Factories: workshops for novel expertise
The Design Factory, the Media Factory and the Service Factory are platforms combining the expertise of the different Aalto University schools in the fields of product development, media and services; these are fields on which the Aalto University schools have already cooperated on actively. The Factories are designed to facilitate new forms of collaboration in an environment where academic teams, researchers and students work together with companies and communities. The themes of teaching and learning are an important part of the Factory activities – the new knowledge produced by research is smoothly transferred to teaching.
The Design Factory is a new open environment for the research and education on product development. Situated on the Otaniemi campus, the Design Factory offers modern facilities of 3 000 m² for the cooperation researchers, students and companies. The Design Factory accelerates the change in the Aalto University culture of operation and teaching by supporting interdisciplinary and problem-based learning and research.
The Design Factory architecture, operation models and methods inspire its users to engage in new kind of cooperation. In the Factory, theory meets practice: the shared large prototype workshops, exhibition rooms, library and lounge area form a multifunctional meeting point for its users. The group work facilities and rooms of the factory have been designed to allow flexible use 24/7, and also companies may use them in the spirit of ‘open innovation' .
The original idea for the Design Factory was born in an Aalto University workshop in summer 2007, but the previous collaboration projects of the three schools also helped its establishment. As regards fields of technology, the Design Factory is connected, among other things, to electrical engineering and electronics, automation, architecture, mechanical engineering, materials science and engineering, computer science, and industrial engineering and management. The School of Arts, Design and Architecture is represented by the fields of textile art and clothing design, industrial design and environmental art. The School of Business is linked to the Factory through marketing, international business and innovations.
The Media Factory is an open network bringing together the researchers, teachers and collaboration partners specialized in media and communication. It aims at identifying new interesting areas of media research and at launching joint research projects, curricula and courses between the Aalto University schools.
The collaborative network of the Media Factory was launched in autumn 2007. Its activities cover the entire materials and communication chain from raw material to message production, formation and reception. Its focus areas are, for instance, the media behavior of the future, the media industry and the role of media in society.
The two first Media Factory research projects are Enactive Social Media and Gaming, focused on electronic media and the gaming culture and Doing Cross-Media: Technology Production and Consumption, a project examining media production and consumption. Both projects probe into topical media phenomena and analyze their impact on society at a variety of levels. In addition, the schools organized a joint 'Median murros' (Media in transition) course in autumn 2009.
The Service Factory brings together the service-related expertise of the Aalto University schools. It is an open collaborative network and a platform for multidisciplinary cooperation. The Service Factory identifies new areas of service research, launches research projects joint between the Aalto University schools and offers excellent opportunities for collaboration in teaching. Its goal is to produce new research findings and to be at the forefront of science, develop education on services and create service innovations.
The key themes of the Service Factory are:
- service innovation and management
- service design and experiences
- service systems and infrastructure
- service design and metrics.
The topical research themes of the Service Factory have relevance for industries across the service sector. In addition to traditional fields, such as trade and tourism, its activities cover digital services, expert services and public well-being and administrative services.
The Service Factory is actively involved in the development of service education at Aalto University. In addition to the school-specific, service-related master's programs, the Service Factory is developing a joint master’s program on services for Aalto University. Its goal is to launch a world-class international degree program.