Interesting Times: An interview with Petri Vilén of Digital Health Days partner SLUSH

As the build-up to Digital Health Days 2015 gains momentum, we spoke to Petri Vilén chief curator of the Nordic Slush conference.

First of all, Petri, what is Slush?

Slush offers the next generation of companies the ecosystem they deserve to succeed on a global level by introducing them to top-tier international investors, executives and media. It’s a two-day event that takes place on 11 and 12 November in Helsinki, Finland and it’s gaining momentum all the time.

Why has Slush partnered with Digital Health Days?

Slush is a non-profit organisation that exists to build the best possible platform for startups in the Nordics to make meaningful connections. That is why we want to work with all the key players building the ecosystem for startups to grow. Digital Health Days is doing a wonderful job in the healthcare sector.

Could you please tell us a little about yourself?

I’m the chief curator of Slush. I have a Masters in Economics from Aalto University. In a previous life I created, built and ran an advertising agency. I also co-founded the edutech startup now known as Scool.

What do you understand digital health to be?

For me, it’s all about improving both predictive health and medical healthcare with digital services, wearable sensors and machine-learning. It’s healthcare that’s based on more data about a person’s health history and their current health than ever before.

Why are you interested in digital health?

Healthcare is  one of the industries that hasn’t been radically disrupted by digital tools and services. This is why we are living in interesting times.

I’ve read that the market for wearable health devices is slowing. What’s your view on that?

Really? I haven’t noticed. Of course the first wave of products we’ve seen are not meant for regular people who don’t feel passionate about the concept of a quantified self. But I believe we’re only seeing the beginning. Wearables will become part of our clothing and the accessories we use daily and we won’t have to think about using them. We’ll be provided with lots of data about our health without us having to do anything about it, which is amazing.

Do you think the boom days for app developers are over or do you see a bright future?

The same goes for apps as for wearables. Right now, they only serve the prime movers who are fanatic about data. Most people are not. They only care about data when it’s useful – gives analysis, warning, suggestions or praise.

What is it about Finland, digital and entrepreneurship?

The Nordic countries have an advantage over the rest of digital society because of our mature tech adaptation and also our size, which makes it possible for us to move quickly. If we want to try out new methods, services or products it’s very easy to do nation-wide experiments and involve all the key players. We know how to collaborate and that should be key in the future, too.


Thanks Petri. Slush partnering with Digital Health Days is a fine example of Nordic collaboration.



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