustainable in light of the current challenges facing healthcare today.
“Instead of treating those who jump off the cliff, why not prevent them from falling?” Teemu described Nightingale’s solution, a low-cost and high-tech blood testing service that can be implemented for the benefit of everyone by using it to replace cholesterol tests in current use worldwide.
If Slush 2017 proves anything then, it’s that the solutions to the world’s problems are closer than ever, but to realise them it’ll require implementation, will for change, and plenty of research-based scientific evidence.
Here’s to all our fellow solvers answering the call!