Our favourite innovations in everyday life – Meet the staff behind the Millennium Technology Prize

Would you like know who’s responsible for the magic happening at Technology Academy Finland TAF, the home of the Millennium Technology Prize? Get to know our wonderful team members, as we tell about our roles and favorite innovations in everyday life!

Check out what are our main duties at TAF and what are our favorite innovations in everyday life? And why?


Ari Ahonen, CEO

Organization management and administration.

My favorite innovation in everyday life is a geothermal heat pump, also known as the ground source heat pump. It is a highly efficient renewable energy technology. And it makes living more comfortable!



Eeva Sievi, COO

My work as the COO at TAF is about designing and implementing different operations and activities, the most important of which are related to the Millennium Technology Prize. My responsibility is also to make sure that the operations are up-to-date, in accordance with our strategy and meet with the mission and vision of TAF.

Safety reflectors designed for pedestrians are my favorite innovation in everyday life. They are absolutely a must in the dark, the greatest lifesavers and the cheapest life insurance you can get! By the way, did you know that the reflectors are a Finnish innovation from the mid-20th century?

Nina Blom
, Project Manager

I am responsible for advancing the MDocs program and actively involved in developing other strategic activities, such as the Millennium Technology Prize, together with our team.

My favourite innovation in everyday life is 3D printing. It is amazing how fast a relatively new technology has integrated itself into everyday life. Almost all libraries have 3D printers available, and we get to use them for free. Have you tried one already? I have! At the same time 3D printing has not reached its full potential. Dedication and meticulous research will reveal what lies ahead.


Satu Haapio, Millennium Network Manager

I’m Millennium Network Manager. It´s all about the society and community around us. Creating new connections, building relationships and together finding ways to promote innovations for a better life is at the core of my work.

The telephone! It makes almost everything reachable more than ever. Phone plays a significant role in everyday life for many of us and it is interesting to follow how new technologies shape the way we communicate in the future!



Åsa Lindberg, Secretary General of the Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in Finland (STV)

Main duties are to lead STV and its activities at the interface of science, education and business with the goal to show that technology is a positive part in our society.

Lasers! For example, the use of optical fibres on which our data communications is built upon, laser printers and barcode readers. The beautiful story of the laser going from no practical uses when the first laser was built in 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman based on theoretical work by Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow to a lot of uses in daily life, such as medical applications, cutting and welding materials, measuring range and speed, and in laser lighting displays for entertainment– is astounding.


Panu Nykänen, Secretary General of the Finnish Academy of Technical Sciences TTA

Flash smelting technology is my absolute favourite. Though the patent was submitted already on 1947 the innovation still represents the high technology and research in Finland and is widely in use all around the world. The success in flash smelt technology opened a new era in the metallurgical industry, saving a huge amount of energy and raw materials. Also the flash smelt technology is a beautiful example of the connection in between the basic research and practical know-how.



Minna Zaknoun, Admin

Innovation that I love is digital camera. I don’t call myself professional or expert in any means of photography, but I just love photographs and the story they tell. I don’t like to be in front of the camera, but I love to capture every day moments and magnificent views and people. Photographs are my story of life. I started with film camera but with digital camera the whole story has changed by making it easy to capture, edit and share even from a pocket.




Katariina Salmisalo, Communications Manager

I’m the head of communication and marketing. My days are full of press, social media, web, articles, graphics, consulting, event marketing, brand.. I enjoy both strategic planning and operational tasks.

Coffee machine! I simply don’t wake up without coffee. In the morning my choice is basic Finnish filter coffee, but when I have more time, I’ll have a decent cappuccino. Coffee making has a long history dating back to 1600s when Europeans started to drink coffee as Venetian traders got it from the Ottoman Turks. Today we use several different technologies to make coffee: Pod machines, espresso machines, drip coffee makers and even percolators – you name it. And for the hi-tech lovers in terms of coffee making technologies there are plenty to choose from.


If you have any questions about the Millennium Technology Prize or about our other events and prizes, do not hesitate to contact. You’ll find more information from the contact page.

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