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Meet the Board

Introducing the Board Members of the Smart City Innovation Cluster.

In the dynamic scene of urban development, collaboration and expertise play central roles in shaping the future of smart cities. Smart City Innovation Cluster is a forerunner in the field, a collaborative ecosystem consisting of a diverse range of companies, cities, and research institutions.

The Board Members of SCIC are a group of highly accomplished professionals, each bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience from their respective fields. Representing a cross-section of the cluster's members, they embody the collective expertise and needs of the companies, cities, and research institutions involved.

With their diverse backgrounds and extensive networks, they ensure the cluster's endeavors align with the needs and goals of its members.

Kustaa Valtonen / Finest Bay Area Development

Entrepreneur and Angel Investor

SCIC was initiated in its' current form at the end of 2022 to help cities and large organizations to find great solutions to their different technological challenges on their way to becoming greener and smarter. In order for this to function well there are many things that SCIC needs to facilitate like matching a combination of private and public sector and large and small organization practices and needs. This is where I think my expertise from the private sector comes in very useful. I've worked with small technology startups and the largest tech companies in the world, and I know the position at both sides of the table. I've also had the pleasure to work with public sector organizations like large cities and understand their complexities and restrictions but also good intentions.

As my other "day job" I am doing investments to startup phased companies and that expertise will help the SCIC and its' members in the long term, I am sure. We will see more accessible funding through SCIC especially for the smaller companies, in order to meet the longer-term schedules of large projects and organizations. The other half of my time goes into running the biggest infrastructure project in Finland and one of the largest in the world, The Tallinn tunnel railway project. This tunnel project is a good platform for nurturing new innovation and it is the catalyst that SCIC exists. The Finest Bay Area Development company and its' ecosystem are bringing opportunities to SCIC and its' members already now.

I am the Chairman of the Board at SCIC and a board member or chairman at about 22 other companies. It is many but one could call me a board professional. This experience shows especially in the ways of working diligently and efficiently.

My own special expertise is in the design of underground tunnels in smart cities and between smart cities.

Harri Paananen / City of Espoo

D.Sc. (Tech.), / EMBA / M.Sc. (Econ.)

Director, Economic Development

I help bridge the gap between public and private actors in smart city development. I have both experience in and deep understanding of managing inter-organizational collaboration for innovation, as this theme is both a central focus area of my current role at the city of Espoo, but also the topic of my 2015 doctoral dissertation, which examined collaborative practices in successful industry-academia research consortia. On a personal level, I’m skilled at both identifying and empathizing with the varying goals of different individuals and actors, allowing me to find practical common ground for successful collaborations. My international experience allows me to help translate the strengths of our Finnish smart city ecosystem to foreign partners and prospective clients.

Ari Aalto / VTT

Vice President, Mobility and Transport

Sustainable and smart urban mobility is one of the key areas for innovation and new solutions in Smart City initiatives throughout the world. As Head of mobility and transport with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, I am excited to use my domain expertise, knowledge of European and national funding instruments and international contact networks to support the leadership of the Smart City Innovation Cluster.

Timo Saanio / A-insinöörit

Vice President

My background is strongly in the overall development of cities and I am looking for challenges in a wider perspective. I hope that I can support the board and the community by helping in understanding the big picture and on the other hand by asking “difficult questions” to ensure that the targets of the projects are realistic and feasible.


For the past several years, I have been working with clusters, cluster development and cross-border collaboration. I believe that my network and past experiences can help Smart City Innovation Cluster become a successful cluster with a global impact.

I also hope that my background as an entrepreneur can help bring the perspective of a cluster member. The members are of course looking to add value to their own organization and clusters can be a great tool for growth, innovation and internationalization.

Jari Kuusisto / Wapice

Product Manager, IoT for Smart Cities

I’m a professional in IoT, Smart Cities, and distributed controls with a growth mindset. My passion is to help cities to reach their sustainability goals and improve citizen happiness with the help of IoT, analytics, and AI. I’m interested in exploring how data analytics and machine learning can be utilized to produce better services.

Project Manager

I’ve been working as a designer and specialist in the infra sector and as a project manager in infra projects for nearly 30 years. I bring experience and knowledge to the use of SCIC. My mission is to bring the needs and ideas of smart infrastructure to the attention of SCIC, and support all the means to develop smart infra solutions for future cities and urban areas.

Teppo Rantanen / City of Tampere

Executive Director

As a City representative at SCIC board, I will bring city challenges and opportunities from both our city, and also through a lot of our contacts abroad, a good number of international cities. Through my previous roles I have also been involved with a number of companies and understand well building ecosystems.


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