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‘The Restriction of Use of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment’ (RoHS): Laura Sorvali, Olli-Pekka Piipponen and Sari Peltonen wrote a book as a business project.
A group of students sitting around the table at Aalto Design Factory.

In Business Projects, students have the opportunity to crack real cases in small groups. The case description of the RoHS project was challenging: There was a definite demand for a business guide, because small and medium-sized technology enterprises were confused by the new and problematic directive. The challenge of the project group was to embark on creating Finnish-language information on a subject which previously was available only on a limited and scattered basis, and hardly at all in written format.  The orderer of the book was Antrea Solutions, and it was sponsored by Teknologiainfo Teknova Oy.

The project was implemented by a multidisciplinary team. The members of each student group took care of their specific share of the task as the work continued: Olli-Pekka Piipponen, a student of commercial law, knew EU legislation like the back of his hand. Laura Sorvali, recruited for the project from the Helsinki University of Technology, had on her part mastered the core expertise connected with the directive concerning chemicals hazardous to the environment, and bravely explained the grounds of chemistry and physics to her colleagues educated in economics. Sari Peltonen, holding a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Helsinki and a student of marketing at the School of Business, acted as head editor, converting the dense subject matter into an easily understandable format.

Experts at the University also invariably support the business project groups. In the RoHS project, the students were steered by Anne Kankaanranta and Leena Louhiala-Salminen, both lecturers in English-language corporate communications. In addition, Tapani Tirkkonen from the ordering company, Antrea Solutions, was intensively involved in the project at all stages.

In addition to the multidisciplinary collaboration, contacts were also generated with the world of business. The project group met and extensively interviewed experts in the field from, for instance, Nokia and Vaisala. Within the context of the project linked with EU legislation, co-operation also went on with representative associations and State expert organisations such as Tukes (the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency) and Technology Industries of Finland.

‘It’s possible to mention in a job interview that I've written a book’, says student of commercial law and RoHS author Olli-Pekka Piipponen, when he is afterwards asked about the benefits of the business project.

The RoHS project student group also obtained practical experience and expertise in their own fields. The technical student and the one studying commercial law had the opportunity to meet specialists in their own fields and generate contacts at the busiest period for summer work applications. For the expert in communications, the book is an excellent work sample, and the project an excellent exercise in writing a book – from composing the table of contents to designing the cover image. ‘And of course we got to know some very nice people,’ adds Olli-Pekka Piipponen. Nobody needs to toil alone in a business project: rather, it is possible to establish valuable contacts with fellow students – at best, also crossing over academic institutional boundaries. As an additional bonus, there are the course credits, certificate in writing and even financial compensation.

All in all, writing a book as a business project was a challenging and rewarding project. About half a year after the kick-off meeting, a successful volume came off the presses which the orderers have also been happy with.

Sari Peltonen
The writer is one of the RoHS authors

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