CERN opening an innovation environment modelled on Design Factory


Aalto University has assisted in the implementation.

Cooperation between Aalto University and the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN is taking a new form.  CERN has opened IdeaSquare, a new environment for technological development. The operating model of IdeaSquare is similar to that used by Aalto University in its Design Factory. Aalto University has assisted in the planning and implementation of the project.

In IdeaSquare, the focus will be on innovation and product development projects. The purpose is to make the technology developed at CERN more widely available for society. Like Aalto University's Design Factory, it brings students and companies from different sectors together so that they can join forces and share ideas. 


The IdeaSquare will focus on innovation projects. Photo © 2014 CERN

-  CERN is a top expert in basic research and measurements in the field of particle physics. I believe that IdeaSquare will become a place where our research expertise can be made to bring more benefits for Europe as a whole and European innovation. We also want to be a partner in the training of new-generation engineers for a world where technological skills alone are no longer enough, explains Sergio Bertolucci, CERN's Director for Research and Scientific Computing.

-  Planning and building of IdeaSquare has been an interesting project. It is great to see how the work that we have been doing at Design Factory is attracting interest around the world. We are looking forward to seeing what new opportunities IdeaSquare will provide for Aalto students and for students coming from elsewhere in Europe, says Professor Kalevi Ekman, Director of Aalto University's Design Factory.


Professor Kalevi Ekman leads the Aalto University Design Factory which has been the insiration for IdeaSquare. Photo © 2014 CERN

The operating approach of IdeaSquare has already been tested in practice in Challenge-Based Innovations (CBI), a joint product development course between Design Factory and CERN. In the programme, students are engaged in real-life projects and it has attracted students from Aalto University and elsewhere in Europe.
- In the latest course, students at CERN implemented a programme using which autistic children can communicate or play with other people. In IdeaSquare, our aim is to arrange more courses that are similar to CBI and also carry them out in a virtual manner, explains Bertolucci.