During its six years of operation, Aalto Service Factory (ASF) has been an open collaboration platform for service research, education and cooperation at Aalto University.
'ASF has systematically built a network among researchers working at Aalto University's different schools and departments who have an interest in services. It has used various mechanisms to support important research projects and connections with countless corporate and societal partners. The results include dissertations and articles and many different seminars and workshops,' explains Professor Virpi Tuunainen, who is the director of ASF.
ASF has also coordinated service-related education functions at Aalto University and promoted collaboration between industry and the academic world in the area of service innovations and development. Internationally, ASF has collaborated with leading academic institutes and companies in the fields of service research and development.
Multidisciplinary teaching is particularly important in services
Aalto Service Factory has played an important role in terms of supporting educational collaboration across department and school boundaries. This autumn, Aalto University launched a new, multidisciplinary Aalto Service Minor (ASM), which is open to all Aalto master's students. ASM is a continuation of the educational collaboration coordinated by Aalto Service Factory. This cooperation has already produced the Aalto Introduction to Services course, which is also the only ASM course that is compulsory for everyone.
'Providing this type of general, multidisciplinary education is not specifically included in the goals of any one of the departments, but it also wouldn't be possible without cooperation between different departments. Aalto Service Minor and Aalto Introduction to Services are outstanding examples of this. They would never have existed without ASF's work to promote this common goal – or without the joint effort of professors and teachers of service subjects in different departments or their commitment to the goal,' says Education Manager Mikko Heiskala, who is responsible for ASF teaching.
What does the future hold?
Of course, multidisciplinary education and research in the service sector will not be less important in the future. In fact, the opposite is true. The link between the digitalisation of society and business and servitisation has been recognised for a long time. Both have an influence on the entire societal and business field. The need for service experts and specialists who understand services will only grow in the future.
Although ASF will cease to exist as an organisation at the end of 2015, work in the service sector will continue in several departments at Aalto University – in existing forms and certainly also in completely new forms. Over the years, the Aalto Service Factory team has included many competent experts. In addition to Director Virpi Tuunainen, the team this autumn included Coordinator Jussi Nykänen, Business Collaboration Manager Minna-Kaarina Forssén, Research Manager Esko Penttinen and Education Manager Mikko Heiskala.
'On behalf of the entire ASF team, I would like to warmly thank all the stakeholders, our business collaboration partners, professors, researchers and students, all of whom played an important role in Aalto Service Factory activities,' says Professor Virpi Tuunainen.