Think Ink Innovation Contest 2020

Just like digitalisation, storytelling is present everywhere in our society, from human interaction to media services. We are seeking and will reward the best solutions and concepts of digital storytelling (for media and learning).


The Think INK innovation contest wants to encourage you to come up with ideas related to storytelling that enable new business solutions for media.

Is there technological or other know-how in Finland that could create something unforeseen? We are challenging industry professionals as well as completely new agents, teams and persons to gather their thoughts and participate in the Think INK competition’s search for ideas on primarily Finnish solutions (concepts, prototypes, complete solutions, business models) that would offer new formats of storytelling. The formats and solutions can also be international.


Storytelling has played a key role in human interaction throughout the history of humankind. Digitalisation has changed the world for good while also impacting the way we tell stories. We generally connect digital storytelling with individuals producing multimedia content by combining videos, images and sound [1]. In this context, digital storytelling does not mean just the creation but also the narrativity and storytelling of digital content.

Digital narrativity is a trend of many new content formats that are targeted especially at young people. Right platforms and appropriate formats must be utilised when offering narrative content to young people [2]. A great example of this is the concept of chat fiction, which was created by A-lehdet for WhatsApp and is funded by the foundation [2]. The digital environment is a natural space for young people to be, create and interact in. Because digital storytelling reaches young people in particular, it is also strongly connected with learning and teaching. In fact, digital storytelling is already being utilised in education – from day-care centres to universities [1].

For example, in early childhood education, digital storytelling has been used as a method of teaching mathematical and IT skills. This has evidently increased children’s understanding and motivation. It has been discovered that digital storytelling supports the development of future skills and psychological skills of school-age children, such as verbal communication and innovation [3]. Hence, benefit and meaningfulness are part of using digital storytelling in education. The winner of the 2014 Think Ink innovation contest, Hello Ruby, is an excellent example of a storytelling concept that combines books and videos as teaching materials of early childhood education (learning programming skills) [4].

The solution can relate to digital storytelling in a broad sense and concern any media platform (e.g. news media, periodicals, book trade, printing, TV, or radio). The solution can also be a brand new service. It could also be connected with journalistic content, teaching materials, social media or solutions/concepts combining the aforementioned platforms. The jury will evaluate the ideas based on their novelty value, potential influence and possibilities for implementation.

[1] Robin, 2016.
[2] A-lehdet, 2018.
[3] Merjovaara, 2018.
[4] Media Industry Research Foundation of Finland/Linda Liukas, Think Ink contest.

Grounds for evaluation

The following criteria are applied to the evaluation of the submitted ideas.

Most importantly:

  • The innovativeness and novelty value of the idea
  • The idea’s potential effectiveness in media or printing
  • The implementation potential of the idea


  • The credibility of the realising team
  • The clarity in presenting the idea

Contest schedule

Idea search

Ideas can be submitted as of 30 January 2020. 15 ideas will be selected for the first pitching after pre-evaluation. 8 of these ideas will make it to the further development phase.

Further development of ideas

In the second phase of the competition, the foundation will support the owners of the selected ideas in developing their ideas and in drafting their business plans. During earlier rounds, a budget of 80,000–100,000 euros has been allocated for this purpose, depending on the number of applicants admitted to the final contest and outsourced services. In connection with the previous competition, the final contestants were offered sparring while drafting their business plans.

In the final section of the competition form, applicants are asked in what area the presenter of the idea needs help with: communications, the business plan, or product development. This information helps us decide what kind of sparring we want to offer the contestants during the further development phase.

In return for the foundation’s support, the idea developers shall document their own developmental process in a blog.

Awarding winners

In the third phase of the competition, the winners are selected. 140,000 euros have been reserved as prizes. The prize is intended for commercialising the idea. Before the prizes are paid, the winners must provide the foundation with a plan for using the prize, a payment plan and progress reports.


  • competition kick-off 30 January 2020 Media Day
  • submission of ideas into the grant system by 26 April 2020
  • 15 ideas will be selected for the first pitching after the pre evaluation
  • selection of the best ideas 1 June 2020
  • further development phase of the best ideas 2 June 2020–16 November 2020
  • selection of the winners and other top picks at the turn of the year publication of the winners in January 2021