Are you prepared to explore radical creativity this August?

The Radical Creativity Summer School inspires and guides participants to explore and experiment with innovative methods of working towards a more sustainable future. 'This is a condensed package of inspiration, akin to a candy shop where you can sample a variety of flavours.'
Aalto Radical Creativity summer school. Original image: George Atanassov
Original image: George Atanassov

Creativity is a highly valued skill for the future, but how can one develop it?

One promising option this August is to enroll in a two-week-long master-level course based on Aalto Design Factory's challenge-based learning approach, but with a fresh twist. The course is open to individuals who hold a bachelor's degree.

The course is led by assistant professor Tua Björklund and postdoctoral researcher Vikki Eriksson, who, along with a team of researchers in innovation, design, and change management, are researching radical creativity. They seek to understand the phenomenon related to Aalto’s strategic approach, radical creativity, exploring how the ambiguous and ambitious goal influences organisational norms, identity, and ways of working. 

Portrait image of Tua Björklund
Associate professor Tua Björklund

This course is the team's initial step in applying their research findings to teaching.

'We're not promoting a particular viewpoint, discipline, or process,' Vikki Eriksson explains.

'We're creating a space for individuals to feel empowered and encouraged to engage in creative exploration. It's about problem-solving, but instead of thinking outside the box, we're rethinking the idea of a box. The course isn't about learning the right way; it's about discovering new ways of learning."

During the program, students will be divided into teams and given a variety of tools and and methods to investigate real-world business scenarios that reimagine the future of their respective industries. The course includes visits and workshops at partner organisations, and students will collaborate with their staff.

Postdoctoral reseacher Vikki Eriksson
Postdoctoral reseacher Vikki Eriksson

'A key objective of this course is to create a space for genuine exploration. We empower individuals to think completely differently – to think radically. While we build on existing design thinking and innovation courses, this program is new and exciting for us pedagogically,' Tua Björklund remarks.

Instead of working on a single two-week project that culminates in a 10-minute final presentation, the course is composed of a sequence of shorter and diverse sprint sessions utilising various creative approaches. 'We aim to minimise the sense of consequence that inhibits risk-taking. If one assignment falls short, participants can try something different in the next one.'

'This course emphasises recognising multiple viewpoints and the various ways that radical creativity can manifest. We provide an environment for participants to experiment and have an incredible time. Usually, we lack the time and space to push our limits in our daily lives,' Björklund adds.

Who can benefit from learning radical creativity?

This course is ideal for those who seek fresh ideas and innovative approaches.

Vikki Eriksson explains that ‘we do not expect one single light bulb moment. It is about challenging yourself, looking at different tools, looking at different approaches, shifting your own thinking. It is about leveraging those skills that you already have.’

While the course builds skills on empathy, creativity and problem-solving, Tua Björklund emphasises that it is more about how to recognise and leverage radical creativity in a professional context, or in studies or even in personal life. ‘The examples are more on the organisational realm, but we expect that the key learnings of the participants might be very diverse and highly individual.’

The illustrative image of the renovated K3 building
The course will be held at the new Aalto Design Factory in the K3 building to open its doors in May 2023.

Björklund acknowledges that the term "radical creativity" might sound daunting at first, but the course serves as an entry point to exploring this concept.

'The "radical" aspect entails raising the ambition level and striving to shape a sustainable future. The course offers a range of tools, such as stakeholder mapping and ChatGPT, to foster creative collaboration. This is a condensed package of inspiration, like a candy shop where you get to try the flavours. Of course, the downside is, that we won't go very deep into any of these, but it sheds light on where you would like to go next.’ 

Several topical guest lectures are part of the course, including dean Tuomas Auvinen speaking about leading for creativity, associate professor Henri Weijo discussing critical approaches to radical creativity, and professor of practice Lauri Järvilehto speaking about entrepreneurially creating the future.

The course requires a bachelor's degree, making it suitable for alumni, exchange students, or master's students. With only 30 places available, registration will close as soon as the course is full. Don't wait – apply now to secure your spot!

While the course credit will come from the School of Engineering, a background in technology is not required. 'When we reimagine the future, diverse participation from individuals of different nationalities, disciplines, and life phases leads to better outcomes,' says Tua Björklund.

This course presents a fantastic opportunity to update your knowledge, co-create with Finnish organisations, and collaborate in an interdisciplinary group for two intensive weeks.

Learn more and apply here

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