Last night Helsingin Sanomat Foundation held an event where they launched Uutisraivaaja, a competition where participants can win up to 250 000 euros to develop their killer media product, with a few “ifs” on the side. While the event was held completely in Finnish leaving English speaking out of the equation at his point, the fantastic part of all this is that the competition is open to everyone, be it companies, individual people or non-Finnish citizens for that matter. Creating an innovative media product isn’t easy. Helsingin Sanomat Foundation is obviously looking to speed up innovation in this sector and I applaud them for it.

However, there are a few terms to the deal that I didn’t like too much. While the 250 000 euros is up for grabs, the criteria to win it are partly debatable. There are basically three criteria participants must meet: 1) the idea should be groundbreaking, 2) the idea must first be tested in Finland on a national level or a local level and 3) (the part I don’t like too much) if digital technology is used, it should be open source in such a way that anyone is able to use it afterwards.

I understand the Foundation’s interest in arranging this competition easily. However, I do wish there was more incentive for the innovator to keep hold of the technology in the form of IPR and perhaps license it to those wishing to use it. While I’m all for sharing and being open, good innovators must have an incentive and a means to protect their immaterial property. In essence, they’re letting go of that in this competition.

Nevertheless, it’s a great iniative from a large organisation on behalf of commercialisation of innovative ideas. While in the event, I also had a chance to have a quick talk about Topiikki with Otto Utti, whose the founder of the company.

Topiikki – having a go at breaking the status quo
Topiikki is a refreshingly innovative news site in Finland, that’s keeping their editorial team thin and agile. Every day, they post on business and politics – curating their news from about 250 different sources online and for that matter, sharing the link love by giving readers tips on where to continue reading on the topic.

There are two basic concepts within Topiikki that set them apart from the traditional news media. The first one is called “wide angle” where they write about a timely issue and link five different sources to the post writing about it. The second one is 10X, where they post the 10 most important news items for that day.

While they’re starting off small, Topiikki has managed to attract some thousands of unique visitors a week. A very good start in only six weeks for sure. I talked to Otto Utti in a short video interview about the drivers that went into starting a media startup among other things.

Disclosure: Ville Vesterinen, our editor is an advisor at York Media, the company behind Topiikki.