The fourth industrial revolution is also rapidly revolutionising our working lives. The experts of the future will be required to have many skills that are as yet undefined, and on the other hand, their expectations from companies can be very different from those of previous generations.
Appetite for Excellence was hosted by Aalto University and the event was opened by Provost Kristiina Mäkelä who said that in recent years students have started to think more and more about the themes they want to work with in the future. Career plans are no longer defined by young people setting targets to be employed by a certain company or organisation but by the desired content of work.
Sari Baldauf, University board member and the keynote speaker of the event, agreed. According to Baldauf's experience, young people are increasingly considering the purpose of companies’ operations and their vision. Clarification of the purpose or vision will help not only attract talent but also expand business, as it creates energy and thereby accelerates growth.
In the midst of change, the importance of good co-operation and expert knowledge is increasingly important.
‘Research should be invested in because it enables innovation and world-class education. We need new platforms and ecosystems to support co-operation’, Baldauf stressed.
Convert research results quickly into product development
Developing research information into new innovations, and the subsequent commercialisation of innovations is often a long process. One way to convert the latest information quickly to a usable form is the Industrial Doctoral Program. Saab’s Research Leader Petteri Alinikula and Professor of Water Resources Management, Olli Varis, who also holds the Matti Pursula Professorship at Aalto University discussed doctoral education, and Saab and Aalto's Industrial Doctoral Program.
‘The program combines the advantages of working in the university and in the company, creating the opportunity to concentrate 100% on research and to co-operate closely with the company. This operating model ensures that knowledge is transferred from research to product development, and researchers in turn see what development challenges current products have’, Alinikula said.
According to Alinikula, similar working practices are very common in Sweden.
‘In Swedish companies, even experienced experts may go to the university to deepen their skills, share knowledge and expand their networks.’
The experts of the future want to continuously develop their skills, participate in the development of the company and they expect transparency from the professional community, and an open work culture. At the event, Outi Sivonen, Finnair's Head of People and Leadership Development and Hertta Vuorenmaa, Research Manager at the Department of Management Studies at Aalto University, discussed the opportunities and experiences of co-operation between companies and universities. According to Sivonen, students have come to Finnair to develop their own thinking and at the same time see what kind of digital learning tools the company can introduce them to.
‘We at Finnair gained new perspectives, tools, and processes, and we also realised that employees want to produce more content.’
Gregory O'Shea, representing Aalto University's Entrepreneurship Platform, discussed effectiveness and inclusion with Tuomas Syrjänen, a founder of Futurice. According to Syrjänen, transparency and openness are the cornerstones of working culture.
‘Our employees have access to all the information needed for decision-making, including all the company's financial figures. Our business model is based on trust.’
Head of Corporate Relations, Aalto University
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Head of Donor Engagement, Aalto University
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